Tuesday, 21 December 2010 16:29

National Classification System review requested

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In a round-about sort of way it looks as if the lack of an R18+ Classification rating for interactive entertainment and video games in Australia might get an overhaul after all.  Today, the federal Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs have asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to conduct a review in light of changes in technology since the last review in 1991.


Hopeful gamers and parents crowded around the news services earlier this month as the Standing Committee of Attorney's-General (SCAG) meeting was held.

The promise was that this would be the first real opportunity for the long awaited introduction of an R18+ Classification rating for interactive entertainment in Australia, something that would bring video game ratings in line with that of cinema.

Instead the result of the SCAG meeting was a deferred vote, to gather more information upon the debate, something that exasperated both public onlookers as well as industry insiders.

Today however, comes an announcement from the Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland's office requesting the Law Reform Commission to conduct a review of classification in Australia.

The request is jointly authored by the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor and is based on; 'changes in technology, media convergence and the global availability of media content.'

'As Australia's foremost law reform institution, the ALRC is well suited to lead this important work.  The Commission previously conducted an inquiry into laws relating to classification and censorship in 1991,' Mr McClelland said.

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Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor said current classification categories would be considered as part of the review.

'It has become increasingly clear that the system of classification in Australia needs to be modernised so it is able to accommodate developments in technology now and in the future,' Mr O'Connor said.

'When the National Classification Scheme began, classifiable content and the way it was delivered to consumers [were] relatively static.'

'Today, films can be watched in a cinema, on DVD, on TV or downloaded. Many video games include significant film segments to tell stories, and some films have interactive content. The National Broadband Network will increase this ready access to classifiable content.'

'People, particularly parents, need a system of classification in Australia that allows them to make informed choices about what they wish to read, see and hear,'

'This important review will look not only at classification categories, but also at the whole classification system to ensure it continues to be effective in the 21st century.' Mr O'Connor concluded.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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