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
    out_of_the_blue, 20 Jul 2011 @ 4:19am

    "Australia is still refusing to treat gamers like adults"


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2011 @ 4:27am

    Everyone knows that games are a gateway drug to all sorts of nasty things, pac-man = pill popping drug use, mario = destruction of turtles by jumping on them, the list is endless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:14am

    Sounds like the Aussie AG's have serious brain damage

    Of course, guzzling copious quantities of beer is the Aussie national pasttime, and perhaps for these AG's, it's a full time preoccupation. After a while, those brain cells start to drop like flies, and they make decisions like this. Being proficient full time wankers also promotes this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:26am

    This is the same nation whose leaders believe that because the vast majority of responses to their public opinion request was in favor of an R18 rating that they needed to get more opinions from the "silent majority"

    You know, those people who don't care one way or the other.


    What is really stupid is requiring unanimous rule to do anything. Any country that requires that a group of individuals meet and reach an unanimous consensus is a messed up country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    ASTROBOI, 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:26am

    Only ever been this way......

    Our beloved government, and I include all of 'em, not just U.S.A., has always taken a dim view of having fun. If it seems that the fun is associated more with kids than mature adults, steps to curtail the fun usually ensue, even if it costs jobs, tax revenue and freedom of choice. In the fifties it was evil Rock 'n' Roll. In the late 50's it was comic books. In the 60's it was drugs, harmful and harmless alike. That campaign was so successful it continues today, costing billions of bucks and lots of lives. When kids became obsessed with cars our public wardens and nannys had to do their best to mess that up. Make your own list: porn, tv, distinctive clothing, dancing, slang, whatever: if kids liked it, it had to go. Today its games. Tomorrow....who knows. Sadly, freedom and "nose-to-the-grindstone" work ethic seem to go together. Fun is anti-American or anti-Australian or whatever. It will never change. Read "Renegade History of the United States" by Russell if you don't believe me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:44am

    NSW, VIC and WA are the 3 states where the right-wing party is in power. In all of the other states(and federal) the left-wing party is. Now the right-wing party call themselves the Liberal party - despite not being the slightest bit liberal and being very conservative.

    So Australians, don't be stupid and vote for Labor. Don't vote for right-wing parties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:44am

    New dumping colony?

    I remember from mah history classes that Australia was a penal colony once upon a time... did I miss the point where we started using it to dump our undesirably stupid politicians? Itís rare when another country trumps us with that level of legislative idiocy.

    Careful, Australia... you're cutting in on our turf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    JubJub (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:03am

    A change of tactics

    Perhaps someone could campaign for other children's games in Australia to be treated the same way?
    For instance Rugby/League in Australia actually physically harms children.
    "One childrenís hospital in Australia reported 125 rugby-related cervical spine injuries to children under 15 years of age over a 3-year period" (Browne, 2006)

    Would this highlight their hypocrisy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Old Fool (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:23am

    Old gamers are Young

    It's my birthday today, I'm 59 years old, my son sent me a card that said:--

    Getting old is compulsory.
    Growing up is optional.

    My body is 40 years older than I am :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    PaulT (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:27am

    Re: Only ever been this way......

    "Fun is anti-American or anti-Australian or whatever. It will never change."

    Hmmm... I'm not so sure it's fun so much as a simple misunderstanding and/or easy scapegoat.

    The real issues that cause social problems have never changed - unemployment, crime, poverty, prejudice and so on. These are hard, complex issues to tackle that no politician can ever claim to have completely fixed nor run simple campaigns on to get elected. They need easy issues that they can claim easy solutions to.

    Meanwhile, each generation views the pastimes of the later generations with suspicion. They don't get their music, their ideas, their culture and so anything new can be blame for society's ills. The reason why we don't hear anti-rock or anti-TV or anti-home video rants any more is that they have now been around for a long time and today's politicians (and older voters) understand them. Come out and say "that rock music is killing our children", and most voters will think you're a fool. Say the same about video games, and those voters with no direct experience of them or who don't understand them will swallow that lie.

    So it will continue with whatever the next generation is into. But, by then, video games will be as much part of the accepted culture as rock music and comic books are now, and the cycle continues...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Chargone (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:35am


    i dunno. sometimes i think NZ's parliament could do with that rule.

    given the amount of stupid things that get passed because one party agreed to support another party's stupid thing to get their stupid thing passed, when the Idea is that if it's stupid they Won't...

    then again, technically it needs a unanimous vote of... one (the governor general)... to become law (on top of getting through parliament itself.). problem is that our GGs tend to assume that if it got through parliament in the first place it's fine, completely ignoring all the political horse-trading (and thus their job.)

    nevermind the would-be-PM's basically selling the ministerial positions for support for their own harebrained plans. (the GG is supposed to be limited to selecting only from parliament to prevent them just picking their buddies, but a 'tradition' has developed of choosing whatever party leader can get a majority backing from parliament behind their party and then appointing whoever that person wants to all the other jobs, leading to even Worse croneyism...

    and there's that pet rant again. oops.

    though i can certainly understand the objection to one person being pointlessly obstructionist, i can also see the point in requiring unanimity to change things.

    (seriously, our government here seems to delight in changing things that aren't broken, often breaking them in the process, purely to justify their pay-cheques. needing unanimity would prevent that. it's amazing how much less Stupid our government gets when something big happens they have to deal with rather than their random pet projects... though this current one seems to prefer to use the big things to ram through their pet projects instead, in what really should be seen as a massive abuse of power.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Chargone (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:42am


    actually, voting for right wing parties anywhere's a dumb idea unless they're you're only option for an actually conservative (that is, wary of change and willing only to change things slowly and with solid proof that the change is for the better, as opposed to progressive (change for change sake because it's new and damn the consequences) or reactionary (the old ways, even if they were never how we're presenting them at all, were better in every possible way. pay no attention that we were the privileged class under that system, it was better for everyone, really!)) option.

    and even then that assumes that the current status quo is relatively good and their right wing leanings not too radical in an absolute sense. (it's possible to seem radically right wing in an extremely left wing environment without actually being problematically so.)

    best bet seems, generally speaking, to be mildly progressive, economically slightly left of center, and just barely authoritarian enough to allow the government to actually function usefully (the ends of that scale are 'anarachy' and 'controls Everything')

    I'd also make the case that any party that has consistently been in parliament/it's equivalent and even Intermittently been able to form a government either on it's own or as the head of a coalition, is highly suspect after it's first couple of terms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Chargone (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 6:43am

    Re: New dumping colony?

    actually, if you think about it, the over all level's a lot lower.

    there's massively less people actually having to be that dumb to get the same effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 7:09am

    Re: Old gamers are Young

    as long as you dont start yelling at them to get off your lawn you're okay lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 7:35am

    When any government

    In order to change the classification, all nine federal, state and territory censorship ministers must agree

    When any government has censorship ministers, they are doing it wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re: A change of tactics

    Would this highlight their hypocrisy?

    I'm confused. What does a wholesome sport like rugby have to do with learning to deal drugs, shoot people and rape women?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    JubJub (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: A change of tactics

    Apparently both games harm children. Except one actually does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    JubJub (profile), 20 Jul 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: A change of tactics

    PS Rugby rocks, All Blacks ftw

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    darryl, 20 Jul 2011 @ 11:08am

    They dont make law's on statistics, they make it on morals.

    geeez I did not know that if you were 37 you were also under 18 !!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Robert West, 20 Jul 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Left Wing Right Wing

    Censordhip and most other matters is not a left or right issue, the right my not like video games but then again the left will die if there is a public prayer. Better to let everyone do what they like as long as it causes no physical harm to anyone else.
    Left and Right. Does that mean for heros we have to choose between Hitler and Stalin?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    LyleD, 20 Jul 2011 @ 5:21pm

    In the mean time...

    we'll just keep ordering 'adult' games over the internet like we've been forced to for years... :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. 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?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    TN, 20 Jul 2011 @ 10:05pm

    The stupid part is that, to be released in Australia, hundreds of games are classified as MA15+ -- games that the rest of the world recognises as R18. Yes, some titles are banned, but in reality, many get through because they're slotted into the only rating that's left available for those titles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    athe, 20 Jul 2011 @ 11:48pm

    Re: In the mean time...

    Exactly. I used to care about this, but the constant stalling has meant that all I do now is buy any games that are modified or refused classification here in Australia from the UK, and this news gets a "yeah, whatever" from me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 21 Jul 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Old gamers are Young

    At 54 I'm still playing online FPS games. When the (generally younger) players express surprise I simply point out that these are the kinds of games I wanted to play when I was growing up -- but the technology didn't exist. I'm just making up for lost time. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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