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Australia Censorship News

2011: Jan-March

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27th February   

Updated: Kombative Censorship...

Australian censors ban Mortal Kombat game
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The console game Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia.

The censors said that the game was 'Refused Classification'.

Warner Brothers said:

The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia. We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat , one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers. WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association had this to say:

The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.

And indeed the BBFC, with a complete range of age classifications avaialbale, passed the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence.

Update: Decapitations, dismemberment and spraying blood

27th February 2011. From

Australia's Government censorship board said that the game contains excessive levels of violence, and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play, specifically citing more than 60 death scenes, with graphic images of decapitations, dismemberment and spraying blood .

Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed.


19th February   

Update: Australian Coming of Age Set for July 2011...

Australia's Censorship minister seeks a July vote to establish an R18+ for games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor has told GameSpot AU that he wants to resolve the issue of Australia's lack of an adult classification for video games by July this year. With the absence of New South Wales Attorney-General John Hatzistergos from the upcoming SCAG meeting in March preventing ministers from taking a vote on the R18+ for games issue, O'Connor hopes to use the time to dispel any concerns and discuss in detail the soon-to-be-finalized R18+ guidelines.

O'Connor believes that the inquorate March SCAG meeting will still be a good opportunity for ministers to take a closer look at the new guidelines presented and come to a more concrete decision on how to proceed with the R18+ issue. The vote to introduce the guidelines will also be the vote that introduces R18+, something O'Connor is planning for the July SCAG meeting.

O'Connor told Gamespot that: the Commonwealth's position is that we need an R18+ classification for video games in this country. This is a sound argument insofar as doing the right thing and protecting minors; it is also a reasonable argument as it allows for adults to access material that is accessible by other adults in other countries; and it fits in with evolving changes in technology. So, [R18+ for games] is good public policy, and that's what I'll continue to say to people.


17th February   

Update: Australia Just Can't Bear to Grow Up...

Censorship ministers avoid making adult games decision for another 3 months
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Last December Australian attorney generals unanimously agreed to draft a set of preliminary guidelines for the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

Now, it appears the decision to introduce R18+ for games once and for all will once again be delayed. This time, the culprit is the upcoming New South Wales state elections, which will be held on Saturday, March 26. The NSW attorney general's department has confirmed to GameSpot AU that NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos will not be attending the next meeting on March 4 because of the proximity of the election and will therefore be unable to partake in any voting process. Because any decision regarding R18+ requires all state, territory, and federal attorneys general to vote and reach a unanimous decision, it will be impossible for any voting to take place.


14th February   

Biased Towards the Religious Lobby...

Australia pussyfoots around its censorship laws
Link Here

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor have announced a shake-up of censorship law in Australia through a review of the 1995 Classification Act.

This act determines where the line is drawn on various categories and forms of media. It legislates different levels of intensity and explicitness in images and words, setting out what can be accessed by various age groups in Australia. It designates whether different media can be viewed in private (for example by a couple in their home) or in public, such as at a movie theatre.

The Classification Act is primarily concerned with what we commonly call entertainment, news and information. More than any other federal act, its success relies on accurately gauging public opinion, and it is one of the main pieces of legislation that defines Australian morality .

Julia Gillard's government is asking the Australian Law Reform Commission to undertake the review, with submissions being sought throughout this year.

It will be unable to report to the government until at least mid-2012 and the government most likely won't be able to act on the recommendations until 2013 -- close to another federal election. Hence it could be 2014 before this review bears any fruit.

At the same time, there are four other reviews of the Classification Act, or aspects of it, being undertaken by various agencies.

In an appalling waste of resources, the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs has also announced an inquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme .

...Read the full article

Update: Consultancy Submissions

16th March 2011. See  submissions from


25th January   

Update: Zombie Censors...

Film Festival director offered chance to give to charity to avoid conviction for showing banned film
Link Here
Full story: LA Zombie...Bruce LaBruce's gay zombie film under fire

Melbourne Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft says he is now considering his options, in the latest instalment of a saga over the screening of a banned film.

In August 2010, Wolstencroft organised a screening of Bruce LaBruce's LA Zombie . In November, police raided his house, looking for copies of the film, and a police spokeswoman confirmed that he would face court.

In the latest development Wolstencroft said:.

Last Thursday, I was informed that I had a summons to pick up at my local police station. Attached to the summons was a diversion notice, agreeing to settle the matter without a felony on my record and with a donation to charity.

Wolstencroft said that he was thinking through the implications of the diversion notice, which is a procedure intended to divert mainly first-time offenders from the criminal justice system.

Update: Charitable

25th February 2011. See  article from

Since then, the legal system began its slow work, and Wolstencroft was recently ordered by a court to give $750 to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, reported ABC News.


25th January   

Comment: Australia Asleep at the Wheel...

Families let down by R18 classification delay
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

There is one thing Jim Wallace of the so-called Australian Christian Lobby got right in his attack on ratings reform: When it comes to protecting children and community standards, the authorities are asleep at the wheel .

Unfortunately, it's the delaying tactics relied on by out-of-touch members of the Fundamentalist Right that have had that result.

The issue in question is finally removing the loophole in the classification of interactive entertainment (in the main, computer and video games) that forces content designed for adults into the rating category appropriate for 15 year olds – either with no, or very minor changes. The unavoidable flipside of our rating system being unable to distinguish between adults and children because the distinction is not available, is not only that adults are treated as children – it's that children are treated as adults.

The only way to treat children differently from adults is, obviously, to have an adult rating – as we have had, for a long time, in most other media.

Hence the campaign for an R18 rating, a sensible reform that will help parents know which games their kids should and absolutely should not be playing.

It's not about saving Australian jobs in the sector presently seriously undermined by our out-dated classification system – although it will certainly do that. It's not about recognising that the average gamer is now in his or her 30s, and an increasing proportion of the content created in this medium is made by adults, for adults, not children – although that's true. It's not about the fact that restricting adults to the same content as teenagers is nanny-state censorship (cue the sadly appropriate Mark Twain quote about censorship being telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it ) – although it is.

Most importantly, this reform is about protecting our children – and giving parents the tools they need.

Which is why 80% of Australians support it.

And yet, in December, instead of finally implementing this exhaustively-researched, long-investigated and not-particularly-complicated common sense reform, the nation's Attorneys-General baulked. They ordered a year-long review instead, putting more kids at risk in the meantime.

And why?

Jim Wallace apparently thinks it's the video of supposedly R18-style content that was shown to the politicians that made them accede to his lobby's demands for further delay. Maybe they'd never seen an R18 film before, and were surprised when the adult content designed for adults and for whom an adult rating is sought was, well, adult. Not appropriate for minors. Conflicting reports suggest it might not have been the video put out by the censorship advocates (which tends to include material that would NEVER be rated R18 in Australia anyway) so it would not have been any worse than content we already see at video libraries around the country.

Which begs the question – why maintain the loophole?

Wallace, who was ghoulish enough on this page last week to rhetorically link the adult content he dislikes with the Tucson shootings, thinks what we play has more of an effect than what we watch, by virtue of its interactivity. He doesn't present any evidence for this claim – not even the cherry-picked studies from dodgy no-name American universities on whom his colleagues tend to rely.

But that's because, in reality, it's besides the point. If – and that's a big if – interactive media were shown to have more of an effect, then that would be an argument for tailoring the classification guidelines for each rating category – not for refusing to distinguish between kids and adults. If what's appropriate for an adult in film is not appropriate for an adult in games, then that would be a reason to have tougher guidelines for games than films – not to claim that what's appropriate for an adult is appropriate for a 15 year old. Which is what having no R18 rating does.

Nobody here is seriously suggesting extreme, dangerous content that really requires banning full stop should be made available for adults. Nobody is suggesting a free-for-all: when R18 is eventually implemented, extreme content will still be refused classification, just as it is now with films.

Jim Wallace is fighting the wrong battle – he should be arguing about what content he thinks that an R18 rating should permit, not whether it should exist or not.

Because the one thing we should all be able to agree on is that adults and children are different. That children deserve to have their innocence protected from the things that are appropriate for adults.

And any sensible classification system would recognise that simple fact, with an adult, not-for-kids classification.

It is long since time that ours did.

A further year's delay is absurd, and lets down every Australian family.


19th January

 Offsite: Australian Censorship Rated F for Fucked...

Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Sex Party comments on religious barriers to adult games and vanilla porn

See article from


6th January

 Offsite: Classifying The Unclassifiable...

Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Australian government ponders how to censor the enormous amount of games content

See article from

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