The Australian Christian Lobby has recently set up a website which allows users to send emails directly to the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’ Connor, and their State’s Attorney General, in opposition to the R18+ rating.
The website encourages users to consider points such as “the interactivity of video games means that users identify with the aggressor”, “research has shown that there is a clear link between playing violent games and aggressive thoughts and behaviours”, and “the rate of violence in video games is much higher than on film and video.”
A number of things about this site worry us. The first being that, despite the fact that polls have consistently shown that over 90% of Australians are in support of an R18+ rating, the Australian Christian Lobby is representing a number of Christians by taking a viewpoint they may not support. Secondly, the ACL is encouraging their membership to write emails based on misinformation, and straw men argument based on outdated studies.
We had a quick word to a representative from the Australian Catholic Bishops and they, while understanding of the Australian Christian Lobby, stood by their position: they are in support of an R18+ rating.
“Our view is that in an ideal world we wouldn’t need an R18+ rating,” claimed the spokesperson, “but we live in the real world and you can’t ignore the situation. The fact of the matter is that you can chuck any of these games into google and you’ll be able to find them.
“When we put our submission in support of an R18+ rating, we got a furious call from the ACL, but we said ‘go and read the submission’. It’s simply not practical to try and ban all these games. How are you going to ban them. They were a bit angry but such is life.”
According to the spokesperson, the Australian Catholic Bishops are speaking to the people that matter in this debate, and they are saying the precise same thing as they said in their submission.
“We’re talking to the Attorneys-General,” he claimed, “and we’re going to continue to talk to them. We’re saying the same thing to them as we said in the sumbission. That’s basically our view. Certain games – like GTA for example – they need something a little extra so parents understand the game is not for children.”