Michael Atkinson's successor as the Attorney General of South Australia says he'll push for the creation of an R18+ videogame rating but wants the MA15+ rating abolished as part of the deal.
John Rau was heralded as a supporter of R18+ videogame ratings when he came into power in early 2010 and while high hopes that he would rush in and save the day for gamers turned out to be a bit optimistic, at least the man is willing to discuss the matter. In December 2010 he mused on the idea of bringing in the R18+ rating but scrapping MA15+ in order to more clearly delineate what is and isn't appropriate for children, and now he's ready to make the position official at the June meeting of Attorneys General.
Rau said he wants to see Australia's rating system changed to use only G, PG, M and R18+ classifications. "I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he said.
"There has to be a clear difference between what adults can get and what children can get. At the moment, the MA15+ classification is like a crossover point between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable," he continued. "We want that to be a very clear gap. We will have a new classification R18+ and the MA15+ will disappear."
Opponents of the higher rating claim it will open the door to more violent videogames in the country but under the current system, many games that should be rated for adults end up squeezed into the MA15+ category, which actually approves them for gamers far younger than appropriate. Australia's Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has given the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General until its next meeting in June to come to some kind of consensus on an R18+ game rating, warning that the government will consider "other options" if the state-level AGs can't get it together.