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R18+ inquiry returns recommendation, cites "overwhelming support"

The Australian House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has returned a positive verdict on an inquiry into proposed changes to Australia's classification laws.

A bill proposing changes to classification law was introduced to parliament in the first session of the year, but immediately blocked by the Coalition, which requested an inquiry.

"The Committee recommends that the House of Representatives pass the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012," a report on the inquiry's findings stated.

An anonymous but reportedly well-placed source told games.on.net that the Coalition will accept the committee's recommendation and vote in favour of the bill.

The report noted that "extensive public consultation on the introduction of an R18+ category of computer games" has been conducted since 2009, constituting "a significant number of individuals and groups that have expressed their views on the topic".

"In the Committee’s view, it would be inadvisable to undertake a further round of public consultation by inviting submissions to a parliamentary inquiry. Given the amount of evidence obtained thus far, the Committee does not consider it necessary to duplicate the extensive public consultation processes that have already been conducted.

"The Committee is satisfied that the evidence demonstrates overwhelming support for an R18+ Restricted classification for computer games. The Committee further notes that the Bill’s aim is not controversial. Rather, it seeks to align the existing classification system for computer games with the system that applies to films."

The full report, which is available here, breaks down the bill's intentions and background, as well as giving some background information, in relatively simple terms, allowing busy politicians to quickly catch up on years of debate and activism.

If the bill is passed, Australia will be on track to introduce an R18+ ratings category for video games. Currently, the highest rating is MA15+, which means games with content judged too strong for those under 18 cannot be sold within the country; Starbreeze's Syndicate, which features dismemberment of enemiy corpses, is one recent example.

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