Australia upholds MA15+ rating on 12 games

The Australian Classification Review Board has completed its review of twelve games contested by the South Australian Attorney General, with all twelve MA15+ ratings remaining intact.

South Australian Attorney General John Rau asked for the review of a dozen games, claiming that they do not fall under the revamped MA15+ rating, introduced alongside Australia's R18+ rating twelve months ago.

From the Board:

In reviewing the classifications, the Review Board worked within the framework of the National Classification Scheme, applying the provisions of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games. This is the same framework used by the Classification Board.

Those games included:

Ron Curry, CEO of the Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), has previously stated that the game classification process costs approximately AU$28,000 per decision, so Rau's moves to have the games reclassified has cost the government an estimated AU$336,000.

The basis for the classification review was unsubstantiated and it is a shame that the exercise was undertaken in the first place. The 12 video games were wrongly singled out because of the different ratings received overseas; an argument that does not take into consideration the structural and cultural differences between Australia’s classification scheme and international schemes.

Curry has taken this opportunity to call for the Australian Government to implement the "largely untouched" recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2011. The 50+ recommendations include the call for a modern classification scheme, designed to work with the significant (and inevitable) changes in the "diversity and delivery of media entertainment". The current scheme was developed more than 20 years ago, before the internet had become a popular way to distribute and deliver content.

We need a complete overhaul of the classification scheme, where the guidelines and their application can cater efficiently to new technologies and be consistently applied to media content regardless of the platform it’s found on.

Attorney-General Rau is also involved in the South Australian advertising campaign that claims video games lead to problem gambling.

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31 Responses to “Australia upholds MA15+ rating on 12 games”

  1. yesmeen says:

    Didn’t this site used to be called Gamepron ? (ages ago)

    Wonder why you changed it.

    There are documents that can be found with google that say the review board’s review fee for distributors or publishers is $10,000 but the full cost of review is $28,000. There’s something dodgy weird bizarre about that imo. The govt. pays $18,000 out of the kindness of their hearts every time a classification review takes place when the applicant is a publisher or distributor? WTF?

    A politician (attorney-general) is allowed to order as many classification reviews as they like as we see in this case (this same guy also ordered a classification review for the 2009 Uwe Boll DVD ‘Rampage’ and was also recently quite rightly slapped down for that too; yet another MA 15+ rating maintained) and the politician pays zilch, $0, for the review that they order.

    No time limits apply to politicians either. Not fair. Absolutely not fair at all. No such 30 day limit (starting at when they were informed of the original classification) applies to pollies yet it does apply to distributors or publishers. Unless they can negotiate an extension of time.

    Politicians gave themselves all this power over censorship and classification issues :( Australia is the land of the classification reviews, classification backflips, classification related knee-jerk reactions involving Christian groups who want to impose more censorship, etc. The reason this Rau guy has ordered these 12 game classification reviews is because a conservative group called ACCM has lobbied him to do it. Unfortunately in most or all media articles the original complainant (ACCM) is hidden from view. His order of the ‘Rampage’ (DVD sitting around for 4 years with no fuss from the general public) MA 15+ classification review was once again for the same reason any A-G orders a classification review – a morals / religious right group has asked him to do it. It’s a shame. They just roll over for these censorship obsessed conservative ‘morals’ people and believe everything they say. The money has to come from somewhere. South Australia goes to the polls in late March – timely..

    How many classification safety nets do we need? We’ve got the Classification Board who’s behaviour (harsh censorship) is well documented with simple google searches (like the short-lived 1995 banning of the film ‘Dead Man’); Plus they have the ability to recall a game and change its classification if it’s discovered that there is contentious material contained in the game or within the game data, whether hidden or otherwise, whether activated by third-party software or otherwise, that was not brought to the board’s attention at the time of classification, and the material in question would have caused the board to give a different rating if it had been brought to their attention; we’ve got the Classification Review Board; South Australia has the South Australian Classification Council who don’t seem to do much especially regarding games; we’ve got unrepresentative groups who work in the shadows lobbying Attorneys-General to order classification reviews for films and now games as well, hoping for a banning or a raising of the classification.. Also the Classification Board has the ability for ‘Reclassification’.. they can go out on their own and classify something again if 2 years have elapsed since they last classified it. (I smell more lobbying). But they don’t. As least we’ve got that. A distributor or publisher can also take advantage of Reclassification.

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1655912&r=29145639#r29145639

    Alternative link: http://whrl.pl/RcJx9b

    ^^ In the link(s) above I made a list (which hasn’t yet been updated to reflect Rau’s 13 reviews) of every single time that we know of where the government (or even police in at least 1 case) has ordered a classification review of anything in Australia (about 24 times). I couldn’t have done it without the website which features prominently, thanks to them :)

    (Police also send items to the Classification Board and ACMA.)

    All my censorship related posts here: (some of it needs an update and a fix, I’m working on it, some broken links, etc.)

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1655912&ux=128415

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