Michael Atkinson Writes to Kotaku

Michael Atkinson Writes to Kotaku
michael atkinson mugshot.jpg

On Tuesday, South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson wrote to the Adelaide Advertiser about proposed changes to our classification system. Yesterday, a Kotaku reader responded to Atkinson’s letter. And today? Atkinson has written to Kotaku to respond again… and deliver a challenge to Kotaku readers.


  • A challenge? Hahaha, this dude is hilarious… how about getting him to some online COD and just own his n00b ass. And that photo of him… hellllloooo ladies!

  • I’m not sure what this has to do with any of the good points made in the previous letter actually regarding videogames. This can be compared to Ewe Boll’s (spelling?) challenge to critics to step into the boxing ring with him.

  • So rather than respond to any of the mountains of perfectly reasonable and sensible counter-claims to his arguments, he throws down the gauntlet? “Meet me behind the sheds at 5” schoolboy brawling?

  • … and he ‘heard’ a note being slipped under his door at 2.30am in the morning? How light does he sleep? I bet you he was on his PS3 hitting up some GTA action.

    Someone should run for his job and ban fake dogs like Maltese terriers… especially ones called Gus.

    Seriously though… I highly doubt any gamer will take up the challenge, yes what he does sounds like a hell of a lot of hard work and respect for that! But no gamer is going to give up their precious gaming time to try and beat him at his own game.

  • I was worried that some people might start acting immature and pull stunts like the incident he mentioned, but unfortunately there’s always going to be people who cross the line and ruin it for the majority.

    Still, it would it have been so hard for Atkinson to adress ANY of the points raised in the previous letter? Does he think us to be that unreasonable?

  • I’m sure he’s good at his job and serves his electorate well, but it’s just this one issue on the games rating system that he appears to be completely off the mark with. I don’t want to challenge him for his electoral seat; I have no interest in being an attorney-general and serving the people of Croydon — but I, along with many others, do want to challenge him on the issue of the R18+ rating for videogames. In fact, we’ve been challenging him for months and months and he seems to be avoiding the issue. Just release the discussion paper already, damnit!

  • So how is this a response to yesterdays letter?
    It doesnt address any of the comments made yesterday except something about his electorate….

    Can we get Terry to do this?
    Terry 2010!

  • It’s still interesting to note that he is avoiding the issue in all of his ramblings obviously stating that there a bigger fish to fry so this issue will not go addressed until all the other world’s problems are addressed.

  • Well done Michael, you’ve successfully dodged all the points made by Terry and other Kotaku readers.

    Perhaps instead of whinging about the amount of threats made against you, you should construct a logical breakdown of why you think Terry is wrong.

    As for challenging people to stand for Parliament…what a ridiculous idea. Maybe the idea of a democracy is that the leaders actually listen to the people?

  • What a ridiculous challenge. No-one would beat thim with their main focus being on r18 and he knows it. Big wow he is goliath challenging david to a fight without slingshots. Also is anyone really gonna change their entire career simply for r18 ratings. I mean yes we do believe they should be implemented but it is not like i am gonna move down to SA just to take him on. What a crock…

  • Mr. Atkinson. This is not about your ego. We don’t want to make this personal so don’t act like it is. It’s about a system that simply does not work.

    Games are just another form of entertainment. Many cater for an adult audience. So why can’t we treat them like films and classify them as such? Why can’t we stand back and let parents actually raise their children as they see fit?

    At the end of the day you comment about your consideration of diversity and yet refuse to acknowledge that a difference in opinion is bound to exist, and maybe, in this case, yours is wrong.

    The funny thing is you actually think you’re doing the Australian population some good. Good for you. Let the youth attain rightfully 18+ games under this vise of the MA15+ classification. Let the others send their money out of the country to import what they should be able to receive at an Australian retailer.

    It’s hard to keep this civil, but Mr. Atkinson, you are so out of touch it’s scary.

  • I issue a challenge to Mister Atkinson.

    Respond to the letter, point for point, that was written by that 57-year old here: http://www.kotaku.com.au/games/2009/03/atkinson_addresses_r18_rating_kotaku_reader_responds.html and rebutt every single one of those points with rational statements – like the author of that letter did.

    Atkinson knows that he’s issuing a ridiculous challenge – I’m not going to give up my job and move interstate to challenge him in an election. And really, that’s not what we want anyway.

    Mister Atkinson – if you do read this – I want you to know, that we do not want to have you ousted from parliament. That isn’t our intention at all. All we want is a fair consideration of the whole R18+ classification of video games issue. We don’t want to take your job. We don’t want you to step down. We just want you to take a step back, and try to look at the bigger picture, and try to understand why we want the video game classification system overhauled in this country. We are falling behind the rest of the world – we are the only Developed country to not have an R18+ rating on games.

    That’s all we want – a fair and unbiased consideration. The fact you haven’t even allowed that draft discussion paper through yet clearly indicates that’s not the treatment this issue is receiving from you. If you are really so adamant on your stance that the only thing you can say is “well challenge me and try to take my job”, then I don’t know what else to say to you. It seems incredibly immature.

  • I live in this area. not far from there at all, I will send him a letter! at least a decent one

  • This whole debate quickly seems to be giving us our very own Jack Thompson, with it degrading into insults and challenges once faced with a well written and supported opposition.

    However, if it’s true that he has been threatened by people in regards to this issue, I cannot comprehend how those people could possibly think it will help the situation (haha, my inner conspirator suggests that maybe it was people against changes for that very reason!).
    Because we all know which headline will get more coverage when the media is given the choice between “Games Classification Needs Overhaul” and “Angry Gamers Threaten Politician!”

  • We don’t want to challenge you, Atkinson. We want you to do your goddamned job and be the people’s voice.

    Remember that Bond University study? The one that brought to light the fact that the average Aussie gamer is 28 years old and that 88% of Australians support a common classification system for games and films?

    Yeah. Way to support the people, Mr. Atkinson. You completely ignore the brilliantly written response to your initial letter and then ask us to challenge you in parliament, which you know that most of us don’t have the time or inclination to do.

  • I would rise to the challenge, if only to bring the lack of an R18+ rating issue further to the voting public. Unfortunately I live in Melbourne.

    However, we don’t need to challenge Michael Atkinsons position, we just need to ensure that the voting parents of children aged ~15+ are aware that they’re kids are currently playing games that are not suitable for them. I cannot beleive that if parents knew that their 15 year old children were being subjected to full frontal male nudity in current MA15+ rated games(GTA4: Lost and the Damned), that they would oppose an adult only rating category.

    In fact, I can only assume that Michael Atkinson doesn’t know that by blocking this rating he’s actually allowing young girls to see their very first Phallus in a computer game at age 15. Otherwise this just doesn’t make sense.

  • I will give Mr. Atkinson credit for what he does best. In this response you can truly see how he’s such a politician. Mr. Atkinson managed to not only completely dodge any valid points that were made, he was able to turn absolutely nothing, against the gaming community.

    Telling us how “a note [was] slipped under [Mr. Atkinson’s] front door at 2.30 a.m” filled with murderous threats, that he’s so environmentally friendly by driving everywhere, and how much people love him for standing on his upturned soapbox.

    If Mr. Atkinsons job was to intimidate anyone here – he’s failed.

    Beyond that, I don’t understand the point in telling us his dog’s name and breed, and how he talks to people walking riding his bike.

    If anything, I would consider this letter almost as childish as the few thoughtless comments made in the previous article.

    Here’s to hoping someone in Adelaide with a little poise and self-restraint takes up the challenge, and at the very least conveys the right point about an R18+ rating, instead of sheepishly agreeing for lack of proper thoughts, as we saw on an ABC panel show last year.

  • If you think that by setting out a challenge gives you intellectual superiority, your quite wrong Mr. Atkinson. All you have proven is that when faced with a quite reasonable rebuttal, it is all you can do. If you feel so strongly on the subject, then surely it would be best to respond in a similar manner to backup your claims.

    But then again, what would an ‘R18+ Nerd’ like me know?

  • A challenge, pffft. I challenge this guy to a debate weeks ago on YouTube (click link for video) and have’nt heard a response at all

  • A challenge, pffft. I challenge this guy to a debate weeks ago on YouTube (click link for video) and have’nt heard a response at all

  • It’s a cowardly challenge, he’s asking people to basically play his personal game in his court to prove, what? That he’s write.

    Mike, I hope you’re reading this. I live in perth so I can’t challenge you but if I could I would on principle.

    If you really want to answer your complainants, why not agree to do so publicly, in a televised interview with members of the game industry?

  • Mr Atkinson,

    I commend you on responding to the Kotaku reader’s letter. It gives me reassurance that at the very least, you are interested in what the gaming community has to say on this issue.

    However, in requesting a challenge to your electoral position – in which I don’t doubt you work very hard on behalf of those you represent – you have somewhat missed the point.

    What most of us (excluding a handful of immature posters who think it’s appropriate to threaten efame you) would like is for open discussion to continue, and for us to know that our concerns are being heard and considered.

    I would welcome an open discussion forum, where mature adults could come together and debate the issues at hand.

    Perhaps this could be facilitated by Kotaku, or even better, we could make contact with the ABC’s Hack or Good Game programs to see whether they could focus on this issue.

    I am a 33 year-old gamer with a 19 month-old daughter, and I fully support the introduction of an R18+ Classification for Computer Games. I would willingly participate in any forum that allows this issue to be discussed.


    B. Hughes

  • So basically he’s saying “Everyone hates my decision to the point that they threaten me and so you should try fighting me in an election”?

    Why doesn’t he actually respond to the letter instead of dodging the issue?

  • Rather than discuss the points of argument he throws in a strawman argument about an irrelevant electoral challege.

    I would like to know exactly what his electorate has to do with his position as attorney general. On top of that, what does it have to do with his behaviour to the greater community of South Australia, and the nation as a whole.

    I didn’t know Croydon, South Australia, was a special area that dictates the laws of the country.

    He can win his electorate as many times as he likes, we don’t care if he’s an MP that represents whatever electorate.

    Whether he remains or not, what we all want is justified arguments and responses to our own.

    Countless proponents of the R+18 rating having laid case after case of well constructed, logical, and rationalised arguments.

    Regarding his actual email here, I would just like to say that his gloating of his achievements and of his electoral skills and community support reeks of smugness and intimidation.

    It’s a pity I don’t live in his electorate as I would definitely vote for anyone other than him if I did live there.

  • As a Man sitting in one of the safest Labor seats in your state, your challenge rings as hollow as your apparent care for your constituent’s right to free speech. I would advise all Kotaku readers to instead concentrate their efforts towards raising awareness of this cause in more marginal seats and in the public eye in general.

    What you are doing is wrong. It is unjust. You are stifling free speech.

    Put up as many straw men as you like in this debate by listing possible game scenarios and we will always bring you back to the truth: This issue is about one Man who is trying to stifle Free speech.

  • Doesn’t he realise that politicians get elected by the people, to act for the people. Not to insult, challenge or blatantly go against the wishes of the majority of the population. To turn around and say “im so stuck in my opinion about this issue so much, that to change it, you have to vote me out” is arrogance at its clearest definition of the word.

  • I suspect that the appropriate response to this letter from Michael Atkinson was made even before his letter was composed, by a reader at gamepolitics.com where the article (and my letter) was mentioned:

    “That guy just tore Atkinson a new one. Not that it matters. Man, I really wish people like this were in charge. Too bad they usually have too much dignity to perform the necessary amount of ass-kissing to become such powerful elected officials.”

    That’s as much of a response as I’d care to dignify this letter with. Valid concerns were raised and they deserve better than to be met with what one reader described rightfully above as “Meet me behind the sheds at 5 schoolboy brawling”.

  • I suspect that the appropriate response to this letter from Michael Atkinson was made even before his letter was composed, by a reader at gamepolitics.com where the article (and my letter) was mentioned:

    “That guy just tore Atkinson a new one. Not that it matters. Man, I really wish people like this were in charge. Too bad they usually have too much dignity to perform the necessary amount of ass-kissing to become such powerful elected officials.”

    That’s as much of a response as I’d care to dignify this letter with. Valid concerns were raised and they deserve better than to be met with what one reader described rightfully above as “Meet me behind the sheds at 5 schoolboy brawling”.

  • So basically i have decided im gonna write him. I see where the guy comes from and respect his dedication to his work, but he needs to be challenged publically on this topic in a professional and public way.

    I would bring my 2 xbox’s and do some local co-op with him. i mean, c’mon as if he wouldnt love that. he probs has no one to game with hence the hate, i know how much i used to hate gears of war until i played co-op with my mate and i was like “daaaaammnn” and started loving it despite its repetative nature, and i think he would have a change of heart if i was to nurture and help develop his ability to pwn.

    but lets be serious, why does he need to make the debate with a member of the general public? isnt it in his line of work to stand up publically and convince people his views and opinions are right? and to challenge his opponents and, i dunno, win?
    gah! he just frustrates me so much, k-rudd wouldnt mind the R18+ and wouldnt put up the political s**t-storm (lulz) this guy is.

  • @ Ryan

    ‘At the end of the day you comment about your consideration of diversity and yet refuse to acknowledge that a difference in opinion is bound to exist, and maybe, in this case, yours is wrong.’

    It’s not even about one opinion being right and another being wrong, it’s about providing people with as much information as possible, and allowing them their right to make reasonable and *informed* decisions for themselves and their children as to what is and is not appropriate.

    Then again, our government also wants to censor our internet access, so who knows? Perhaps one day, we’ll be remembering the good old days, when our opinions meant a damn.

  • XXX films – OKAY!
    R18+ game – DEFINITELY NOT.

    one Attorney-General pushing his values on the entire population of Australia shouldn’t stop the rating system being overhauled.

  • so is the debate off until March 2010 now Michael?? you say you read this, so now you have my name. Unfortunately I’m not in your constituency. I only happen to be part of the country that you are silencing with your ridiculous antics.

  • “For the past few years I have received more abuse and threats over my stand against R18+ interactive games than any other topic of public debate and I shall be reading the highlights to Parliament soon.”

    Really Mr Atkinson, so will you also be reading valid and constructive arguments such as those made by Terry O’Shanassy to parliament as well, or just your scaremongering tactics that do not actually address the valid arguments raised against your stance.

  • Sooo that’s your rebuttal? Sad.

    This is what pressure groups are for so that we don’t need to run off & join parliament. BUT with all the evidence around supporting an R rating it just isn’t enough for you is it?

    It really isn’t surprising that your getting death threats from people. Did you ever stop to think,
    “hmmm maybe I’m wrong on this one..?”

  • Beware…Thar be trolls over dem borders!!

    Lets look at the positives.
    1. Our elite gamers will have a 3 year head start on the games that matter over the competition.
    2. The ‘edited’ version of Grand Theft Auto he subjected us to was just a teaser, we were rewarded with a cock flash and re-enabling of those taseful edits, hence we appreaciate the game, just that bit more longer.
    3. Teens are the winners from his rules, no other country has made adult games more easily accesible to them than good old Michaels rules has. Way to go dude…
    4. You’ve awakened us dreary nerd gamers to the delights of democracy.
    5. There’s a SOUTH Australia??

    And lastly, 6. Old people die on average sooner than the average age of gamers 😀

  • For god’s sake Atkinson, the whole reason you do what you do is because you were voted into it. As a politician it is your job to give the public what they want, and 90%+ of people want an R18+ classification. Just because you dont agree doesnt make you right… I would quite happily have people still hanging in this country if it were up to me, but I accept that capital punishment has been abolished. What I ask of you is that you stop thinking about what you want and start taking into consideration what the PUBLIC wants.

  • My my, what a withering riposte! Despite the fact that you were presented with what’s probably the most coherent and well thought out argument you’re likely to get on the subject, you’ve decided to side step it all and tarnish the message by talking about the lowest common denominator. And your dog. That was a nice, relevant point.

    It’s clear you’re ill informed – despite your opinion to the contrary, and whats more is you’re clearly not willing to even consider any the point being made by us, the gaming public. You know, the ones who are actually affected by all this?

    I’m sure you’ve done a lot for your constituency but you know what? Your duty is also to the country as a whole. We, the gaming public, are part of your larger constituency and we’re telling you what we want. You’re the elected offical of THE PEOPLE.

    It seems the best we can hope for is a schoolyard comeback and diversion tactics instead of a level headed and most importantly, informed counter point.

  • I sent Mr. Atkinson an email, directing him to Terry’s letter in the hope that he might attempt to understand our request and reasoning, rather than making unfounded and subjective claims about a subject with which is he unfamiliar. In his response, Mr. Atkinson has essentially stated that he will not fairly represent, or even consider, this issue. For that, apparently, we would need to elect someone else.

  • I’m disappointed but not surprised. Terry was a rare anomaly – intelligent and considered. I have no doubt that some of the less savoury elements of gaming have castigated Atkinson in some very harsh ways that serve only to convince him how correct he is in his assessment of “R18+ nerds”. We need to be careful, people.

  • “For the past few years I have received more abuse and threats over my stand against R18+ interactive games than any other topic of public debate…”

    @Atkinson: From whom? Members of the public? Perhaps this fact is more indicative of your negligence of the public’s opinion on this issue. You are employed in the public’s service, do your damn job.

  • You can bet your last dollar that the “highlights” he claims he will read to parliament will be immature rants from angry kids and not one word of the raft of real argument against his patently stupid position will ever cross his lips. If anyone wants to fund me to move to South Australia and give me a job there I’d be happy to run against him. I couldn’t guarantee that I’d win an election (as this is hardly an election issue) but it would get the mainstream media attention it deserves.

  • From your condescending tone we can only assume that you have no respect for anyone who would offer a different view than your own. Quite a scary attitude from someone supposed to show understanding and respect as a ‘public servant’.
    It’s clear you’re unwilling to spare even a moments thought on how out of touch with todays Australian you could be and are content to demonize and vilify anyone who might want to challenge your opinions.

    I feel dismayed that someone in a position of trust would take such extreme measures to force their outdated moral standards on me and the rest of the country, as usual your response is littered with alarmist rhetoric designed to illicit sympathy and agreement from the average person yet you still refuse to address the most basic points of the discussion.

    To sum up we don’t want your job, we just want you to do it better.

  • Mr Attkinson,

    It’s good to see you read Kotaku, hopefully you’ll listen to the people.

    My concerns don’t relate to creating an R system to allow for more violent games, but to correctly classify existing content being released today within the MA15+.

    Many games are having clearly R18+ content massaged into the lower category allowing and making available this content to younger audiences. Seriously gratuitous violence and language depicted in currently classified games is astounding.

    I don’t ask the R18 system to give any further leeway to content being allowed on the market, appropriate guidelines around the R18+ classification will ensure this, however I do request the content currently being allowed be more correctly categorised.

    -Ben R

  • My response, in hope Mr. Atkinson still reads these comments:

    Mr Atkinson.

    I’ll get straight to the point.

    You’ve been elected in Croydon for over a decade. I think it’s safe to assume you’ll win again next time. I also can only assume this is due to your excellent work done for your constituents and for this I congratulate you.

    However, at the same time I curse you for your actions against the R18+ Classification for Video Games and at the cowardice you convey in your letter. You (as well as everyone else here) know you will not lose. What has anyone here provided your constituents, that would make them vote against you. Therefore, what was the point of your letter?

    Your challenge reads so pompously ostentatious, you made me angry enough to write this in response.

    Quit joking about and help Australia properly protect it’s people in this modern age.


    Darryn Verey

  • So the South Australian Attorney-General has continues his schoolboy antics. What he’s trying to say is “I’m so damn good and so entrenched in my area that no one can beat me. I’m invincible!”. This will as usual will continue this until he is dethroned from his imaginary moral high ground. His thoughts and morals are from the last century. So it shouldn’t be to hard to remove him.


    We know Mr. Atkinson WILL NOT address Terry’s letter as part of his “highlights”, which is why WE MUST send Terry’s letter to our own MP’s in our own electorates (especially if they’re Libs).

    We must emplore them to raise this letter when Mr. Atkinson’s provides his own highly-edited “highlights”.

    Email them, send them a letter, call their office! Make sure they’re aware.

  • I challenge Michale Atkinson to a bike race around Croydon. I’ll defeat him with a rad mono which will shame him out of parliament.

  • There was never any question as to whether he was capable of his job in regard to any other issue, save that he feels the need to become a parent to adults.

    His letter contains a series of seemingly unrelated points about his personal life. While he sounds exactly like the visible, approachable parliamentarian that we so desperately need more of, he misses an important point. He says that the members of his constituency know him well and I believe this, but I am a member of a different constituency, I have different views and I (along with the vast majority of Australians) view his decision as a curtailing of my right to choose my lifestyle.

    Regardless of the good a person may do, it doesn’t negate any wrongdoing. Mr. Atkinson may in fact be a wonderful representative for his constituents in 99% of all issues. In fact, it appears that he is indeed a wonderful representative in 99% of issues. However, his good standing has absolutely no effect on the reality that he is curtailing the rights of all Australians to choose their own lifestyle. His supposed scientific evidence is easily challenged and more often than not, quickly debunked as inconclusive at best and completely false at worst. In addition, his other arguments are not scientific and in being so are even easier to deflate. His stance about morality is based on the assumption that his morality is objective. This is patently false, as morality can be nothing other than a unique, subjective perception.

    His position is indefensible on this issue. The fact that he has taken well reasoned and logical arguments that challenge his point of view and responded to them with something as bizarre as “Try to take my job, I bet you can’t” is as equally as non-sequitur as his unrelated exposition about meetings on street corners and bicycle political representation.

    Mr. Atkinson,
    If you do in fact read these comments, I would like to issue a (more relevant) counter challenge. I humbly request that you contact me personally and give me a reasoned explanation as to why you are tarnishing your otherwise stellar reputation over something that is not only logically indefensible and counter productive to your cause, but inevitable.

    If you could take time from your schedule to contact Kotaku and request it, I freely give them permission to provide my email address to you. I am happy to speak to you through email or a phone call, the expense of which I will gladly cover. I will give any correspondence to Kotaku to be published.



  • If he’s going to read out the ‘highlights’ of a bunch of immature correspondence in parliament, then it would be appropriate to pass on educated, well-structured questions and responses to as many members of the opposition / independents as possible, so that they can do *their* job and respond to him in the same venue with perfectly reasonable responses.

  • We need to really make some headway in the mainstream media. Perhaps if we start submit comprehensive, self-written letters to TV news and the papers we might be able to get some worthwhile coverage.
    There is always the chance someone will run with the point of view of Atkinson but this really needs to be debated, intelligently, in as many public forums as possible to ensure that the uninformed become informed and possibly help to bring about the changes we want and need.

  • I hope people look at this and realise, doing stupid things like slipping notes cut out from magazines is not going to get Mr. Atkinson on our side.

    We have to show him the pro’s of an R18+ rating as opposed to not having one, in an informed and educated way, not by doing childish acts, or threatening him, or using offensive words.

    We all (here) believe an R18+ rating would be better, and for the most part we have logical answers. What we need is to be an organised unit, and create a document which outlines our points for an R18+ system, against the cons of doing so, and then give this document to Mr. Atkinson.

    Doing stupid things like going to his house will only discourage Mr. Atkinson from listening to us. He is an educated man, and will listen only to educated and reasonable discussion, not threatening letters.

  • So basically Michael Atkinson, who holds a single electorate, has the right to hold every other electorate in the country to ransom.

    As that woman in Monty Python and the Holy Grail said, “Well I didn’t vote for you.”

  • Hmmm, this just occured to me:

    “Indeed I have read all the posts on Kotaku about R18+ interactive games.”

    Exactly what kind of games (ANY games, not just video games) are *not* interactive?

  • @Michael: “He is an educated man, and will listen only to educated and reasonable discussion, not threatening letters”. Sorry, I couldn’t let that one pass. The reason some (admittedly stupid) people are resorting to such juvenile tactics is because he has taken the “think of the children” stand on this matter, and any “educated and reasonable discussion” is met with the intellectual equivalent of a child putting their hands over their ears and crying “I’m not listening!”. You only have to look at the response he’s provided here today, once again he chooses not to directly deal with the issue, merely demonise his opponents.

  • Terry wrote you a letter opposing your stance which you fail to even mention or discuss. Your lack of public debate on the topic is truly frustrating.

  • You might find that the gaming demographic can actually help your political standing, if you only lend an ear to the facts, consider the positives, and perhaps meet with an educated gamer for a spot of coffee.
    Your sons play games, don’t they? Have you ever sat down with them and written down what they feel is positive and negative of the interactive entertainment industry?
    If so, I’d love to hear about it.

  • RG said: “So basically Michael Atkinson, who holds a single electorate, has the right to hold every other electorate in the country to ransom.”

    No, it’s worse than that: he holds a single STATE electorate – he’s not even a Federal politician. The R18+ issue is the highlight of a political career. Sad.

  • Alas, I don’t live in his electorate so I can’t run there.

    Instead, I’ll just voice my displeasure by voting Liberal (which, in itself, is not a step I’d ever take lightly) in my own electorate, and I’m sure every other South Australian gamer of voting age will do something similar.

    Oh, and to the idiots who do send abusive, threatening letters to Atkinson or anybody else that they disagree with – PLEASE F*** OFF. You do a lot more damage to the games industry, and the image of gamers in general, than all the ignorant twits like Michael Atkinson and Jack Thompson combined.

  • What is he on about…this does not make any sense…stick on topic. He has not made a single plausible argument…what is with all these threats of his life. Does he really thing ppl give a damn about him?

  • WOW, he completely avoided every R18+ issue raised in the letter. I honesly hope he is joking, because what he is basically saying is get a different JOB where you know little in the field of. How about we challenge him, Mr Atkinson I challenge you to become a full-time game developer, you can be a programmer.

  • So when are they going to patch GTA so Atkinson is a pedestrian! I might actually buy the game then…

    Don’t waste your time on him, you have to wait on an 18+ system until he is gone, full stop. Its like arguing the existence of God with a Christian…no point, its blind faith and that is all he has and he is convinced he is right…cough***far right ***cough!!!

  • That’s great work there Mr Atkinson. Hey, and when you’re reading out those ‘highlights’ to Parliament, be sure NOT to mention the hundreds of well-reasoned arguments against your stance, such as the one written by Terry that you didn’t address at all. Because that would be the fair and unbiased thing to do, yes?

  • As Jack Thompson et al have shown us, video game censorship is a hot ticket in politics. One that can provide exposure and a fat wallet.
    This response was clearly designed to stir up more debate and frustration. Mr. Atkinson has no interest in listening to the gaming community, no matter how well thought out and polite our messages may be. He is riding a wave of popularity not afforded to him by his other stances or policies and I dare say his electorate, who I’m sure tip the scales toward the greyer end of the community, lap it up.
    You want to spend a lot of time and effort on something you feel passionate about? Well, here. Let me tell you about my Maltese Terrier and my love of bike-riding. Don’t like that? How about this looney who slipped a stupid note under my door?
    It’s hilarious. Please remember he’s a lawyer *and* a politician. Swaying people’s emotions and opinions are what he does for a living. As stated a number of times here, he is not even allowing people to go so far as discuss the issue. To use a schoolyard analogy he may be more comfortable with, it’s the equivalent of a boy taking his ball and going home before anyone else gets a chance to play.

    Sending letters and tirades to this man merely fans the flames. For every letter like Terry’s he gets three like the threatening note mentioned above. As he says himself, these will be used as ammunition against us.
    It’s quite obvious to me that we need to go around him.
    Over him.
    Under him.

    I suggest writing to his opponents, his peers, his constituents, mass media etc etc. Sending complaints to this man is a waste of time. No one is counting the amount of mail he gets.

  • Do I have to live in the electorate/state to run against him?
    I’ll do it.
    25, female, articulate, things of that nature.
    Lemme at him.

  • We’ve tried discussing this matter in a mature way with Michael Atkinson, who has resorted to behaviour that not only avoids the issue, but can be described as downright immature. So instead of directing our attention at Michael Atkinson, why don’t we direct it at Premier Rann? With an upcoming election about a year away and the Labor government becoming less popular, negative publicity involving Michael Atkinson may be seen as something of a liability for Labor.

  • How juvenile.

    I’ve given up on this, there’s no educating some people, it just cant be done.

    Thankyou Mr. Atkinson for being a shining example of how the human species can be so stubborn and fearful against change, destroying any chance to make things better in the future.

    No doubt the people hassling you have realised this to some extent, and realise that you not being in the equation is the only way to move ahead.

    I know i have, and it frustrates me to no end that you hold the power over my freedoms as an adult, and theres nothing i can do about it except take pity on you.

  • Atkinson – how smug you are in your current position, the number of times you have been elected, the name of your dog – what do these things have to do with the matter at hand? While you issue absurd challenges and pat yourself on the back the facts remain. You stalling informed debate on the issue. Wake up and let the debate happen.

  • Mr. Atkinson,

    I can’t help but notice that in your challenge to the readers of Kotaku.com to stand for the Parliamentary seat of Croydon, you’ve refused to acknowledge the arguments set forth by Mr. Terry O’Shanassy, an 57-year-old gamer. A person, by your beliefs, that shouldn’t exist. Perhaps that is the very reason you’ve ignored his comments; perhaps you believe him to be a figment of your imagination? Whatever the case, you have chosen instead to tread the less-honorable road, demonizing the hot-headed, predominately under-20 internet community with a vague challenge.

    You’ve also chosen to ignore the opinions of those in the academic field, such as Christian McCrea, a lecturer at Swinburne University, an institution that prides itself on one of the best pathways into a career in video games.

    You’ve even carried this open rejection of any external opinion right onto Standing Committees of Attorneys-General, where you repeatedly ignore studies, reports and documents provided by your Victorian and other state counterparts, simply refusing to discuss the matter. If that weren’t enough of an insult to the South Australians you supposedly represent, you have taken to rejecting plans to publish the consultation results.

    Your ultimatum reminds me of a similarly desperate attempt to face down the gaming community; in 2005, Florida attorney Jack Thompson sent an open letter to the Entertainment Software Association, entitled ‘A Modest Video Game Proposal’. In it he proposed that if someone could create, manufacture, distribute and sell a video game that allowed players to hunt and kill video game developers, he would personally donate $10 000 to a charity of a prominent video games figure’s choosing. When his challenge was met by “Defamation of Character: A Jack Thompson Murder Simulator”, Thompson promptly withdrew his challenge, claiming it was made in satire. Four years on finds Jack Thompson disbarred in the state of Florida, his reputation in tatters.

    Like you, he was respected in the field of law. Like you, he is a staunch Catholic. Like you, he underestimated the backing of a pro-video-games movement, antagonizing it at every turn. While I’m not claiming a member of the gaming community will take your seat of Croydon, don’t make the assumption that the realm of politics is unreachable for gamers. As I understand it, a number of members of the current House of Representatives hold pro-gaming stances, even members of the Labor party.

    I respect your work as a member of Parliament, and approve of your continued efforts to keep in touch with members of your community. Indeed, not so many MPs will readily subject themselves to members of their own seat as you do. I can only offer a fair warning that such a antagonizing challenge will only work against your image in the long run. The average gamer has matured and no longer needs babying by Parliament.

    -Rory Betteridge, 22, a second-year student at Swinburne University of Technology, undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in Games and Interactivity.

  • Fellow readers
    I just sent a Story Tip to the courier mail’s editor, stating the basics of this situation, and providing a couple of links to evidence.
    Heres hoping they choose it for a story!

  • He’s actually right about one thing, the issue is a fairly minor one in the grand scheme of things, and some of you are coming on way to strongly and attacking his character.

    That said, using his ‘credentials’ as a rebuke is pretty low. It’s not really a challenge so much as a taunt. The taunt is basically saying ‘nothing will change until the people who contribute greatest to the community give video games respect as a medium.’

  • Tldr version:
    -I apparently read kotaku, but I actually don’t. Someone just tipped me off that my name was on website.
    -I get murder threats, it must be from overly violent gamers! Ohno!
    -I’m such a great guy, I have a cute dog
    -if to think you’re better than me, then you should totally try to take my job from me!

    No rebuttal, no cold hard proof, geez, not even any religious reasonings! Well done mr. Atkinson, you are a polititian. Now drop the act. Kotaku wants to hear your rebuttal, not that name and breed of your fqimly pet.

  • Death threats are childish, but so is his bloody-minded obstinance and unwillingness to listen and take part in a reasonable discussion. He is not merely accountable to the electorate of Croydon, he must realise that his position renders him accountable to the entire nation. His repetitive use of strawman arguments (eg. the Rapelay argument) also only serves to try and win cheap points rather than making a meaningful contribution to the discussion.

    I’d like to see him man up and take some responsibility. Being a politician does not mean that one can just ignore people and then disparage and insult them when they complain.

  • Atkinson won’t ever respond to reasoned arguments. He pulls the old creationist trick of ignoring all evidence contrary to his position and making up or misrepresenting evidence to support his position.

    Even his challenge misrepresents the facts. Attempting to beat him directly in the election would be a fool’s cause. The objective is actually to have him removed as AG (which, IMO, he is not actually very good at). I don’t know if Dr Cannon has dropped his civil action against Mr Atkinson yet (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509721.htm); if that continues, it may well be a boon to gamers. And if Labor fails to win the next election, the problem of Atkinson disappears…

    As frustrated as I get with Atkinson, childish antics (assuming they actually occurred) will benefit no-one but Atkinson. Since reason failed, I went for farce: http://intouchwiththeobvious.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/an-open-letter-to-michael-atkinson-mp/

    I am still waiting for a reply.

  • He’s received the most abuse for this than any other issue in his career. BAM, first hint that he clearly isn’t listening to what the PEOPLE want.

    Also, i’m 24 and i’m been playing games since the very first NES came out. I’ve played many First-Person-Shooters, i have shot my far share of people. I’ve banged my fare share of hookers in grand theft auto, i’ve dealed my fare share of drugs to get money to buy extra guns. But do you know what, i have never done any of these things in real life. Do you know why…..Cause i was raised by my parents that taught me these things were wrong. And the fact i can do them in a video game and get away with it, doens’t make me think in the slightest that it’s ‘alright’ in the real world. Maybe you should be focusing more of your political behavior on family teachings rather than blaming video games.

    Also think, if i’m a 14 kid and there is a game out there classified R18+ or there is a game that refused classification cause it’s apparently too intense for ‘me to play’ which one am i gonna wanna play more??? Your making the game sound more appealing to those KIDS by refusing it.

    Fallout 3, which was initially refused classification cause it allowed the player to inject reallife drugs to enhance the characters abilities. But guess what, the game also depicted that you became addicted to these drugs and that it required you to either continually inject yourself or go seek Medical advice. and do you know what, becoming addicted cost you bottlecaps(game currency) and made you look for extra ‘drugs’ which became annoying as hell. So do you think this maybe would have taught these kids a better lesson. They could see first hand how bad drugs affect their life (even if it’s virtual). Rather than going through the game normally, they had to stop every so often to ‘satisfy’ their addiction, and that it would be easier to seek medical advice, not become addicted then continue the game without relying on them?

    My opnion anyways

  • Mick, (I can call you ‘Mick’, seeing as we’re being so amicable, yes?)
    Believe me when I say that the occasional alleged vandal is no more representative of the average adult gamer than a member of the KKK is of the average Christian.

    Despite the fact that you wish to slander and defame the image of ‘gamers’ as naughty (older) children with no context or basis for your misguided belief, the vast majority of us simply wish to be treated as adults (that would be someone over the age of 18 years, as defined by law in Australia, not an ‘older child’ as you claim.)

    I’m 36 years old, and a parent myself. I love my son dearly and take an active role in deciding what is and is not appropriate for him. Where I may enjoy a G, M, or even R rated movie, my son is only allowed G or PG material. He’s not allowed to smoke, drink alcohol or drive, whereas I am allowed to, should I choose.

    Where my son and I are both restricted is in the choice to play R rated games. He cannot play them, because I forbid it. I can’t play them because YOU forbid it via bureaucratical stonewalling. You may claim to be saving the children, (and as a parent you should) but I am not your child, nor is he. As an adult I should have the legal right to access material unexpurgated and uncensored. Instituting an R rating for video games is not going to lead to the downfall of society, Mick. As it stands, the majority of games considered to have ‘adult content’ are already legally sold in Australia under the MA15+ banner! The R rating will not only sort the true ‘adult’ content from the games aimed at the 14-17 market, but it will make the distinction clearer for adults such as myself, not only when choosing my own entertainment, but when it comes to entertaining my child, be it a movie, television program OR video game. There are many R rated movies that I consider abhorrent, but I also have the choice not to see them, and won’t stop any adult from making a different choice to my own.

    Furthermore, if you were truly that concerned with the lives of others you could weigh up the deaths as a result of alcohol abuse, road fatalities and smoking related cancer, all of which have one form of taxation revenue attached (GST, LCT, etc).
    Yes, it’s a stupid comparison to make isn’t it? Saying we should outlaw cars, cigarettes and alcohol to save lives. It’s not practical, and people make informed decisions regarding these products daily….yet games have never killed anyone.

    As a part of the Commonwealth, have you considered looking into the consequences of adult ratings in New Zealand or even the United Kingdom? I would assume not, but perhaps logic eludes you in this matter. I would suggest it was worth investigating.

    I don’t think you’re the Machiavellian villain rubbing his hands with glee either, Mick. It’s much worse than that. You’re ignorant. And in a position of power.

  • Dear Mr. Atkinson

    I challenge you to counter all points in favor of an R18+ classification in a professional, mature manner. Every time you respond to your critics you do so in a very condescending and sarcastic way whilst totally negating all points in favor of introducing the rating. Granted, people who call for you to be killed are obviously not helping the cause but they are more than likely a few silly teenagers who aren’t even of voting age. However, I know for a fact that there are a plethora of mature adult gamers out there who have written well thought out letters to you, detailing a number of points in favor of an R18+ classification only to be insulted and have their points ignored. So instead of cherry picking a few comments written by immature children and intentionally misrepresenting the issue to parliament, why don’t you instead look at it objectively and at least allow the discussion paper to be released so that democracy can take its course? Apart from being a fascist dictator, what other possible reason could you have for ‘banning’ merely discussion on the issue?

  • Dear Mr Atkinson,

    I want to say thanks. I’m 15 and if there was an 18 rating I wouldn’t get to play games like GTA4 that is rated 18 in the US and UK. Thanks to you I can have run over all the prostitutes i want 3 years earlier than my overseas classmates. I guess I should thank the developers too who by changing a few scenes (computer generated nudity and that) managed to get the game into your MA15 classification. prostitute bashing and violent gaming here i come!

    When I’m old enough I’ll buy you a beer, unless there’s any chance you could do something about that classification?

    Cheers Mate,

  • I think you’ll find guys that any agrument you make no matter how logical is going to fall on deaf ears. Even if Atkinson did suddenly wake up tomorrow with a few extra neurons connected that allowed him to make logical decisions I doubt he’d change his mind. In politics he’d been seen as weak to ‘cave in’ to ‘a whining minority’ and it just won’t happen.

    I think Atkinson has let it be known EXACTLY what it will take to get the laws changed, childish or not. The only way to challenge him would be in a political arena not on the comments page of a gaming website.

  • We should lodge an application form via the Freedom of Imformation Act to get our hands on the discussion paper.
    Mr. Atkinson, you disgust me. By the way, I understand you wished to correspond when I originally wrote to you? Or was that just a ploy to get my details from me so you can put me on the “R18+ Nerd” list?
    By the way, calling people “nerds” in any context, for an elected official, is a little bit rude don’t you think? You owe us more than that, you child. I hope people wake up and don’t allow you within 100 meters of Parliment next election. You don’t deserve the position of power that you continually abuse for your own selfish wants.

  • I’m a Canadian, so I may not understand the intricacies of the Australian democratic process…but I find it extremely odd that if you disagree with an elected official, you are challenged to run for office so you can get the opportunity to debate said elected official. In my country, you can just debate elected officials if you disagree with them, and they will at least listen to you.

  • @luc,

    The challenge from Atkinson is certainly out of the norm for the Australian democratic process as well. Having said that, Atkinson is steadfastly refusing to debate anyone at any time on the matter. He is stonewalling the release of the discussion paper, and has never answered any of the questions put to him in interviews — he simply responds with his prepared statement.

    Likewise, his whole challenge is a farce; he is unlikely to be beaten in his electorate even by a representative from another major party — Croydon is regarded a very ‘safe’ seat, and Atkinson also has a lot of backing from his church, AFAIK.

    A more likely scenario is that Labor could lose the next election (March next year), in which case Atkinson would be in opposition and therefore no longer a problem. Assuming the current Shadow Attorney-General retains the ministry, the problem would effectively disappear (as long as no AG from another state takes up the position of ‘Honorary Jack Thompson’).

  • he seems to be avoiding the issue
    he is just ignoring Terry O’Shanassy’s letter. and instead of addressing Mr O’Shanassy’s letter, he is just boasting about his political career and about how great he thinks he is

  • I might not run against you in your safest of safe seat, but I will be sending financial support to one of your opponents in the next election , probably about the amount I would have spent on l4d2

  • To all those who wish to support the campaign to elect a different member for Croydon and oust Mr Atkinson, you needn’t buy a house in the electorate and vote.

    A new party has opened up called Gamers 4 Croydon
    If you wish to contribute to having Michael replaced, show David Doe your support by sending a donation, of any shape or size, you alone needn’t have much impact, but the force of many can overturn even the most convinced.

    Then again, if you actually live in Croydon, just vote!

  • Please join my Facebook group, targetted against Atkinson’s policies in the hope to get some attention or just to be a statistic against the man

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