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Australia Voting on R18+ Game Rating in February

| 24 Jan 2012 19:28
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Despite government shakeups, the plan to get mature games unbanned in Australia moves forward.

Australia has been a hotbed of controversy in the mature games debate, but here's a quick recap: The videogame system down under has no rating for games that might not be suitable for a younger audience. There is no M for Mature rating, and if games like Grand Theft Auto IV or Mortal Kombat receives no rating by the board, it is effectively banned in the country. Even innocuous titles like the upcoming Syndicate reboot or Fallout 3 are unable to be purchased in Australia (well, without expensively importing it). The unreasonable censorship of videogames led to a gamer-led initiative to create an official R18+ rating, but the former Attorney General of South Australia Michael Atkinson was opposed to allowing anyone to play these games.

As it (sometimes) happens when people are unhappy with politicians, Atkinson was voted out of office, and a new government was formed. It looked like a deal for an R18+ rating had been worked out with the new coalition, but after one of the bill's proponents - Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor - had his job switched around to be a Minister for Human Services, the R18+ rating was in question because his successor Jason Clare had kept quiet his opinions on the subject. Thankfully, the new Federal Minister for Home Affairs office has now confirmed the vote on R18+ will go forward as planned during the February session of parliament.

"Our plans are to introduce the R18+ bill in the first session of parliament this year," said a spoksperson. "If it passes the Lower House, it will then go to the Senate for the same process."

While that seems promising, the new videogame rating bill still needs the support of several MPs in the Lower House, as well as the Senate before it gets written into Australian law. Still, it is good to hear the process is moving forward and no crazy Attorney General like Atkinson or Greg Smith is intent on mucking it up.

Source: GameSpot Australia

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