For release: Tuesday April 12, 2011

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has expressed concern today that the R18+ computer game debate was descending into farce following the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor’s appeal to employment opportunities and the economy as justifications for allowing more violent and sexually explicit games into Australia.

“Linking an apparent boost in the economy to the creation of more graphically violent and sexually explicit interactive computer games reduces this debate to farce,” said ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace.

“Ensuring children are not exposed to the introduction of violent games should come before industry profits and economic concerns.

“First the creation of the R18+ rating was meant to be about the rights of adults to play adult games, then it was supposedly about protecting children, and now it is about creating jobs and boosting the economy,” he said.

“Adults have a duty to consider the costs of their choices, especially when doing so will see more children accessing violent games. With US research showing that children there regularly play ‘adult games’ such as Grand Theft Auto, nobody can honestly claim that placing an ‘R’ on the package will prevent Australian children from also accessing such material.

“Introducing an R18+ rating for games has never been a child protection measure, and this new claim to major economic benefit from R18+ games reflects a mark of desperation in the debate,” said Mr Wallace.

Mr Wallace urged the Attorneys-General around Australia to think carefully before opening the doors to more violent games, which credible research clearly demonstrates does do harm to children.