Australian R18+ games classification to become reality

The R18+ games classification legislation has passed without amendment in the House of Representatives, bringing Australia closer to an R18+ category for computer games.

The Bill will be presented to the Senate for debate in coming weeks, with the Federal Government adamant it will be passed.

“The legislation is expected to pass the Senate,” a spokesperson for the minister of home affairs, Jason Clare, told Computerworld Australia.

“The legislation has received support across the Parliament. It has been recognised as a sensible reform that has been 10 years in the making.

“If there are no amendments, the Bill has passed the Parliament and then just needs assent by the Governor-General to make it federal law.”

Denying claims that computer games will come under stricter classification standards than those applied to film, the spokesperson said the reforms will align the classification of computer games with existing categories used to classify films instead.

In addition, the spokesperson added: “Computer games will need to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Act, Code and Guidelines, which are currently being finalised.”

According to a government statement, the new legislation will also bring the Australian classification system in line with international standards.

Following the passing of the Bill through the Senate, each state and territory must pass its own complementary R18+ games classification legislation by the end of 2012.

When asked if the government will take into account a broader classification reform in line with the Australian Law Reform Commission review, the spokesperson said: “The Federal Government, along with state and territory governments, will consider the detailed work undertaken and the range of recommendations of the Commission.”

The national scheme is expected to commence on 1 January 2013.

The introduction of an R18+ category for computer games has been the subject of extensive public consultation over recent years.

The Attorney-General’s Department released a discussion paper on the introduction in 2009, which received 58,437 submissions in response with 98 per cent of these in favour of an R18+ games classification.

Follow Diana Nguyen on Twitter: @diananguyen9

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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