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Australian R18+ debate: waiting on "silent majority"


The key ministerial roadblock to a R18+ rating for games in Australia - Senator Michael Atkinson - stood down from the front bench half a year ago. Yet Australian gamers of any age still cannot legally play games with content judged beyond a MA15+ rating.

Politicians now are citing the need for further consultation with the community before deciding whether to create a R18+ rating for games - something that would bring interactive entertainment in line with the existing rating scheme for film and TV content in the country.

GameSpot AU reports the Australian Federal Government opened up the issue to public consultation late last year, receiving 59,678 submissions - 98.2 % of which were in favour of a R18+ rating.

Despite the seemingly overwhelming support, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor is now saying quality of submissions is as important as quantity.

"Classification ministers agreed at that meeting that further work needs to be done before a decision can be made, including ascertaining the views of the silent majority," said O'Connor.

"It is not just the weight of numbers that need to be considered. It is also the strength of arguments on each side."

"Ascertaining the views of the silent majority" sounds like a pretty tricky proposition by definition. The argument is not likely to impress the vocal majority who made submissions supporting a R18+ rating - an unusual alliance that includes retailers, publishers and gaming communities in its ranks.

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