The Australian Christian Lobby has asked classification ministers meeting in Adelaide later this week that they should wait until the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) completes its review of the National Classification Scheme before voting on video game classification reform that would add a new R18+ rating.
ACL spokesman Rob Ward said that news about South Australian Attorney-General John Rau's desire to reclassify existing MA15+ games as R18+ may have some merits, but going doing so independent of other jurisdictions would complicate an already confusing ratings system.
"Mr. Rau’s suggestion wouldn’t address or fix the problems inherent in the existing classification system, such as subjective and ill-defined guidelines," he said. "The system also requires proper enforcement mechanisms and consequences for publishers and retailers who breach the guidelines."
He went on to say that that a broader approach to game classification is needed that the "ACL sees the ALRC’s review as the best way to bring some much needed change to the system."
ACL has asked ministers to reject the proposal of Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor to use the current R18+ guidelines for films as the basis for rating games because that system does not take account of the differences between these types of media and the way they are consumed.
"You can’t equate an R18+ game with an R18+ film because games are interactive and repetitively engage the gamer in acts of violence and sex," Ward said. "Allow the Australian Law Reform Commission to complete its comprehensive review and detail how games should be classified and whether they should be introduced into the Australian market."
We will continue to follow this story as it develops. Australians want an R18+ classification, so hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.
Source: ACL by way of Uncharted NES.