Last month, Australia's attorneys-general agreed "in-principle” to introduce an R18+ ratings category for video games in the country. At the same time, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith abstained from the R18+ vote, but promised to take the issue back to his Cabinet before making a final decision. Despite the fact that Smith abstained from voting, Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor announced that the federal government would move ahead with introducing the R18+ rating for games based on the support from the remaining states and territories.
The good news today, according to GameSpot, is that Smith has decided to support the general consensus of other AG's that a new ratings classification is needed.
In a statement to the ABC, Smith's office announced the NSW government's formal support of R18+:
"Few people would dispute the value of a classification system that helps keep adult material beyond the reach of children," Smith said in the statement. "With strong classification guidelines in place, an R18+ rating should result in violent games currently rated MA15+ in Australia being reclassified as adults-only, as they already are in many other countries. ''
Smith added that he would work with other attorneys-general on drafting the national R18+ for games guidelines.
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor welcomed Smith's announcement, saying:
"I am delighted that NSW has decided to support what is not just a practical public policy, but a very popular policy," O'Connor said in a statement to the media. "The introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games will provide better advice to parents and help prevent children and teenagers from accessing unsuitable material. Once introduced, the new classification will also afford adults the opportunity to view material designed for adults."
"It is a credit to all jurisdictions that the meeting has now been able to achieve agreement over what is a complex matter in classification policy."
O'Connor's office has said that the Australian government is in the process of preparing legislation that would introduce R18+ for games. This would include the new classification, along with changes to existing rules and categories in the current ratings system. One of the interesting changes is to "ultra violent" games getting a rating for adults only. In the past games such as Mortal Kombat were simply refused classification because of extremely violent content. Under the new ratings system there might be a place for games such as MK. Games with strong sexual content will probably have a more difficult time, but that's the standard in just about every place in the world.
Source: GameSpot by way of Cheater87.