No, I won't be running a picture of his goofy grin and awful suspenders on this one...
We all knew South Australia's Michael Atkinson wouldn't be swayed by mere facts and idle research papers. But even I was shocked by his latest stunt. According to Jason Hill over at the Age/SMH Screenplay blog, Atkinson has now withdrawn his support for a discussion paper and public consultation on the subject of an R18+ rating for video games.
We've all been wondering when this public consultation was going to begin, with the next SCAG meeting just weeks away. But Atkinson's withdrawal of support effectively places an indefinite ban on the subject even being discussed. As Hill's piece points out, this is effectively censorship of the debate over censorship.
But was he ever likely to be convinced to shift his position anyway? Perhaps this is just the extreme move the industry needs? Pressure can and must now shift to broader government pressure on Atkinson's abuse of the system. That one man can stand against the will of 91% of the country on a petty crusade shows that the letter of these laws do not reflect their intent. The unanimous requirement for change was meant to protect a forced change by a majority of governments with a shared political standpoint. This now shows how the entire system can be held to ransom by a fringe factor.
Censoring the Censorship Debate [Screenplay]