South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says he welcomes the challenge from the Gamers 4 Croydon party at next year’s state election. Meanwhile, party founder David Doe says he is looking to expand his campaign beyond Croydon to enable all South Australians to show their support for an R18+ classification for games.
On Friday, David Doe kicked off his campaign against Atkinson at Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, securing the signatures required to officially register his political party. Doe says his aim is “to exert pressure on Atkinson, currently the only Attorney General voting ‘no’ against the introduction of an R18+ classification rating for videogames in Australia.”
Atkinson told News.com.au that he "welcomed Mr Doe's challenge," saying:
"The voters of Croydon will now be asked directly whether they want interactive games in which gamers score points by raping a mother and daughter, blowing themselves up, torturing human figures... killing people and taking drugs to improve their sporting prowess."
Later, Atkinson responded to several readers' comments on the same article, claiming that neither his nor the ALP's defeat at the 2010 state election would not benefit the introduction of an R18+ classification.
"Former Liberal Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock supported my opposition to an R 18+ Classification for interactive games at a time when most Labor Attorneys-General wanted to introduce one and he sought the endorsement of Cabinet for his position," Atkinson wrote. "Should I stop being Attorney-General, the opposition would, I predict, be taken up by the W.A. Attorney-General (Liberal) and at least two other Attorneys-General (Labor). Moreover, many Liberals in the State Parliament and at least one Liberal candidate in the forthcoming State election support my stand."
Doe told Kotaku that he was "a little saddened" by Atkinson's response to his challenge. However, he remains undaunted in the face of the Attorney-General's obvious advantages and has vowed to take his campaign beyond the electorate of Croydon.
"He is hugely popular within his electorate," says Doe, "and he will have not only superior brand recognition, but also a well-oiled political machine running his campaign.
"Over the weekend it became clear that we will need to run a candidate for the Legislative Council, so that gamers who do not live in the Croydon electorate will also be able to show their support by voting for our candidate in the upper house. And of course, we will be working on our preferences with the other major parties in the coming months, as well as providing some quick links to people's Federal representatives so they can voice their concern at the requirement of unanimity between Attorneys-General to implement an R18+ classification rating with a view to getting that piece of legislation amended to only require a majority vote of Attorneys-General.
"And in amongst all that," jokes Doe, "I'm going to try to continue to paint the inside of my house, and try to get my season's batting average above zero, and my bowling average below sixty."