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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3409

Mr CLARE (BlaxlandMinister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice and Minister for Defence Materiel) (16:51): I thank all members for their contribution to the debate on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. This is an important reform—some 10 years in the making. It will create an R18+ category for computer games. As members who have participated in this debate are aware, currently the highest legally available classification category for computer games is MA15+. This reform will bring the classification categories for computer games into line with existing categories used to classify films and make the Australian classification regime more consistent with international standards. As many members have said in this debate, this has been the subject of extensive public consultation over recent years. There is a very high level of public interest in this issue and public support for the introduction of an R18+ category.

When the Attorney-General's Department released a discussion paper on the introduction of an R18+ classification category for computer games in 2009 they received 58,437 submissions in response. Of those, 98 per cent supported the introduction of an R18+ category. Let me take this opportunity to thank the members of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, who have conducted a short inquiry into this bill. The committee recommended that the bill be passed, noting the extensive public consultation that has already occurred on the introduction of an R18+ category for computer games. The bill also has the support of state and territory attorneys-general, who agreed to this reform at the Standing Council on Law and Justice meeting in July of last year. Following the passage of this legislation through the Senate, the states and territories will pass their own complementary legislation to ensure that R18+ computer games are appropriately regulated. Subject to this occurring, the national scheme will commence on 1 January next year. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.