Joy over the new South Australian Attorney-General John Rau may be short-lived, with the local branch of the Australian Christian Lobby claiming his Labor Party has given a written promise to oppose the introduction of an R18+ classification for adult video games.
ACL director Rob Ward explains that Labor, which won the South Australian election despite a swing away from the party, responded to a pre-election survey which suggested changes to the current classification guidelines would “harm children”.
The response to the survey reads in part:
“The State Government has consistently opposed calls to introduce an R18+ classification for computer games due to the potential harm that violent computer games can have on children.
“The South Australian Attorney-General has consistently put the argument against this move and continues to be attacked by groups supporting the creation of the new classification.”
Mr. Ward smugly confirms this pledge “throws cold water” on suggestions that John Rau will agree to reform, and that it was delivered on behalf of the “entire party” rather than just former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson – but Mr. Rau’s office is refusing to comment.
“It is premature for the new attorney-general to comment on this issue, other than to say he will receive extensive briefings in due course.”
A spokesperson also pointed out a detail gamers are by now well familiar with – any changes to the Australian classification regime will require the support of each state and territory Attorney-General.
Mr. Ward is standing his ground, however, claiming that it would be a ‘breach of trust’ for the SA government to support the rating changes:
“Through his vocal opposition to an R18+ game rating, Mr Atkinson made a valuable contribution to the previous government and to upholding the best interests of children.
“We now look to his successor to continue that role.”
The saga continues to unfold, and until John Rau makes any official statement, we’re a bit hesitant to accept the Australian Christian Lobby’s claims as gospel.