Gamers 4 Croydon Candidates Answer Your Questions

The Gamers 4 Croydon candidates to stand in the upcoming South Australian election were announced last week. They agreed to tackle whatever questions Kotaku readers could throw their way. Here's what happened.

Kat Nicholson and Chris Prior are the candidates running under the Gamers 4 Croydon banner in the Lower and Upper House, respectively. Nicholson is tasked with going head-to-head with ALP incumbent Michael Atkinson, the South Australian Attorney-General who has held the seat of Croydon for twenty years. Prior is gunning for the Legislative Council, which means anyone across the state can vote for him and express their desire to see video game classification overhauled.

Both Kat and Chris went through all the questions you asked last week. We'll kick things off with your questions (in bold) around videogame classification and their campaign against Michael Atkinson. Then we'll cover off your questions related to other policy issues.

I would like to know more about the campaign in general, like how many door knockings and flyers being handed out, just an update on the details of the campaign and how much awareness has been raised within Croydon?

Chris: The doorknocking and letter dropping is just starting to get underway. Already we’ve printed almost 5000 fliers destined for Croydon, and covered close to a thousand houses. The response from local residents has so far been very positive. We’re already coming across locals who’ve heard of us from elsewhere. Further afield, we have posters going up targeting the upcoming festival crowds, along with ongoing negotiations for myriad other promotional opportunities.

I like the fact they are putting a woman, it will make it harder for our pal Mick to stereotype gamers but if she is still a student, isn’t she still a bit too young?

Kat: Firstly, I’d just like to clarify that I am not an undergrad student; I’m currently studying a Masters degree. Secondly, I am aware that some are likely to consider me too young no matter what I do or say and I have accepted that. It is their right to vote how they want, for whatever reasons they want. However, I definitely do not believe that I am too young to represent the people of Croydon and I think that most voters will judge the candidates based on the individual, not their age.

Chris: “Too young” is very subjective. In recent years South Australians have elected a number of people in their early 20’s to the Australian Senate. We feel that Kat is the best person for the job, regardless of age or gender.

Do you think the name you chose for your party is alienating? I Personally feel that it kinda is, but id like to hear the logic behind why you chose the name etc.

Kat: Well, the name was chosen back when the G4C founder was still running around getting enough people to sign up. I don’t think it will alienate voters – we’re visibly more than just a one-policy party. Although our name might give that initial impression, our actions during the campaign will prove otherwise. I’m already in contact with a number of community groups and lobbyists regarding local issues in Croydon. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

How does G4C plan to ensure their political marketing of their party appeals to all members of their electorate, avoiding being brushed aside in the minds of voters who might dismiss the party initially as not in their interest?

Chris: Essentially, this is a problem faced by any party. They key element to this for us is getting the message out there, which we are doing with letter drops, doorknocking and talking to people on the street. We are also speaking to people in the mainstream media – many of whom have been supportive – to get media coverage of our campaign.

The lesser issue is about policy. From the hundreds of people we’ve spoken to in the community, the majority have been supportive of our policies and goals. There is a distinct lack of satisfaction with the level of representation given by people whose loyalty is to their party before their constituents, as well as a lot of anger about lack of transparency and accountability in government. We stand out from the major parties in this regard because we’re offering an alternative to that, something they can’t do because it’s not in their best interests.

Who will your preferences go to on the ballot?

Kat: It’s too early to say yet. Preferences will be announced on our website closer to the election.

With Atkinson appealing to general misinformation regarding games, none of which is based in fact, has your progress in gaining support for your party outside gaming communities been difficult?

Chris: Not really. We have a number of non-gamers as party members who joined solely on the strength of our position on R18+ for games. In our doorknocking of the Croydon electorate we have had an overwhelmingly positive response. We feel that his hyperbole actually makes it easier to convince people of our position, given that his arguments are bordering on ridiculous.

What, if any, local media has contacted Gamers 4 Croydon on its own, to get more information to their readership about you?

Kat: I probably shouldn’t go into specifics, but don’t worry - you’ll see very soon!

Chris: We have already had one piece on us in the Sunday Mail, and have been contacted by a number of other outlets both local and national, including two national TV shows. Given the amount of criticism being levelled at Mr Atkinson and the SA Government generally, we’re certain to get much more coverage as the campaign heats up.

What are the chances of G4C challenging Atkinson to a live debate during the campaign?

Chris: Obviously, we’d love to have Mr Atkinson out from behind his media minders and be able to confront him live. Given that he’s demonstrated he wants to play dirty, and would rather demonise us than engage with us, we don’t like the chances of that happening. That doesn’t mean we won’t try our hardest though.

With Atkinson appealing to general misinformation regarding games, none of which is based in fact, has your progress in gaining support for your party outside gaming communities been difficult?

Kat: Quite the opposite, actually. Our politicians have grossly underestimated the level of public interest in the current rating situation. Support for the implementation of an R18+ rating is widespread and certainly not confined to the gaming community or any other particular subculture. Both sides seem to have forgotten about all the casual gamers out there - you don’t have to attend LAN parties in order to know enough about games to recognize what is true and what is pure misinformation. From the positive responses I have been receiving, it seems that almost everyone who has ever played a console or PC game agrees that change is necessary. Parents of children and teenagers are especially supportive when we speak to them about it – they want to be able to adequately monitor the suitability of the game content that their children are exposed to.

Given Atkinson fights dirty, and has a wealth of resources available, do you think a grass roots approach will succeed?

Chris: A grass-roots campaign is the only option we have, and as such, we're going to make every dollar and every minute count in the lead up to the election. It's easy to acknowledge the wealth and resource disparity between ourselves and the member for Croydon, but dwelling on that will prevent us from running the best campaign possible. We're in this race to win the seat of Croydon. That's always been the aim, and that's what we're all working towards. The more support we get from the community to help us in this most gargantuan of efforts, the better.

While ideally we’d like to see Kat in parliament, any extra pressure we place on Mr Atkinson will increase the swing against him. We’re also confident that he will not receive priority on preferences from most other parties – something that contributed almost half of his lead at the last election – so he’s not quite as safe as he’d like people to believe.

What are the criminal acts and dirty tricks you guys are planning?

Chris: None, unless keeping people informed of Mr Atkinson’s past political scandals, ongoing political scandals and general disregard for the democratic process (all on public record) is criminal.

If you fail as Atkinson predicts, how will you stop him from using that failure as a political tool to further hurt the R18+ rating for games ‘movement’?

Kat: I may not win in the seat of Croydon, but I have no doubt that I will exceed more than the 1% of votes that Mr Atkinson claims I will “struggle” to receive. When I dent his margin, it will undeniably prove that the lack of an R18+ rating is indeed a political issue – and one that can cost an MP votes. Moreover, when it is demonstrated to the federal and state governments in Australia that opposing an R18+ rating is politically risky, it is likely that it will be come more difficult for any individual politicians who try to single-handedly stand in the way.

Chris: He has said he expects we’ll not get more than 1% of the vote. We will, and that will haunt him. In the event that he retains his seat, it is almost certain it will be despite a (significant) swing against him, something that will put him on unsteady ground when it comes to ‘the people have spoken’ type rhetoric. Similarly, unless he campaigns solely on this issue, any attempts to claim it as vindication, or a ‘referendum’ on the issue, would be equally dubious. Regardless of the outcome we feel it is better to be proactive than wait for someone else to do something, and it will at the very least push the issue into the public sphere. Thus far Atkinson has been able to get away with his position because the deficit in the classification system is not common knowledge. When we’re done, it will be.

I support what you are doing. However I am concerned that Atkinson seeks to turn this into a national referendum on the R18+ issue. Given that Croydon is a very safe Labor seat, and according to Wiki requires a 27% turn against the incumbent seat holder Atkinson to change parties. You are faced with an enormous task, however should Atkinson be successful in keeping his seat and seeks to continue with his censorship regime, what post election strategies does G4C have in store?

Chris: The legislation which gives Mr Atkinson disproportionate power over the classification system is federal legislation. Naturally, that means that a national campaign would be a good next step. Even if Kat is not elected, we’re also running a candidate for the upper house. While Croydon is winnable, the party thinks it’s likely that I’ll be elected to the Legislative Council, given our broad policy base and focus on accountability in government – a hot topic this election. A “gamers’ rights” candidate in parliament will at the very least force governments across the country to think very carefully about their positions.

Chris also took the time to answer a number of your questions that addressed broader policy topics not confined to the world of videogames and classification.

How do you plan to introduce an Independent Commission Against Corruption in a State where successive governments have been very much against this type of bureaucracy? How will you propose a ban on political advertising when successive governments and oppositions have been paying lip service to this notion, but have increased the amount of public monies spent on advertising?

Chris: For all the ideological arguments about any issue, votes talk louder than anything else – even money. There is precedent for the current government to make concessions in a purely cynical effort to save face and avoid losing votes, and there is no reason to suspect any future government would be any different. People don’t like corruption, they don’t like misuse of public funds, they don’t like being lied to, and governments don’t like it when too many people are unhappy. Our job would be to make sure that people don’t forget any corruption, lies or misuse of funds.

If our campaigning hasn’t reached far enough that an individual voter doesn’t know who we are and what we stand for, it is unlikely that he or she would vote for us anyway. People don’t vote for parties that they’ve never heard of. However, if a voter is familiar with G4C then it is pessimistic to think that whether or not they like our name would be the sole basis of their decision. The intelligence of South Australian voters deserves more credit than that!

How much will retrofitting homes with water tanks cost?

Chris: The state government already provides a rebate of up to $1000, with the federal government providing up to $500 for the installation of rainwater tanks. That would easily cover the cost of an individual installing a 5000L rainwater tank, and require no more money than already allocated. Access to economies of scale in purchase and installation would increase storage capacity for the same price. It is also worth noting that this would only be implemented for homes outside an area covered by stormwater recycling

How much will expanding the storm water recycling scheme cost?

Chris: A government approved report indicated that up to 60GL per year could be provided to Adelaide by stormwater harvesting for $600-700 million. In contrast, the desalination plant to provide Adelaide with 100GL per year is set to cost almost $2 billion.

How much will the world’s largest solar farm cost? Where would it be located? How do you intend to get electricity from the farm to the grid?

Chris: The cost per kWh of large-scale solar farms under construction in the US is 6-8c per kWh, which is comparable to fossil fuels, and would become increasingly preferable with the introduction of a carbon tax or similar. The same plants are estimated to cost ~$900 per kW capacity. Replacing most or all of South Australia’s generation with a single plant would cost around $4 billion. Given our relative proximity to population centres in the Victoria and NSW, there is also significant potential for export of green power, to benefit the benefit of the local economy.

We feel that South Australia is ideally situated for solar power, given the amount of wide open desert we have to go along with the more hospitable regions. Naming a specific site would require the funds of a parliamentary party, which we obviously don’t have – yet. So far as distribution goes: power lines. As much as people talk about transmission loss, high-voltage lines lose very little in transmission. The maximum cost-effective distance for transmission is well beyond what would be required in SA.

I should note that we’re not proposing this be wholly government-funded. The policy title was a bit vague in that regard, and has been amended.

I'd like to thank Kat and Chris for taking the time to answer all your questions. And also a big thanks to everyone who submitted a question last week. I hope you got the answers you were after.


    I'm concerned to see that Kat thinks '...were visibly more than just a one-policy party'. This is not the case. I've seen the current promo material plastered around Adelaide and this isn't the case.

    The party name is the primary issue and until that changes, G4C is destined to be nothing else to the average Joe than a peculiar one-policy party.

    Also interesting that preferences are yet to be announced - perhaps G4C are afraid to publicly align themselves with the liberal party lest they lose out on a few pinko student voters?

    If anything, G4C could be considered a green alternative given their other policies, however if they push their preferences to the greens, the greens then pass them on to Labor - meaning a vote for Kat may turn in to a vote for Mick.

      I'm confused that you seem to think our current promo material doesn't demonstrate our commitment to other issues. I was involved in the design of our Fringe Festival style posters, and they have myriad other policies on them.

      Insofar as the name, G4C already has a large number of 'average Joe's as registered members of the party. The dozens of people we spoke to in the space of a few hours during the last letter drop in Croydon were unconcerned by the name, and far more interested in our policies.

      On a related note, part of this whole campaign needs to be about reminding people that gamers are just like everyone else. They're not deviant, pimply gremlins plotting homicidal rampages, they're everyday people. Having normal, relatable people flying the flag as 'gamers' challenges those stereotypes.

      Preferences have not been announced because they have not been finalised. For that matter, I do not believe that any party has finalised their preferences. It's 'too early to say' because it really is too early, not because we're trying to hide anything.

      We will, however, be doing out utmost to ensure that Mr Atkinson does not get our votes via preferencing.

      You misunderstand preference deals. Any preference deals that are done are only for the recommendations on the how to vote cards distributed outside the booths. It doesn't matter who they make deals with, your vote will be preferenced however you set it out on the voting card.

      If you want to vote 1. G4C, 2. Family First, 3. CDC, 4. Liberal you can (though I can't see why anyone would). Just number them that way on your own card.

    While I think that it's great what G4C is doing; I support minor parties all the way, I'm a little bit annoyed by some of the completely delusional comments I keep reading from people. A lot of gamers in Australia apparently greatly overestimate the significance of R18 ratings as a political issue.

    For example, on gamespot last week, in an article about how Antony Green, the most respected electoral analyst in Australia by far, said that G4C had no chance of winning, most of the comments were about how he apparently underestimated the importance of an R18 rating.

    The thing is, even as a pretty hardcore gamer, I wouldn't consider ever voting on the basis of my video games hobby. There are hundreds of far, far more significant issues out there for the community; poverty, housing, transport, immigration, education and so on. While I think many gamers would be willing to vote on the basis of ratings, there are nowhere near enough. Using statistics like the average age of people who play games and the proportion of the population who play games misses the point. Older voters are not going to vote in any significant numbers on the R18 issue.

    I really hope that G4C puts up candidates in urban upper house regions, because I think that is the way they could give themselves a chance of winning a seat in parliament.

      Antony Greens comments were, I believe, in relation to Croydon. I think everyone is aware of just how difficult Croydon will be for anyone to win.

      His comments about single-issue parties are on the mark. We have been fully aware of that from the start, and the founders and leaders of the party are interested in far more than just this single issue.

      Regarding the upper house, South Australia does not have 'electorates' for Legislative Council seats - the voting is proportional across the entire state, with a quota of roughly 8.3% for election. We'd obviously love a win in Croydon, but we're running for the LC as well, because it will be a much easier proposition. Nick Xenophon won two terms on the back of a No Pokies platform - just as supposedly 'single issue' as G4C.

        I suspect the "single issue" problem can be turned around - the single issue being "what's good for Croydon". It's easily defensible - Croydon is in the name of the party, after all - and means that G4C can be framed as, essentially, an "independent" party. Croydon is unlikely to see any kind of government attention while it remains a safe seat, which ironically makes it easier to ask for Croydon's votes than if it was closer.

        It's entirely possible that Croydon's never had any decent competition, and independents win seats all the time. Wish you guys the best of luck - safe seats are never a good thing under our system.

      In reply to PA: you said:"A lot of gamers in Australia apparently greatly overestimate the significance of R18 ratings as a political issue."
      As a mother it is a matter of great significance to me. Not only am I a gamer and therefore not lacking in insight, I also have sons who are gamers. i have found the the MA15+ rating has resulted in my middle son seeing and playing content I would rather he hadn't. My decision was based on the rating. That rating should have been R18+. the current system is leaving me mnisinformed and is failing me in my ability to monitor what my children partake of. This is something so close to home that it is IN my home and affects me as a parent very much. It makes me extremely angry that the government is letting me down like this and is certainly a matter that will govern my voting in the future. Yes, there are many other important issues out there, but this one is in my HOME, right NOW!

    This was very informative, and sounds like G4C is going well so far. Thanks for your efforts and good luck guys!

    If i could vote for G4C i would :)

    Nice read and good to see G4C has been out and about seeking support for alot of other groups

    "If i could vote for G4C i would :)"

    This. I'm even more interested in your support for these green projects than the R18 issue (not that I've been keeping tabs on the competitions stances, but if I lived in Croydon this would bloody well be getting me right into the "researching your vote thoroughly" groove)

    More importantly G4C don't necessarily need to win in order to win.

    If they got 15% of the votes I'd imagine that would be more than enough to scare politicians into falling into line.

    If we can get lots of people saying they care enough about these issues to vote for the G4C party over anyone else, then Labour will have to remember they'll lose votes if they don't follow what the public want.

      Far from likely- I would say impossible. Numbers like that go to the Greens, who are probably the country's most established minor party. Small parties like G4C, and there are hundreds of them, typically get 1% and less.

      In the 2006 State election the Greens only managed 9.6% of the vote in Croydon....

    I doubt that the Gamers4Croydon name is nearly as a big a handicap as some of the naysayers apparently hope it will be. It's certainly not the "primary issue". If our campaigning hasnt reached far enough that an individual voter doesnt know who we are and what we stand for, it is unlikely that he or she would vote for us anyway. People dont vote for parties that theyve never heard of. However, if a voter is familiar with G4C then it is pessimistic to think that whether or not they like our name would be the sole basis of their decision. The intelligence of South Australian voters deserves more credit than that!

    Thanks to everyone who sent in a question. If there is anything else you'd like to ask, you can contact Chris or I via the G4C website.

      I have to say, I've always thought there should be more female representation in government. So, not only is Kat helping out in this regard, but she's also representing gamers.

      That's just fantastic! Kudos to you, Kat. Wish there were more like you.

      It's not that people hope that it's a handicap, it's that it will be. By including the word 'gamer' and '4', it won't matter what policies you promise to deliver on; you have already made the party irrelevant to every single individual that is not a gamer or young and hip.

      And outside of the R18+ classification, I find it somewhat difficult to see what your agenda is. Sure your policies seem nice, but what is their overarching purpose? Is it to embolden traditional, capitalist values to retain our current quality of life like the Liberals? To improve the conditions of the working class and to promote equal standing for all like Labor? Or is it to strive for a sustainable environment like the Greens? Right now there is nothing; all G4C appears to be is a party that tries to please everyone yet does nothing in doing so.

      This party has spurned from the comparatively insignificant issue of an R18+ classification that unless Gamers4Croydon can also show that they have credible planning for the 'real' issues like Health or Education I foresee a comfortable victory for Atkinson.

      Sorry if I appear negative in this, I really do wish the best for you guys!

        I would again re-iterate that we have many non-gamers who are full members of the party, and who are not 'young and hip'. These members do not seem to have a problem with the name of a political party that they joined on the strength of its policies.

        We do not believe that development, sustainability and equality are mutually exclusive. In fact, the 'overarching purpose' of the party is on the front page of our website: "We want to offer real representation, defend civil liberties, secure sustainable economic development, and protect our children and their futures."

    i wish you luck.

    Whats your stance on the proposed internet filter?

    (too long, only skimmed sorry D:)

      That it won't work for it's original alleged purpose, and that it will be far too open for abuse. One need only look at the blacklisting of wikileaks for leaking the blacklist to see its potential to be abused for political purposes.

      Putting that money into directly combating child abuse would be much more effective, and would not earn Australia a place in an unenviable club of arbitrary censors.

    Very informative, well spoken & Top notch policies, my very best wishes for the election.

    I have to say, I admire the G4C campaign and party, and their efforts in raising awareness about Australia's Classification system, but they have no chance. They might get 2-3% of the primary vote in Croydon if they're lucky, but Australians just don't vote for minor parties, especially ones perceived to be a single issue party- which they will be because of the name.

    The only chance of getting rid of Atkinson as Attorney General of SA is getting the ALP out and voting the Liberals in. People should be hounding the Shadow Attorney General as much as the incumbent to find her position on the issue- and find out whether she will be just as much of an obstruction as Atkinson is.

    What do you think about gay & lesbian equality, in particular would you vote for or against legally recognised marriage?

    And pro-choice or pro-life?

    This will tell us who is funding you and which of the majors you will be giving your preferences too -I suspect it's the Libs hoping to split the green vote. But I would be happy if it's not.

      I cannot speak for the party on those issues, as official policy has not been finalised (yet), but the general approach of many of the founders to such issues is that the government's place is not as 'moral guardian'.

      We are funded entirely by donations from the public, and all our donations are listed as we get them, for all to see, on our website (look on the donate page). This is something we do voluntarily, not 'only as required by law' as is the case for the major parties, and many of the minors.

      In fact, given the lax state of political funding laws in SA - something we hope to address - we are under no obligation to disclose anything. We disclose everything because we believe that hidden interests and the sale of representation are bad for democracy, and bad for the public.

      I am aware of a few Liberal party members that have expressed their support of our policies, but the Liberal party has certainly played no part in our development, except by example of what not to do. The same is true for all other parties - we learn lessons from them, but have no affiliation with any of them.

        Thanks for the response.

        Another question: what are G4C views on the political censorship laws that were introduced today and how are you going to respond to them?

    Firstly, congrats on your efforts guys. But I have to ask - there are other, more well-established parties offering to push for R and X classifications for games (such as the Australian Democrats and the Australian Sex Party). These parties have quite a few other similar policies to you. What are you offering to nation-wide politics that they don't?

    I did see some lady with a G4C bumper sticker the other day. This was around Semaphore - she may have been visiting. Then again, maybe not and others are embracing this party.
    She seemed a bit old in my books as someone i'd see following news on R18+ videogames and hence could have been a son or daughter that did it - but hey, maybe she wants R18 Wii games.

    Any plans on having a running mate for the senate to give you a spot above the line on the senate ballot? Nick X did this at the last federal election and it certainly seemed to help him. Or does the state election not require two candidates to have a spot above the line. Not a problem for me, I vote below the line, but most people don't bother, so you would be relying on preference deals to get in unless you got enough of the primary vote.

    I have been in Battle with Atkinson in S.A. and the law society.
    In S.A. the Magarey Farlam lawyers trust account account theft showed just how big a bastard Michael Atkinson is.
    As first officer of law in S.A. one would think that as Attorney general a theft from aLawyers trust account would have been a concern.
    But such a theft is a minor offence in S.A. until victims start demanding their money back.
    As a party aiming to through Atkinson out fighting to prevent you from playing games is your cause but there are other things that need addressing, such as financial assurance legislation for clients of law firms.
    Hundreds of millions of clients funds are handled by lawyers and the lawyers have made the rules.
    So in S.A. when a lawyer or employee steal from trust accounts legislation protects the lawyers and the law society and is aimed to destroy victims to prevent or minimize claims.
    We had amendments to the legal practitioners bill to make the solicitors guarantee fund the first port of call and Atkinson pulled the bill to stop it. He has denied all South Australians protection for entrusted money just to protect the guarantee fund and lawyers insurers.
    When two courts award costs for a make believe litigation created by the Law society against victims Atkinson appealed and lost but still has the power to deny while he happily makes the S.A. tax payers pay his legal costs and damages for comments he made outside of parliament.
    Putting money in a lawyers trust account is risky business in S.A.
    The National legal profession bill was scrapped because of our battle with Atkinson and the S.A. law society.
    We are now pushing for truly National laws to achieve total financial assurance.
    If you are interested call 0355719997. for more details. but this issue needs to be raised as lawyers and their mates often steal the clients funds.

    Sorry mates but my experience is that politicians lie and if you tell that to their face they will have you thrown in jail because most of them are lawyers.

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