In brief:

  • Federal Government plans to introduce R18+ rating for computer games;

  • The R18+ rating will allow higher levels of interactive violence and explicit sex to become legal;

  • Complete the online survey and email classification ministers expressing your opposition to the proposal.

In late May the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor released new draft guidelines for the classification of computer games. The draft guidelines provide for the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.

The draft guidelines would allow almost precisely the same guidelines for R18+ films to apply to computer games, thereby opening the Australian hire and sale markets to a higher level of graphically violent and sexually explicit interactive games.

For the very first time, computer games with sexual activity that may be ‘realistically simulated’, and games with ‘virtually’ no restrictions on language and the treatment of themes such as racism and suicide, would be legal in Australia according to the draft guidelines.

The Minister has claimed that an R18+ rating for games will protect children from inappropriate ‘adult’ content by moving games from the MA15+ rating – currently the highest classification for computer games – into a more restricted R18+ category.

But the draft guidelines don’t shift MA15+ content to the R18+ rating; they simply allow a higher level of content than is currently legal to enter the market, and with children sure to access such games, the proposed R18+ games classification is no child protection measure.

The gaming industry and its supporters are very vocal and active on this issue, so it is vitally important that some balance is introduced into the R18+ games debate by those concerned about the proliferation of violence and sex in the entertainment media.

The draft guidelines require the agreement of state and territory classification ministers, who will meet to discuss the proposed R18+ rating for games in late July. You can influence the outcome of that meeting by doing the following two things by Friday July 15:

  1. Tell them that you are against an R18+ category for computer games and the draft guidelines through an online survey; and,

  2. Email your state/territory classification minister and the Minister for Home Affairs expressing your opposition to the proposal (contact details below).

To assist in your correspondence, you might wish to read ACL’s media release in response to the release of the draft guidelines for games, and an Online Opinion article highlighting the discrepancy between widespread concern with the classification system and this move to further liberalise it.

Contact details:

Federal – Brendan O’Connor Brendan.O'[email protected]
New South Wales – Greg Smith [email protected]
Victoria – Robert Clark [email protected]
Queensland – Paul Lucas [email protected]
Western Australia – Christian Porter [email protected]
South Australia – John Rau [email protected]
Tasmania – Brian Wightman [email protected]
Australian Capital Territory – Simon Corbell [email protected]
Northern Territory – Delia Lawrie [email protected]