As the R18+ bill is debated in parliament this week, it becomes increasingly clear that years of hard work is paying off for the iGEA.
The issue has been in the spotlight since 2002, with countless advocates on both sides of the debate coming and going in between then and now. With the bill tabled and finally before parliament, this week saw the Australia's representatives finally speak with a comfortable amount of knowledge on the topic and discuss its relative merits.
Much to the credit of Ron Curry and the iGEA, the endless evidence to support the introduction of an R18+ rating, from the dubious academic studies suggesting games have a greater imapct than film, to the size of the industry itself, to the overwhelming public support for the bill, the people discussing the issue seem to have a fair grasp of the reasons they should back its introduction.
Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fraser, gave a speech on Wednesday, saying: "This bill brings the classification categories for computer games into line with the existing categories that are used to classify films. It makes the Australian classification regime more consistent with international standards. The new R18+ classification will inform consumers, retailers and, most importantly, parents about what games are not suitable for minors."
Leigh was one of many speakers able to cite the Bond University 2005 study of gamers' habits in Australia, the Attorney-General's Department 2009 public discussion paper and even the work of Jane McGonigal and her book Reality is Broken.
While there was still evidence of a general lack of understanding of videogames from some members, the overall reception of the R18+ rating issue specifically was quite encouraging.
At present, the R18+ rating is on track to be introduced by 2013, assuming continued discussion remains at this calibre throughout the proceedings this year.
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