Video Games Industry Welcomes In Principle Agreement for R18+ Classification for Computer and Video Games
Sydney, Australia – Friday, 22nd July 2011 – An announcement today by the Home Affairs Minister that the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) has reached an in-principle agreement to introduce an R18+ classification for video games is a welcomed step forward.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA), says that today’s outcome is a positive step for the video games industry which has been awaiting an R18+ classification for almost a decade.
“An in-principle agreement for an R18+ classification is a big step towards a robust ratings system that best equips parents to manage their children’s access to appropriate content, as well as enables adults the ability to play games of their choice within the confines of the law,” said Curry.
With eight out of the nine Attorneys-General coming to an in-principle agreement, Curry says he looks forward to discussing the R18+ classification issue with NSW’s Attorney-General Greg Smith who abstained from making a vote today and will consider the issue out of session.
“It is entirely reasonable that each Minister should have taken the necessary time to fully understand the underlying issues and to grasp why Australia so desperately needs an adult classification for video game, and we look forward to entering into a dialogue with NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith.”
“This is the first step in the legislative process and until we can review the final guidelines, we can’t fully assess the impact of an adult rating for games in Australia. We can be confident however that all content will be subjected to stringent classification guidelines and games which exceed an R18+ classification rating will still be refused classification and banned in Australia,” said Curry.
“With an adult rating finally on the horizon, we can now better focus our energy on more relevant discussions around content classification as entertainment formats and content continue to blur.”
The positive news comes off the back of a government-commissioned survey released by Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor in December last year which found 80 per cent of the 2,226 respondents interviewed support an R18+ rating and that 91 per cent of adults would clearly know that game classified R18+ would be unsuitable for children.
Government Threatens R18+ Showdown
As reported at abc.net.au, if there is no agreement to change the rating system for computer games at the next SCAG meeting in July, there could be a wide-ranging shake up of the Classification Act. To read more 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
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
To see the opinion piece on the Punch, click here
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:
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
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.
iGame & iVote
In yet another great feature by Laura Parker over at GameSpot AU, she checks in with the Labor Party, the Coalition, and the Greens to gauge their views on four important gaming-related issues in an effort to help you decide who will get your vote on August 21. GameSpot is also going to help you make your voice heard, with an e-mail form that you can send directly to your current Federal member letting that member know you’re a gamer and you’re an important part of the political spectrum. So read on to find out each party’s views, and then head on over to their automated form to send your letter and get politically involved!
Check it out here.
Peter Beattie adds support to the R18+ debate
The former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, has written an Opinion piece for the Australian lending support to the R18+ debate. Peter has recognised the contribution that games make to the Australian economy and entertainment in general and suggests it’s time to make an R18+ rating a reality. To read this piece, click here
Australians continue to sign up in record numbers in support of R18+
As reported on news.com.au, a petition to introduce an R18+ rating for video games has set a new record for the being the largest ever in Australian history. The previous record was set by a petition against Workchoices in 2005 which attracted 85,000 signatures.
Retailer GAME has lead the campaign along with gaming website PALGN to create an R18+ rating for interactive gaming titles in Australia. In 8 weeks, more than 89,000 people had signed the petition. To read more 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):
THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
55,000-PLUS SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED ON
R 18+ CLASSIFICATION FOR COMPUTER GAMES
(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
GameSpot AU’s Classification FAQ
Everythig you need to know about video game classification in Australia
If you’re an Australian and you’re a gamer, then you’re probably already aware that game classification in this country has some problems; namely, that the lack of an R18+ rating means any title deemed unsuitable for anyone under the age of 15 is refused classification, which effectively bans that game from sale. But do you know why Australia doesn’t have an R18+ rating? Who’s to blame? Why do we need an adult rating for games? What do the opponents of an R18+ say? And what can you do about it? This GameSpot AU feature aims to answer all your questions, and more.
Jump over to the GameSpot AU FAQ here.
For the latest coverage on the R18+ issue check out here.