Delay on new R18+ classification

29 Jan, 2011 04:00 AM
DESPITE plenty of campaigning, no change has yet been made to implement an R18+ classification for video games.When Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor met all the attorneys-general in Canberra in December they failed to implement an adult category for video games.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association chief executive, Ron Curry, of Peakhurst, represented the video gaming industry at the meeting.

He said even though the classification was not changed, the campaign had been a big step forward.

“It was a productive meeting and we had a good in-depth discussion with all the ministers,” Mr Curry said.

“The next step now is for us to present a draft at the next meeting in March which will outline what an R18+ classification would look like.”

He said that without a definite adult category, banned games that did not suit the MA15+ rating — the toughest classification in Australia — could still be watered down so they fitted into that category.

“Hard core gamers are buying banned video games online or in New Zealand,” Mr Curry said.

“An R18+ rating would be a very clear symbol for parents, and right now we are not satisfied with just MA15+.”

But FamilyVoice Australia research officer Roslyn Phillips welcomed the decision to not move ahead with an R18+ video classification.

Mrs Phillips said she supported the views of Professor Elizabeth Handsley and Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace, who were both at the meeting.

“The ban is there because games are more dangerous than passive media such as films,” Mrs Phillips said. “Game players personally identify with the aggressor – acting out the entire sequence of violence, whether it be punching, shooting or raping.”

But Mrs Phillips did not condemn all video games, and said non-violent ones were effective teaching props.

“Games with an MA15+ rating should be changed to an adult category,” Mrs Phillips said.

“We need to correctly inform the parents of the content before they pass it on to their children.”

Rockdale resident and gamer Alison Joyce said she was disappointed with the outcome.

In 2010 Ms Joyce took part in a zombie march and walked through the city streets to protest for a clear, R18+ video game classification.

“It’s a shame . . . We are trying to change these laws to benefit children and to bring more games into Australia,” she said.

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