Have your say on the new Draft Classification Guidelines
The Federal Attorney- General’s Department is inviting feedback on the new Draft Classification Guidelines.
To view the guidelines click here.
To complete the online survey and have your say, click here
July is crunch time for the R18+ decision
Fed Media Release
Minister For Home Affairs And Justice – The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor says July will be the time for Classification Ministers to decide on introducing an R 18+ classification for computer games.
“Australians who’ve been following this debate will know that this issue has been on the table for many years, without the necessary progress to make a change,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Last year the Gillard Government declared its position and it’s time for all States and Territories to declare their hand on this issue.
“The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material,” he said.
Gamespot reveals that an R18+ decision is impossible at March SCAG
As reported today by Laura Parker at Gamespot, the current NSW Attorney-General will not by attending the March SCAG meeting as his Government will be in caretaker mode, pending the NSW State Election. Therefore a decision on R18+ can not be made as it requires unanimous agreement from all State and Territory Attorneys-General. To read the article, click here
Kotaku – Classifying the Unclassifiable
Review of the National Classification Scheme Announced
21 December 2010
|Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor will|
|ask the Australian Law Reform Commission to conduct a review of classification in Australia|
|in light of changes in technology, media convergence and the global availability of media|
|“As Australia’s foremost law reform institution the ALRC is well suited to lead this important|
|work. The Commission previously conducted an inquiry into laws relating to classification|
|and censorship in 1991,” Mr McClelland said. (more…)|
Video Games Industry Disappointed by R18+ Classification Continued Delay
Sydney, Australia – Friday, 10th December 2010 – A decision to introduce an R18+ classification for video games has been postponed today following a Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) meeting in Canberra.
Ron Curry, CEO of the iGEA, says, “It’s disappointing that an adult rating for video games will be delayed once again despite mass support from the Australian community, whether it is from adult gamers who want the right to play games that appeal to them or parents who want clear guidelines for their children.”
We are however pleased that the industry has been given the opportunity to put forward its arguments for an adult rating and encouraged by the tremendous support the issue has received from the Federal Government, and the active engagement by each Attorney General at today’s meeting on the issue. We’re hopeful that the weight of evidence and the comprehensive research into the matter will ensure an adult rating is introduced when the Attorney-Generals reconvene,” said Curry. (more…)
Final Analysis Shows Huge Support For R18+ Computer Game Rating
The Federal Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor has released the final analysis of feedback from the public on introducing an R18+ classification for video games. The final report will be tabled at this Friday’s (December 10) meeting of Classification Ministers and will help inform their decision making. More than 58,400 people responded to the call for submissions on the proposed new adult only category.
Of those that responded, 98.4% voiced support for an R18+ computer game classification.
To see the official release and comments, click here
Brendan O’Connor Writes for the Punch on Why the Govt backs an R18+ Rating
Gillard government advocates for R18+
“We want to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers. The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that.”
The announcement comes ahead of Friday’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting, where Classification Ministers will be asked to make a decision on the issue.
“We believe that this is the right decision for Australian families and the right decision for parents who want to be able to make informed choices about the games their children play.”
“Children and teenagers shouldn’t be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games,” Mr O’Connor said.
“There are dozens of games that are currently classified as MA15+ in Australia, but in other countries these gaming titles are restricted to adults only.
“If the new category is introduced, it could result in computer games that are currently classified MA15+ being reclassified R18+, providing a new level of protection for children.”
“Games that are currently refused classification and do not meet the standard required for R18+ classification will remain in the refused classification category.”
The argument for a new adult classification is backed by research, some of which has been released in recent weeks. (For details visit www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification).
The latest available data is a Galaxy survey, requested by the Standing Committee of Attorneys- General in May to assist Ministers in their decision making.
The national telephone survey shows that 80% of the 2,226 people contacted said they support the introduction of an R18+ classification for games.
“This survey also reflects the community feedback that I and many members of the Gillard Government have received from our constituents in recent years,” he said.
The national survey found that, of those surveyed:
- 91% said that adults would know that a game classified R18+ is clearly unsuitable for children
- 81% aged over 50 agreed that there should be an R 18+ classification for computer games
- 76% of households with children aged under 18 thought that there should be an R18+ classification for computer games.
Support was strong across all States and Territories:
- Western Australia – 84%
- Victoria – 82%
- Tasmania – 82%
- South Australia – 81%
- Northern Territory – 81%
- Queensland – 80%
- New South Wales – 77%
- Australian Capital Territory – 77%
The survey results build on the recent public consultation, where 98% of about 57,000 people supported the introduction of an adult classification.
Australia’s most restrictive classification for video games is currently MA15+. Games that do not satisfy this category are refused classification and cannot be brought into Australia.
An R18+ classification for computer games can only be introduced with the agreement of all Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers.
Media Adviser: Jayne Stinson 0458 547 512 firstname.lastname@example.org
Government poll supports an R18+ classification
In December 2010 Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, released the results of a national telephone poll conducted by independent research company Galaxy research which found 80% support for the introduction of an R 18+ classification for computer games.
The poll covered 2,226 respondents aged 16 years and over from all Australian States and Territories.
The poll asked participants to indicate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements relevant to an R 18+ classification, then answer the question ‘Should there be an R 18+ classification category for computer games in Australia?’ These poll questions are included in the report which is available for download.
A wide range of demographics were covered, including; age, gender, capital cities (versus elsewhere), work status, marital status, household income, children under 18 years in the household and level of education (below year 12 and year 12+). Age, gender and location demographics were weighted to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
Download the telephone poll results:
R18+ computer game classification review released by the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today released a review of existing research into whether people who play violent computer games are at greater risk of being aggressive.
This analysis of the available literature shows that:
- there is no conclusive evidence that violent computer games have a greater impact on players than other violent media, such as movies or music videos
- there is stronger evidence of short-term effects from violent computer games, than long-term effects
- some research finds that violent computer games are a small risk factor in aggressive behaviour over the short term, but these studies do not thoroughly explore other factors such as aggressive personality, family and peer influence and socio-economic status.
The introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will be discussed at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting in Canberra on Friday 10 December.
The literature review is available here
Kotaku allows you to speak directly to your representatives about R18+
Our friends at Kotaku have set up an automated email service that will put you in touch with your local representative to indicate if you are, or aren’t in favour of R18+. Well done Kotaku – click here to see
Senator Kate Lundy Gives and Adjournment Speech supporting the introduction on an R18+ Classification Rating in Australia
To read a transcript of the speech given on Nov 23 2010, click here
Enough stalling on Games Classification – Laura Parker
Laura Parker is the Associate Editor for Gamespot Australia, but has also written a piece for smh.com.au about the lack of progress on the R18+ issue even after the overwhelmingly positive response to the discussion paper from the community released late last year. To read the piece, click here.
READY: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children
Kotaku Australia are continuing their READY campaign in the run up to SCAG on 10 Dececeber 2010. Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children is a regular section they will also be running and it takes a look at some of the scare-mongering tactics applied to new media throughout history – whether it be music, movies, television, or dime novels.
To read the first entry, click here
Kotaku kicks off their Ready campaign
In recognition of the next Standing Committee of Attorney’s General (SCAG) meeting due to take place on 10 December 2010, Kotaku Australia are running a series of posts and updates on the R18+ issue in the hope to bring it to the forefront of the gaming community again.
To see the introduction to the campaign, click here
They will be covering some of the submissions that were put forth as part of the Discussion Paper released in December 2009, for example: The Australian Catholic Bishops who were in favour, and the Media Classifiers’ Association of Australia who argue that Australians should be able to read, hear and see what they want.
Plus some Myth Busting about the argument – check the floodgates one, and another Mythbuster that R18+ will result in Children Having Access to Inappropriate Games.
To learn how to write to your representatives, click here
We will continue to follow the Kotaku campaign in the run up to this all important meeting.
GAME collects 70,000 Pro-R18+ Petitions
As reported at gamespot.com.au, the Australian retailer, GAME, is going to present the petitions to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General on May 7, although they are still unclear if R18+ is on the agenda.
To read the story, click here
SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson Quits the Front Bench
As reported at adelaidenow.com.au, Michael Atkinson has stepped aside in the Labour Ministry in order to make way for other “talented” backbenchers.
Michael Atkinson has been a very vocal opponent of an R18+ classification for video games and whilst his views represent a percentage of the community, we don’t believe, and research supports this, that his views reflect the majority of Australians – both gamers and non gamers.
Mr. Atkinson said in his statement to the media yesterday that he “believes there should be renewal” in the front bench and he is giving an opportunity to those in the talented ranks of the Labor party to step up. Naturally, we are hopeful that the next South Australian Attorney General has an interest in understanding the complex issue of classification and the need to create an adult category that will better protect people and enable adults to access content that is developed for them. We look forward to working with the new South Australian Attorney General.