Censorship Minister Responds To Your Comments

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Full credit to Michael Atkinson. He not only reads Kotaku and writes to us, but he also reads all your comments as well. As we just revealed, the South Australian Attorney-General and spokesperson for the anti-R18+ brigade has written a second letter to Kotaku. In it, he addresses a host of comments left by Kotaku readers the last time he wrote to us. You'll find his lengthy response - in full - beyond the jump.

Editor's Note: Prior to receiving this letter we had deleted a number of reader comments we felt went too far. The comments the minister makes reference to below may no longer be published on the site. And if you wish to respond to Mr Atkinson's remarks, please do keep it civil.

I shall try to deal with Thursday's posts in the order they appeared on the site.

EzyLee opened the batting for those advocating an R18+ classification for games by deriding my appearance. JW says I am "a dirty smiling twit." Juggernautz says "You are an ignorant coward." Ben says I am "a bully protected by the law." Allure Media and Kotaku moderator David Wildgoose think this is an appropriate tone for the debate and so it continues. At 8.09 p.m. Shawn says "What is it with all these threats to his life. Does he really think ppl (people) give a damn about him." Dateman at 8.59 p.m. says: "So when are they going to patch GTA (Grand Theft Auto) so Atkinson is a pedestrian? (i.e. run him down with a vehicle and kill him)". Are none of the advocates of an R18+ classification for games - including the two Attorneys-General - worried about death threats and the kind of anonymous cyber-rage in which their comrades are engaging? If you are, why don't you say so? Why is the site's moderator letting this kind of thing through?

EzyLee then claimed I was up at 2.30 a.m. to hear the threatening message being slipped under my door because I was awake and "beating up hookers." If you wish to back your claim about me EzyLee, please supply me with a real name and address for service so we can test the veracity of your untruthful, malicious and defamatory imputation in the best method known to our society. If some thoughtful R18+ advocates worry that Members of Parliament don't take them seriously, or won't engage them on their preferred territory, yesterday's and today's anonymous cyber-rage against me will confirm their worry.

Mr Waffle derided my suggestion that advocates of the R18+ classification test their claimed 90 p.c. plus approval among the public by a vote of 24,000 people living in the inner-north-western suburbs of Adelaide (Croydon State District). He asserted that my challenge was "Meet me behind the shed at 5 schoolboy brawling." No, Mr Waffle, I am the Attorney-General because I am an elected Member of Parliament and have the confidence of a majority of the Members of the Lower House of the South Australian Parliament. My opposition to R18+ games is seven years old and widely known. Duskbringer claimed "His electorate, who I am sure tip the scales toward the greyer end of the community" was also wrong. My electorate is inner-city, full of apartments and townhouses being built on former industrial sites, occupied by young "wired" professionals and recently arrived refugees from Sudan, West Africa, Bosnia, Iraq, Eastern Turkistan and Afghanistan and dotted with cafes and ethnic-specific groceries. Mr Waffle and Duskbringer might have had a point if my electorate were rural, or in an outer-suburban Hillsong belt, or in a genteel, leafy retirement neighbourhood, but they didn't do any checking and got it completely wrong. Croydon presents no barriers to their campaigning.

I am trying to explain to bloggers like Mr Waffle how the decision-making system works by laying out the logical method of removing my opposition to the R18+ classification: one way to remove me is to defeat me at the next election, as so many R18+ gamers have advocated (before retreating from that position yesterday); another is to make sure that after the next general election I do not have the support of a majority of Lower House M.Ps to continue as Attorney-General. That is how a parliamentary, rule-of-law democracy works. It does not work by means of vile abuse and death threats.

RG at 4.01 p.m. makes the same mistake as Mr Waffle: "So basically, Michael Atkinson, who holds a single electorate, has the right to hold every other electorate in the country to ransom." (It would be a scandal, RG, if I held three or four electorates) My holding Croydon is a necessary condition of my vetoing an R18+ classification for games - it is not a sufficient condition. There are two further conditions: one is that I maintain the confidence of a majority of members of the Lower House of the South Australian Parliament and the other is that the Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia maintain the legislation for a co-operative censorship arrangement that requires all parties to agree before the rules are changed. Not one of Australia's Attorneys-General - not even Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls - has ever suggested that the latter be changed.

Clocks demands: "Just release the discussion paper, damnit!" Clocks, I am happy for the discussion paper to be released. I made the changes I wanted after the Brisbane Standing Committee of Attorneys-General last year. The change most important to me in this paper was to include illustrations of what games above MA15+ were like. This debate shouldn't be a clinical written analysis of arguments only. Readers should be able to see what we are arguing for or against. Concerns were raised about my changes from other Attorney-General's departments, including whether it was appropriate to include depictions of these ultra-violent, extreme games. I do not understand why anyone would want to exclude this material from the discussion paper. The same people who want to exclude it from the discussion paper want Australians to have games rated above MA15+ in their homes. The Australian public at large should have - via the discussion paper - descriptions of the games above MA15+. I haven't stopped the discussion paper - I want it to show what these games are like, what is really at the centre of this debate. It is my opponents who are engaging in the cover up and trying to delay the discussion's paper's going out.

White Pointer makes the same mistake as Clocks when writing: "The fact you haven't allowed that draft discussion paper through yet..."

Gladice says I should stop "whinging about the amount of threats made against you." That's number of threats, Gladice, not amount of threats. If you think you could face such threats with equanimity, Gladice, perhaps you are not married with four children and only a screen door and Gus the dog between you and the people making the threats at 2.30 a.m..

Nick "Enigma" Gibson complains that I haven't been in touch with him about his seven-minute You Tube rant against me. The answer to that Nick - if that is your name - is that you didn't provide me with any contact details. I am not a clairvoyant. You Tube stardom has tipped you into solipsism.

For those who complain that I have not responded to their abuse emailed to me (e.g. unfunk at 2.58 p.m.), my practice is to ask email correspondents for a real name and a street address. Most of the emails I get about this topic are crank or hoax emails in the sense that they are not from people willing to reveal a real name or a street address. When I write a reply, I want to write it to a real person at a real address, not a phantom.

Nick - if that is your name - demands to know why I am deciding the question of an R18+ classification for games and not him. That is because I ran for parliament, got elected, worked to be re-elected many times and gained the confidence of a majority of the Members of the Lower House of the South Australian Parliament. The party of which I am a member won a record majority at the last general election. As Attorney-General for the four years leading up to that election, I had been openly opposing an R18+ classification for computer games and giving my reasons. My Party and I recorded our biggest vote ever in March 2006 and were elected to govern for four more years (and I don't for a moment claim that that was because of my position on the R18+ classification). Hours of television and radio news time, hours of radio talkback and acres of newsprint have been devoted to the topic by media outlets across the country. And I re-iterate, I am not the only Attorney-General opposed to an R18+ classification for games - I'm the one who is happy to be the lightning rod for R18+ gamers. The likelihood is that any successor of mine as Attorney-General for South Australia would also oppose an R18+ classification, whether that person be Labor or Liberal. So, Angus, vote Liberal all you like. As I understand it, the only Liberal Attorney-General among the Censorship Ministers has not stated a position yet and two Labor Attorneys-General are in favour of an R18+ classification. It would be a paradox if Angus's vote tipped Victorian Attorney-General and R18+ supporter Rob Hulls out of office.

Juggernautz says: "We want you to do your goddamned job and be the people's voice." I am doing my job, Juggernautz, and I am the people's voice on this and some other things. The Bond University poll that purported to show that 88 p.c. of Australians favoured an R18+ classification for games was funded by the Interactive Games Association. The vast majority of Australians have never turned their mind to the question of an R18+ classification for games and many have no understanding or interest in the classification system. Juggernautz, you think that 90 p.c. of Australians support your position on R18+ games because most of the people you mix with are gamers. You should get out more.

boc says my making myself available to debate the classification issue on Kotaku is "assinine (sic) and cowardly." I presume, boc, you want me banned from the Kotaku site or for me not to debate the question at all. So, the boc position is: "Atkinson is only allowed to debate the question if he agrees with us. If he disagrees with us, he's asinine and cowardly." Perhaps you've heard of the Soviet Union, boc.

boc, being on a roll, asks: "I would like to know exactly what his electorate has to do with his position as Attorney-General." Where to start, boc? Australia inherits from Britain the notion that every neighbourhood should be entitled to send a representative to make the laws in Parliament. Governments and law-making are based on majorities in Parliament. Ministers, such as the Attorney-General, can be Ministers only while they are themselves elected Members of Parliament (in my case, M.P. for Croydon) and while they retain the confidence of a majority of the Members of the Lower House of Parliament (which I do and have done for the past seven years). If you want to make the laws, boc, get elected to Parliament and if you want to be Attorney-General, then win the confidence of a majority of members of the parliament of which you are a member. If, as you claim, 90 p.c. of Australians support your position on games and therefore oppose mine, you should - according to your own reasoning - be a shoo-in to win the State District of Croydon at the next election. Some of the more intelligent bloggers on Kotaku understand the task ahead of supporters of an R18+ classification but they cannot bring themselves to admit that they do not have enough support from the Australian public to prevail in elections.

In the real world - as distinct from blogsites for gamers - people disagree about questions of censorship and they resolve this through the process of parliamentary democracy. That is why some Attorneys-General support you and some support me.

boc, and most bloggers on this site, seem to be contemptuous of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law because they are not getting their way. They want instant gratification - or civility, the rule of law, responsible government and parliamentary democracy should be tossed down the lavatory. By contrast, I will cheerfully accept an R18+ classification on the day that, under the agreed lawful process, Censorship Ministers endorse an R18+ classification for games. That is the difference between me and the bloggers on this site. I acknowledge that it may happen after I am gone. Memento, Homo, quia pulvis es, et mi pulvirentam reverteris.

Another difference between me and a few of the bloggers on this site is that the latter think it is o.k. to threaten to kill a person if he disagrees with you about a political issue such as R18+ games. Ben, who first posted at 1.30 p.m., is one of these. At 2.11 p.m. he writes: "It really isn't surprising that your (sic) getting death threats from people. Did you ever stop to think, hmmnn maybe I'm wrong on this one." Dale backs Ben at 2.29 p.m.

RG evokes a pleasant memory when he mentions the peasant woman in Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Arthur tells her he's the King and she replies "Well, I didn't vote for you." To which Arthur replies that one doesn't vote for Kings and goes on to make a claim for sovereignty based on grasping Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake accompanied by orchestra. If RG is an Australian citizen aged 18 or over and enrolled to vote, he gets to vote for his State Parliament and the Federal Parliament and therefore has a say in the identity and policies of two of the Attorneys-General who are Censorship Ministers. That he doesn't vote in the State District of Croydon is neither here nor there. Does RG want to be granted the vote in all eight States and Territories?

Rory Betteridge fulminates about Jack Thompson (of whom I had never heard until yesterday) and says, addressing me, "Like you, he's a staunch Catholic." This would come as a surprise to my mother and father, wife and four children, as it is a surprise to me. As the accused used to say before the House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee mutatis mutandis "I am not now, and never have been, a Catholic." Why does Rory think one's religion needs to be appended to one's arguments in the public square, like a yellow of Star of David on Jews during the Third Reich , and on what sub-stratum of fact did he assert that I am a Catholic? Do I look like one? Rory could now apologise on the Kotaku blog for his mistake and explain how he came to make the mistake and why he felt compelled to throw a blanket over Jack Thompson and me, but being an R18+ gamer means never having to say you're sorry.

I've devoted many hours this week to trying to explain my position to R18+ gamers. I've read every post. I've tried to respond to every criticism. Maybe a few bloggers understand but, on the whole, Kotaku seems to be a morass of hatred and abuse comparable to Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer. Parliamentary democracy cannot work without a civilised discourse. The moderator of this site will not keep the discourse civil. Most Members of Parliament who might read the past two days of dialogue would conclude that a civilised dialogue with R18+ gamers is impossible and therefore not worth trying. That is a pity. Perhaps we can try again sometime.


Comments

    Christ does anyone else get the feeling that he's being a smart arse just cause he can be? Michael, this is the Internet, and that letter is going to make you even more of a douche on here. Just give us our R18+ rating and this will aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall go away.

    Well you know what we think, you've sifted through the good and bad comments made online. But what do you think Michael Atkinson? Do you think that games are being rated without consistency? Do you think that games ratings are being enforced properly?

    I have seen very little in the way of keeping parents informed, encouraging them to show an interest in what their kids are playing. If you don't support people having access to R18+ interactive media, what is your position on consistency of the rating system that is in place?

    You have my real name, I am a Brisbane resident, hopefully I will not also have to provide my street address for you to understand my viewpoint.

    He's becoming a candidate for the new Jack Thompson and similarly, Atkinson just needs enough rope before he gets his comeuppance.

    Governments change and Mr. Atkinson's attitude betrays the fact that he is afraid of losing his stranglehold over Australian censorship issues. I personally find it objectionable that a man I never had a say in voting for has such power, but there it is.

    We can, and will wait you out Mr Atkinson. It's just a matter of time.

    He still fails to answer the question about whether he understands that R18+ games (as rated in all other countries) get rated as 15+ games in Australia because of the lack of an 18+ catagory. These games will 95% of the time get through as 15+ as they bring huge amounts of dollars to those involved in the industry. Everytime Mr Atkinson has avoided answering the question of why if he thinks games are too violent, that it is ok to let kids play them. I would never buy an 18+ game for my kids, but I would consider buying 15+ if I were naive enough not to research the game first, as most parents fail to do. Why has he not answered this question, why is he letting kids play gta4? That game should never be sold to kids of 15 years old, but the big buisiness dollars get in the way of what is right sometimes I suppose.
    Mr Artkinson, you are failing parents by letting these 18+ games into our system under the 15+ guise. Why will you not address this main argument in my eyes?
    (I'd prefer a R21+ catagory for these games to be honest, they should be allowed in a free society, but should be properly classified to protect people) No matter what, these big multi million selling games will always get past the classification board, but please allow them the right to classify them as they should sensibly be, stop putting them in the hands of 15 year olds, please.

    As i said in another article's comments, including examples of games that would get through under the r18+ rating in the discussion paper would be ok, just not if you are providing the examples or giving input on them.

    As depicted in your letter to The Advertiser (http://www.kotaku.com.au/games/2009/03/atkinson_addresses_r18_rating_kotaku_reader_responds.html) your examples are far from the truth or relevant.

    As others have descibed some of the examples you give of adult related content in games (running down pedestrians in a car) have already been given approval under an MA15+ rating, while other examples (such as a game involving rape) would be refused classification under any rating system we have.

    Yes please include examples in the discussion paper, but have someone truthful and objective writing these examples. Give us an example of adult content that is currently rated MA15+ that would now be rated R18+ (eg. running down pedestrians in a car), and also content that is currently removed from R18+ games to fit into the MA15+ category (eg. the addition of prostitues in GTA) and also please be clear about the games that would be still be refused classification under any rating system (eg. the rape game).

    To provide misleading and sensationalist examples in the discussion paper is not just misleading but borderline criminal and is at the least propaganda on your part. Yes give us examples, but have accurate, truthful, objective examples we can all agree on (or at least the classification board will agree on).

    Michael Atkinson.... Whats the diff from allowing an R18 movie or an R18 game. The same rules apply. Yet i can see R18 movies walking off shelfs and being watched by 100s and 1000s of people. When rules like this prevent games from being allowed to enter AU it dosnt hurt the gaming company... It hurts australia. It kills our sales. It kills the gamers. Although some changes may be minor but it moves sales over-seas as imports and online buys.

    Im not gonig to make threats or over the top comments... Cuz i would preffer this to change.

    Think back to the GTA days when it first came out. Passed the board with a M15 ratting with no issues... Hot Coffee came along and everyone went into panic mode. The "R18" side of the game was not even accessable from the shelf. If someone wanted the R18 side of it... they would have to ask for it.... Why should this be any diffrent. If i want to buy a game that is set in some realistic world and uses drugs to get ya self going (Bioshock and most games in that matter) its my choice... not yours.

    If you're reading this Michael, could you post your e-mail or direct me to a webpage or e-mail form? I'd like to talk to you.

    So Atkinson advocates moderator censorship as a means of "keep(ing) the discourse civil" on Kotaku. When will you realize that the internet doesn't work like a magazine, newspaper, or other form of media? On the internet, people apply their own censorship, for example - ignoring the comments from idiots. If (like on many other blogs and forums) there was some means of rating each comment, it would be even easier to self-censor, because the rating would inform us of the content. Comments rated as inflammatory or assinine could be purged from the listings, providing a more pleasant reading experience for all. In a perfect world, perhaps the site would allow users to select the range of ratings that they wished to read, and hide the remainder.

    I assume you can observe the intentional similarities between your request for censorship of Kotaku, and our request for an R18+ rating for games. All we want is for the rating scale to better reflect the content of each game, rather than allowing undesirable content to fall into MA15+. That such a scale would also allow additional, currently RC, material to become accessible to responsible adults is an extra bonus to many people, but is not the totality of the issue.

    I'm just glad I got FEAR2 on my 360 without the need to resort to piracy :)

    One of the few problems with democracy is that politicians are not voted in for single ideas, they are voted in on certain ideas from the entire range of promises. If i went up for election and promised an R18+ rating, but a 1000% increase in tax (I know it won't happen, just hypothetical) I won't get voted in, simply because of the tax. If I promise to continue the ban on R18+ games, but halve all taxes (again hypothetical), I will get voted in, again only for the tax reason.

    Also, I would like to see Michael Atkinson have a regular weekly/monthly post on this site, where he answers and counters sensible questions and arguments one on one.

    While I do agree with some of Mr Atkinsons points I feel I must make one. I am sick of the juvenile insults some bloggers make at him. It doesn't help our cause and just adds fuel to his fire. Lets refrain from it and make him focus only on our legitimate points. As alot of his replies are on insults lets stop that and make him focus only on the real issues.

    Mr Atkinson:
    The reason people are worried about what will go on that discussion paper about MA15+ games is that there are so many ways to describe something. Take the description on a game like Fallout 3 for instance. It was refused classification for using real drug names but allowed back in after a change of names. (Ironically there is now some game coming out with morphine use that has been let through.) Now gamers tend to describe Fallout 3 as a game where the player travels through a post apocalyptic world and is forced to make moral choices as he tries to find his dad and survive in a dangerous wasteland. It could however be turned into something like this. The player travels round killing creatures and humans violently while taking drugs and being given the opportunity to commit atrocities. Both are techically correct yet paint a vastly different picture. If all the MA15+ games are described like my second description then the uninformed reader will definitely vote against r18. It is important that any descriptions are taken in context of the overall story and purpoose of the game and not broken down to bang bang kill kill drugs drugs. Perhaps (not sure if this is possible) a short playthrough could accompany a description.

    Second point. What is your take on the onconsistency of our current ratings system. And r18 rating could help overhall the system and prevent alot of the games that being lowered a ranking stay in the adult category where they belong. Most gamers who advocate R18 are not after a influx of violent stupid game like postal. These games would probably still be banned under an R18 rating. My question is why can you trust the classification board to Refuse classification to games that don't fit in now but yet don't trust them to do the same with an R18+ rating.

    I am interested to hear your views on my points and questions. Please ignore any threats on this board or any other as they are just venting and have not validity to them. These people don't represent all gamers in the same way Al Qaida don't represent all muslims. I look forwad to your responses.

    Regards,
    Simon Tanner
    Rockhampton, Queensland.

    I'm pro R18+ ratings for game.

    But I would like to say that Michael is in his right to rebut those immature responses.

    In my experience a politician sticks to responding reasonable arguments and communicates his opinion thus. I really don't get why this man is continuing to respond to the few trolls that feel the necessity to express their anger and frustration through the only means they know how, with abuse and unfounded accusations.

    While I understand that all that internet abuse may be hard for Atkinson to stomach I really do feel that he is treating this issue as if he is dealing with children. While there are a few that read this site and comment (whether child by age or mental development) I really don't understand how it could be thought of as either prudent or appropriate to address such people at the expense of real discussion.

    What I really want to see is Mr Atkinson's response, point by point, to the issues raised and facts asserted in the original letter by Terry.

    It is my belief that Mr Atkinson's stance comes from one of outright ignorance and obvious conservative values. I can appreciate that he may represent the majority of his electorate, but I find it hard to believe that if the non-gaming community were to be educated on the facts they would agree with him. Maybe if they were only told his lies and misunderstandings they would, perhaps therein lies the reason for no real discussion of Terry's letter. I think Mr Atkinsons is afraid he will be revealed for a fool, and so does not enter into to reasonable discussion.

    My worry is that this whole exchange has been sought to get the reaction it has to provide some kind of validity to Mr Atkinson’s argument. The threats and immature comments found on this site is not a true representation of gamers in general. The anonymous nature of internet allows such stupid acts to take place, but to try and take these exchanges as a valid discourse on the subject is ridiculous. Reader comments on such sites as www.news.com.au can be just as obscene or irrelevant. You would never see a politician parade such comments, or promote its distribution amongst his colleagues on any news site post or blog. That is what Kotaku is, a news site. The site moderators do not have a responsibility to give you a formal and productive forum to start a dialogue with anonymous internet users.

    Mr Atkinson, I commend you on your effort in replying to these comments, but it must be understood that choosing a site like Kotaku, then complaining about the anonymous abuse only contributes to serve the notion that you are out of touch with new forms of media and technology. The internet will always provide an anonymous forum for immature people, so don’t bait and provoke them to get a reaction that you can parade as justification. There are plenty of independent, free media, free speech action groups that would happily enter discussions with you. Who you choose to entertain is not a refection on their judgment, but yours.

    If you require a residential address it can be obtained through email correspondence.

    Just some quick rebuttle:

    "boc, and most bloggers on this site, seem to be contemptuous of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law because they are not getting their way."

    Most of the commenters on this blog feel completely disillusioned with the current democratic process of changing legislation because a man so seemingly ignorant to the realities of the world of gaming is blocking something that could help Australia move forward and begin to embrace gaming as an entertainment form appropriate for both adults and children.

    "Juggernautz, you think that 90 p.c. of Australians support your position on R18+ games because most of the people you mix with are gamers. You should get out more."

    Out of the entire infuriating email, this, I find very insulting.
    It is no different to me stating to him that '90% of the people he mixes with are close-minded, stereotyping, ignorant fools. Oh, and because of this, I think he needs to find new friends, because his current ones do not conform with my ideals'.

    Gah, I had a lot more written, but the automatic page refresh stole it from me. . Maybe if he treated gaming as a legitimate pastime, and those who enjoy it as equal human beings (since he wants to keep playing the multicultural card (keyword being CULTURE)) and not as some sort of social stigma, or horrible stereotype, he would get the same sort of respect in response.

    Or hell, just release the damn Discussion paper so the issue may be discussed in other more civil public spaces than the free-for-all that is the internet.

    Well that was a revelation, apparently some people take shit online. And I was dismayed to see how quickly he dismissed the one study done on this topic because it didn't agree with his pre-determined views. Now count how many times he used the word "democracy". Give up people, my recommendation would be to write to the other attorney generals, and labor party ministers in general, and let them know the damage this member's backwards views are causing to the party, making them look like 1950's wowsers (not that the libs are any better).

    Funnily enough, just like most people who like to come out looking like the 'good guy' he focuses on all the super negative comments.

    Not one bit of discussion or response to valid comments that made a clear, concise and accurate point about the reasons why we should have R18+ games, of which (among the terrible drivel of some utterly stupid users of Kotaku who insist on posting death threats and stupid 'angry' arguments) there were many.

    It is a typical avoidance strategy, focus on the points that are easy to 'shut down' and avoid actually discussing the main points in debate at all.

    I doubt I can be bothered to contact Mr Atkinson directly like I have in the past, in the end I don't think having an R18+ classification is really that much of a big deal because the majority of games that I think should be rated R are being released at MA15+ anyway.

    Unfortunately this slight of hand is common place for politicians, to make it seem like he cares and is responding to the debate, when actually he didn't cover anything at all - he just pointed out the failures in comments that others made, uneducated arguments are uneducated arguments the intelligent people that want real discussion and answers get ignored in favour of 'owning' the people that already failed (I can't seem to emphasise this enough).

    Jake also made a point that I forgot to make, but before me as well. Glad that there are other people thinking about this on the same page as me.

    Well done Jake :)

    Dear Mr Atkinson,

    I will address you informally, sparing us the need for pointless eloquence. I have written this once before, and sadly lost this reply to the wonderful world of refreshing comments page, so I shall briefly summarise my points.

    I am an immigrant from the UK. I am 24. I have been exposed to Adult media (No pornography, mind) since the age of 8-10, when my cousins introduced me to the world of Freddy Krueger. I have since spent the remaining 14 - 16 years playing violent video games, and watching violent movies.

    And I am probably one of the kinder people you would ever meet.

    I will firstly apologise on behalf of my less eloquent and more prone to rash word co-gamers. They don't speak for all of us on the issue at hand, though they do share a sentiment of strong disapproval of your voting record.

    See, I agree with you on several points.

    1) I agree that there should be tighter restrictions on access to games from Juveniles.

    2) I agree that retailers and merchants breaking these restrictions should be punished.

    I disagree that there is no need for an R18 rating. You see, I have a mind, and I use this mind to be able to determine if I find a series suitable or not for myself. As an adult, I am legally allowed to drink, procreate, get married, and a myriad of other things. I know of the existence of rape, drugs, and other nasty substances.

    I choose not to do these things, despite having seen adult media that either directly or indirectly shows these things. We have an R18 rating for TV, we have an R18 Rating for movies. Please explain the issue for having the same thing applied to another form of interactive entertainment.

    An R18 rating actually harms the economy of Australia, rather than asissting it. By effectively banning the game, you are making it so that the only way to play the game is to pirate it. With internet access, getting access to any banned game is completely Trivial.

    I see no way to adequately finish this small essay. You are aware of the issues at hand, and the arguments no doubt. Do not allow the words of my less eloquent companions dissuade you from the notion of a reply, you have what you sought, an actual argument to counter if you so choose. Or, you could simply choose to ignore it, and pick on the comments of my less eloquent companions, as you have seen fit to do so thus far.

    If you require to continue the conversation in private, my email is [email protected]

    Looking forward to your eventual reply.

    Regards,
    JD

    Another thing Mr Atkinson dont put Kotaku Bloggers or readers in the same catagory we
    all come from very different walks of life (thats the beauty and Often Ugly that is the Interenet)
    Which is one of the main problems at the core of this debate.
    Please take other comments or letters into account if your going to reply to them such as Terrys and not just the Abusive ones.

    "Dale backs Ben at 2.29 p.m." - Don't misquote me, stop your petty trolling, consider that Croydon should not hold be allowed to hold the nation ransom on any issue up to and including this one and, again, you are employed in the public's service so do your damn job.

    The topic which enraged me enough to write to the advertiser in the first place is Atkinson's refusal to release the discussion paper.Here is that topic address from him above:

    "Clocks demands: "Just release the discussion paper, damnit!" Clocks, I am happy for the discussion paper to be released. I made the changes I wanted after the Brisbane Standing Committee of Attorneys-General last year. The change most important to me in this paper was to include illustrations of what games above MA15+ were like. This debate shouldn't be a clinical written analysis of arguments only. Readers should be able to see what we are arguing for or against. Concerns were raised about my changes from other Attorney-General's departments, including whether it was appropriate to include depictions of these ultra-violent, extreme games. I do not understand why anyone would want to exclude this material from the discussion paper. The same people who want to exclude it from the discussion paper want Australians to have games rated above MA15+ in their homes. The Australian public at large should have - via the discussion paper - descriptions of the games above MA15+. I haven't stopped the discussion paper - I want it to show what these games are like, what is really at the centre of this debate. It is my opponents who are engaging in the cover up and trying to delay the discussion's paper's going out."

    The reason they would be opposed is because, no doubt, that you have lied about the kind of content that is in those games, just as you lied about it in you letter to the Advertiser, by pretending that an R18+ rating is really an X rating. I fail to see what you stand to gain by your consistent misrepresentation of the issue.

    I'm sorry that you have to endure some brainless abuse from the less diplomatic end of the intertron but this is a place with it's own culture. I've sat in on question times that are little better in the underlying tone - that of immaturity - and with exposure to how people communicate online you get to know better when people are literally suggesting you be run over in GTA or, as might happen in parliament, whether you are a bag containing scum. I'd prefer people didn't use the simplistic insults but I should think a seasoned politician would be made of sterner stuff and, I would hope, have the integrity to not use people teasing you as some kind of "reinforcement" to your positions. That is an argument only as strong as the insults themselves, which is to say, like straw.

    Mr Atkinson, please address the points presented in Terry O'Shanassy's letter, instead of avoiding the actual issue. I am aware that many gamers have responded inappropriately, but they are not the majority.

    "Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

    "This is the peril of arguing with an idiot. It is very likely that you will win, but if you do win, no one cares"

    "When you’re arguing with an idiot, make sure the other person isn’t doing the same thing..”

    It's an easy mistake to make Mr Atkinson (or perhaps you're doing it on purpose.. the tone of your letter seems to suggest that you’re using the comments as validation), to treat every comment made on the internet as a well thought out piece made by someone eagerly awaiting a reply.

    It doesn’t take long to realise that a place where people of any age and background can anonymously type whatever they like in the same time it takes to break wind, will be full of rubbish. Responding to the rubbish is called getting “trolled”.

    For every single person creating a post, there’s hundreds who are purely reading. To them, you will only look completely unprofessional and inexperienced by getting into slinging matches over comments like which you’ve quoted.

    If however you’re purposely cherry picking comments to cast a large community of Australians in a negative light, then you’re a clever politician, and a great forum troll.

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