Australian government pushing for R18+ rating addition by Summer

Australian's antiquated classification system couldreceive an overhaul as early as this summer. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor is urging officials across the country to follow the Federal Government's lead and get serious about introducing an R18+ rating to the current Classification Act..

"We're becoming the laughing stock of the developed world, where we're the only country that doesn't have an R18 classification level for video games," said O'Connor in today'sinterview with Australian Broadcast Corporation(ABC), adding, “I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that's actually, in my view, causing harm to young people."

Over the past decade, the Federal Government has been urging state, commonwealth and territory officials to get on board with its plans to add an R18+ rating to the Classification Act, claiming the lack of any such designation is prohibitive to consumers and not in step with global policies. Support has been strong for the change, but a few errant officials and Christian groups have stopped the government from getting the unanimous consensus it needs to putthe amendmentin writing.

In his interview, O'Connor said now is the time for higher-ups to stop stalling, and he hopes to gather that consensus by July. Until that time, he pledged to stick with the issue, stating, "I'm not going to let this matter end because it's too important to allow one or two jurisdictions to stop the majority of jurisdictions in this country moving on an important reform."

Under Australia's current Classifications Act , games deemed too inappropriate to receive the highest MA15+ rating are rendered unratable, effectivelybanning themfrom sale or distribution within the country. Though the system has onlystoppeda fewgames from entering the country, it has required many international studios to drastically edit their games in order to have them deemed worthy of the Australian market.

If all goes according to the Feds' plans this year,it could mean a new day for Aussie Gamers. I'm predicting a “Banned in Australia” video game compilationwhen and ifit does.

[Source:ABC News]

Mar 16, 2011

Got a news tip? Let us know at tips@gamesradar.com


Warner Bros. loses appeal over Australian Classification Board's restrictive rating decision




Australian government: No conclusive link between violent games and aggression
Are the Aussie suits finally coming around?