by Tim Cushing

Filed Under:
australia, censorship, video games

Australian Attorneys General Still Feel The Need To Think About The 37-Year-Old 'Children'

from the GTA-is-nothing-but-a-'midlife-crisis-simulator' dept

Australia has a long history of video game censorship, mainly due to the fact that its rating system stops at age 15. This has resulted in a great many games being censored by the manufacturers in order to reach the Australian market and, in some cases, has prevented the sale of offending titles entirely.

Despite the fact that the average gamer is now 37 years old, Australia is still refusing to treat gamers like adults. There has been a lot of talk (some of it dating back to last year) among various politicians about the subject of a new R18+ rating that would bring them in line with much of the rest of the world, but just when it seemed the various parties might reach a consensus, certain holdouts decided to "not vote";:

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.

In order to change the classification, all nine federal, state and territory censorship ministers must agree - even if all eight remaining vote for the change, one person holding back means the whole deal is postponed until at least the next SCAG meeting.
Well, if these three attorneys general have some concern about the "proper" level of censorship, they must be acting in their constituent's best interests, right?
According to recent studies, two-thirds of the Australian states and territories are publicly in favour of the R18+ introduction (including the controversial South Australian vote) - while the remaining three (NSW, Victoria and Western Australia) announced they would hold off on making a decision until some time closer to the meeting.
So, it comes down to this: certain members of Australia's governing body still firmly believe that gamers are children, and, despite public sentiment otherwise, are now deploying stalling tactics in order to hold off any movement toward treating their game-buying citizens as adults until 2012 at least.
In a recent statement issued to GameSpot AU, a spokesperson for Smith explained:

"We're not going down a definitive route. 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."

The ALRC review is currently underway, but no results are expected until early 2012 at the earliest. The review addresses video games, but also other classification-related issues, with an overhaul of the Australian national classification scheme predicted as a result.
At the earliest, Australian gamers will have to wait until they turn 38 in order to have a chance to buy unaltered videogames approved for those ages 18 and above. Of course, what else can be expected from a governing body that included an attorney general who felt that gamers are more dangerous than biker gangs?

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  1. identicon
    EnJaySee, 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:35pm

    Oh well

    All this does is drive consumers online and hurt local retailers.

    Excellent job those ppl are doing (where's my sarcmark?)

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