Australian Government Says "Silent Majority" Must Be Heard in Ratings Debate

| 20 Oct 2010 12:26

Despite an overwhelmingly positive response to its last public consultation, the Australian government says it needs more data before it relaxes its videogame rating system.

Earlier in the year, the Australian Federal Government asked the public for its opinion on the creation of an R18+ rating for videogames. Of the nearly 60,000 submissions it received, only a tiny handful were against the idea - just 1.2 percent - but the Australian Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor says that there was still a lot more to discuss before a decision could be made.

Besides the individual responses to the consultation, the majority of which came from an in-store promotion by one of Australia's largest game retailers, the Federal government also received formal submissions from a number of groups both for and against the proposal. There was support for the idea amongst a number of gaming industry bodies, as well as Australia's largest telecommunications company, and opposition from the Australian Christian Lobby and a number of Western Australian Politicians. It seems to be the weight of these dissenting voices that are complicating the issue. O'Connor said that the arguments from both sides had to be considered, and that it would be brought up at the next meeting of Attorney Generals, which takes place early next month.

"Classification ministers agreed at that meeting that further work needs to be done before a decision can be made," he said. "Including ascertaining the views of the silent majority ... Ministers are aware of the support for the proposal shown by the number of submissions received. However, they are also aware of the wide range of views on this issue in the community. Ministers have made a commitment to discuss the issue at a future meeting and have requested further analysis of community and expert views to better understand the arguments on each side."

I can appreciate not wanted to rush in to making a decision, as the issue runs much deeper than just videogames, but saying that "the silent majority" have to be consulted first seems like needless procrastination. The Australian Government already asked the public what they thought, and got a very clear, positive, response. Asking them again seems like the government wants to ignore that first result, in the hopes of finding one more to its liking.

Source: GameSpot AU

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