Australian Parliament To Create R18+ Category For Games

By Adam Smith on June 18th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

The death of decent society comes ever closer with the news that the Australian Parliament is creating a category for those ultraviolent games you might have read about or envisaged in your bleakest nightmares. Now it falls to the individual States and Territories to pass their own complementary legislation for regulation and, if all goes well, by the first of January 2013 “adults [will be] able to choose what games they play within the bounds of the law”. A terrifying notion, I’m sure you’ll agree.

It’s ridiculous to think that the statement above indirectly states that, at this moment, Australian adults can not choose what games they play because of failures to set “the bounds of law”. Clearly something along these lines should have happened a long time ago, as games will now be classified in line with the categories already used for films, meaning that what’s good for the goose should soon be good for the gander. In this instance the ‘goose’ is an adult watching a film and the ‘gander’ is an adult playing a game.

Jason Clare, Minister for Home Affairs, has this to say over on his website.

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 of an R 18+ classification category for computer games in 2009. They received 58,437 submissions in response with 98 per cent of these supporting the introduction of an R 18+ category.

The wheels of classification turn slowly.

The draft guidelines call for permission for sale to be given to games that include strong realistic violence as long as it isn’t “frequent” or “unduly repetitive”, and for the implication of sexual violence to be permitted “if non-interactive and if justified by context”. Justice Minister Brendan O’Connor says that the new classification will “protect children from violent and sexually exploitative content, while allowing adults to play adult-designed games.”

It all sounds very sensible, although it may not simply be a method of making more games available. The Australian Christian Lobby have already greeted the measures with cautious optimism, mainly due to what they claim is a commitment to reclassify some MA15+ games into the higher category. Perhaps Australian readers could let us know which games that they are allowed to purchase would benefit from being more strictly classified and which games that are currently forbidden would fit neatly into the 18+ category?

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94 Comments »

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  1. Brun says:

    Looks like we need an “upside-down map” tag.

  2. Hypernetic says:

    Is nowhere on Earth still sacred and free from violent vidjya games?!?!?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Now I’m stuck with the image of penguin on penguin violence being blamed on grand theft auto.

      • Jim9137 says:

        Don’t bring up those penguins. That’s just tasteless.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          One penguin was seen giving fish to a female, and after sex, pushing her over and taking the fish back

          Well, damn.

    • Shuck says:

      It’s madness gone politically correct!

  3. Joshua Northey says:

    Yay for upside down maps! Help people better understand the world.

    As for the ignorance and silliness in the Australian legal situation, well at least they don’t have as many crazies as the US!

    • Xzi says:

      I can agree with that. It probably has something to do with the fact that Australia is mostly one big beach. I’d be pretty pissed off about all the wrong things too if my dreams had failed and I had to live in a trailer with six kids somewhere in Bumfuck, Arkansas. Surrounded by nothing but wheat fields and meth-heads.

      • Brun says:

        I thought Australia was one big desert, with a beach going around the outside.

        • Xzi says:

          Well, looking at a population density map, I’d say that the vast majority of Aussies are probably no more than an hour out from the beach.

          http://maps.unomaha.edu/peterson/funda/MapLinks/Australia/Australia_files/image013.jpg

          In any case, I’m pretty sure that buying/renting near the beach isn’t nearly as costly as it is here in the US.

          • Mattressi says:

            Hahaha! Good one!

            Oh wait…you’re serious? The price of just about everything over here is at least 1.5x the price of the same item in the US (though usually it’s 2x or more). Housing, especially, is expensive here, relative to income. The average house price to income ratio for Australia is 4.2, while for the US, it is 3.2.

            In short, everything is more expensive in Australia, relative to income, than in the US.

    • Stromko says:

      I’ve gotten the impression over the years that Australia is the ‘Deep South’ of the British Commonwealth. Not as screwed up as the southern U.S., but statistically speaking not very progressive.

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        Then you’ve never come to Western Canada. To give you an idea, I was surprised and happy to learn that Alberta elected the conservatives (I’m leftist), because the other party, Wildrose, is so right-wing it’s going backwards in time to the early 20th century.

        • Schmouddle says:

          A leftist friendly fire? Is that something like manning a machine gun nest BEHIND our own infantry? Glad you are across the pond. :D

      • Minigrinch says:

        We have the second highest living standards in the world and are set to be no 1 for the next 30ish years…

      • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

        Australia, which is I’m informed a continent as well, is a relatively big place. The culture does vary between the states and territories that make up the country, so generalising about the whole thing is a bit silly.

        Just sayin.

      • noodlecake says:

        I thought so too. Lots of homophobia, crazy gun laws, hatred of foreigners coming over and taking err jerbs (Durkur Dur!) and other forms of generally moronic right wingness.

        • scatterbrainless says:

          Yeah, we are pretty bad on the homophobia and racism fronts. But, I mean, we never elected David Cameron or Nicholas Sarkozy (or form a joint-government with that crazy Dutch guy who called Muslim culture “retarded”), so it’s arguable that its hard to find a country without pretty embedded examples of both. Also our gun control laws are actually very, very progressive, especially ever since the Port Arthur massacre in ’99, after which we banned the ownership of any automatic weapon.

        • Tubbins says:

          Hey thanks for the sweeping generalisation. You concisely conveyed your complete ignorance and managed to do it with an air of pompous superciliousness that would impress even the most inbred of monarchs.

          • Premium User Badge

            Jackablade says:

            To be fair, while it’s a pretty sweeping generalisation, there are a depressing large number of people here who would fall under that description. I suspect sadly though, that the same could be said for anywhere in the world. It’s pretty easy to get the same impressions of the British listening to the tidbits of news that filter down our way, whether they’re accurate or not.

            As a counter, there’s currently 2 well supported bills for gay marriage working their way through the governments red tape tangle. I think they’re unlikely to happen, but at least it shows that we’re not completely backwards here

        • soldant says:

          Yeah, we’re so right wing conservative, what with our extensive welfare, free public healthcare, and government-subsidised university education… not to mention that even Airsoft rifles are classified as firearms. Man, so right-wing!

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      lurkalisk says:

      Fortunately for USians, it’s rather difficult for the crazies to do a damn thing about some of the country’s most enshrined institutions. Institutions that make this sort of thing (effectively banning certain games) outright impossible.

      Unfortunately for USians, there are many more things to worry about.

  4. MrCrun says:

    Fallout 3. I always thought it was weird they wanted the morphine renamed but not for the decapitations and other limb losses cutting.

    • gladius2metal says:

      yeah, maybe Australian streets are filled with morphine addicts…

      “On July 4, 2008, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the ACB in Australia, thus making it illegal to distribute or purchase the game in the country. In order for the game to be reclassified, the offending content in the Australian version of the game would have had to be removed by Bethesda Softworks and the game resubmitted to the ACB.[117][118] According to the ACB board report, the game was refused classification due to the “realistic visual representations of drugs and their delivery method [bringing] the ‘science-fiction’ drugs in line with ‘real-world’ drugs.”[119]”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallout_3#Drug_references

    • wu wei says:

      The problem is “they” don’t want anything: it’s generally only a handful of people or one individual with a political drum to beat who have been behind such bans here. The real issue is the Classification Board has the power to censor anything that a “reasonable adult” is offended by, or that feels violates “community standards”, neither of which are actually objective measures.

      I don’t really expect it to have much more of an impact, other than for some currently MA games to be ghettoised further.

  5. jonfitt says:

    strong realistic violence as long as it isn’t “frequent” or “unduly repetitive”

    Uh-oh, CoD is in trouble then.

  6. Mr. Mister says:

    There goes Mario Party.

    EDIT: Also I notice how “computer games” is remarked. DId I miss something?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    No longer shall Australia be denied the simple pleasures of:

    WARFACE!

  8. jd says:

    Australian commenters might be a while, as it’s 5.30am here.

    The R18+ rating could mean Australians are free to buy the uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2 instead of hypothetically having a friend in New Zealand gift a copy of their version to us. Hypothetically.

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      I hope so! That’d sure be nice for our friends down under.

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        mrwonko says:

        But not as nice for their friends in New Zealand.

        Anyway, as a German I know how you feel. Fun fact: Australians get the same cut L4D2 version as the Germans, except they may buy it at 15 while it’s 18+ in Germany. And the Germans got some weapons as compensation. The uncut version, on the other hand, is about as forbidden as it gets. (Yes, there are several stages of “no rating”.)

    • timmay479 says:

      Aussie here up late watching dreamhack, games such as L4D2 would need to be re-submitted to the OFLC for classification. It is still unclear if titles like Mortal Kombat 9 will even receive a rating if re-submitted as there is still the Refused Classification category the majority guidelines for an MA15+ game in the old system may just be shifted up to the R category. Hopefully all goes well and no other state governments follow suit with South Australia by just classifying every MA game as R18.

    • gmcleod says:

      Oh, I’d forgotten about the L4D2 cut version we got. That was an annoying kerfuffle. I got a uni friend to buy it when he went home to Thailand for me :P

      And my sympathies to our friends in Germany, who apparently still need to be over 18 to buy a game that has so little graphic violence it might as well be Mario Party.

  9. King_Rocket says:

    I always thought that The Most recent GTA games should have been 18+ here, also L.A. Noir, some of those crime scenes are perhaps a little too much for the 15+ crowd.

  10. Strutter says:

    As if it wasn’t enough that they pay twice/ thrice as much for their games than us.

  11. Premium User Badge

    WeeMadAndo says:

    This doesn’t necessarily mean anything. One of the R18+ changes that was in progress was simply re-labelling MA15+ as R18+ without altering any classification guidelines.

    So don’t get your hopes up. Jim Wallace et al might be too busy trying to prevent gays from being real people at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that Parliament is going to be any less favourable towards them if it means they can get their vote on lock down.

  12. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Finally, unbound by draconian censorship we will get the definitive Neighbours game that is true to the source material.

  13. Gasmask Hero says:

    This Australia is small. That one there is very far away

    Well, you know, for a lot of us, anyway.

  14. ComradeJohan says:

    This rating will mean I can finally play Left4dead2 without crying.

    There was briefly an intentional loophole left by a rebellious Valve (presumably) which meant changing one number in a config file meant blood and gore, but it didn’t last long before word got to the Australian thought-police and it was patched out. Since then I literally could not play L4D2, they simply toned it down to a completely unplayable level of non-violence. If you are curious, Google and YouTube should festoon you with the extent of the damage.

    The only other game I personally know of is Mortal Kombat (the new one) being banned.

    The thing that confuses me about Australian Censorship is what gets through at the moment, Left4Dead2 was toned down, while the thousand-times-more-bloodthirsty Dead island sailed through without a ripple.

    • Shorinji says:

      It came down to the context in which it was submitted.

      I think the reason why L4D2 was refused classification was because the enemies were submitted as “infected human” where as the Dead Island ones were submitted as zombies.

      • ComradeJohan says:

        I suppose they did not play up to the part where you could throw your burning axe at a human enemy, immolate him and -while he burns- jump on his face.

        Good times.

      • vagabond says:

        I think what matters much more is which person in the OFLC (or whatever it’s new name is) it is given to. The language in the act that defines the ratings is very vague in terms of what levels of violence or sexual content are allowed before a game is refused classification. What is more black and white is the “realistic drug use” or “sexual violence” equals refused classification parts.
        I suspect if the individuals who reviewd L4D2 and Dead Island had been swapped over, L4D2 would have passed untouched into the MA15+ rating, and Dead Island would be a parallel import from New Zealand if you wanted to play it.

        • Saiko Kila says:

          That seems plausible. One censor has a first-hand experience of alcohol abuse, other censor has a first hand experience of methamphetamine use, and another one prefers just opioids. Therefore each one of them has knowledge of realistic use of some drugs, and only a vague idea of use of different drugs. I suppose that to increase its performance and uniformity levels when reaching decision, that Australian censorship body should hire some veterans from local rehab centres.

          • vagabond says:

            I’m not sure you actually got what I was driving at there which is that the classification guidelines talk about “moderate violence” and “violence is permitted if justified by context”, where exactly what constitutes moderate violence or a justifing context in a fairly subjective thing that may vary wildly from reviewer to reviewer; whereas “encouraging proscribed drug use” is pretty black and white in comparison. Which is why morphine giving you health back with no possibily of side effects or overdose, or gaining experience points from smoking a thingly vieled marijuana analogue will get your game refused classification without fail, but violent FPS #1 will get stopped while ultra-violent FPS #2 gets through without an issue.

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          drewski says:

          Valve applied for review of the initial decision and it was upheld, so at least 3 of the classification board looked at it and and least two of them agreed it didn’t fit the MA15+ classification.

          Unless Valve apply to have L4D2 reclassified under the new regime in 2013, I’m not sure anything will be changed.

    • Wunce says:

      I managed to change the values to get the uncensored version, ran a local server and had friends join through hamachi this year so I guess the loophole is still partially open.

      I found it interesting that when I changed it back to the censored version it didn’t bother me at all.

  15. LuNatic says:

    The draft guidelines call for permission for sale to be given to games that include strong realistic violence as long as it isn’t “frequent” or “unduly repetitive”

    Damn it. That ends my plans to make Bogan Wars: The Western Frontier.

    • Mattressi says:

      You could always make a strategy game out of it, instead:

      “Control a bogan family as it expands the Western Fronier (Western Sydney). Reproduce as quickly as possible, taking over entire housing commission blocks and fortifying your settlements with old furniture, scrap metal and rubbish. But be careful, overextending your lines can have dire consequences – moving far from Centrelink offices and bottle shops can sew discontent amongst your tribe and may lead to missed dole payments and moments of sobriety.”

      Though, if there is meant to be resource management in the game, it would be kind of easy: increasing your population count would actually increase the available resources (money).

      • Haderak says:

        Best game EVER!

        Take it to Kickstarter.

      • DodgyG33za says:

        Reminds me a bit of It’s A Crime, a play by mail game I played for a while back in the 80’s.

      • soldant says:

        You could also have a minigame to avoid the Department of Child Safety and ranting in front of Today Tonight before your benefits get cut.

  16. havocO17 says:

    Finally our evil plan has begun, now that we have an R18+ rating in Australia we can move on to our true goals the legalisation of corpse marriage and fueling all cars with the tears of children HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Foolish Fools didn’t you realise that keeping adult video games out of Australia was the only way to prevent society from destroying itself.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      Hey, if you get decent mileage out of child tears at a lower cost than petroleum, I dare say there’d be plenty who’d get behind that bill.

  17. Merus says:

    The R18+ argument only got moving once gamers started putting forward the idea that some games are classified as MA that probably should be R, such as GTA. So that’s what that’s about; basically we kind of doubt there are a lot of games that are going to continue to be banned.

    • Snam says:

      That’s not really true. There were myriad reasons for the new legislation but one of the most pressing points was that it brought Australia in line with other developed nations. This was the point that was stressed when the argument was raised in Parliament.

      • vagabond says:

        No, the main reason that this happened now rather than earlier is that the Attorney General from SA that refused to even have a discussion about the possibility of an R rating, and actively worked to hold up every review of the process that was undertaken, is no longer in office.

  18. Snam says:

    Just letting y’all know that this bill doesn’t really have any effect until the states update their respective legislation, which will take further time to get through depending on the state. The Commonwealth doesn’t have jurisdiction on these matters but instead tells the states how their legislation should look. There still a chance for a state or two to spoil things (Newman’s QLD, I’m looking at you).

    Also, this doesn’t mean that previously Refused Classification (they were not technically ‘banned’ but rather refused the classification that would allow them to be sold) aren’t suddenly classified, they have to go through the whole process again.

    Finally, all y’all saying that the map is upside down might want to explain under what rationale that north is up.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Why is North up?

      It is the way God looks at the universe. He (or she) may be all seeing and knowing, but looking at the universe from a different z axis makes His (or Her) head spin.

      That He (or She) chooses to use the Earths axis of spin at all is just a 1 in 90 chance and in no way should be taken to indicate any special interest in us. After all, it is a big universe.

      • Premium User Badge

        Jackablade says:

        Australia is down under. Therefore all places are “up” from here.

  19. lociash says:

    As a Brit living in Aus, I believe I’ll continue importing the games I buy from such places as ozgameshop, it’s very nice of the government to finally create a classification for adult games but I refuse to buy anything locally as they are want to charge outrageous prices.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Same here. Haven’t bought a game at a retail store in Australia for many years. Too expensive, plus I am too lazy to go out and get skin cancer. Or something.

    • ActionFlash says:

      Same here. Been in Oz 3 years now and still can’t bring myself to spend $109 on a new release game at retail. Some publishers are starting to get better with their Steam prices (Codemasters for one) and start at $50 for a new release. Then you Skyrim which is still $99, which for a digital release is insane!

      And wasn’t Syndicate banned in Australia as well last year?

      • stillwater says:

        People should stop judging the prices of games unilaterally. I mean, look at how many hours you’re likely to actually spend in Skyrim. $-per-hour, it’s probably one of the cheapest games on the market. Honestly, I think it’d be more reasonable if Skyrim was $150, while a short FPS like Crysis was $40.

        • Premium User Badge

          Jackablade says:

          What people -should- stop doing is buying games from EB. You can get new games off the shelf for literally half the price from some of the independent stores in Melbourne. I’m sure this isn’t a unique phenomenon.

        • ActionFlash says:

          Value tried that with Portal but I don’t think it works. 10 hours of amazing gameplay is surely worth more than 50 hours of boring fetch quests (and not picking on Skyrim here as I’ve never played it). And who decides the game is worth more than another? Say Skyrim was sold for $150 and it sold in amazing quantities, all the other publishers would then start charging $150 for their games!

  20. Runs With Foxes says:

    I think one of the agreements they made to pacify the Christian Lobby was that games that had already been banned couldn’t be resubmitted. But I guess that’d have to be specifically written into law, so I don’t know if that’s actually the case.

    This also doesn’t prevent strange bannings. Marc Ecko’s Getting Up was banned a few years ago because it instructed people in graffiti crime (seriously), and as far as I know it could still be banned with an R rating.

    And as as poster above said, this doesn’t necessarily mean much. When this was initially agreed to (including by the Christian Lobby — farcical that they have so much influence), there was some talk that the R rating guidelines would not be much different from the MA guidelines. If so, that doesn’t make film and games equal at all. It just gives an R rating in name only. So we’ll need to see the actual legislation eventually passed by states.

    • Snam says:

      It’s not specifically mention on the bill, in fact you could read the whole bill in less than a minute (it’s pretty much just ‘replace MA15+ with R18+’) You can check the bill out at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/bill/cfacga18cgb2012739/

      That, of course, doesn’t stop the states or C’th from requesting the OFLC not to allow resubmission of previously refused classification games, it’s just that it would be an executive decision not a legislative requirement.

      • vagabond says:

        http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2008C00126
        The classification guidelines for Film and Computer games are the same, so an R rating for Computer Games is definately stronger than an MA and this isn’t just a case of slapping an R sticker on MA content.
        In practical terms, a lot of what would/should be R rated is currently getting by as MA, and so not a lot will change unless you asre 15-17 years old and buy your own games. What it will stop is the L4D2 and Mortal Kombat stuff. The Fallout 3 and Risen drug use stuff will likely still end up RC because of the “promotes drug use” aspect being outside the scope of an R rating.

        Who knows if L4D2 etc. will get reclassified as you generally need to appeal a classification decision within 30 days of it being issued. Although I don’t think that is hard and fast and “the laws have changed since then” seems a pretty reasonable justification for a second review.

        • Muzman says:

          It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. Having parity with film might give a game stronger arguments based on what has been approved for films previously/recently. I suspect they will still be challenged on the grounds that they are games and therefore have greater magical mind warping powers (and then hopefully challenged back for employing a ratings disparity not in law)

          It’s still amazing to compare the Aus ratings board with the English one. They’re so open and discursive. Australia’s is mean, secretive, tricky and defensive. The impression I have is they are, or have been, under constant pressure from religious conservatives within, without and in government for so long just talking is often risky.

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          drewski says:

          Valve had the L4D2 decision reviewed and it was upheld.

          If they want to resubmit the red blood version, they have to pay a new fee and get a new decision.

      • Premium User Badge

        Jackablade says:

        The thing is, you won’t get resubmission anyway. Getting games classified is expensive and given the size of our gaming population it’s not going to be worth spending a huge amount of money on games which have been kicking around for perhaps years to get an R-Rating slapped on when they’re not going to net the publisher any returns.
        Maybe Valve would resubmit Left 4 Dead 2 as they like to appear benevolent, and with the recent Payday business, it seems like they want to keep the game fresh in the minds of gamers but even that seems pretty unlikely.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          The fee is only between A$430 and A$1210, depending on circumstance, and the Board must make a decision with 20 working days of an application being lodged.

          Not saying Valve should or would do it, just that it’s unlikely to be the financial cost or the timeframe that stops them.

          • Premium User Badge

            Jackablade says:

            Really? Hm. Maybe it’s more the pain in the arse of getting all of the videos together of the “objectionable material” that developers take issue with… assuming I’m not misinformed on that too.

  21. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    I just want this to be done so we can move on.

  22. gmcleod says:

    Umm, Games currently unavailable in Aust: Mortal Kombat, Syndicate, and a few of those ultraviolence games..

    Games currently available but will probably change to R18+: Aliens vs Predator, Maybe Gears of War, Maybe some of the CoD games, and similar ultra violent man shoots. Hell, maybe Max Payne 3.

    I’m mostly thinking about shooters and rockstar games lol.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      No currently classified game will be re-classified unless someone with the power to do so (the state and Federal Attorney-General(s) are the ones with the power to request reclassification, from memory) asks for the classification to be reviewed, which is pretty improbable for a game that will have been out for 6+ months (by the time the new regime comes into effect).

  23. scatterbrainless says:

    The unspoken limitation in this legislation is that in order for parliament to consider you an adult in Australia, you have to be a baby-boomer.

  24. trugstomp says:

    As long as the ACL has a say in Government policy we will never have a decent classification system. This hasn’t really changed anything for adults who don’t wish to be treated like children.

  25. stillwater says:

    About time. Although, having said that, it’s kind of a moot point, as I’ve never actually come across a game that I was unable to buy as an Australian.

    I think the closest I’ve come is Left4Dead2 which was released with less gore. Which was fine with me, since I’m not 13 and therefore I don’t play games for the gore.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      The cuts did actually have a noticeable affect on some elements of gameplay. The inability to tell whether an enemy is on fire was probably the most notable.

  26. elysrum says:

    Question for the Australians out there…..Does the R18 classification come with a whole set of sales regulations as well?

    i.e. In the UK only licenced sex shops are allowed to sell : R18 media (This also means online sales are usually not permitted)

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      I don’t imagine that’ll be the case. They’re pushing for that kind of thing with both games and movie in South Australia (that’s one of our states, for you foreign devils), but generally speaking R-Rated movies are sold and hired from regular stored without any apparent restriction on display.

  27. SteamySashimi says:

    It’s pretty amazing that liberal gore-loving gamers and conservative christian organization can agree on something and still it takes this long to introduce. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, democracy just doesn’t work.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      At this point I’d like to announce that I’m running for dictatorship of this country on a platform of getting shit done quickly with a minimum of pissing about. If this goes well I’ll extend my rule to other countries so you can all share in the efficiency.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    Simplest explanations I can think of:

    The Commonwealth (Federal) Government:
    – legislates the framework of the classification system and defines the ratings available (e.g. G, PG, M, MA15+, R18+, X18+) to various formats (movies, games, magazines, etc). Changes require agreement from ALL the states.
    – appoint the classification board who classifies items in accordance with the classification guidelines which aren’t legislated as such themselves but don’t change often as they are worded somewhat broadly to cope with gradual changes in community standards. They can’t create or remove available ratings though, only provide guidance to the board on where content fits in the legislated ratings. Factors such as context, frequency (of violence), illegal activity, drug use and interactivity tend to be the ones that influence games classification the most and will continue to do so.

    The individual States:
    – legislate on the enforcement of the classifications including such things as display/advertising requirements
    – can apply additional restrictions / requirements e.g. SA indicating they will simply make everything MA15+ automatically R18+; states who don’t allow X18+ material; or making Refused Classification (effectively banned) material illegal to sell, illegal to own, or both.
    – can’t create brand new ratings however as I understand it

    The likely impact on games will be that the type of games previously shoe-horned into MA15+ rating (i.e. must be suitable for a 15 year old to play) which were rated 17+ or 18+ in other countries are more likely to now be rated R18+.

    The small number of games similar to those which had been censored by publishers or refused classification may now be available under an R18+ rating (think L4D2, MK)

    Some games would still be refused classification such as those involving illegal drug use that provides benefits/rewards, ultra violence without context, other illegal stuff e.g child abuse.

    Previously refused / censored games would need to be re-submitted for new classification, which would normally (and likely still will) require at least a minor change to qualify as a “new” title for classification as publishers who disagree with a classification can only lodge an appeal within a limited timeframe. They can’t resubmit the same material again for “another shot” at the rating they want. Given the cost of submission, repackaging of existing and new stock and advertising material weighed against the potential revenue that could be generated for an old game, the only time you’re likely to see it happen is if a new GOTY version / significant DLC is proposed for release through retail channels.

    As someone else mentioned, the biggest impact I see is that 15-17 years old will find the types of games they are used to being able to buy with a MA15+ rating will now be unavailable to them (with a R18+ rating), and depending upon the State’s legislation may not be _legally_ able to be played even if they have their parents consent.