The New South Wales and South Australian Governments are in the news because of their decisions in relation to the debate on the R18+ rating, with NSW saying that it will not vote for an R18+ rating while SA are planning to introduce the rating as a replacement of the MA15+ rating.
Yes, you heard that right. The South Australian Government have said that they are planning to change their classification laws in order to add an R18+ rating for video games by simply replacing the MA15+ rating. Of course, as The Australian points out, this would have serious consequences in terms of enforcing the system.
The Rann government has also said that it will scrap it regardless of any decision made by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General that will be taking place on Friday.
In addition, the New South Wales Attorney-General, Greg Smith, plans not to vote causing further delays on the decision of introducing the rating, despite uniform consensus amongst Australians.
“We’re not going down a definitive route,” a spokesperson for Smith’s office said to GameSpot. “More work needs to be done on this issue. We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] classification review.”
What utter bulls**t.
So far, according to GameSpot, only three governments have not made a final decision on the R18+ rating. Those states are Victoria, NSW and Western Australia. The Federal Government, Tasmania, South Australia (yes, surprisingly), Northern Territory and ACT have announced their support.
The ALRC is undertaking a review of the classification scheme in order to find improvements or updates to allow it to be effective while also balancing what people can see or not see. However, the review is said to be completed by early next year.
Classification and censorship are powers for the states and territories, but the Classification Board – a federal body – has been given powers by the states in order to have a uniform scheme to make sure material are suitable to be shown to certain age groups. However, changes to the classification scheme must have uniform approval of the federal, state and territories’ Attorneys-General.
Australia currently does not have an R18+ or equivalent adults-only rating for video games. We do for films and DVDs, but not video games. Meanwhile, every single Western country has one – even New Zealand.