In Australia, we have a little problem with video game censorship. Any games that aren’t suitable for people over the age of 18 can’t be released in the country, which is a bit odd considering the average age of the Australian gamer is 30. The good news is that a solution is simple, by introducing an R18+ classification Australian adults will be able to play video games designed for them, a privelage most of the world currently enjoy.
The ball is rolling and it seems work is being done to fill this hole in Australian classification law – but like everything political there is a process that must be followed. I’m sure there is much more to it, but for simplicities sake I’ll condense it to this – the state and territory Attorney Generals must get together, create a pros and cons list (read: discussion paper) and vote unanimously in favour of introducing an R18 classification rating for video games.
Don’t worry that the Attorney Generals are ill-informed and believe the same rubbish that others may spew, before they make such a decision they look deeply into research, statistics and whatever else can assist them in making an accurate and correct decision for all Australians. In addition to this, members of the Australian public will be invited to comment on the issue giving the Attorney Generals some live feedback on what is going on in our hearts and minds, and with the Interactive Australia 2009 report containing survey data showing that a majority of Australian’s (91%, in fact) are in favour of an R18+ classification for games – it’s beginning to look like this slow, long winded process may soon come to an end.
The bad news is that the process required to correct this problem is itself a little flawed, and can be manipulated in some rather alarming ways.
Enter Michael Atkinson, Attorney General for South Australia.
I mentioned earlier that the process involves a unanimous vote, and unfortunately Atkinson is responsible for previous failings on this requirement – I guess we’re just lucky that Mr Atkinson was not in power when rock music or comic books came into popularity. Atkinson’s argument against an R18+ classification rating is that it will allow more adult content onto store shelves and in his opinion Australian parents don’t have the time or intellegence to monitor or control what their children purchase or play.
I also mentioned that the process is flawed and open to manipulation – a point Michael Atkinson has happily illustrated today.
By removing his support for the discussion paper and public consoltation, Atkins has effectively stopped any effort to introduce an R18+ video game classification.
Obviously afraid to face his peers and the overwhelming research that both favors the introduction of an R18+ classification and deflates his personal beliefs on the topic, Atkins has “censored the debate on censorship”.
It astounds me that this backward man is capable of holting progress on what really is a black and white issue, and it’s incredible to think he’d be so blatant in this regard. This really is disapointing, especially considering how on board and in touch with the Australian public the other Attorney Generals have been.