South Australia will introduce a new law that would ban anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing a game with a rating of MA15+, according to a report from Gamespot Australia. A spokesperson for South Australian Attorney-General John Rau told GameSpot that this move is "a more practical measure" than Rau's previously announced plan of removing the MA15+ category altogether.
"Complementary South Australian legislation [on R18+ for games] is likely to be introduced in State Parliament in May," Rau told GameSpot AU. "However, my long-stated position has been to protect children by creating a clearer distinction between games that may be suitable for children and those that are suitable only for adults."
"Therefore, my intention is that the South Australian legislation will prevent the sale of MA15+ games to minors. This move will give parents greater certainty about the appropriateness of games for their children."
The legislation recommends that sales of MA15+ games in the state be restricted to those over the age of 18, which doesn't make a lot of sense if you consider the ratings category. Under the proposed law, anyone under the age of 18 in South Australia would not be able to purchase MA15+-rated games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Rau's office said that the new law would be enforced at the retail level, but did not detail how it would be enforced and what penalties (if any) would be attached to breaking the law.
In April of last year Rau said that the MA15+ rating would be eliminated in favor of R18+, saying at the time that the state would only accept the new ratings range if the old one was completely eliminated. Rau's reasoning behind keeping the MA15+ rating, according to Gamespot, is to create a clearer gap between content made for children and content made for adults.
"At the moment, there is an unbroken continuum from G to PG to M to MA15+, which includes some pretty violent games," Rau said last April. "What we want to do is make sure there is a clear gap between material for adult and material for children and empower responsible parents by making sure game classifications are helpful. No adult would be any worse off [with the abolition of MA15+ for games]; in fact, adults would be better off because there would be more games available in the R18+ category."
Rau's office plans to have the legislation before parliament as early as next month, but first it must gain approval by the South Australian cabinet.