“…The Department of the Attorney General is not currently undertaking any specific initiatives to deal with this issue. However, the Department is responsible for the development of policy contained in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1996 (the WA Enforcement Act). The WA Enforcement ACT endeavours to protect children and unsuspecting adults by providing restrictions on the publication and possession of publications, films and computer games. However, it should be noted that the WA Enforcement Act does not apply to broadcasting services such as radio, television and the Internet. Broadcasting remains the sole responsibility of the Commonwealth Government.” (statement released in January 2014 from the Attorney General)
From bizarre pornography restrictions to the eventual release of the R18+ rating in Australia that has been something of a failure, The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People wants to prohibit, or ban, the sales of video games that are classed as R18+. Not restrict, but outright ban them due to the supposed defense from the ‘sexualisation of children’.
Outlined in their report named ‘Sexualisation of Children‘ released on the 26th of June, the specific outline that demands the prohibition of R18+ video games is as follows:
Proposal 5: Amendments to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1996 (WA) Further consideration be given to possible amendments to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1996 (WA)
• To prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement of a R18+ computer game in Western Australia; or
• To provide that it is an offence for any person to supply a R18+ computer game to a minor; and/or
• To provide that it is an offence for any person to supply a R18+ film to a minor; and/or
• To provide that it is an offence for any person to supply a Category 1 Restricted publication to a minor.
Australia had recently introduced the R18+ rating in February, as the highest rating before then was MA15+, with any games exceeding the limitations of that rating being labelled as RC- refused classification and thus illegal to distribute in Australia. It seems the committee is intent on making this a reality again, all under a defence that children should not be exposed to sexualised and violent images.
The R18+ rating has undergone criticism, with seemingly hypocritical ratings (given Fable: Anniversary an R18+ seems bizarre) and continuing to ban or censor games (South Park: Stick of Truth and Saints Row IV) despite the introducing of a rating that was created for these very games to be released uncensored under. The population seems to ignore the fact that it is a rating meant for a mature audience, and when kids get their hands on these games and parents see the shocking content on display, they only have themselves to blame, not the game that they ignorantly bought for their kids. The R18+ rating is not a suggestion, it is meant to be a law that stipulates that no-one under that age is supposed to play it, and it is not the game’s fault if parents refuse to follow that law.
It’s an unfair assessment, a very totalitarian way of handling material that is MEANT for a mature audience and if Attorney General Michael Mischin inspects and approves the report, then Western Australia is going to see a real step backwards.