Australia Edges Closer to R18+ Rating

Slowly but surely Australia is edging its way closer to a R18+ category for video games; after much debate, a few setbacks and a great deal of community consultation, legislation passed the House of Representatives today without amendment. This means that it will now move on to the Senate in the next few weeks for debate.

With today’s announcement Honorable Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, has said

“The R 18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play, and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material,”

“The reforms also mean that adults are able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law.”

These proposed reforms aim to make the Australian video game classification system more consistent with those employed in the Australian film industry, as well the international standards of classification. If the legislation is approved by the Senate, then the States and Territories will then pass their own legislations so that the R18+ games may be regulated appropriately.

The Bill already has the support of State and Territory Attorneys-General. In 2009 the Attorney-General’s Department released a discussion paper on the introduction of an R18+ rating; 58,437 responses were received, 98% of which were in support of the rating. This reform was then agreed upon in July 2011 at the Standing Council on Law and Justice meeting.

If all goes well on the R18+ front, the national scheme will start first thing next year!