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Australian R18+ Rating For Games? Not Yet; NSW Refuses To Vote

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the that's-not-nice-mate dept.

Australia 71

UgLyPuNk writes "Just a few hours after the Australian gaming public was confused by the stance taken by the South Australian Attorney-General, they're now getting angry over his New South Wales counterpart's decision. While the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General had planned on making a decision regarding the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games on Friday at a meeting in Adelaide, the NSW Attorney-General has announced he will not vote on the topic at this time."

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VOTE OR DIE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36803726)

That's the law !!

Re:VOTE OR DIE !! (1)

Trails (629752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804106)

I never thought I'd say this, but where's Puffy when you need him?

Re:VOTE OR DIE !! (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806542)

It's interesting actually. In Australia, we are required by law to vote in elections, and yet here is a guy who's *JOB* is to vote on stuff and he is allowed to not even do that?!

I have my doubts about the whole issue though. It used to be all the states except SA were for the R rating. Then the SA AG is replaced, and all of a sudden the Victorian AG is against it. Now it's the NSW AG...

Re:VOTE OR DIE !! (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807184)

Well, you might not have noticed, but Victoria and NSW experienced a change of government(and therefor a change of AG) since the original vote.

What's that supposed to mean? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36803730)

Some AG in a territory can block a nationwide law if he doesn't want it? That's actually possible in Australia?

Are you serious? If the whole country wants to enact a law but somewhere sits an AG with a diverging opinion, he can simply block it by not voting on it? That's quite a bit of power in the hands of a single person.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (3, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36803926)

Its not the federal government job to impose laws governing "state issues", and for whatever (stupid) reason, the issue of R18+ is considered an issue for the states.

IFF all the states can agree then its easy for the federal government to make a federal law, they cant be accused of taking power away from the states.

If the federal government try and do it without the states it could be challenged on constitutional grounds.

What i dont understand is why the states dont implement these laws in their own state, without a national agreement.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (5, Informative)

TBBle (72184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806062)

Because they have agreed not to, in order to keep things relatively in-sync. The individual implementations do vary state-by-state. For example, you can't sell or demonstrate RC video games in the ACT, but you can certainly own and play them. In WA (I understand) it's illegal to even own RC material.

It's a state issue because everything is a state or territory issue except that limited set of things listed in the constitution. (One of these limited things is what makes "customs" a federal issue, which is why the customs rules are tighter than any state or territory's on RC material, but once it's past customs, those rules are irrelevant) So the federal government cannot make a law about classification, the best they can do is create and issue codes and guidelines. Which they do. It's a very similar thing in traffic law. We now have a national traffic law code, but each state must codify (and amend as they see fit) that code into their own law.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (2)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806616)

+1 Informative

It bugs me though that if the OFLC is at the Federal level, and this should be harmonised across all states, why is the legislative power not also at the federal level? arrgh!

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (3, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807586)

Because like most countries, our Consitution was written in a different age. One where states were relatively autonomous economically and so wanted to remain relatively autonomous politically. It's a different world now and to a large extent federation doesn't work all that much better for us than it does for the US in most things, it's not really all that likely to change any time soon though, and working out where the new line should be drawn is going to take some time. Some things are still state matters, but at the same time states cannot survive separately anymore the way they could a hundred years ago and so a number of state powers are irrational.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808536)

The states are an anachronism referring to the colonies to begin with - if you got rid of the states and devolved power to (fewer, consolidated) councils, would it really be that bad? Councils looking after local issues, the Commonwealth looking after national ones.

There's very few issues that affect an individual state as a whole but not the neighbouring state - on the other hand, with sufficiently large councils, you would definitely have things which affect a single council but not the next. This would necessitate something like a Greater Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane Council, along the lines of the Greater London Authority.

(not that that's an argument for the political & managerial abilities of councils, a number of which have been genuine duds.)

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807210)

dude. this is australia. our constitution doesnt have quite the force of the U.S. constitution.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807646)

What an utterly ridiculous statement. It has just as much force, and in fact, the US Constitution would pose exactly the same issue as the Australian one in this case (Federal Govt's inability to legislate on a State issue).

Classification laws does not fall under the heads of power that the Constitution grants to the Federal Govt. It's therefore a State issue, and the Federal Government cannot legislate on the matter (they can suggest, they can issue non-binding codes of standards, they can bring people together at a table to discuss it, but they cannot actually make the law). However, the States have also agreed amongst ~themselves~ that they should keep their classification laws in-sync (otherwise you simply end up with a situation where people just order stuff from a different State with more favourable laws, and they'd be able to do that because the Constitution guarantees the freedom of inter-State trade).

It is precisely BECAUSE of the limits imposed by the Consititution that this is occuring. Otherwise the Fed Govt could just go "STFU States, we are introducing R18+. End of story."

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

TrollyPole (2388982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808132)

I don't know if this is relevant, but a while back there was an issue with... ummm... terminating pregnancies in VIC. State law said no, Federal said yes.... but its the other way around? Or is this another kettle of fish entirely? I'm a little confused :S

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808468)

They would have had to find a Constitutional power for them to legislate over that. I'm not familiar with that exact case, but my guess is they related it to matters relating to health (which the Commonwealth can make laws regarding under the Constitution ... that's why Medicare is able to exist).

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808452)

The US constitution has the commerce clause, which is sufficiently vague that it lets the federal government do more or less anything.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808514)

Hmm the Australian Constitution has a similarish clause re freedom of inter-state trade. I'm not sure if it's more or less permissive than the US version. Let's see:

US:

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3: [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

Australia:

Chapter I, Part V, s 51(i): [The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to] Trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States;

Pretty similar in text really. So I suppose any practical difference may lie in the interpretation of the scope of the clause made by the courts of the respective countries, and how other provisions of the Constitution may interact with it.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36813492)

That is the main criticism of the US clause. The court interpretation is far broader than the text may imply, basically just extending it to include anything that might even impact the price of any good enough to affect interstate commerce - see Wickard v. Filburn. Since all economic activity impacts the value of goods, as does most activity of any type, that means the commerce clause has become very nearly a grant of unlimited power to the US Congress.

Take the Wickard v. Filburn mentioned previously. The law in dispute was intended to limit wheat production to stabilise prices during the Great Depression. The offender grew his own wheat, for his own chickens, on his own farm, to be consumed in the state. Mostly by his own family. The prosecution argued that by growing his own wheat the farmer was removing the need to buy wheat on the open market, thus causing a slight fall in demand for wheat and in turn lowering it's price which would affect the amount of wheat imported or exported to the state in inter-state trade. It went right up to the supreme court, who decided with the prosecution. It's been a controversial case ever since.

In law, what a piece of legal text appears to mean is less important than what courts have previously ruled it means.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808610)

The Constitution also allows for federal law to prevail whenever there is a conflict between a state law and federal one.

While the federal government may not appear to have the ability to impinge on the states' rights, in fact it probably could if it wanted to.

The external affairs laws, which allow the federal goverment to legislate to adhere to external treaties and obligations has been used in the past to circumvent state rights.

The way it could work is that the federal government would just say "we have signed a UN declaration against children being exposed to violence" therefore they use the external affairs power to pass a law making RC content illegal.

The states can't do much about it though, because when there is a conflict, federal law prevails.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (2)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807884)

Because historically, the only state that has ever had the balls to diverge from the others has been South Australia, and they're currently the nannies that blocked this thing in the first place.

Having been the person to start the ball rolling with petitions to state governments (which flowed on to a great national petition sponsored largely by EB Games), I can summarise the response from the Qld State Parliament: "We'll watch what happens nationally and then consider it."

You can look up my ePetition (1346-09) if you'd like a citation.

This is a particularly useless response given that the State Legislation in Qld already grants it the right to ignore the national classification scheme and apply its own classification to any media refused classification nationally.

The State Government is simply choosing not to act on the wishes of the public because it can choose to do so without consequence.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808726)

If it's an 'issue for the states', then why does SA need NSW's vote to make a move on it for SA residents? Or vice versa? Why must all AGs vote on the issue even when there is already a *clear majority* voting in one direction enough to pass it, when it's not even a national issue? See the problem is simply this: Bullshit. Bullshit everywhere. It's all nonsense no matter which way they swing it.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36809004)

Its not the federal government job to impose laws governing "state issues", and for whatever (stupid) reason, the issue of R18+ is considered an issue for the states.

If that were the case, then the states in favour of the R18+ rating could simply introduce it and ignore the NSW AG. But somehow states ended up with veto power over a federal issue.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804426)

This is the equivalent of the US federal government trying to get all the US states to agree on, for example, a nationwide uniform driver's licence or uniform state taxes. These things require the states to cede some level of actual or perceived control. If any state doesn't come to the party you don't get a uniform whatever, which is why federal governments usually have to offer sweeteners. That is not to stop any of the states that do agree from legislating the equivalent... but they miss out on the sweetener, so that won't happen either.

The existing national classification scheme in Australia requires the agreement of all State, Territory, and Federal governments in order to introduce a new classification. This was probably one of the 'safeguards' that had to be agreed to to get the scheme through in the first place (1970 or thereabouts). That it is being exploited by a conservative State government of the opposite flavour to those in most other States and Territories is unsurprising.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806330)

This is the equivalent of the US federal government trying to get all the US states to agree on, for example, a nationwide uniform driver's licence or uniform state taxes. These things require the states to cede some level of actual or perceived control. If any state doesn't come to the party you don't get a uniform whatever, which is why federal governments usually have to offer sweeteners.

Sweetener? What the _fuck_ is this, kindergarten?

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808926)

Politics isn't much different from kindergarten. From "he started it" and "Nanny, he's said a bad word" to "but if he did it I don't like it".

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36809024)

Sweetener? What the _fuck_ is this, kindergarten?

Yes. Many politicians and political bodies behave like selfish brats. Especially when they have too much power and perceive a threat to that.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Spent2HrOnAName (1925474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804484)

It's no better here in the states. Here we have "secret holds," whereby a single senator can prevent a bill from being voted upon by anonymously witholding consent, thereby preventing the unanimous consent needed to bring the bill to the floor of the chamber. While in theory this was designed to allow legislators to have time to study a bill that directly affects his or her constituency, in practice it just allows one asshat to obstruct indefinitely. Thankfully the practice has been weakened in the current congress (replaced by the good ol' fashioned filibuster, which shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon). More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_hold [wikipedia.org]

But hey, at least it looks like democracy if you squint from a distance.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (1)

Twisted64 (837490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805612)

Well we have a grand total of six states and a couple of territories worth mentioning, so that attorney-general will 'represent' a hefty chunk of the population.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (2)

TBBle (72184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806164)

This only applies to certain laws, where pre-existing agreements... exist *cough* to keep the relevant laws in sync between states and territories. It just happens that the classification system is one of them.

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Committeesandcouncils_Ministerialcouncils_StandingCommitteeofAttorneysGeneral [ag.gov.au]

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806320)

Its not quite that simple. Every state has their own classification laws, however they all agreed that they will set them the same, and on the consensus of all AG's, not majority wins. Therfore if one AG is against the change, it doesnt happen. The government has said this year that if they AG's cant reach consensus they may take the choice out of their hands as they have been stone walling for years.

Re:What's that supposed to mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832606)

Some AG in a territory can block a nationwide law if he doesn't want it? That's actually possible in Australia?

Are you serious? If the whole country wants to enact a law but somewhere sits an AG with a diverging opinion, he can simply block it by not voting on it? That's quite a bit of power in the hands of a single person.

As a adult person we have a right like the rest of the world that have R18+ games or movies but to block this OMG!

Don't feel bad, Australia (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36803748)

In the U.S. we have a similar industry-enforced classification called AO (Adults Only). But it's completely worthless, as no store will carry any AO games. So even if you got the classification, it wouldn't necessarily make it any easier to actually produce an adult game.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36803820)

You can always buy/sell AO games online. In Australia it is illegal to sell unrated games, period.

Besides the US rating scheme is industry run and enforced. The Australian rating scheme is, I believe, government run and enforced.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804160)

Who enforces it is really meaningless in any practical sense. No one can afford to produce an AO game because the only way to sell it would be directly on your own website. You also couldn't port it to anything but Android phones--no consoles, no iPhones, etc. Basically if you want to produce an AO game that costs any real money to make, you're SOL. No one will sell it, no one will let it on their closed devices/consoles, no one will even run ads for it.

Is that really any better than the Australian system? Well, sure, *technically*. But *practically* it really means fuck all.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804390)

Why would you sell something that can be copied for free? Actually, there are some theoretically and practical limits on the energy usage in copying. Doing so reduces the entropy of the system. I don't know why we're talking about games being limited to those under 35 when we should make them free.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (2)

abhi_beckert (785219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805328)

There are several very popular games that are not on sale in australia, and it's possibly illegal to import them.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (3, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806694)

Did people forget about the PC all of a sudden?

That aside, the issue here in Australia is that games are judged to a different scale to movies, due to their interactive nature apparently, as well as the unsaid "child-focused" nature of gaming (I kid you not). Games which fail to meet the Office of Film & Literature Classification board's standards for the "Mature Adults Only (15+)" band - are therefore refused classification (RC), and refused classification means it won't be allowed to be imported into the country, let alone sold. Any explicit sexual content and extreme violence seems to get you over the line here. A rating certificate can also be revoked if later updates provide material which violates standards.

This has resulted in certain games, like the latest Mortal Kombat, or the initial version of GTA 3 (iirc... some big game in any case), being RC'd. I think GTA was revised at the last minute for the Australian version, allowing sale, but Mortal Kombat's producers refused to change and the game wasn't allowed for sale. No huge loss, some might say, but the adults of Australia are asking for the discretion to judge it for themselves. There's also a somebody-think-of-the-children argument in that some games with significant violence are shoe-horned into the MA15+ category when they more properly belong in an R18+ category.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807704)

All very true.

Of course in practice people still import RC games and 99% of the time Customs don't check the package, and there's no problem. I know plenty of people with the new Mortal Kombat, for instance.

The beauty of it is that, even though illegal to SELL, it's perfectly legal to own and play an RC game one you acquire it (except, I believe in Qld and WA). I have the (US) version of Fallout 3, which is RC in Australia, but since I live in the ACT it's perfectly legal to play it. (A bad example since the ~only~ differences between the Australian and US versions of Fallout 3 are very, very minor - a few consumable items got renamed and that's about it, but you get the point)

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807634)

You really don't seem to have an understanding of how the Aussie rating system works at all do you? In Australia games like Mortal Kombat and Left 4 Dead are outright banned and other games have to have their content seriously censored before release (eg GTA) as the highest rating is for 15 year olds for Australia with Games. Australia does not have a mature or R equivalent ratings that the US and others sell games like Mortal Kombat under. our highest rating does not permit violent content, any sort of drug use or sexual content.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829860)

our highest rating does not permit violent content, any sort of drug use or sexual content.

You haven't played many MA15+ games in Australia, have you?

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36808400)

In practice the highest rated video game is MA15+. In practice the highest in America is 17+

Thats a significant difference.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808478)

Reminds me of the old Hays code for movies. It worked in much the same way - although not legally enforced in any way, it was impossible to make any money off a non-compliant film because very few cinemas would show it and very few distributors would distribute it.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804372)

Unless you get a German solution, which imposes very strict age-checking requirements on online vendors. Basically most don't bother selling them and those that due demand an extra fee for the whole age-checking "service". Not to mention that we only get localised censored versions because publishers dread getting into the 18+ category due to the reduction in sales. Hell, even 18+ games are usually censored in Germany.

You're not missing anything without such a category. Just buy your games abroad or pirate if that isn't possible. Screw censorship and region restriction in stores.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807730)

That's basically what everyone does. Import the games from overseas. Customs virtually never checks for RC material (frankly they are more interested in catching stuff that's ~actually~ 'bad', you know, like bombs and drugs and stuff that could pose quarantine risks). And once the game is in your hands it's perfectly legal to play (it's only illegal for a store to ~sell~ RC games in Australia, not merely to possess the game, unless you live in WA or Queensland).

Actually most savvy gamers import all their games ANYWAY, regardless of classification, because they are a hell of a lot cheaper. PC games from the US (since there isn't region coding on PC), and console games from Europe (Australia is a PAL territory hence needs PAL, not NTSC, discs).

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36803828)

I wish i had mod points. This is 100% correct, and for many games it is a death sentence. There have been games that initially receive a rating M for Mature(17 years old to buy) which have been rated AO upon review after some "think of the children" mob sinks their teeth in.

A R18 rating will do nothing for the Aussie gaming market

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36803908)

No, no, no. Please become more informed. As other commenters have pointed out, unrated games CANNOT be sold legally in Australia, not even online. It is a big deal to get a R18+ rating even if brick-and-mortar won't sell it, because it means the end of government-mandated censorship of games.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804100)

It is a big deal to get a R18+ rating even if brick-and-mortar won't sell it, because it means the end of government-mandated censorship of games.

Not the end, just lessenning a bit. You still have a government body that claims the power to decide what speech is appropriate for what audience, which is itself a form of censorship.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807558)

not just lessoning it, is completely eradicating. We go from games being altered for censorship or outright banned to games instead having age requirements. this is a massive step forward. So censorship is removed, putting age requirements on games is not censorship (though can sometimes be pretty annoying in itself).

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807770)

No, they can still RC a game even if an R18+ rating exists. R18+ is just an additional category that games may now be placed in.

Some stuff that used to be RC will fit under that category and can now be sold. However, something that was RC before, and cannot fit into the new R18+ classification, will still be RC and thus illegal to sell in Australia.

However the number of games that are likely to be 'truly RC' and not fit into R18+ is pretty freaking small. So yes it's still a huge step foward.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815300)

No, government-enforced age requirements on games are still censorship. Censorship is more than just "what can you say", it's also "who can you say it to".

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (2)

TBBle (72184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806096)

it means the end of government-mandated censorship of games.

No. We are talking about a _change_ in the government-mandated censorship of games to match that applied to the film industry.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807616)

Wow. The cattle-think is strong is this one.
What's gonna stop me (Germany) from offering "unrated" games online, and you (Australian) from sending me money, while I send you a file?

Ok, Information can by definition not be "sold", since it can't be owned (That's why it says "license", if you ever checked.), but you can pay me for my work that results in information.
But if we talk in cattle talk for a minute, it CAN 100% DEFINITELY be "sold" in Australia.

Please stop following the "rules" any dick makes up on the spot, *even when he can't enforce them at all and they are clearly wrong*. It makes me cringe, to think how passive a human being would have to be, to not even think for itself in this obvious case. :(

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809088)

The thing that stops people is the friggen enormous fine imposed if caught, upto $110,000 in Australia for importing unrated content (actually that isn't really true, people that want stuff just ignore the risk of getting caught and bring it in anyway). Yes you can buy it overseas and will probably get away with it, but you are certainly not getting around the laws, just getting lucky in not being caught.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816892)

He said they cannot LEGALLY be sold, Captain Reading Comprehension. Maybe you would have realized that if you weren't in such a rush to (fail to) show everyone what an independently-thinking iconoclast you are.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808934)

CANNOT be sold legally in Australia, not even online.

That is not entirely true. They cannot be legally sold in Australia not even online by an Australian company. The restriction of the sale of R18+ games applies to the sale point only, NOT to imports. You can very well buy an R18+ game from say Amazon, a company with no presence in Australia and have them internationally ship it with no issue. In theory you should even be able to get it on Steam given all transactions happen internationally in a different currency, but there's a policy issue holding that out.

I've bought my uncensored R18+ games from both New Zealand and America in the past and had them shipped here without issue. It is without issue as it's not illegal to own them, and I did not buy them in Australia.

The R18+ problem is at worst an inconvenience and at best drives up local piracy.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36809044)

You would be wrong, just because you didn't get caught doesn't make it legal. it is illegal to import unrated content into Australia even if purchased overseas and can result in fines, customs regularly receive notices about what to watch out for, recently they were looking for and confiscating any copies of mortal kombat found. In some states it is not illegal to "own" said content but it is still most definitely illegal to import it.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36803850)

Er, the situation in Australia is totally different from what's currently in the US and most other countries -- their highest rating is 15+, which is like T for Teen in the US. They don't have anything higher than that, which means they often get severely gimped versions of games, or worse, certain games don't get released there at all. The 18+ rating would actually be like the US's R rating, which Australia desperately needs.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36803912)

I think the problem here is that Australia doesn't allow any of the more graphic 18+ video games. If this law passes they will at least have these games, but with a higher rating. The NSW guy not voting is delaying the decision and not allowing it to pass.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (5, Informative)

Spigot the Bear (2318678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804346)

In the U.S. we have a similar industry-enforced classification called AO (Adults Only). But it's completely worthless, as no store will carry any AO games. So even if you got the classification, it wouldn't necessarily make it any easier to actually produce an adult game.

I'm not quite sure you understand what's going on here. The highest game rating in Australia is 15, which is analogous to the highest movie rating in the US being PG-13. Anything unsuitable for a 15 year old simply cannot be sold there. The rating they're trying to introduce in Australia is similar to our M rating for games (i.e. R rated movies). With this rating, games containing violence/language/sex suitable for an adult, but not a 15 year old, can be sold on the market. X-rated games are a whole other issue.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804650)

Is AO given to full on graphic sexual content? Because the R18+ rating in Australia would be mainly used for violent games, e.g. Mortal Kombat. Graphic sexual content in Australia gets a X rating.

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807416)

Yeah, except that the last game to be threatened with an AO rating was Manhunt 2, and I'm fairly sure the Mortal Kombat reboot has more gratuitous violence than that. Pretty much everything that the games industry produces fits in an M rating these days...

Re:Don't feel bad, Australia (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36807672)

I don't think that'll be a problem here. You see, the R18+ rating already exists for movies, TV shows, books, magazines etc. And those things are all sold in stores. It's just this rating doesn't exist for games at the moment. Introducing R18 for games will simply bring them in-line with the same classifications as already exist for other media.

As it stands, a lot of games that would probably be R18+, if it existed, simply get classified as MA15+ at the moment. And stores still sell them. So I don't really see a problem here.

Most gamers are golfers in the off-season, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804294)

Golfers are usually old people. I don't see why people don't understand that not all golfers and gamers are kids.

fucking bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804664)

Politicians have absolutely no right to be withholding our freedoms in this manner - that is, conducting censorship.

So do we just continue to lay down while these assholes flounder around fucking up the country even more?

Maybe we should gather in large groups outside their houses and give them an ultimatum - get on with what is right or get your house burned down.

Face it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804796)

The Australian government HATES video games.

Re:Face it (3, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36806710)

In this case, you can actually blame the newly elected conservatives in the NSW government, possibly trying to appease Rev. Fred Nile & his Christian Democrats in the NSW upper house.

Re:Face it (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36811480)

Except that the last time this got fucked up, it was by the South Australian Labor Party and their AG.

The problem is that the Attorneys General are not directly accountable to anyone but their own electorate... So they just don't care.

They know that people are too stupid to realise that in our elections, they're not voting for "their leader," that they are voting for their representative for their electorate. They know that the voters (who don't want to be there anyway) will number the boxes based on which party leader they like most/hate least.

do your job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805532)

So what is it now? About seven years, no result? They should all be sacked and made to pay back all earnings. An adult against the 18+ rating is an adult who declares himself unfit to consume adult materials. Remove him and let him have his 24/7 wiggles.

Pirate Party Australia's stance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36806390)

Pirate Party Australia has recommended the implementation of a voluntary classification system like the ESRB or PEGI, the removal of the Refused Classification category and the ability to sell unclassified material to adults only, and of course, R18+ for games. It can be found here [pirateparty.org.au] .

All the other submissions can be found on the ALRC site here [alrc.gov.au] .

Re:Pirate Party Australia's stance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36807976)

I think that is too far. The R18+ ratings system will work fine. Most companies have already stated that they are happy to fit the games in that mold anyway, because the reality is the people who pay the big bucks for those games are the adults.

There IS stuff out there that shouldn't be introduced into our system, for very real reasons. But the fact that my Brother in Law looks at a game that has MA15+ and thinks thats ok for his son, when if he looked at the same game and it said R18+ he would say no thats not ok, is the issue at hand.

The current system is broken because it doesn't match the system that is in place for EVERY other media out there, this causes confusion amongst those who have not grown up playing computer games, and can see at a glance the type of game that it is. That is the worst part of this argument. If anything having the R18+ category will actually make it HARDER for kids to get these games, and yet the bloody "think of the children" idiots don't seem to get that. The Road to hell is paved with good intentions.... Stupid stupid stupid.

I just want the religious nuts (as opposed to the Religious types who understand the requirement for separation of church and state) would get out of our government. I'd vote Liberal in a second if "I don't want to live in a condom culture" Abbott wasn't the leader.

Ra Ra Ra

What the motivation? (1)

RandomStr (2116782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36808094)

You've got to wonder why a body of governance that is responsible for advising parents as to the suitability of media for their children, think that they are entitled to prevent adults from enjoying media specificity created for an adult audience. Completely overstepping their authority if you ask me.

If you look at the list of modified titles and non-released games, dew to the lack of a +18 classification, none of the games are anywhere near justifying a Not Classifieds, so why prevent adults from playing these games?

Is it that they think parents will still but these games anyway?
Anyone who values the classification system will abide by it, and anyone else, well, it's not as if they don't have the right to buy it, and make that assessment for themselves, because at the end of the day, it's just an advisory...

NSW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36810816)

Oh, right. Not-Safe-for-Work Attorney-General

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