According to ABC, the Australian Federal Government has given state and territory attorneys-general until July to decide whether to establish an R18+ classification for video games.
Currently, the highest rating afforded by the Australian Classification Board is MA15+, which effectively bars any games deemed unsuitable for those aged 15 and under from sale in Australia.
"We're becoming the laughing stock of the developed world, where we're the only country that doesn't have an R18 classification level for video games," said Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor. "I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that's actually, in my view, causing hard to young people."
The Minister is clearly referring to the the fact that, historically, a number of games that received R18 ratings in other territories have passed through the Australian system with MA15+ ratings. Such games include Aliens vs. Predator, Splatterhouse and Dead Space 2.
However, many games are refused classification altogether, such as the upcoming Mortal Kombat, which has been granted an R18 rating in New Zealand.
"My very strong preference is to have consensus around the table in July," said O'Connor.