The last significant barrier to Australia introducing an R18+ rating for video games may have fallen with the recent resignation of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson
, as online reports suggest replacement John Rau supports amending the classification grades.
Atkinson stepped down just days ago, after serving in Parliament for two decades. He was a strong opponent of the proposed R18+ rating for games, the current lack of which means games that exceed a certain level of violent or sexual content are refused classification entirely and effectively cannot be sold at retail.
To amend the current system and add an R18+ ratings, all of Australia's attorneys general at the state and federal level must come to a consensus -- and Atkinson was the sole voice of hard opposition.
Now, continuing South Australian premier Mike Rann has announced his Labor cabinet appointments, with former barrister Rau being granted the attorney general post.
While Rau has not yet made any public statements on the R18+ matter, he is sure to be followed closely given his power to allow the rating to enter law when the attorneys general next convene on the matter. In 2008, Rau asked whether Atkinson would support an R18+ rating.
"Can the Attorney-General inform the house whether he will support moves to introduce an R rating classification for computer games sold in Australia, or will games that are unsuitable for minors continue to be refused classification?" he asked at the South Australia House of Assembly. He did not state his own opinion on the matter.
But now Chris Prior, a member of the upstart political party Gamers4Croydon, has claimed in a Twitter post
that Rau is "a supporter or the R18+ classification for games (and a nice guy, to boot)."