There has been further positive noises regarding the possibility of the introduction of a new R18+ rating for video games in Australia.
Currently the highest certificate available for video games released in the country is M15. Any games including content deemed unsuitable for those aged 15 or under cannot be granted classification or release, meaning many titles either don’t get released or have to undergo heavy revisions.
Kotaku reports that at a public forum in Sydney last night opposition leader Tony Abbott told the audience that he believes it is unfair that there is no upper-age limit rating for games as there is for other media. In fact, Abbot believes that the whole classification system across the board for all media needs revising.
He added, in the true spirit of opposition, that if his party were to get into power it is a policy they would consider – though it also transpired that he wasn’t aware of the debate to date.
Which is all the more worrying considering that the debate has been a large one and has raged for some time.
In December last year the Government agreed to have a public debate on the issue. This announcement was followed by a period of lobbying by pro-adult gaming body Grow Up Australia, as well as from interested parties such as retailer Electronics Boutique.
It had been hoped that process would be expedited by the announced departure of former South Australian Attorney General Michael Aktinson who was one of mature gaming’s most vocal critics. Atkinson claimed on more than one occasion to have received death threats from gamers angered by his beliefs.
However, in April this year the campaign received a blow when new Attorney General John Rau denied previous claims that he was a supporter of the movement, claiming instead that he had no strong views either way.
To date, the only party to publicly support the introduction of an R18+ rating is the Greens.