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14 Dec, 2009

R18 discussion paper released

PALGN News | Government now taking public submissions.
The discussion paper for an R18+ rating for video games in Australia has at long last been released by the Federal Government. You may recall that the intention to produce a discussion paper surfaced some time ago, but it has been repeatedly withheld for reasons unknown.

The sixteen-page discussion paper, which you can read in full here offers points both for and against the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games. It also briefly examines classification systems used in other countries.

The paper reasonably assumes that the criteria by which a game could potentially be be given an R18+ rating would be consistent with that applied to films. Importantly, it also stresses that games featuring extreme content, such as Japanese game Rapelay (one of South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson's chief arguments as to why an R18+ rating should not be allowed), would still be refused classification even with an R18+ rating in place.

The paper also includes details as to how submissions can be made to the Attorney-General's Department. Submissions should address the question 'Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R18+ classification category for video games?' The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2010.

A template for making submissions can be found here.

The report and template can be accessed in both DOC and PDF formats from here.

For more information on the R18+ issue, take a look at http://everyoneplays.org.au/

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30 Comments
4 years ago
I urge everybody submitting a submission to keep it clean. Writing "Michael Atkinson is a douche" isn't going to help anything, and it's only going to hurt our chances of getting what we need.
4 years ago
Excellent point Turbo.
4 years ago
Will EveryonePlays be preparing a submission?
4 years ago
Do submissions carry any weight? Or does Mr. Atkinson have the power to hold back change like usual?
4 years ago
Micheal Atkinson is a douche,

My macro is hard at work and worth every cent
4 years ago
^ I see you've returned from your ban ready to make more valuable contributions to the community.
4 years ago
This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for us to finally get an R18+ rating...
Maybe it won't happen directly from this discussion paper, but at least things are beginning to move in the right direction.

It will be interesting to see what the against arguments are. Usually they are coming from Mick's mouth and so I decide to tune out but perhaps there are some very valid reasons why we shouldn't (but I doubt it!).

I've emailed all of my gaming mates to step up and fill out the submission.

Good luck with your mature and valid submissions everyone!
4 years ago
'Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R18+ classification category for video games?'

First one to write "Yes" and only "yes" gets $5.
4 years ago
yes
4 years ago
rufati wrote
Do submissions carry any weight? Or does Mr. Atkinson have the power to hold back change like usual?
I think any submissions will be shrugged off by him as being by a 'small minority' because he knows he is right and no one will sway him from his preconceptions and prejudices.

That said, one hopes that if there's a clear sentiment across the community that the change needs to happen, he'd back down. Then again, when someone spends over two decades in office, I suspect they begin to take their power for granted and forget that their purpose is to represent not just their electorate, but when placed into a higher level of power, the wishes of their state and their country.

Unfortunately I can't see that happening based off his constant rhetoric. I suspect that he's actually playing this angle up to try and be seen as supporting 'family values'. Basically another 'think of the children' appeal. If he backflipped from here he'd probably be worried about how the change could be painted by political opponents. Trouble is, his current position is fairly tenuous and any half-decent opponent could turn his arguments back onto themselves, if only the media cared enough to actually report on it.

Honestly I hope he continues to push the line he does. We need to always respond with fact, pointing out that his well-intentioned stance is actually potentially harming the people he is trying to protect while inconveniencing the rest of the country's adults' ability to choose the media they consume. "Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake."
4 years ago
I'd also like to see people posting their submissions instead of email- I'm pretty sure it'd be actually read through rather than browsed over in an email.
4 years ago
NegativeZero: I don't think it would be very realistic to expect Atkinson to change his mind about the rating all on his own. Hopefully, what the public consulation will do is both demonstrate widespread public support for the rating (thus contradicting his claims of a "vocal minority") and get the other AGs on side so that they can lean on him. So even if he still chooses to stick to his guns anyway, it would be more difficult to do so in the face of overwhelming public and ministerial support.
4 years ago
Michael Atkinson wrote
98 per cent, 99 per cent of gamers will tell the difference between fantasy and reality", he expressed great concern that the remaining "1 per cent to 2 per cent could go on to be motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence.
This is what directly irks me about this man. Do we not have cars because 2% of drivers are morons? Should we wrap ourselves in cotton wool and stay home and hug the dog? Actually, 2% of dogs could be considered dangerous, best not to have one.
4 years ago
I'm not sure how much it will do but I have sent my submission. At least now the people are being heard.
4 years ago
@TurboPhoenix

But he is...

Hmmm. I'll have to re write mine

/kidding
4 years ago
I faxed my submission off this morning icon_smile.gif
4 years ago
For those who haven't sent in a submission yet, we're doing proofreading and assistance in this thread, too.
4 years ago
For those needing help, you could do a lot worse than grabbing some of the key points from the Everyone Plays website.

Main point I think is the fact that we 'want to think of the children' and have an 18+ rating so parents ARE more informed.

I am a parent of 2, and an avid gamer, but so many of my other 35+ gaming parents didn't even know the 360 had parental controls built in.

They need this rating, to protect their kids from themselves, and to get it through their thick skulls that gaming is no the sole domoain of children.

Good thread too JackSlack, I really hope this FINALLY gets us somewhere.
4 years ago
NegativeZero wrote
I think any submissions will be shrugged off by him as being by a 'small minority' because he knows he is right and no one will sway him from his preconceptions and prejudices.
The first notion one takes notice of in the discussion paper (and not the submission paper) is that it was released to further spur on discussion between the relevant parties involved;

Page 3: Introduction wrote
The Australian Government has produced this discussion paper to ask people in the broader community whether the categories of the NCS should apply to computer games in the same manner as it does for films....

This is your opportunity to tell the Australian and the State and Territory Governments your views before they consider whether the current situation should be changed.
Key words in that block to take note of include;

"Same manner as film" indicating that proponents of an adult rating that is not in line with R18+ (and say R21+ instead) are irrelevant to the discussion paper.

"should be changed" in regards to the further expressed opinion of the resident State, Territory and Federal representatives. Replies are asked to be succinct because they only carry weight if those involved believe they do, consider this a hiatus in high level discussion for submissions from the public to further spur on discussions in a possible new light when reconvening at a later date.

As it is, our opinions mean nothing on their own and the scope for the opinions is restricted to 250 words or less, cover not what is asked before in your level of agreement or disagreement with terms or ideologies covered, cover instead what you deem to be of highest importance.

For instance;

One cannot absolve parents of their responsibility in enforcing laws on their offspring, just as a parent who allows their 15 year old to view 18+ content in the home knowingly is breaking the law in its basic format, one cannot also condemn them for not ruling with an iron fist. Given the freedoms of the home and of the family you should agree that it would be hard for parents to enforce an age restriction, but at the same time the onus should be on them to attempt to do so through education and supervision.

A claim against an adult rating is the hardships on parents.
A claim for is the onus of the parents to provide parental guidance to their offspring.

You may deem it important that should you strongly agree with both concepts your own opinion / preference / understanding is then highlighted to be conveyed, you may not deem it as important and instead might highlight other faults, flaws contradictions or opinions you hold.

And probably finally, you know politicians and how they construe the public voice to fit agendas of the self, in saying that you know one mans agenda, and thus you know anothers in the process. Atkinson is not the lone voice against, and he is irrelevant in all definitions of the word, the agenda you should be playing to, if you choose to do so is towards his opposition and the current ally of gamers, for one needs to support an R18+ rating to have opposition to the viewpoint. Agendas are fickle things, Atkinsons will not last, nor will ours in their current format, they will shift and mutate when given the premise to do so, inherently this is what you can influence in part if the right person decides to use it.
4 years ago
Excellent advice, Fly.
4 years ago
"Yes" and only "yes"
4 years ago
What they should do is hand out the response papers at game retailers so the games can really have their say. I have been trying to pass the message around since it came out. C'mon lets make an R rating happen.
4 years ago
The Sydney Morning Herald and 7 Sunrise websites are running polls today on the issue.

Make your vote count!
4 years ago
Sent something to Sunrise and posted 3 times the polls on the site. It's the sort of media coverage this needs. (Not that they listened 2 months ago when I submitted the suggestion)
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