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mohawk

R18+ Classification for Computer Games - Public Consultation

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Well I don't have any kids... that I know of... so maybe you are all safe for now. ;)

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I have to disagree with your claim that alcohol is the number one cause of violence in the community.

 

I would say it's religion.

Statistics from the Police crime reports put it down to Alcohol.

 

Where does Religion rate on that stat report?

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http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=782 - 2008-2010 there were over 42,000 alcohol related arrests in Victoria (not necessarily violent). The statistics do not really reveal what the cause of the crime was as that is not the point of the report.

 

Looking at the crime stats in there, there is no mention of 'religion related crime'. But there is a section on 'alcohol related crime'. Doing a google search on 'alcohol related violence australia' and 'religion related violence australia' you can see a huge disparity between the two in that there is a lot of discussion of the impact of alcohol in society and its effects.

 

I agree that in the past religion caused a lot of animosity, conflict and war. Catholics and Protestants are a prime example, here and overseas, in the past but it is not particularly widespread in modern times. Cronulla is probably a more recent example, but I think this was more racial than religious.

 

But looking at society as it is, alcohol fuels more violence due to its effect on altering the common sense thinking of a 'reasonable' person.

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http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=782 - 2008-2010 there were over 42,000 alcohol related arrests in Victoria (not necessarily violent). The statistics do not really reveal what the cause of the crime was as that is not the point of the report.

 

Looking at the crime stats in there, there is no mention of 'religion related crime'. But there is a section on 'alcohol related crime'. Doing a google search on 'alcohol related violence australia' and 'religion related violence australia' you can see a huge disparity between the two in that there is a lot of discussion of the impact of alcohol in society and its effects.

 

I agree that in the past religion caused a lot of animosity, conflict and war. Catholics and Protestants are a prime example, here and overseas, in the past but it is not particularly widespread in modern times. Cronulla is probably a more recent example, but I think this was more racial than religious.

 

But looking at society as it is, alcohol fuels more violence due to its effect on altering the common sense thinking of a 'reasonable' person.

The stats aren't there because they're not collected, is the point I was trying to make. You specifically cited statistics that do not cover even most of the variables, specifically the one that I mentioned.

 

Religion is the cause of many, many forms of violence in modern society, and it's not a symptom of imbibing a substance - It's "on" all the time. Simply put, it is quite often put down to things like domestic disputes, family issues, troubled teenagers and the like. This also contributes to racial and cultural tensions, when ones' religion dictates that you could not conform 100% to the cultural standards of another. This leads to events like the Cronulla riots. The irony there lies in the fact that the lifeguards originally assaulted were at least partly of middle eastern descent.

 

Religion is the PRIMARY reason for 99% of wars and violence, and it always has been. Any war to date can be traced to a religious point, or a cultural one that leads back to a religious difference, even the mad oil grabs currently going on.

 

I would have agreed with you on the alcohol issue a few years ago, but working in Centrelink reveals alot about the community you live in!

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I would have agreed with you on the alcohol issue a few years ago, but working in Centrelink reveals alot about the community you live in!

Fair enough, I am certainly not an expert on the matter and am not exposed to these social issues such as you are. I also agree that religion has caused major upheaval and conflict around the world for as long history has been recorded. But as with everything, its the perception that leaves a mark and highlights issues for people. From my perspective, alcohol is an prevalent issue in todays society, whereas religion, which I do not practice, is more of an undercurrent. But that is my opinion and this topic is going off on a tangent.

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If no consensus is reached - it would be very interesting to see how the importation of 'R18+' games would be regulated if the states all had differing classification standards. It would be a customs nightmare.

 

Hope

 

That is what we have at present in that we HOPE our 'leaders' can make the right decision for once.

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HOLY CRAP!!

South Australia To Go It Alone And Introduce R18+?

Kotaku.com.au

 

wait a second, wasn't SA the reason we didn't get it like 2 years ago?! >:|

 

but seriously, it would hopefully set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

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Yeah - its amazing to see what happens when see a changing of the guard.

 

Update: ACT Attorney General Considering Following South Australia With R18+

 

In the wake of news that the South Australian Attorney-General John Rau is considering going ahead with an R18+ rating regardless of whether there is consent at the SCAG Meeting, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced, via twitter, that he was considering similar options.

 

In a tweet he claimed that ACT were “also considering this approach” if a national agreement was not reached at the next SCAG meeting.

Good things come to those who wait. Not long til July!

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Here's the link to the original story http://au.gamespot.com/pages/news/story.ph...34&skipmc=1

 

But, read it carefully:

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau has taken the R18+ for games issue into his own hands today, declaring that his state will introduce the adult rating regardless of any decisions made by federal, state, and territory attorneys-general at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in July.

 

Currently, the introduction of the R18+ classification requires the unanimous agreement of all federal, state, and territory ministers. However, in March this year, Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor told GameSpot AU that the federal government would be considering "other options" should the R18+ issue not reach a unanimous "yes" vote come July. O'Connor hinted at the possibility that each state and territory could adopt different arrangements should consensus not be reached.

 

This is exactly what South Australia has now done. According to Rau, the South Australian cabinet endorsed his proposal to introduce the R18+ classification for video games in the state, and at the same time, phase-out the MA15+ category.

 

"I've been consulting very broadly on this [issue] for a year now," Rau told GameSpot AU today. "I've been listening to parents and gaming advocates, and I have come to the conclusion that both points of view are legitimate and need to be accommodated. Recent moves by the federal government suggests that there will be an R18+ classification for video games in some form after the July [sCAG] meeting."

 

Rau believes that the federal government has the capacity to go ahead with introducing R18+ for games without the unanimous agreement of other state and territories, something that he believes will happen, at least at a federal level, if unanimous agreement is not reached in July. If this happens, Rau says it will be up to each state to either adopt or reject an R18+ classification for games.

 

"Of course, it would be ideal to have a uniform national scheme. That's why we need to wait now to see how the federal arrangements will shake out. If there is a national opportunity to embrace R18+, South Australia will do it with the quid pro quo that MA15+ is eliminated as a classification and all games that are now rated MA15+ will be made R18+. This is what I want to happen in South Australia.

 

"We do this [different legislation in different states] with film now--the ACT and NT have different legislation when it comes to X-rated films compared to the rest of the country. This already exists and the sky hasn't fallen in. I don't think that it will be a problem if South Australia has a slightly different regime in respect to games than the rest of the nation."

 

The reason why Rau wants to abolish the MA15+ classification for video games in South Australia is because he believes that there should be a clear gap between content that is for children, and content that is for adults. He says the view that film classification can be applied directly to video games is wrong; firstly because films are not interactive, and secondly because while the idea of parental supervision in relation to film is justifiable, it is "ludicrous" when applied to video games.

 

"It is also important to note that there are some games that are rated MA15+ in Australia which are rated R18+ in other countries. At the moment there is an unbroken continuum from G to PG to M to MA15+ which includes some pretty violent games. What we want to do is make sure there is a clear gap between material for adult and material for children and empower responsible parents by making sure game classifications are helpful. No adult would be any worse off [with the abolition of MA15+ for games]; in fact, adults would be better off because there would be more games available in the R18+ category."

 

While Rau thinks that it is inevitable that R18+ for games will be brought out in either late this year or early next year on some level in Australia, his focus has now turned inward: the support of his cabinet means that what was once just Rau's opinion is now South Australia's opinion.

 

"The next step [for me] will depend on what happens in SCAG in July. Certainly, in order to implement R18+ for games here in South Australia there will need to be some regulation or possible statutory amendments made, but I don't think it will be hard to do this. We just have to wait until the federal position becomes clear."

My underlining.

 

Now - what this guy is proposing is that in south Australia games would be Classified as G, PG, M and R18+ there would be no MA15+

 

What this means is that any game which is now MA15+ would now be R18+ and would then be legally restricted for sale!

 

The current regulations are:

Age recommendations and restrictions for sale or hire of games

 

G: There are no legal restrictions on the sale or hire of computer games classified G.

 

PG: There are no legal restrictions on the sale or hire of computer games classified PG. It should be remembered however, that computer games classified PG are not recommended for people under 15 without guidance from a parent or guardian.

 

M: There are no legal restrictions on the sale or hire of computer games classified M. It should be remembered however, that computer games classified M are not recommended for people under 15 years as these contain content that is recommended for a mature audience.

 

MA15+: Computer games classified MA15+ can only be sold or hired to people aged 15 years or older, unless they are accompanied by their parent or guardian, or in Queensland by an adult.

 

There is no R 18+ or X18+ classification category for computer games.

http://www.classification.gov.au/www/cob/c...omputerGames#c2

 

However the restrictions on R18+ and X18+ films are as follows (and these would probably be similar to restrictions placed on R18+ games)

R18+: Films classified R18+ can only be sold or hired to adults aged 18 years and over.

 

X18+: Films classified X 18+ can only be sold or hired in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory provided certain conditions are met. For example, the film must be sold or hired in a restricted publications area to which only people aged 18 and over are permitted to enter. There are conditions applicable to the construction and management of a restricted publications area.

Restrictions for screening films (for example - in store)

 

An R18+ film cannot be screened in a public place in the presence of a person who is under 18 years.

http://www.classification.gov.au/www/cob/c...rHireofFilms#c1

 

So... severe restrictions would be put in place if this was to succeed. In South Australia - game stores might have to have an "Adults Only" section. Advertising would be restricted or banned and this would include preview films.

 

Which games would be affected?

http://www.ebgames.com.au/search?title=&rating=MA

The Orange Box

Crisis 2

Grand Theft Auto

CoH

Call of Duty

Dragon Age II

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

Red Dead Redemption

Halo 2

Far Cry 2

Mass Effect 2

Bioshock

I was interested to note that even some HARDWARE PACKAGES which come bundled with games attract this rating.

Currently this is not an issue because MA15+ only requires the consent of an adult for a sale... R18+ makes the sale illegal

 

 

In conclusion - I would say Rau is as much of an idiot as his predecessor - this will make computer games sales a nightmare - and possibly push people out of business too.

 

 

See also http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/sp/...ship_ebrief.htm

Edited by gyrus

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And by that I mean something that is to be enforced. I don't just want an R18+ tag on a game and have it as a recommendation. I want it there so that 13 year olds can't walk up and buy that game WITHOUT their parents permission.

Black R18+ tags for me a rare sights and when I do see one I'm like "oooh" and pay attention to it. MA15+ doesn't even mean anything to me anymore as virtually everything I play falls into it's scope.

 

But yeah, the whole no minors can buy/play this thing that goes with the R18+ is one of the main reasons I want to see it introduced. The other is so that perfectly acceptable games like the unedited L4D2 etc can lawfully be sold etc.

 

So pretty much just narrowing MA15+ category (have you ever seen a game rated just M?), then anything not illegal that doesn't then fit in M15+ goes into R18+. This allows games acceptable for adults through and any illegal stuff is obviously still not allowed.

 

 

And that's it really. no one but the game shops and parents with a view to parent will actualy poilce the MA15 R18 rating as it was intended to be after it's in country.

and by then the colt from old regret will have gotten away.

You are right in that no one else will police it aside from the responsible parents and the retailers, but what an R18+ will do, as has been stated before, will simply reinforce to parents who are uneducated on the matter, that violence or other equivalents is prevalent in these games, and is not suitable for children. Parents who allow their kids now to play these games, will more than likely not let them if this regulation is passed. Because…

 

Kids watch MA15+ movies, so naturally, parents believe the MA15+ games should be fine for them. I don't personally hear of many parents allowing (that is renting / purchasing) their kids to watch R18 films, so I'd expect the same with games.

 

How does that not make the most sense in the world??! -_-

 

This exactly.

 

Claiming that introducing an R18+ rating won't solve anything is unfounded, as it will be adding an additional classification point above MA15+. This doesn't mean that R18+ games will be available for kids. It means, in a retail sense, that games that are R18+ will legally be prevented from being sold to people under 18. Under the current legislation, an MA15+ game can be purchased for a child. This will stop that. Added protection +1.

 

Furthermore, the legal protection for children can be extended to punishing the parents, or anyone else that allows a person under the age of 18 to play a game rated R18+. This includes retailers who sell the R18+ games to minors. As an angry parent, if you find that another childs parent are letting yours play an R18+ game, you report them to the police, and they get in trouble. There is no proviso for this under current legislation. Added protection +1.

 

Existing games that should have been rated R18+ can then be reclassified at their proper point. This means that current games can then be reclassified to protect the children that are wanting to play them. Added protection +1.

 

Horrible games like RapeLay will never make it into the Australian market, as they actually breach other laws and legislation. It's the same rules for other forms of entertainment, you can't glorify that kind of heinous shit and expect it to come out as "art". It caters for a perverse market that is not legal in Australia. Added protection +1.

 

meowkitty, the classification system you support is the very same one that recently declared Duke Nukem Forever safe for kids to play. Despite the high level drugs, sex, nudity and adult themes. The rest of the world rated it R18+. We didn't - We think it's kid safe!

 

Well said. +1 to you!

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Read my post above.

 

Rau / South Australia is not suggesting adding R18+

 

They are suggesting making all MA15+ games R18+ and doing away with the MA15+ rating.

 

That would effectively make many FPS shooters R18+ titles.

 

Under this proposal L4D would become R18+ and would be legally restricted. You would not even be able to screen a trailer in store.

 

Oh - and also this comment by Rau is worth a specific comment:

"... No adult would be any worse off [with the abolition of MA15+ for games]; in fact, adults would be better off because there would be more games available in the R18+ category."

 

What a twit!

 

He seems to be suggesting that 'adults' can only buy games that are rated R18+!!??

 

No... adults would not be 'better off'. Legally - they would still be able to buy all the same games they can now... but store owners would be worse off because they would be bound by far tougher regulations (which would now be tougher on games than on magazines and films) and may even have to redesign and refit stores to allow them to market games!

Edited by gyrus

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On this subject - this review for SW:TOR just appeared over at MMORPG.com

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/36...iew.html/page/1

 

and includes this

 

"I was sent to make an example of someone who’d crossed the Hutt. My task was to kill him and deliver his head to his wife in a sack. Showing up to undertake this gruesome endeavor isn’t a matter of a simple firefight and looting the head off the guy’s corpse, only to return to the some quest NPC and gain an experience reward. Instead, what transpires is actually a fairly brutal cutscene where the bounty hunter clocks the guy over the head with his pistol, presses his knee into the poor guys back while he lays helpless on the floor and pretty much saws his head clean off his neck. While absent of blood, it is still fairly graphic and I was both shocked and impressed to find such a scene in the game."

 

Under Rau's suggestion above... this would be an R18+ game in South Australia

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Yeah - its amazing to see what happens when see a changing of the guard.

 

Update: ACT Attorney General Considering Following South Australia With R18+

 

In the wake of news that the South Australian Attorney-General John Rau is considering going ahead with an R18+ rating regardless of whether there is consent at the SCAG Meeting, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced, via twitter, that he was considering similar options.

 

In a tweet he claimed that ACT were “also considering this approach” if a national agreement was not reached at the next SCAG meeting.

Good things come to those who wait. Not long til July!

 

I was very happy to hear this news this morning :)

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Sigh....

 

You really need to read what he is actually proposing - even Game Arena is on to this:

 

SA AG John Rau backs R18+, still doing it wrong

Updated - John Rau's spokespeople have responded to Kotaku's inquiries about the story on GameSpot which we posted below, saying,

 

The Gamespot story is a bit misleading. We wanted to clarify that if the Federal Government decides to go ahead with an R18+ rating we will follow suit. But if the Attorneys-General leave without a consensus, and the Federal Government decides to drop the issue, we won’t be going ahead with an R18+ rating.

 

But, that said, from all of the signs we’ve been hearing at a Federal level, it looks like the Federal Government is going to go ahead with R18+.

 

 

 

And so we return to the position we held here - he's doing it wrong. Head through to that news post to get a better understanding on why abolishing the MA15+ rating isn't the way to go if they're going to maintain a national rating system. And - in the interest of full disclosure - we left the previous story below in case you want to read about how I jumped the gun. I'll just be over in the corner with my Dunce cap on, cursing the fact that I still haven't even gotten a response from my first email.

http://www.gamearena.com.au/news/read.php/5093541

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gyrus: Oh we read it, this is simply what he's talking about. There's nothing finalised about it at this point. I was happy about the ACT news on the topic. Quite frankly I do NOT think we'll see a case of each state doing whatever the hell it feels like and more so see all the states use a unified system.

 

Which in essence is ... adding the damn fricken R18+ rating to games and ENFORCING IT!

 

As I said before, I really don't like that the current rating system isn't enforced upon. I'm sure some stores do, the majority I doubt would.

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Canberra will introduce an adult rating for video games, even if other states and territories refuse to implement one, ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell has told The Canberra Times.

 

Mr Corbell made the commitment yesterday when he criticised the stalled process for changing the censorship regime.

 

''I'm extremely frustrated by the protracted nature of this discussion ... I asked my department earlier this month to look at the options of unilateral action,'' he said.

 

The ACT will only be able to break with other states and territories and introduce an R18+ rating for video games if the Federal Government creates such a category.

 

Currently, unanimous agreement between all jurisdictions is required to make a change.

 

However, earlier this month Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor flagged introducing the adult rating, leaving it to each state and territory to decide the issue for themselves.

 

''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.

 

''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.''

 

MLA Shane Rattenbury, legal affairs spokesman for Greens, conditionally backed ACT Labor's commitment meaning the legislation needed to introduce an R18+ rating for video games would have the numbers to pass the local assembly.

 

Mr Corbell first made his views known on Twitter on Thursday when he tweeted the ACT would follow South Australia and introduce the adult rating if unanimous agreement could not be reached at the July meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General.

 

South Australian Attorney-General John Rau said this week his government planned to scrap the current MA15+ category and replace it with an adults only category.

 

The higher category would allow titles such as the recently banned Mortal Kombat to be reintroduced and classified for sale. The ACT plan does not involve scrapping the MA15+ category, according to Mr Corbell.

 

ACT Shadow Attorney-General Vicki Dunne said the Liberals would wait to see what other jurisdictions did before making a decision.

 

''We will look at the proposal that the Government is putting, as well as what is being proposed in other jurisdictions, before making a formal decision on an R18+ classifications for games.''

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Problem is, services like Steam would still have to ban or alter games that haven't passed the ratings board because afaik they can only do 1 store for Australia, not 1 store for each state.

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This is the last thing that we needed...

Pro R18+ Attorney-General Resigns By Mark Serrels on May 11, 2011 at 5:37 PM

As Attorney-General for Tasmania, David Bartlett was one of the most passionate supporters of an R18+ for video games, sadly he has just announced that he is resigning from his position.

 

A Facebook message confirmed that his resignation was for family reasons.

 

“I have decided to step down as Premier and Leader of the Labor Party,” he wrote. “Working seven days a week and wanting to be a better father for Hudson and Matilda has become incompatible as the children are growing up.”

 

“Lara Giddings will be an outstanding Premier and will have my full support.”

 

For supporters of R18+ this comes at a time when we are unsure of the allegiances of a few key Attorneys-General. It’s a shame that one of our key supporters has left just a few months away from the SCAG meeting in July.

 

Bartlett had been one of the first Attorney-Generals to publically support an R18+ rating for video games in Australia.

 

“The introduction of an R18+ classification would help give parents a clear idea of which computer games are suitable for their children,” he claimed, in a statement released just a few months ago.

 

“It’s about giving parents clear information, a clearer choice, and more confidence in the games they buy for their children.

 

“An R18+ category currently applies to other forms of entertainment, like films and some magazines. It’s appropriate to use the same clear and consistent restrictions for computer games.

 

“For me, the real issue is not whether we should have an R18+ classification – which is obvious. The issue is how to construct those guidelines.

 

“We need to ensure the guidelines are properly worded, so appropriate games can be played by adults, while still excluding those games which depict high-level sex and violence.

 

“The debate should now be about getting those guidelines or criteria right,” he said.

 

Hopefully his replacement will be of a similar mindset, and be aware of the issues in time for the SCAG meeting in July. Considering Bartlett’s outspoken support, we’re confident that this won’t derail any possible movement forward.

 

Thanks to RaygunBrown for the tip.

Kotaku.com.au

 

This is just what we need two months before the SCAG meeting in July. Couldn't have picked a worse time.

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Awww damn. That definitely won't help our cause. Hopefully what he's done/said already has helped push the issue further with the other Att. G's.

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