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

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.

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.


Gamespot takes an in-depth look at the Australian Government Report into R18+


Laura Parker at gamespot.com.au has written a fantastic story about the recently Government Report into R18+ public consultation.

Following the initial news that 98.2 percent of the 59,678 public submissions received by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department were in favour of introducing R18+, GameSpot AU has combed the report’s contents to present a detailed summary of the key points.  See here

iGEA initial response to AG’s R18+ Consultation Release


Based on the Minister’s media release, I thought we’d make an initial response and give some consideration to a more detailed reply later:

We are pleased that this issue was included on the agenda for today’s Standing Committee of Attorney’s General meeting. As evidenced in the Attorney General’s status report, there is overwhelming interest and support of the issue, with over 98 per cent of responses in favour of the R18+ classification.

The iGEA has been very supportive of the Government’s commitment to a thorough examination of all of the perspectives on the classification and, along with a wide range of individuals, industry bodies, academics and community groups, the iGEA made its submission as part of what appeared to be an exhaustive and detailed public consultation period. We are somewhat bemused therefore when the Minister stated that Censorship Ministers have “requested further analysis of community and expert views.”

Further, we are concerned that it is noted in the Attorney General’s media release that  “Ministers today agreed that further work needs to be done before a decision can be made.” There is undeniably strong support for the introduction of an adult classification for video games across a wide section of the community. (In fact, the recent petition arranged by GAME illustrates that there is a high level of resonance and support on this issue, with more petitioners engaging in this issue than for the petition opposing WorkChoices.)  Our understanding that this was the very reason for the Discussion Paper launched in December, and call for the Attorney General’s Department to immediately commit to a reasonable and transparent timeline and process to resolve the issue.

R18+ Classification for Computer Games Consultation Released








The Standing Committee of Attorneys General today agreed to release a status report following public consultation about whether Australia’s Classification Scheme should include an R 18+ classification category for computer games.

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor said: “The report released today shows the initial outcomes of the public consultation process which received approximately 60,000 submissions – an overwhelming level of response.”


ABC’s 7.30 Reports on the R18+ Debate


To see the 7.30 Report on the highly emotive R18+ debate that aired on17 March 2010 click here

55,000+ Submissions recevied on R18+ Classification


Following is a press release from the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minsiter for Home Affairs dicsussing the R18+ Classification submission process (although somewhat vaguely):







(4 May 2010) Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor today welcomed the more than 55,000 submissions received in response to the R18+ Classification for Computer Games Discussion Paper.

“The response on whether the National Classification Scheme should include an R 18+ classification for computer games indicates a high level of interest in this issue in the Australian community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It is good to see that this public consultation has generated so much interest,” Mr O’Connor said

“The submissions received in this consultation process will assist the Commonwealth and other censorship ministers’ consideration about whether an adult classification for computer games should be introduced.

“It is important to note that changes to the National Classification Code require unanimous agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories.”

The Attorney-General’s Department will now prepare a report on the consultation for the Standing Committee of Attorneys General.

Information about those submissions that did not request confidentiality will be made public in due course. 

The public consultation which began on 14 December 2009 has now closed.


Contact: Senior Policy and Media Adviser, Brian Humphreys 0438 595 567

Support for R18+ Coming from Minor Parties


Laura Parker from Gamespot continues to investigate who in government is in support for R18+.  To learn more about the Minor Parties stance, click here

Centre for New Media Research & Education R18+ Submission


CNMRE’s goal in preparing this submission was to introduce a distinctive position that they believe enhances the debate and offers a lens through which to see the efficacy of an R18+ in contemporary Australian society.

As an academic research centre, The Centre for New Media Research at Bond University has engaged in public policy matters with respect to classification since 2001. Their engagement has been data-driven and their contribution to empirical evidence is cited in the Discussion Paper: Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?.

CNMRE’s research record includes A Review of the Classification Guidelines for Films and Computer Games: Assessment of Public Submissions on the Discussion Paper and Draft Revised Guidelines for the Office of Film and Literature Classification in 2001, Sources of News and Current Affairs for the (then) Australian Broadcasting Authority (2001), A Comparative Analysis of Classification Schemes in 22 Nations (2002) for the (then) OFLC, Living Diversity (2002) and Connecting Diversity for the Special Broadcasting Service, A Review of the Children’s Television Standards (2008) for the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and most prominently, a series of national empirical studies on computer game demographics and attitudes for the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (now the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association), GamePlay Australia (2005), Interactive Australia 2007, Interactive Australia 2009.  The Centre also publishes research independent of government and industry policy matters including research on computer game history, narrative, form and style.

The thesis they advance is simple: The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games sold in Australia will legitimate the National Classification Scheme. In the absence of an R18+, the National Classification Scheme has progressively lost currency. Consequently, an emergent “crisis of control” has eroded the potency and utility of the Scheme. 

For a very interestoing and new perspective on the 18+ debate, read thefull CNMRE’s submission here.


EFA and AusGamers submission on R18+ games


Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) and AusGamers believe that it is time that Australia accepts that games are not just for children – that games are a highly expressive media capable of conveying complex adult themes that are not suitable for children but which should not be banned. They believe that Australians are capable of making responsible choices about what games they play and what games they allow our children to play. They believe, crucially, that introducing an R18+ rating will help parents and all Australians make more informed choices by providing a clear indicator of video game content and aligning games classification more closely with film classification.

A copy of their submission to the R18+ discussion can be found here.

Gamespot reveals that Australian Censorship Ministers are still remaining silent on the R18+ Issue


As reported by Laura Parker at gamespot.com.au, only one Australian Attorney-General is publically stating their support for the introduction of an R18+ rating for games.  The others are all non-committal at this stage.

To find out who is in support, click here

EB Games: Australia voices their opinion: we need an R18+ rating!


24FEB10JH-375BRISBANE, Queensland–Feb. 24, 2010—EB Games, Australia’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer, today announced that they received over 46,000 submissions in support of the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.

In response to customer demand, EB Games gave consumers the opportunity through their 350 stores across Australia and online at www.ebgames.com.au to sign a petition that will form part of the EB Games submission to the Attorney-General’s Department. The EB Games submission, which will be tabled later this week, will support the iGEA submission presented earlier this week.

“EB Games fully supports the iGEA’s submission for the introduction of an R18+ rating. This introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia is long overdue and we have welcomed this opportunity to show the Government that this is an issue that is not only supported by the gaming industry but also by the majority of Australians.” said EB Games Managing Director Steve Wilson.


Former OFLC Deputy Director adds voice to R18+ consultation


Paul Hunt, former Deputy Director of the OFLC and now Principal Consultant at MLCS Management has made a submission to the public consultation on an R18+ classification for video games.

I particularly liked the irony of his closing paragraph:

The current discussion is an opportunity for the Australian Government to take a leadership role with its State and Territory colleagues and repair the dangerous gap in the National Classification Scheme created by past mistakes.   The Australian Government and Censorship Ministers have made the wrong decision about this issue in the past.  There is a need to follow South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson’s advice on a recent similar issue regarding the rights and freedoms of Australians – an attempt to restrict political comment on the internet: “When one gets public opinion wrong, as I did, one has to change one’s mind.” *  (Emphasis added)

Paul’s full submission can be found here.


* SA backs down on internet comment curb, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/03/2808495.htm, Feb 3, 2010 7:55am AEDT

Support for an R18+ Growing


22 February 2010

For Immediate Release

Support for an R18+, Growing

The Attorney-General’s Department is set to receive an influx of submissions from people who support the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games into the Australian classification system. The submissions were made via an online form provided by Grow up Australia, an independent group advocating the introduction of an adults only rating for games.

Grow up Australia will contribute 16,055 submissions from people who used their online form. The bulk of the submissions were collected during a partnership with EB Games during which Grow up Australia posters were displayed in all of EB Games’ 250+ Australian stores. A link to the online submission form was also provided via a banner on the EB Games website during the campaign. (more…)

So Far Australians are in Favour of an R18+


Gamespot reports that so far that only 1 percent of processed responses to the Discussion Paper on R18+ are against an adult rating for games.  More than 6000 responses being received so far.  To read more click here

Watch on Censorship R18+ Consultation Submission


Watch on Censorship is a community organisation with the goal of protecting and promoting the rights of adult Australians to freedom of speech and expression in all media.

WOC have made a submission to the government’s discussion paper on R18+ classification for video games.  A copy of the submission is here.

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