Peter Beattie, the former Premier of Queensland who called for a ban on Fable and Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure in 2005, now says it's time for Australia to "grow up" and introduce at R18+ rating for videogames.
My, how times change. In 2005, Peter Beattie, then the Premier of the Australian state of Queensland, called for a ban on Fable and Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, the former because it encouraged violence against women and the latter because "it glorifies high-risk, law-breaking, violent and even deadly behavior."
"[Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure] has worrying potential to steer impressionable young people into activities that will endanger life and limb and earn them criminal records," he said. "Anything less than a national ban would not prevent young people from accessing the game."
But just listen to him now. Reflecting on his experience at the 2010 edition of E3 in an op-ed for The Australian, Beattie wrote, "I talked to industry representatives from across the world and, frankly, I was mildly embarrassed for Australia."
He laid out a comprehensive argument in support of an R18+ rating for Australia, most of which we're already familiar with: 98 percent of those who responded to the government's request for submissions on the matter were in favor of an R18+ rating, the average gamer is 34 years old with a university degree and the inherent "naivete" of the belief that the lack of an adult rating will keep adult games out of the country.
"We've done it with movies for years. In a way, we do it with the labeling of food ingredients. More information helps consumers avoid the things they want to avoid," he continued. "There's no difference here. Introducing an R18+ classification for video games in Australia is a no-brainer."
Beattie also acknowledged that the creation of a new rating for videogames would require unanimous consent from state-level attorneys-general, but said that with a certain someone out of the picture, there's now a real opportunity to make it happen.
"With Michael Atkinson having retired from that post at the recent state election, South Australian Premier Mike Rann and his new Attorney-General, John Rau (and the bureaucrats who advise him), have a real opportunity to support a sensible change that will be good for parents, good for kids, and good for a booming new industry employing lots of Australians," he wrote. "It's time to make an R18+ classification for video games a reality."