According to a report on the ABC News website, the Australian provincial government of Victoria is taking the opportunity of a meeting of censorship ministers later this week to ask that national laws be changed, thus changing the rating system to include an 18+ rating.
Under current legislation which has recently seen Midway's NARC and Vivendi's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude banned outright, the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification can either classify games as MA15+ or ban them outright, whereas films are permitted to be classified as MA18+.
Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls commented on this conundrum specifically, suggesting that it is an anomaly that adults can watch R-rated films, but cannot play R-rated video games, although it is unclear whether the opinion of a single province will sway the national meeting.
In related news, a survey conducted by Bond University Centre for New Media Research and Education and commissioned by the trade body the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia has indicated that 88% of Australians, regardless of whether they play or have a game device say Australia should have an R(18+) classification for computer and video games, showing popular support for the concept.
The survey of 2009 households and 3708 individuals also revealed that 78% of Australian parents who have a computer or video game device in the house consider games are educational, and that 68% of Australian parents say classification is very important when they hire or purchase a game. 76% of Australian parents advise that they set rules about the types of games their children can play, and 87% confirm they are present or have given permission when their children purchase games.
John Watts of the IEAA commented of the survey: "GamePlay Australia 2005 represents the most in-depth study of the opinions and habits of the Australian public in relation to interactive entertainment since 1999, and dispels many of the long held myths about video gaming. This report proves beyond a doubt that video gaming is not just for children and is no longer the domain of only boys and men. Video gaming is something the majority of Australian households partake in on a regular basis and it is not consumed in an addictive manner."