There are a number of Australian political issues that leave me deeply heartbroken. Mandatory detention for Asylum Seekers, the inequalities before the law that same sex couples are forced to experience and some too many others.
However, some issues just make me uncontrollably angry.
At the moment, this is SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson’s seemingly personal agenda regarding a lack of an R18+ rating for video games.
Non-gamers often see this as a non-issue. A deflecting topic that need not be considered when there is so much else going on. Hopefully, I can give you another point of view.
If you read even a small part of the six page letter Mr Atkinson sent to Aaron John Percival of activist group ‘Grow Up Australia’, you may start to recognise a concerning seed of ignorance and personal agenda on display.
It’s exceedingly pathetic that in his letter, Mr Atkinson references a Bond University study that recently sampled a random selection of 4852 Australians. He mentions that 62% of Australians don’t consider classification influences their decision when buying games (In my opinion this only suggests that they are adults that don’t feel they need to be dictated to – or parents who believe that without an R18+ rating, there’s no need to when buying for their 15+ year old children) However, when questioned about the other results of the survey that don’t treat his opinion so well, he brushes aside any statistics reported that don’t support his view as an ‘industry body’ was involved in the development of the study. Regardless, it found that a staggering 91% were in support of an R18+ rating for video games.
Now before you assume that this is an issue only for a small percent of the population, consider this:
88% of Australian households have a device for gaming and 68% play games. 68%! This is an issue that effects well over half of the Australian population. The average age of these gamers is 30 years old.
Despite this overwhelmingly clear and unbiased evidence – Australia is still well away from an R18+ rating for video games. Why? Because Michael Atkinson doesn’t want one.
I’ve never encountered anything so frustratingly obvious. It’s no secret that our elected officials are often putting personal bias ahead of the views of their constituents, however – at least for the most part these personal agendas are masked by data supporting their cause. Michael Atkinson has presented no such thing – he’s just flaunting his smug bias it like a badge of honour!
Does anyone else find this dangerous? There is one person in charge. One ignorant, stubborn and condescending person in charge. Lucky this issue isn’t about the death penalty, conscription or internet censorship (oh.. wait).
He’s not going to change his mind. Despite pages and pages of hard evidence disproving his understanding of the situation – he’s made it very clear he will not change his stance on this issue.
This is exceedingly unrepresentative and it has to stop.
One of his arguments is that if other states let uncensored R18+ games in – they won’t be able to stop it coming into SA…. So? That’s the point. What makes South Australians so prudish that they don’t want an adult game to play? More importantly, what makes South Australian 15 year olds so mature that they should be let loose to hack up a bunch of zombies in Left 4 Dead 2?
Another is that he somehow imagines that children can (possibly by magic) get through a gaming console’s lock out system:
If adults think they can devise a lock-out system to defeat children, tell ’em they’re dreaming.
Maybe if you give them the password. I love it how all the technological neanderthals we seem to have elected are now going to compare every lock out system in existence to the government’s excuse for a net nanny system. Just because the system was so much of a steaming pile of horseshit that my cat could get past it by sleeping on my keyboard – doesn’t mean every developer creating a lock out system will make the same stupid mistakes.
One of the things that creeps me out the most about his responses is that he seems to keep vomiting out this term ‘depraved sex’. Which part of sex is depraved, Mr Atkinson? The bit where the penis goes into the vagina? Or maybe the part where the natural milk giving mammary is exposed? I’ve got to assume that Mr Atkinson thinks that all sex is depraved because he hasn’t mentioned anything to the contrary. He can only conjure up one set of examples of games where what most people would describe as ‘depraved sex’ is occurring. These are games that have only been released in Japan and banned elsewhere. They would not be allowed release in Australia under existing guidelines – and nor should they.
I’m absolutely disgusted that he’s gotten this far unchecked. I’m also not counting on this national discussion paper of theirs to actually do any good at all. As you can hear in his interview on Radio Nationals ‘National Interest’ late last week – Atkinson doesn’t want it released as it seems anything that takes a balanced perspective that supports neither side of the argument is plain ‘advocacy’ in his eyes – yes he’s very happy to ‘discuss’ the issue – but only on his terms… which is a impossibly childish perspective to take.
All I can suggest is that you write to your state attorney generals, demanding some transparency and respect for the Australian public. Even if you’re not a gamer – this is your chance to stop this disgraceful parenting of the Australian adult population. First it’ll be the games. Then films, television, books and of course the internet. I know it seems this is a whole lot over nothing, but what I see is the start of something dangerously controlling and an arbitrary dismissal of our personal liberty.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this well known poem and think of how it may apply to you:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)