Every Australian state and territory — bar NSW — today agreed "in principle" to the introduction of an R18+ classification for games in what has been called an "historic agreement".
The ministers met in Adelaide today at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting to discuss the fate of the long-disputed R18+ for games.
"We have today struck an historic agreement," said Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.
Despite O'Connor's insistence that the issue be resolved during today's meeting, NSW abstained from the R18+ vote today, whilst all other states and territories agreed, in principle, to the introduction of an R18+ for games.
NSW said that it would go back to its own Cabinet to decide, and that this decision would not take long. NSW is considering calling an out-of-session Cabinet meeting about the issue.
Earlier this week, the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith announced his decision to abstain from the R18+ vote at today's SCAG meeting, effectively delaying the process again.
Any changes to the National Classification Code require the unanimous agreement between all nine federal, state and territory censorship ministers. After Smith's announcement, both Western Australia and Victoria declared that they were seeking further amendments to the R18+ guidelines.
This delay was one in a long line of setbacks for the adult classification, which has been on the SCAG agenda since 2002.
In December last year, the federal government announced its public support for the rating, before postponing another vote on the issue before the end of the year.
Earlier this year, O'Connor's office publicly released the proposed R18+ draft guidelines, and hinted at seeking other options should state and territory censorship ministers fail to reach consensus on the issue soon.
Other states have been ready to adopt the adult classification for games since April this year, with South Australia and ACT eager to "go it alone" if necessary, provided the Commonwealth finds a way to introduce R18+ at a federal level without the unanimous agreement of all states and territories. South Australia went one step further, proposing to abolish the MA15+ category in the state, and fold it into the R18+ rating.