Opposition Leader Tony Abbott tonight said he would be happy to examine the issue of an R18+ classification rating for video games if the Coalition won the upcoming Federal Election, although he admitted he did not know there had been a debate on the issue.
“If what happens with video games is not roughly analogous to what happens in other areas, that seems silly,” Abbott said in response to a question from an audience member on the Daily Telegraph’s leadership question and answer session at Sydney’s Rooty Hill RSL tonight.
“Instinctively I’m with you, and it’s something I’d be happy to look at, if we are in Government,” he added. “If you think there is a problem, I would be happy to look at it.”
State and Federal Attorneys-General have for some time stood in the way of lobbying efforts by the video game industry and gamers themselves to create an R18+ classification for games in Australia. The lack of such a system has meant that a number of games have been prohibited from being released in Australia, and others – such as Valve’s popular Left 4 Dead 2 game — have had to be modified to remove aspects that the Classification Board has found objectionable.
Former South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson – one of the most vocal opponents of a R18+ classification for games – even found himself facing a challenge in his own seat at the South Australian state election earlier this year from a political party pushing the issue.
However, despite the fact that there is a Federal Government review into the matter ongoing, Abbott admitted he didn’t know it had been an issue. “It’s not an area that I’m particularly familiar with,” he said. “I didn’t know there was a problem here.”