As I’ve said before, just because the present Classification Scheme gives every state attorney-general a veto over any change to classification rules, doesn’t mean that the agreement on which the scheme is based can’t be changed. It’s not in the Constitution that states have to have the same rating system; it’s better if possible, and that would be everyone’s preference, but where it’s being made ridiculous by a lone crank each time, it’s just not worth the cost.
Fortunately, the federal government appears to have come to the same conclusion:
The Federal Government has given state and territory attorneys-general until July to decide whether to introduce an R18+ classification for video games.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says after a decade of debate, it is crunch time.
“We’re becoming the laughing stock of the developed world, where we’re the only country that doesn’t have an R18 classification level for video games.
“I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that’s actually, in my view, causing harm to young people.”
The Federal Government says reforming the system will help protect children, inform parents and give adult gamers more choice.
“I’m not going to let this matter end because it’s too important to allow one or two jurisdictions to stop the majority of jurisdictions in this country moving on an important reform,” Mr O’Connor said.
Now THAT is how to cut through the bull. Call them on it. Don’t let them hide behind a secretive little meeting where nobody has to take responsibility publicly for their vote. It has never made sense that some MP in the South Australian state parliament can tell Victorian adults what they can watch. No wonder Australians have such contempt for the rating system as presently designed.
But a rating system is important. People should have a guide as to what kind of content they’re about to consume – and what kind of content they’re going to let their kids consume. We need a rating system the country can respect.
Let’s hope the federal government gets it done before it expends all its political capital on another issue.
UPDATE: Now the Tasmanian AG has come out and confirmed he’ll be supporting such a rating. What’s the position of the other AG’s going to be?