Michael Atkinson's Successor Will Push for R18+ Ratings

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Michael Atkinson's Successor Will Push for R18+ Ratings

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Michael Atkinson's successor as the Attorney General of South Australia says he'll push for the creation of an R18+ videogame rating but wants the MA15+ rating abolished as part of the deal.

John Rau was heralded as a supporter of R18+ videogame ratings when he came into power in early 2010 and while high hopes that he would rush in and save the day for gamers turned out to be a bit optimistic, at least the man is willing to discuss the matter. In December 2010 he mused on the idea of bringing in the R18+ rating but scrapping MA15+ in order to more clearly delineate what is and isn't appropriate for children, and now he's ready to make the position official at the June meeting of Attorneys General.

Rau said he wants to see Australia's rating system changed to use only G, PG, M and R18+ classifications. "I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he said.

"There has to be a clear difference between what adults can get and what children can get. At the moment, the MA15+ classification is like a crossover point between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable," he continued. "We want that to be a very clear gap. We will have a new classification R18+ and the MA15+ will disappear."

Opponents of the higher rating claim it will open the door to more violent videogames in the country but under the current system, many games that should be rated for adults end up squeezed into the MA15+ category, which actually approves them for gamers far younger than appropriate. Australia's Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has given the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General until its next meeting in June to come to some kind of consensus on an R18+ game rating, warning that the government will consider "other options" if the state-level AGs can't get it together.

Source: ABC

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Wow. A politician who remembers that compromising is the best way to get things done. And one who also understands all the fact and how the real world works. After he's done in Australia, do you think we here in the U.S. can have him?
Sounds like Australian gamers finally have their knight in shining armor...or at least a page in practice armor.

Doesn't matter. The new Victorian AG is anti-R18+ so a unanimous vote looks as unlikely as ever. Good thing the Federal Government has given the idiots until June to get the ball rolling on introducing R18+ or face having any say in the national classification scheme taken away from them.

That's a pretty stupid idea. There are so many games which would fit in-between PG and M, like Halo. Perhaps it's just because I live here, but in my opinion Europe does it best with the PEGI system (although I prefer BBFC ratings as 15 seems more reasonable than 16 for many games).

Edit: Okay, I have been informed that an Australian M is not the same as an American M, but I still believe that a rating in line with "12+" is necessary.

Sniper Team 4:
Wow. A politician who remembers that compromising is the best way to get things done. And one who also understands all the fact and how the real world works. After he's done in Australia, do you think we here in the U.S. can have him?

No, you can't. In a few years, with any luck, he'll be Premier of South Australia... Not that he's great but he's the best of a piss poor bunch of options.

The Plunk:
That's a pretty stupid idea. There are so many games which would fit in-between PG and M, like Halo. Perhaps it's just because I live here, but in my opinion Europe does it best with the PEGI system (although I prefer BBFC ratings as 15 seems more reasonable than 16 for many games).

M is 15 in Australia. MA15+ only exists because film distributors bitched up a storm about losing a lot of cash because of a lot of popular US Action films were getting slapped with R18+s.

RhombusHatesYou:

The Plunk:
That's a pretty stupid idea. There are so many games which would fit in-between PG and M, like Halo. Perhaps it's just because I live here, but in my opinion Europe does it best with the PEGI system (although I prefer BBFC ratings as 15 seems more reasonable than 16 for many games).

M is 15 in Australia. MA15+ only exists because film distributors bitched up a storm about losing a lot of cash because of a lot of popular US Action films were getting slapped with R18+s.

Thank you, good sir, for taking away the foolish ignorance that curses me. I shall now recede back into the nether with this new-found knowledge.

I still don't get why this is so difficult to do.
Poor Australia :(

Seems like a fair deal tbh. Now can we have a date that's not before your handover?

I would be totally okay with that.

But only because I'm safely over the age of 18.

Sniper Team 4:
Wow. A politician who remembers that compromising is the best way to get things done. And one who also understands all the fact and how the real world works. After he's done in Australia, do you think we here in the U.S. can have him?
Sounds like Australian gamers finally have their knight in shining armor...or at least a page in practice armor.

Not to mention that IF the attorney generals dont come to a consensus then the federal gov is saying they will overrule them anyway in favour of it. I think hes realized saying no is going to get nowhere, so by trying to compromise he may get something achieved.

This is a terrible option. If MA15+ gets dumped for R18+, as Rau is proposing, then overnight Mass Effect becomes only legal to buy if you are aged 18 and over.

Plus you need to check what the restrictions are around advertising R18+ titles are on a state-by-state basis. There's a chance that R18+ titles may have to be displayed separately, or put under the counter, or even wrapped in brown paper.

This isn't compromise. This is possibly ending up with a more restrictive option than we already have.

Australia should stop treating their residents like shit and more like adults capable of making a decision for themselves.

This is so backwards.

As much as the idea about abolishing MA is, I would rather have the R rating so there really is a distinct difference. This will cause a LOT of problems still though and I know they'll fuck it up.

While there are a lot of MA games that should be rated R, there will be a lot of R games that clearly only warrant an MA. This is still going to be a massive problem and I foresee a time when publishers will be wanting to cut down their games to make the M rating in fear of losing advertising and sales, same as the film industry.

Besides, it's unfair to the underage people who should be able to play some of these. Can they honestly not just be simple about this and treat it the same as their film/tv ratings? What the fuck is wrong with these guys?

UnSub:

This isn't compromise. This is possibly ending up with a more restrictive option than we already have.

Well no, there's no way it could be more restrictive, because now there will be no need for games to be banned and censored. There might be less access for teenagers, and I would probably care more about that if I was still under 18, but it's definitely less restrictive.

It is still a bit silly, of course. Surely the MA15 rating became a crossover point between child-based and adult-based games because there WAS no rating for adult games. Still, it's probably a compromise for the sake of making at least some progress, as others have said.

I.....i am happy with this. I think it should be G Pg R18 and Ma15. But i can compromise with this.

The reason for this is because that it can fit into one category or another. Debate over what is right to show kids and what isint is good. It people can reason for one topic and why they think they should have the right to see it then.... job done, you have shown them that this topic is debatable.

get the feeling that nothing is allowed in australia.

now and then a show about the australian bordercontrol is shown on TV.. and i generally feel that the borderrules here in europe are hard enough, but after watching a couple of episodes about how it is in Australia i dont feel tempted to come for a visit.

theres nothing but speculation to support that violent videogames are harmful, atleast not to the minds of adults over 18+..

If it is so bad you should ban alcohol and smoking cigarettes as well, seeing as those are just as easy if not easier to get hold of for a minor

Seem fine at first glance, pretty much identical MPAA film ratings (G, PG, PG13, and R [and NC-17 {but no one makes those <honest>}]). It may or may not pass over with the rest of the government, and then it may or may not work in practice, but it definitely looks like a step ahead.

It makes sense to me, but I think if they were to do that it shouldn't be an R18. It should be of a similar effect but not so it's just the US system with the middle one missing. Compromise is more than cutting out something.

Sounds like a mostly reasonable deal, though I don't see why the MA15+ should be removed. The M rating in Australia is recomended for 15 year olds, right? So what would fall between R18+ and M? Maybe MA+15 could move up to 16, but I have no idea how the Australian board classifies games. So long as they finally introduce an R18+ rating it's all good.

Arrrggghhhh, I'm torn here. On the one hand, I'm glad that someone who we can agree with on the matter of the R18+ rating has come along, and I support him for that. But on the other hand, I can't help but think "we've gone from one extreme to another". There are so many games that would fit perfectly between the ratings Australia already has, and R18+, assuming the MA15+ was taken away. I think the compromise he's come up with is a good way of doing things, and on the whole I'm inclined to support this guy, but nevertheless, scrapping MA15+ is not a good move. As a UK citizen I've had to live my life under the British ratings system, and can honestly say the way we do things, including a 15 rating, is a good thing. This new guy needs to have a look over here and take a leaf from our book, before he talks more about scrapping an MA15+ rating in Oz.

RhombusHatesYou:
Doesn't matter. The new Victorian AG is anti-R18+ so a unanimous vote looks as unlikely as ever. Good thing the Federal Government has given the idiots until June to get the ball rolling on introducing R18+ or face having any say in the national classification scheme taken away from them.

If they AG's can't agree on this, Brendan O'Conner is going to put it in anyway.

Also, removing the MA rating will be a simmiliar to the situation we're in at the moment. Games will either be edited to satisfy a M15 rating, or rated to an R18 level. Don't remove anything, just edit the current credentials that games have to satisfy. Fffffff. Someone elect me King of Australia and I'll get this shit done right.

Andy Chalk:
In December 2010 he mused on the idea of bringing in the R18+ rating but scrapping MA15+ in order to more clearly delineate what is and isn't appropriate for children, and now he's ready to make the position official at the June meeting of Attorneys General.

Sorry Andy, it's actually in July. ;)

UnSub:
This is a terrible option. If MA15+ gets dumped for R18+, as Rau is proposing, then overnight Mass Effect becomes only legal to buy if you are aged 18 and over.

Let's not forget however that ME is rated 18 by PEGI. Now I agree that Mass Effect doesn't deserve an R18, but if there's one thing we've learned over the years it's that the ACB bends the rules to push games into MA15 where possible. It's likely they'll do the same with with the M rating.

However it's far too early to celebrate, many rumours suggest that Rau actually wants to simply rebrand MA as R, meaning that our classification system wouldn't actually change. We'd still end up with bannings and censorship like Germany.

Adzma:
However it's far too early to celebrate, many rumours suggest that Rau actually wants to simply rebrand MA as R

Nah, that stems from dickhead journos not understanding his initial stance of getting rid of MA15+ when R18+ is introduced which would mean that many MA15+ games would get R18+s when reviewed.

Toeys:
get the feeling that nothing is allowed in australia.

now and then a show about the australian bordercontrol is shown on TV.. and i generally feel that the borderrules here in europe are hard enough, but after watching a couple of episodes about how it is in Australia i dont feel tempted to come for a visit.

theres nothing but speculation to support that violent videogames are harmful, atleast not to the minds of adults over 18+..

If it is so bad you should ban alcohol and smoking cigarettes as well, seeing as those are just as easy if not easier to get hold of for a minor

Actually we're fairly cool down here with other stuff. I'll admit, our customs are anal sometimes, but it's mostly just to protect the local environment (think the bullfrogs in that simpsons episode).

Well, at the very least things are moving forward with this thing, however slowly. Here's hoping it happens on the date with no more whinging pollies.

Good for Oz, I hope they get a 18+ rating. Most of the reasoning the opponents have is so idiotic I want to hit my head against the wall.

RhombusHatesYou:

Sniper Team 4:
Wow. A politician who remembers that compromising is the best way to get things done. And one who also understands all the fact and how the real world works. After he's done in Australia, do you think we here in the U.S. can have him?

No, you can't. In a few years, with any luck, he'll be Premier of South Australia... Not that he's great but he's the best of a piss poor bunch of options.

What about a clone of him?

The best is the Federal Government will just introduce it themselves to shut us up if the AG's don't decide.

Arghh my excitement of having one more non-idiot in parliament is beginning to melt away. honestly seeing as how i am finally 18 myself i would have no problem with the MA15+ rating getting abolished but i cant help but feel that there might be a massive backlash. fingers crossed that this will FINALLY get resolved

RhombusHatesYou:

Adzma:
However it's far too early to celebrate, many rumours suggest that Rau actually wants to simply rebrand MA as R

Nah, that stems from dickhead journos not understanding his initial stance of getting rid of MA15+ when R18+ is introduced which would mean that many MA15+ games would get R18+s when reviewed.

Hmm fair enough I guess. Well at any rate here's hoping the ACB still bend the rules somewhat if we do get the rating since otherwise games like Mortal Kombat "With violence which exceeds strong in impact" will still get RC.

Sniper Team 4:
After he's done in Australia, do you think we here in the U.S. can have him?

pretty pleeeeaaaaase?

No, no, no.

Rau has suggest making such a large gap between the two ratings of M and R will make parents "Better Informed". Such a statement is practically on par with religion (my apologies to religious people, if I am indirectly attacking religious organisations and church structures, I am not attacking the faithful who are part of such organisations), where Rau is asking parents to take, on faith, the classifications board's opinion on what violence constitutes an M rating and what may constitute an R rating. Stripping the intermediate rating reduces the information parents have avaliable to them to make an informed choice; because "informed" by a board of conservative censors is not really "informed at all". I would be fan of ditching the MA15+ rating only if most games currently rated MA15+ got reclassified as M, with additional information on what you will find in such a game - in which case, extend it to film as well.

There is also a financial aspect here, as one of the previous posters pointed out. An R18+ rating, in the future, may also require such material to be held under-the-counter, or in plain packaging. Currently, R18+ films typically perform worse than MA15+ films, which in turn perform worse than the unrestricted M rated films. If South Australia turns all of their MA15+ games into R rated games, what do you think will happen to sales figures? There are real peoples jobs attached to such a political decision, when these games can easily be purchased interstate or overseas.

As for parenting, if a parent in South Australia sees that a game is rated MA everywhere else in Australia, but R in SA, what are they going to think of the games' content? That it's appropriate for 15-17 year olds, AND BUY IT ANYWAY.

Greaaattt... Now I can't get any good games...

Cause I'm 16.

Spadge:
As for parenting, if a parent in South Australia sees that a game is rated MA everywhere else in Australia, but R in SA

Except that ACB classifications are nation wide. If the SA State government tried to exercise it's own classifications it would kick off a BIG jurisdictional pissing contest... and if you wanna know how that will end, ask someone who used to work for a state Health Department.

Adzma:

RhombusHatesYou:

Adzma:
However it's far too early to celebrate, many rumours suggest that Rau actually wants to simply rebrand MA as R

Nah, that stems from dickhead journos not understanding his initial stance of getting rid of MA15+ when R18+ is introduced which would mean that many MA15+ games would get R18+s when reviewed.

Hmm fair enough I guess. Well at any rate here's hoping the ACB still bend the rules somewhat if we do get the rating since otherwise games like Mortal Kombat "With violence which exceeds strong in impact" will still get RC.

Since we don't know what the criteria for R18+ will be no one can say either way.

This seems pretty fair...as long as it gets the ball rolling.

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