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Another Australian AG Puts the Brakes on R18+ Ratings

| 19 Jul 2011 15:56
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The Australian state of New South Wales is threatening to derail the country's R18+ game rating process for at least another year by refusing to vote on the issue until further studies are done.

The wheels are really starting to come off the Australian R18+ videogame rating train. First came news yesterday that the state of South Australia was preparing to move unilaterally to ditch the MA15+ rating, a move which would throw the entire Australian rating process into disarray, and now New South Wales is threatening to scuttle the entire process for at least another year by refusing to vote on the issue at all.

A spokesman for NSW Attorney General Greg Smith said Smith will not be voting on the question of R18+ ratings for videogames when it comes up at Friday's meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys General. "We're not going down a definitive route," the rep told GameSpot Australia. "More work needs to be done on this issue. We want to wait to see the results of the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] classification review."

Smith is just one among eight state-level AGs but the implementation of an R18+ rating for videogames requires unanimous consent, so if Smith abstains, the process cannot move forward. That's how former South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson was able to roadblock the process for so many years; the only difference is that Atkinson wasn't even willing to discuss the matter.

It's always possible that Smith will change his mind and cast a vote in favor of the rating but if he sticks to his guns, everything will grind to a halt until at least early 2012, which is the soonest that the ALRC review is expected to finish. Sorry, Aussies.

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