"We're becoming the laughing stock of the developed world," declared Australia's Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor to ABC News, "where we're the only country that doesn't have R18 classification level for video games." Following the Australian Classification Board's final refusal to grant Mortal Kombat a rating in an appeal decision on Monday (finding the game unsuited for MA15+, the country's most mature rating for games), O'Connor all but demanded that the states and territories reach a consensus to introduce an R18+ rating into the system when the attorneys-general meet in July.

"I foreshadow that if there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options," O'Connor vowed, "because we cannot continue to have an outdated classification system that's actually, in my view, causing harm to young people."

When pressed for what the federal government's "other options" might be, O'Connor refused to clarify, saying only that he's "seeking advice" and would not "outline all of those things" at this time. "But can I say my preference," he reiterated in the full transcript obtained by Kotaku Australia, "my very strong preference, is to have consent around the table in July."

"We're coming up to ten years of inaction," O'Connor observed, noting that the issue has been on the attorneys-general agenda since 2002. "I'm going into the [July] meeting with an optimistic air."

To those opposed to an R18+ rating, O'Connor offers: "Just because sometimes people speed on the roads, doesn't mean we shouldn't have the right speed for each particular road." He acknowledges that laws can be broken -- that children could access R18+ games -- but argues that a revised classification system is necessary to provide better guidance to parents (who should be the ones supervising their children's media usage -- sound familiar?); and to solve Australia's current issue of adult games being shoehorned into the MA15+ category.

[Thanks, Shane]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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