R18+ computer games, finally, but little on cybercrime

Australia’s Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has been meeting in Adelaide these past two days. They’ve finally agreed to allow an R18+ classification for computer games. But I’m surprised to see they’ve said almost nothing about online crime.

In their Communiqué and Summary of Decisions [25kb PDF] they say:

R 18+ Classification for Computer Games

Ministers made a decision in principle, to introduce an R 18+ category for computer games. NSW abstained.


(a) agreed to take the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer games, as amended at the meeting, to their respective Cabinets

(b) agreed in principle, with the exception of the NSW Attorney General who abstained, that the Commonwealth introduce the proposed amendments to the National Classification Code to support the introduction of an R 18+ category

(c) agreed, with the exception of the NSW Attorney General who abstained, to commence drafting amendments to their enforcement legislation to reflect the introduction of an R 18 + category for computer games

(d) agreed that it would be desirable for classifications of existing games to be reviewed in light of the new classification Guidelines.

This leads to the interesting possibility that the federal government could legislate to create the R18+ category, but NSW could choose not to implement matching laws. The result would be that the games would be legal to sell everywhere in Australia except NSW.

A similar situation already exists for X-rated movies. The federal government passed the laws, but the states changed their minds later. So X-rated material is available in the ACT.

But as I say, there was precious little on cybercrime.

There’s what the communiqué said on that subject.

Cyber Crime


(a) noted the progress of the National Cyber Crime Working Group in developing a national response to cyber crime

(b) noted that a detailed proposal for the establishment of a national online reporting facility for cyber crime is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Model Computer Offences


(a) endorsed the Model Criminal Law Officers Committee’s conclusion that the model computer offences are adequate and do not require revision

(b) agreed that jurisdictions continue to monitor their computer offences and other laws relevant to cyber crime to ensure they keep pace with advances in technology.

The seemed more interested in being afraid of general internet use.

Suppression Orders – Internet Sites

Ministers considered the adequacy of the Court Suppression and Non-Publication Orders model Bill to deal with the publication of suppressed material on the internet by private individuals.

Facebook and Privacy

Ministers discussed concerns about parents being unable to access or otherwise deal with inappropriate content uploaded onto their child’s social networking pages (whether by the child themselves or by others).

When Ministers “considered” and “discussed” things but haven’t agreed on any concrete words or actions, once does wonder what has going on and what will actually happen next, no?