R18+ category for games in Australia heading for Jan 2013 implementation
It’s been a long, drawn-out campaign, but it seems there is an end-date in sight for the move to enable an R18+ classification for games in Australia. Home Affairs minister Jason Clare has today introduced a bill which proposes an act to ammend the currently existing Classification Act – and in so doing enable the establishment of an R18+ categorisation for video games. If this bill is successfully passed through both the Lower House and the Senate, the new legislation could go into effect beginning January 2013.
The ammendment to the Classification Act would mean that Australian computer game classification categories would be in line with Australian film classification categories and perhaps more importantly, would mean Australia would finally have a video games classification system which was similar to other country’s classification systems.
An R18+ video games classification would allow games currently ‘refused classification’ under our current system because they are deemed too confronting/inappropriate for our highest classification MA15+ to be distributed and sold throughout Australia under the new R18+ category.
The proposed ammendments to the currently existing act consist of adding ‘R18+’ to the relevant sections of the act, however no mention is made regarding the definition of an R18+ classification, nor what constitutes an R18+ classification.
This news doesn’t guarantee that Australia will have an R18+ classification, however. As things stand now, the bill needs to be debated in the Lower House, where there will be an opportunity to change or ammend the current bill before it is voted upon. If the vote is passed in the Lower House, the bill moves to the Senate, where another round of debate and voting occurs. If the majority approves the bill here, then it will be passed into law.
Barring no delays or unexpected hiccups, the Federal Government Legislation will come into effect on January 1, 2013.
It is envisaged that if the law is passed, the State and Territory governments will enact their own complimentary laws, which will likely go into effect later.
Whilst this is by no means the end to the R18+ classification debate in Australia, it is most definitely a step in the right direction, and with an end-date in sight is hopefully a motivational boost to those who have been campaigning long and hard for this new classification.