The Null Device

The Wowserocracy vs. video games

In Australia, there is no R rating for video games, and hence all video and computer games deemed unsuitable for children are illegal (either that or are shoehorned into the suitable-for-teenage-mooks MA category; after all, commerce is commerce); it is a similar situation to what existed with comic books in the US in the days of the Comics Code Authority and the red scare. 88% of Australians want a R rating introduced, recognising that video games aren't merely childrens' entertainment; however, it's not likely to happen any time soon, because a devoutly religious, ultra-conservative state attorney-general holds the power of veto:
In order to change the current regime by introducing a classification bill before parliament, all nine state and federal attorneys-general must agree unanimously to the proposal for an R18+ games rating.
South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson opposes the introduction of an R18+ classification for games which would bring interactive entertainment in line with other media like films and publications.
An R rating would give the OFLC a lot more flexibility when dealing with borderline decisions like the recent controversial banning of Marc Ecko's Getting Up as well as sending a much stronger message to parents that not all games are suitable for children.
Singapore is the only other Western country in the world not to have an R classification for games.
I suspect that Atkinson isn't the only attorney-general who would veto a R rating. The federal government is quite close to the religious right, and I believe has previously opposed any moves that would Send The Wrong Message by legalising adults-only games.

(And is Singapore really a "Western country" by any criterion? It's in south-east Asia, more Confucian than European in philosophy, somewhat authoritarian, and not, strictly speaking, a functioning liberal democracy. Though, being also descended from the institutions of the British Empire, it could be a model for a more orderly, efficient Australia.)

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