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Western Australian commitee wants R18+ video games banned in the state

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The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People recommends in its Sexualisation of Children report that the Classification Enforcement Act should "prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement" of R18+ video games in the state.

Under Australia's current classification system, games sold at retail need to be classified by the Australian Classification Board. The country's Federal Parliament passed legislation to create an R18+ category for video game classification last February. The new classification system, which included the new R18+ rating, came into effect across most Australian states and territories Jan 1, 2013.

Previously, the highest rating for video games was MA15+, where any game that was found by country's Classification Board to be too mature for the MA15+ category was Refused Classification banned for distribution. The R18+ category allows for mature themes such as relatively high levels of language, sex, violence and nudity.

The Sexualisation of Children report, which was presented to the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council on June 26, also suggests that using minors in sexually provocative advertising in the state to be made an offence,  regulating child beauty pageants and that the state monitor the recommendations of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into "sexting." Additionally, the report recommends that Western Australia should create a code of conduct to address concerns about the impact of sexually explicit music videos on minors.

"While the impact of sexualisation on children is difficult to quantitatively measure, and to distinguish from other influences in their lives, this does not mean that the issue should not be addressed," the committee said. "The Committee is equally aware that what is seen as a priority issue that needs substantive action by some members of society may be seen by others as normal experimentation or fun.

"While it may be the case that there is uncertainty and confusion about whether particular items or images constitute sexualisation of children, it is clear there is considerable anxiety amongst parents and society more broadly."

WA Attorney General Michael Mischin is tasked with examining the report.

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