Attorney-General John Rau has communicated that South Australia will drop the current MA15+ ratings category for video games in favour of R18+, regardless of national overhauls to the classifications system.
The Australian reports a spokesperson for state attorney general John Rau announced the state’s government’s plans yesterday.
The move would see games classified as MA15+ across the country re-classified as R18+ within South Australia, effectively making it illegal for gamers under 18 years of age to purchase the vast majority of best-selling games.
Rau had vetted the idea in April, but floated it as a possible course of action should upcoming classifications reforms fail to introduce an R18+ category.
Now the attorney-general apparently intends to go it alone regardless of the outcome of this week’s Standing Committee of Attorneys General, at which Rau will meet with his opposite numbers from other states and territories to make a final decision on classifications reform.
It’s being reported this morning that NSW Attorney General Greg Smith is to abstain in Friday’s vote, meaning the issue is unlikely to make progress on a national level.
Oppositional spokesperson Stephen Wade called Rau’s move “bizarre” and unfair to local retailers.
“The Attorney-General has indicated that he appreciates that people will continue to access games, through downloading them and through mail order. So it would be clearly an unfair impost on South Australian retailers at a time we are very aware of the competition between the online retail marker and the shopfront retail market.”
Interactive Games and Entertainment Association chief executive Ron Curry gave his two cents, saying the decision made “no sense” and pointing out the impossibility of national advertising.
Rau’s popularity with gamers is likely to take a dive following the announcement, as the attorney general had replaced the notoriously anti-R18+ Michael Atkinson, seemingly paving the way for classifications reform.