The Labor Federal Government has advocated the introduction of an adult R18+ rating for video games in Australia as a new survey finds 80 per cent in favour of a reworked classification system.
Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has stated the Gillard Labor Government fully supports an adult rating for games in Australia.
"We want to provide better guidance for parents and remove unsuitable material from children and teenagers. The introduction of an R18+ classification will help achieve that," O'Connor said in a press statement released yesterday.
"There are dozens of games that are currently classified as MA15+ in Australia, but in other countries these gaming titles are restricted to adults only. If the new category is introduced, it could result in computer games that are currently classified MA15+ being reclassified R18+, providing a new level of protection for children", O'Connor said
"Games that are currently refused classification and do not meet the standard required for R18+ classification will remain in the refused classification category", he said.
"We believe that this is the right decision for Australian families and the right decision for parents who want to be able to make informed choices about the games their children play. Children and teenagers shouldn't be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games," Mr O'Connor said.
O'Connor says he will "advocate" for the R18+ rating at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on Friday, 10 December.
The Minister also released the results of a recent government-commissioned Galaxy Survey into the issue, which found 80 per cent of respondents supported the introduction of an R18+ for video games in Australia. The survey — which was conducted in May, and surveyed 2226 people across the nation — found that 91 per cent of adults would clearly know that a game classified R18+ would be unsuitable for children.
Other findings include 81 per cent of those over the age of 50 and 76 per cent of households with children under 18 also supported an R18+. Broken down by state, Western Australians showed 84 per cent in favor, Victorians were 82 per cent, Tasmania was 82 per cent, South Australia 81 per cent, Northern Territory 81 per cent, Queensland 80 per cent, New South Wales 77 per cent, and the ACT was 77 per cent.
While the public support of the Federal Government is an important step in the introduction of an R18+ rating, the change would need to be approved by all of Australia's state, territory and federal government.
"This survey also reflects the community feedback that I and many members of the Gillard Government have received from our constituents in recent years," O’Connor said.