R18+ Legislation Passes through Federal Parliament

Australians all let us rejoice for the R18+ legislation has passed through the Federal Parliament, taking us one step closer to the rating system we need. According to the Honorable Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, “These are important reforms over 10 years in the making,” which could see Australia with a new games classification level by next year. 

The proposed reforms seek to bring the classification of video games in line with existing categories used in the film industry. These changes will also bring Australia’s classification categories in line with existing international standard; to the benefit of consumers and the industry.

Bringing you up to speed on Australia’s adventure towards an R18+ rating, back in 2009 the Attorney-General’s Department released a discussion paper on the merits of an R 18+ classification category for games. They received 58,437 submissions on the issue, with 98 per cent of these in support for the introduction of the category.

Following the support of the State and Territory Attorneys-General, the reforms were then agreed upon at the Standing Council on Law and Justice meeting in July 2011. Then in March this year it passed the House of Representatives without Amendment.

Today Mr Clare announced the bill has successfully moved through the Senate without amendment, noting that:

“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.”

The next step in the process is for the individual States and Territories to pass their own legislation to compliment the bill, as classification in Australia is State concern. This could mean that some States may be getting a new rating earlier than others. However according to the Honorable Jason Clare’s website, we could be seeing R18+ ratings for games in Australia by January 1, 2013.