This is just a joke. We vote these people in to listen to us and take action on what the public want and all they do is put us on the back bench and forget all about us. Tell me, what is the point of having NON-GAMERS vote on something that they have nothing to do with? It is the gamers who are playing them and should have the right classification for each game they play. I urge everyone next time you walk down the street to ask someone randomly if they would vote for an R18+ classification on games. You will be able to pick out the non-gamers because their answer would be as simple as "Why would I care, I don,t play them". So what non-gamers are going to vote? NONE.
Commentary piece: GameSpot AU's Laura Parker looks at why the Federal Government is stalling a decision on an adult classification for video games.
The debate over Australia's lack of an adult classification for video games rages on. Despite an overwhelmingly positive response to the government's national public consultation into the issue in December last year, little progress has been made in the past 12 months. Classification ministers are yet to be convinced that the introduction of an R18+ classification--something that would put Australia in line with other Western nations--warrants any kind of concern.
Most would argue that having a unified, fair, and consistent classification scheme should be of national priority, but so far this issue has been largely met with indifference on the part of the government and classification ministers. They do not believe that enough Australians care about video game classification in order to take the issue seriously and so continue to find new methods of stalling and deliberation when it is brought up. Of the 59,678 submissions received as part of the public consultation process, 98 per cent wrote in support of an R18+ classification. One needs only to look at the diversity of those in support, from the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, to be convinced that there is a very large, unified voice crying out for the correct classification of content and the abolishment of censorship. Instead, gamers are being told to back off. They are being told that despite the fact that they are gamers, and this is a gaming issue, their opinion is irrelevant. What the government needs to know before it can be convinced, it seems, is the opinion of the nongaming public.
Gaming demographics are expanding every day, and Australia is no exception. Young and old, male and female, gamers are no longer a minority--these days, most people game in one form or another. GameSpot Australia's view is that this is an issue that concerns a majority of Australians. Gamer or not, everyone recognises the importance of correctly classifying content and the right of adults to make their own informed decisions about the content they consume.
GameSpot's opinion is supported by different community groups, each for their own reasons. In the R18+ public consultation, the Australian Catholic Bishops said that while they preferred that R18+ material not be made available in Australia, a classification is warranted to restrict access to such material, particularly by children. Other groups such as the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association Ltd (iGEA) and Media Classifiers' Association of Australia pointed to a lack of conclusive scientific evidence that violent media causes or triggers violent behaviour. A large number of respondents also made similar comments in the "free text" option of the public consultation--more than 2,000 people said that a lack of an R18+ classification for video games restricts the civil liberties of adult gamers and leads to the incorrect classification of content.
Yet while it's clear that submissions came from a variety of groups representing different communities and interests, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor continues to believe that because there was too little interest from "nongamers," classification ministers should seek even more views before beginning to think about changing the national classification scheme to include R18+ for games.
This is what O'Connor terms "the silent majority"--nongamers who are likely to care too little about this issue to ever contact their local member and tell them that an adult classification for games really is needed, and could we please hurry up and get one. Yet the urgency is real. The lack of an R18+ classification leads the Australian Classification Board to make inconsistent decisions when rating adult content. Games that should be rated R18+ are slumped into the MA15+ category, meaning Australian 15-year-olds are consuming content reserved for 18-year-olds in other countries. The introduction of an R18+ for games would provide a better set of guidelines to the Australian Classification Board, who would finally be able to draw a very real line between content suitable only for 15-year-olds and content suitable only for 18-year-olds and above.
Another problem is the requirement that all classification ministers must be in unanimous agreement to introduce R18+ for games. This current system is too stringent. A difference in opinion from one minister to another, more often than not based on personal beliefs and prejudices (such as former South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, who blocked the introduction of R18+ for games because he didn't want his children playing violent video games) means this issue is discussed on a personal level, not a national level. What is in the best interests of the Australian public turns into what is in the best interests for each classification minister, which ultimately means R18+ for games has little hope of ever becoming a reality.
Censorship ministers will meet again on December 10 to discuss what comes next in this overly drawn-out process. It appears gamers have now done everything they can. It is now up to the nongaming Australian public to voice their opinion and support the abolishment of censorship and the modernisation of Australia's archaic classification laws.
For more on games classification, check out GameSpot AU's Classification FAQ.
So basically the public consultation says the people want it but the government is going to ignore us. Democracy working as intended.
@superbuuman - it makes sense if they didn't get what they wanted. That said though, priests on porn is a polarized assessment. What the government most likely wants is the opinion of disinterested people, because everyone listens to them - they are disinterested, and therefore unbiased and can offer sage advice.
erm why would "non gamers" care about R18+ for video games when they don't even game?...it is like asking priest & pastors to rate porn movies, makes no sense. Just another stalling tactics.
To all the people who think voting for Labor was a good idea, there is your proof, next time vote for a party who only care about profit and bottom line, Go Liberal. Because lets face it, gamers have a lot more in common with red necks and rich people, we all like shooting and blowing up stuff. And don't get me started with Greens, probably want everyone to stop eating meat, and play wii sport for the rest of our lives.
its a pity that the government has not yet realised the revenue they lose from people who just import or download the games that are either chopped to pieces by censorship or banned and when they finnaly get replaced by people who are actually in touch with the public at large maybe just maybe they will pass it
sadly this will never happen guys, just continue to get your games from america on ebay that what i did for GTA. smartest thing i have ever done.
That's a pretty good explanation from Laura. I saw a similar thing in Laura's blog as well. I don't know how to get non-gamers to get the ministers to speed up the process but I wish a simple decision wouldn't take forever to consider. If only the Australian political system isn't so complex and force us to wait an eternity for the R18+ on games to finally proceed, maybe it wouldn't have been a big deal. Anyway, this better not be a total waste of what Australians did after Michael Atkinson resign to look after his family.
It amazes me how games like Gears of War 2 get classified as MA15+ when its clearly an R rated game. When parents see an R18+ it strikes a big pulse compared to seeing an MA game, these people just assume kids are going to get there hands on it but most gamers these days are in there 20s anyway(sorry don't know source). Gaming is truly becoming a big part of peoples lives and the industry is only going to expand so much further in the future.In this side of the world everyone knows what a movie is and everyone certainly knows at some degree what a video game is.Its bloody ridiculous. P.S If Gears of War 3 gets cancelled i'm going to be pissed off.
No matter what happens this is going to be drawn out, because as soon R18+ is approved the general news is going to go absolutely ballistic and do massive smear stories etc. It's how the business works, so they aren't going to do it fearing the response by the news showing the ignorant story that the voting majority (lets face it, gamers aren't the voting majority) will believe. Doing something big gets people voted out. They are just going to bide their time until they finish and then its the next person's problem.
Laura, please try and submit an article to a newspaper. So far you have to be a gamer (only 68% of us, I know) to come across this issue. This needs to be public so that the "silent minority" can have their say. This really is a civil liberty issue and needs to finally be resolved. I've read almost all of your articles on this subject and think that you present the argument strongly and professionally. So please, for the sake of the Australian people and their video game industry, write to a newspaper!
The Australian government should have no rights to censor things that cause no harm such a R18+ video games unless they provide clear evidence that 18 plus years old's are being effected. It's sad that they don't see rights as a big deal, what the #$%* is there job then!?
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