Australia is Tired of Being a "Laughingstock"

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Australia is Tired of Being a "Laughingstock"

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The Australian federal government is hopeful that consensus on the issue of R18+ videogame ratings can be found, but it's also ready to knock a few skulls and crack the whip if it can't.

Australia is the only nation in the Western world that doesn't have a "mature" rating for videogames, thanks primarily to the fact that any changes to the law that would allow for one to be created must be unanimously approved by the attorney general of every state in the nation. Michael Atkinson famously held up the process for years during his tenure as attorney general for South Australia, yet even though he's been out of the picture for a year the process remains stalled.

Now the Australian federal government has weighed into the matter, giving the Standing Committee of Attorneys General until July to get its act together and warning that the feds will go to Plan B if it doesn't. "We're becoming the laughingstock of the developed world, where we're the only country that doesn't have an R18 classification level for videogames," Home Affairs Minister Brenan O'Connor told ABC News. (Theirs, not ours.)

"I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that's actually, in my view, causing harm to young people," he continued. "I'm not going to let this matter end because it's too important to allow one or two jurisdictions to stop the majority of jurisdictions in this country moving on an important reform. But can I say my very strong preference is to have consensus around the table in July."

The vast majority of Australians have come out in favor of an R18+ game rating but there are still groups in the country that are dead-set against it, most notably the Australian Christian Lobby, which on March 17 reiterated its position that it "does not accept the argument that introducing an R18+ category for games would protect children as it would be naive to think that children would not get a hold of them." Yet Australia's system as it stands actually risks exposing children to more inappropriate content than those of other nations, as games that would otherwise be rated for mature audiences end up squeezed into the MA15+ category.

The next meeting of Australia's Standing Committee of Attorneys General is scheduled to take place on July 21 and 22.

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Huh.

I'm honestly surprised that there are politicians down here who give a shit. Or... y'know, at least give enough of a shit that they can be bothered pretending to give a shit, being politicians and all.

But, cynicism aside, it sounds like we might finally get that rating. Good news.

Achieving a Just and Secure Controlled Society

Just thought I'd fix that up there for ya. In all seriousness, this is too little too late in my eyes. It's a big step, and it will help, but this is an issue that should have been solved years ago, along with other issues that have crippled the games industry in Australia. There's other huge issues that need sorting out, but not so much related to this news.

All things considered, 'laughingstock' is the light-hearted brother of the views this country deserves. That's admittedly coming off as callous, and I guess I am a tad biased, that's my view on all this, and I know I'm not alone.

Ergh, fingers crossed I guess, but I would not be surprised at all if it still falls through.

We're still waiting for the US to have a proper 18+ rating, though.

"AO" doesn't count, since it effectively means that the game is banned from being released.

I don't know if that really makes Australia a "laughing stock", but I can say it's about damn time that...they get around to talking about it more. Well, maybe one day something will be done.

I really wish the government over here in England had backed the BBFC instead of PEGI.

I'd just like to send the Australian government a heart felt "HA HA" Nelson style. This whip should have been cracked a long time ago and the Christian Lobby should be laughed off the world stage for it's continued enthusiasm at being the next Chinese dictatorship.

Finally getting your act together eh Australia.

Well it's a democracy isn't it? Then use that freedom to create a serious public discussion. Many countries around the World aren't able to create a discussion about issues.

Moaning on video game websites won't do anything. If you want a change get out and do something about it.

I'm pretty sure the civil right's movement/Suffragettes didn't just sit about moaning, they got out onto the streets and made the people in power aware of the issue.

I'll stop laughing at them when thay stop being so unintentionally hilarious all the time.

Wandrecanada:
This whip should have been cracked a long time ago and the Christian Lobby should be laughed off the world stage for it's continued enthusiasm at being the next Chinese dictatorship.

More of a Saudi dictatorship, really. The censorship in Australia is mostly "Think of the children!" not "Protect the government from the citizens knowing anything!"

Yes, some Australian politicians actually believe children will have more access to R18 games if they are legally sold in Australia.

Not having an 18 rating for videogames doesn't make you guys a laughingstock. It's that hilarious accents that prevents me from taking you guys seriously :p

And next on when politicians attack, we'll tell you what the best do to get blood out of their three-piece suits!

That doesn't make them a laughingstock any more than every other country has jokes made about them for various reasons.

...I mean, uh, yeah, the lack of an 18+ rating makes Australia a laughingstock! Might as well give in to the pressure and vote unanimously for the rating to be approved, for the sake of your nation's image!

and go back to the classic jokes about didgeridoos, kangaroos, boomerangs, and shrimp on the barbie.

thethingthatlurks:
Not having an 18 rating for videogames doesn't make you guys a laughingstock. It's that hilarious accents that prevents me from taking you guys seriously :p

More or less, yeah. Not having an 18 rating is bad, but if that was Australia's worst failing, it'd be a much better place.

JediMB:
We're still waiting for the US to have a proper 18+ rating, though.

"AO" doesn't count, since it effectively means that the game is banned from being released.

We have "M for mature", which is 17 and over.

There isn't much of a difference, if any, between 17 or 18 year olds.

Are you allowed to import system and games? If so, why don't you just boycot your Government and hurt your retail market and teach them who is really in control.

Also, America does have a 18+ rating, it's just that retailers will not sell them in their stores, so developers have to sell them themselves (Postal).

I wish you all the best of luck.

Eico:
It amazes me how many people are so very ill-informed and/or unintelligent.

Our (Australian) rating system is different from yours (U.S).

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

Seriously though that's not the video game rating system in AUS as there IS no current 18+ classification. If you use any examples of classification lists in any country with a game classification listing you'll notice that it differs greatly from the film listing because it's a different medium. Apples to oranges.

Wandrecanada:

Eico:
It amazes me how many people are so very ill-informed and/or unintelligent.

Our (Australian) rating system is different from yours (U.S).

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

Seriously though that's not the video game rating system in AUS as there IS no current 18+ classification. If you use any examples of classification lists in any country with a game classification listing you'll notice that it differs greatly from the film listing because it's a different medium. Apples to oranges.

And yet another ill-informed individual.

"Classification (Markings for Films and Computer Games) Determination 2007"

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2009C00421/Html/Text#param60

We use the same system for video games and movies. We simply don't use the R (or X) for video games.

You're welcome.

MatParker116:
I really wish the government over here in England had backed the BBFC instead of PEGI.

I don't think we have anything to complain about, we get every game in our country (as long as it's decided to be exported here unlike a lot of Japanese title's etc) and this level of censorship is unknown here.
I for one am pleased about this news as it shows that progress is being made by getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. Too much is being haltered by the ignorant view points of the old generation (no offence ma elders). Plus there's so many more pressing issues that need attention than a simple games classification system.

Wandrecanada:

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

What? This is news to me. Unless you mean Quebec or something I wouldn't know, but the ratings are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the states.

OT: I wouldn't exactly call them the laughing stock, and as Eico mentioned, they actually do have a rating for "mature" games (to be fair, I didn't actually know that either which is probably the result of always hearing about they don't have one over and over again). Hopefully they can get things back on track.

Infesord:

Wandrecanada:

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

What? This is news to me. Unless you mean Quebec or something I wouldn't know, but the ratings are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the states.

OT: I wouldn't exactly call them the laughing stock, and as Eico mentioned, they actually do have a rating for "mature" games (to be fair, I didn't actually know that either which is probably the result of always hearing about they don't have one over and over again). Hopefully they can get things back on track.

It's insanely stupid how people think we receive games.

We receive every single game (barring a few fringe cases - one or two in history) that the U.S receives.

Know why all this started? 'Cause that idiot Atkinson stuck his nose into the L4d2 issue. We have the game. The game has all its blood. The game is the EXACT same. I was playing it not three days ago.

It's all nonsense.

A bit slow posting this news guys...

But anyways, good to have exposure on this issue, always helps, I'm really glad. It sounds like Mortal Kombat was just enough to push the issue over the edge as I thought might happen. All we really needed was one major game for people to be outraged about.

MatParker116:
I really wish the government over here in England had backed the BBFC instead of PEGI.

Care to say why?

Most games have been PEGI rated for ages, and by and large the ratings are the same. Mass Effect 2 was PEGI 18_ whereas the BBFC rated it 15 but generally it's equivalent ratings.

BBFC: 12, 15, 18

PEGI: 3+, 7+, 12+ and the largely unused due to BBFC 16+ and 18+

MatParker116:
I really wish the government over here in England had backed the BBFC instead of PEGI.

wait what?
why?

the bbfc has no expertise in videgames. Its for films. Wherein PEGI was made FOR VIDEOGAMES and has support throughout europe. And with good reason, i can't think of a single time when PEGI have made a problem for me.

The last big "scandal " over rating was manhunt 2 and that was in the bbfc days.

Eico:

Infesord:

Wandrecanada:

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

What? This is news to me. Unless you mean Quebec or something I wouldn't know, but the ratings are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the states.

OT: I wouldn't exactly call them the laughing stock, and as Eico mentioned, they actually do have a rating for "mature" games (to be fair, I didn't actually know that either which is probably the result of always hearing about they don't have one over and over again). Hopefully they can get things back on track.

It's insanely stupid how people think we receive games.

We receive every single game (barring a few fringe cases - one or two in history) that the U.S receives.

Know why all this started? 'Cause that idiot Atkinson stuck his nose into the L4d2 issue. We have the game. The game has all its blood. The game is the EXACT same. I was playing it not three days ago.

It's all nonsense.

did you ship it though

because i think most of us here saw

[youtubev=OH7QCtuaXgI]
and start yelling "stop oppressing us"
mind you i was never overly fussed about blood *shrug*

bahumat42:

Eico:

Infesord:

What? This is news to me. Unless you mean Quebec or something I wouldn't know, but the ratings are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the states.

OT: I wouldn't exactly call them the laughing stock, and as Eico mentioned, they actually do have a rating for "mature" games (to be fair, I didn't actually know that either which is probably the result of always hearing about they don't have one over and over again). Hopefully they can get things back on track.

It's insanely stupid how people think we receive games.

We receive every single game (barring a few fringe cases - one or two in history) that the U.S receives.

Know why all this started? 'Cause that idiot Atkinson stuck his nose into the L4d2 issue. We have the game. The game has all its blood. The game is the EXACT same. I was playing it not three days ago.

It's all nonsense.

did you ship it though

because i think most of us here saw

[youtubev=OH7QCtuaXgI]
and start yelling "stop oppressing us"
mind you i was never overly fussed about blood *shrug*

No. I bought it at JB.

lostzombies.com:
Well it's a democracy isn't it? Then use that freedom to create a serious public discussion. Many countries around the World aren't able to create a discussion about issues.

Moaning on video game websites won't do anything. If you want a change get out and do something about it.

I'm pretty sure the civil right's movement/Suffragettes didn't just sit about moaning, they got out onto the streets and made the people in power aware of the issue.

It's a democracy in the sense that almost everyone has a say. Whether or not what we say is considered is another issue entirely. People have been polled on this, petitions have been signed, rallies have been held etc. but without a unanimous decision from the higher-ups, all we've managed to get this far has been 'it looks like there's a lot of support, but we're not ready to make a choice yet. Better luck next year.'

We can demand all we want, it only takes a single person to force us back to square one, and this goes for every single portion of our system.

Since when did WE have an "ABC News" Channel?

Eico:

Infesord:

Wandrecanada:

Note that some of us live in areas other than the US... and yes we have a different rating system in Canada too. Imagine that!

What? This is news to me. Unless you mean Quebec or something I wouldn't know, but the ratings are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the states.

OT: I wouldn't exactly call them the laughing stock, and as Eico mentioned, they actually do have a rating for "mature" games (to be fair, I didn't actually know that either which is probably the result of always hearing about they don't have one over and over again). Hopefully they can get things back on track.

It's insanely stupid how people think we receive games.

We receive every single game (barring a few fringe cases - one or two in history) that the U.S receives.

Know why all this started? 'Cause that idiot Atkinson stuck his nose into the L4d2 issue. We have the game. The game has all its blood. The game is the EXACT same. I was playing it not three days ago.

It's all nonsense.

No mortal kombat though :p

Macrobstar:

No mortal kombat though :p

Some might consider that a blessing.

Father Tunde:

Macrobstar:

No mortal kombat though :p

Some might consider that a blessing.

double post

Father Tunde:

Macrobstar:

No mortal kombat though :p

Some might consider that a blessing.

you could say that about any game, I'm actually quite glad about this as it will stop yahtzee complaining about it :D

Verlander:
Since when did WE have an "ABC News" Channel?

"We" being Australia? Australia has had an ABC News channel since the Australian networks starting sprouting digital TV versions.

Eico:
It's insanely stupid how people think we receive games.

We receive every single game (barring a few fringe cases - one or two in history) that the U.S receives.

I think it's because Australia receives games after much of the rest of the world does, and people equate about a game not being available now as not being available ever.

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