Atkinson "Welcomes" Gamers 4 Croydon Election Challenge

pacman_atkinsonSouth 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."


Comments

    good way of getting publicity to the cause.

    PROVING your opposition wrong is fine but insulting your opposition/local community members is low as low can get!!! I hate you with all my body and soul Michael Atkinson!

    “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.”

    Cuz all games with an R18 rating are like that.

      In fact I can't think of a single game that allows raping of mother's and daughters, or taking drugs to "improve sporting prowess". Unless you count that atari game, Custer's revenge RELEASED 2 DECADES AGO.

        Wasn't there that RC sports game (american football?) recently. Something about taking drugs was good short term but screwed you over log term, but because there was any positive at all, was RC.

        "taking drugs to improve their sporting prowess" is a reference to Blitz: The League. An NFL game from 2005/2006 that was RC'ed in Aus. You could improve your players with steroids.

        Atkinson used the game as one of several examples of how "the system works" in a speech to Parliment a few years ago. The fact that he's clearly still clinging to a handful of banned games as evidence he's right, despite the type of content regularly squeezed into the MA15+ rated games these days just goes to show what a tool he is.

        He was referring to Rapelay, a Japanese game from five years ago that was recently at the centre of controversy in Japan that resulted in the government enforcing legislation on what words can and can't be included in game titles, as well as rebranding of H-titles sold in Japanese stores.
        The game was never available outside of Japan, but apparently Atkinson, the master spin doctor he is, considers it an imminent threat to the Australian public.
        He's basically saying if he lets us play R18+ games, underage children will start training to kidnap and rape women on the subway - since he also believes once we have R18+ ratings, children will have MORE access to restricted content than they do now, where games rating 18+ in the UK get by with an MA15+ rating here.

        Go figure.

        LOL, Raping mothers and daughters! I think he is confusing Games with Real life, that's the NRL and AFL not gamers.

      yeah, that comment demonstrates pretty clearly what a self righteous, ignorant fossil this guy is.

      The rape game may very well be denied R classification, the other stuff isn't really any of his fucking business.

      i think the more pertinant point is why are only the voters of croyden able to choose this i mean a national issue should be on the national level

    Good luck, David. Anything that raises awareness on this issue is a very good thing.

    ..."score points by raping a mother and daughter", umm, what game was this??

      Rapelay

      Was banned everywhere except for Jap i think...

        I'm pretty sure it was only intended for the Japanese audience...

        After the stink that some lobby group kicked up around it (two or three years after it was released, mind you) the game was removed from sale in Japan too.

    "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.”

    Sensationalist BS

    The Voters of Croydon will be asked if there should be an R18 to stop games such as GTA and L4D2 being pushed into MA15+ ratings. The sale of R18+ content should be illegal just like alcohol is to minors.

    God I hate that man. Hes so blind. What game endorses raping? Any game that did i would expect the board to still refuse sale.

    God I wish there was something I could do from Tasmania. I've emailed the Tassie attorney-general twice now regarding this matter, and only got back two form letters so far saying that she'd get back to me. She didn't. Of course.

    I love it how Atkinson specificly points out games like rapelay getting into AUS lol yet he overlooks the reason why we want it... To reduce the games that matter (L4D2) getting into AUS without hassle...

    Also to reduce the possible alterations to games such as GTA etc... Thats all i wish he would understand... Let the people decide what games to play and keep games like Rapelay under the XXX catagory and we still wont see them in AUS.. After all, its R18 we want. Not XXX..

      He considers the idea that R18+ games are getting pushed into MA15+ ratings are just "an argument of convenience" for people with a vested interest in gaming.
      He thinks we're all child-murdering degenerate rapists who want to play ultraviolent pervert games, and we're making stuff up about a good chunk MA15+ titles being inappropriate for children.

      Now who's thinking about protecting people from harmful content?

    Surely someone could have come up with a more serious party name than "Gamers 4 Croydon" The '4' seems like txt speak to anyone not familiar with L4D and the word 'Gamer" is alienating all the non-gamers. Why would a non-gamer care about video games? That's what children play, right? That's not a serious, grown up topic. And Gamers in power? Won't they be playing games all the time? Hardly. But Video Games are still seen by the older generations as children's toys. I feel the subject could have been tackled much better with a name that appealed to both young and old. Gamers and non-gamers. Something that sounds like a political party and not an electronics store. I'm 100% behind anyone willing to take on Michael Atkinson but they need to focus on more than just games. I know they have other plans, but when it's crunch time and people turn out to vote, I doubt they'll see it that way.

    It's not about getting a classification to "Rape, Blow up Authority figures or Drugs", It's about giving people the decision to choose what they play. Films have the rating, Why not video games? Simple because they are interactive? Atkinsons perspective is immature, Getting witty comebacks that are irrelevant to the point us gamers are tring to make. Wake up Mr. Atkinson.

    a game with raping a mother and daughter would still be banned (and rightly so)
    Games with these elements can already be purchased by 15 year olds:
    -blowing themselves up (eg: GTA)
    -torturing human figures (interogation in 24: The Game & Splinter Cell series)
    -killing people (85% of games since 1992, more recently Modern Warfare 2 which is rated R+18 in the UK)
    -taking drugs to improve their sporting prowess (um, Fallout 3, Ashes 2009 to not fall asleep?)
    Introduce R+18 plus and these games are out of the hands of children and can only be purchased by adults. It does not open the floodgates to games that are banned everywhere in the world (eg: Rapeplay)

    I've worked in and around party politics for the better part of a decade. Gamers 4 Croydon stand zero chance of winning, and every chance of having their cause pilloried and marginalised even further by the tabloid press.

    Atkinson holds Croydon on a margin of 26.1 per cent 2 party preferred (I'm not in SA, but I'm assuming that's against the Liberal party), without googling, I can guess that SA electorates have about 45,000 voters in them.

    So roughly 35,000 voted for Atkinson at the last election after the preferences were distributed.

    That means David Doe needs to convine 35,000 people that they need an R18+ rating more than they need a member of Parliament who has otherwise adequately represented their needs for however many years.

    My experience in elections like this one is that an incumbent on such a huge margin will only spend around $20,000 on his campaign. That will print out about 300 corflute posters with his face and name and cover maybe two electorate wide mail outs, as well as pay some for t-shirts and balloons.

    While I possibly have David Doe's captive attention, seriously, buy balloons. They're the key to the electorate's heart. Give them out to children at shopping centres.

    What Atkinson doesn't have to pay for are 45,000 How-To-Vote cards, the brand recognition of the SA ALP, and the fact he's a senior Minister who will be gracing television screens and newspapers often.

    So to put in an equal showing, David Doe will need to fundraise at least $50,000 to match Atkinson just in material costs. He will probably need some kind of full time press secretary to have any hope of matching him in the local press (forget about metro press).

    David Doe will also need enough volunteers to man every polling booth in Croydon to have any chance of polling above 1 per cent.

    Are the Croydon EB's going to donate to the campaign? Activision? EA? Is the IEAA going to start handing over cash? Electronic Frontiers?

    Probably not. Because their analysis would be the same as mine: waste of time, waste of cash.

    Atkinson knows exactly how to run a campaign, and he knows exactly how to make Gamers 4 Croydon an unelectable laughing stock.

    More harm than good. If gaming wants to be taken seriously, you need to play the game seriously. This isn't playing the game, it's setting yourself up for fail.

      I dont think they seriously expect to beat Atkinson at his own game to become the next Attorney General of SA, but at least hes making an effort to stand up for something he believes in and bring attention to the matter, instead of just rolling over an accepting it, or just bitching on the internet like an angry nerd...

      I have to agree with all that j5 said. As much as I love the idea of competing and beating Atkinson. I just don't think it's possible. $50,000 would be easy enough to raise. If a modder can get gamers to fund Gabe from Valve to visit Oz. Surely gamers around Australia could fund this campaign easy enough. But getting the votes would not be so easy. I see it like a boxing match. Doe is the stronger and more intelligent fighter. But Atkinson plays dirty, punching Doe in the balls, punch after punch. The Ref (which is the media) prints Atkinsons lies which is the same as a punch to the balls and the ref allows it. "gamers score points by raping a mother and daughter" = a complete lie but it swings all the ignorant voters against Doe. Lets face it there are too much ignorant voters and Atkinsons makes sure he has all their support through lies and misconceptions.

      If it were made an issue for not so safe seats as well, then the party may have to pressure him to change his views.

      OK J5, I suspect these are valid points and a likely outcome.

      What would YOU suggest be done about getting an R18+ rating passed? Is it just a case of waiting till the fossils die off?

      Yeah, I don't think he is going to win either, but I think the more important thing David is doing is putting his money where he mouth is and using the democratic process as a means to raise awareness of the issue to the greater public.

      I cheer on his efforts (although I cringe at the name) and will be donating to him as he is doing something more tangible than I have ever done to push the issue.

        And I read on and see others have asked you the same question and you replied - Fair enough. I still stand by my comments that it is an important step to take to raise awareness.

        I encourage you to contact Mr Doe and provide help if you believe you know more about engaging Atkinson on his turf than the average John Q Gamer.

    The real problem with Atkinson is his scaremongering.

    Instead of backing up all his claims with actual facts (like naming these games he's talking about and what consoles/platforms they're available on) he'll simply run up to his constituents and yell in their face 'RAPE! MURDER! TORTURE! RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS! THAT'S WHAT VIDEO GAMES ARE ALL ABOUT!!!!!'.

    And if his constituents even care about this issue, then they will be frightened into voting.

    That's the most horrible aspect of this issue. Atkinson earning a small amount of votes out of fear.

    Atkinson's point... despite how untenous it is, will be the one that plays in the media.

    Furthermore, that we don't have games like that here can be spun as proof that the lack of R18 rating is a positive thing.

    A better response would have been:
    “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.” .. or would they rather their fifteen year old child be able to do it because currently a game company will change their game just a little so it can scrape past classification. It comes down to trust... do the citizens of Croyden fell that the government should trust them to make their own decisions?

    The thing to remember is that blood, sex and gore are sexy and sell papers and airtime. People making responsible choices do not.

    @ j5

    Real helpful advice there mate. "WASTE OF TIME DON'T DO IT YOU'LL FAIL"

    Even if Gamers 4 Croydon don't a get single vote, perhaps Doe will wake a handful of people up to the outdated and dangerous viewpoints of Michael Atkinson. Because Doe is out there with his own money and resources actually doing something. I call that a win.

    Or we can just whinge and moan on internet forums for the rest of our lives.

      There are better, and more effective ways of doing it:

      1. Become a member of Electronic Frontiers.

      The EFA is one of only two advocates the pro R18+ ratings debate has, only unlike the IEAA, they're dirt poor, and video game classifications aren't their number 1 priority. Gamers need to organise, join en masse, and affect changes on the Board of Management that see them take a more aggressive approach to these issues. Or any approach at all. The EFA is on speed dial for every journalist seeking a pro-games opinion, but they're no pro-active in putting those opinions out there because their membership are predominantly older libertarians.

      2. Make the IEAA care

      ...or as it's now known, iGEA, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Alliance. Unlike Electronic Frontiers, which represents you and I as the end user, iGEA represents the developers, distributors, and retailers of interactive games. Their primary concerns in the market place are attracting games development to Australia, and protecting their members from piracy. For them, classification is a tertiary issue.

      To put it front and centre, gamers need to punish retailers, who are all but complicit in the present classification regime.

      Think about it: Does EB and Game really want Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty 4, two of the decade's biggest games, classified R18+? How many R18+ films are on the year's best seller's list? They're perfectly comfortable with games being edited, dumbed down, for the Australian market, because they want parents to buy them. As the older, savvy games consumer switchs to online distribution and imports, they'll come to rely more and more on parents buying games for the under 15s.

      To make the iGEA care, they need to know that their clients will be punished at the cash register for not being more robust in their appeals. These guys have the cash and the contacts to lobby the Government. And lobbying is how to get this done.

      3. Run in Legislative Council

      If you absolutely must take the fight directly to Atkinson, run in the Upper House. With preference dealing (the Greens and Liberals will take anyones), it might be possible to meet the 4 per cent quota Statewide and get 1 candidate up. To do this, Gamers 4 Croydon would need to run candidates in other seats to satisfy the electoral commission's requirements, they'd also need a lot more volunteers to man enough polling booths to get a good outcome.

      I think this is possible for a well organised group. In NSW, there are 2 members of the Shooters Party in their upper house, and there are a far fewer gun licences in that state than there are XBox 360s.

        Even better, why don't you help him out? Email David Doe directly - [email protected] and lend some help/advice/expertise.

        You seem to know a few things about the political process and you read Kotaku, so logic suggests you give a shit.

          This.

    Good luck with the challenge, although the name of the party is not conducive to broad appeal. Personally, I would name it the "Media Anti-Censorship Party".

    Whatever the party name was though, if I was living in Croydon, SA, I would vote for them without hesitation.

    @j5

    DavidR is correct. Even if the campaign itself is unsuccessful, the profile of the issue will have been raised at least slightly. And worst-case scenario of 'more people knowing about a problem' is certainly better than the status quo.

    I find it fairly amusing, that some of the first few posts, who obviously support the R18+ category for games, dont even know the various horizons that atkinson mentions.
    Its not that it's irrelevant, its that you guys dont even have the power to throw his arguments back in his face.

    How can some of you support the existence of an R18 category without even knowing or hearing about some of these games.

    Kotaku posts about half of these games all the time from Japan, and there's also a number of articles about various other games.
    in particular Postal.

      "Kotaku posts about half of these games all the time from Japan, and there’s also a number of articles about various other games.
      in particular Postal."

      Do they? Where are these articles you speak of that Kotaku posts 'all the time'? Hey, Wildgoose! What are you keeping from us?

      And Postal? The 1997 game Postal? A game that was released 12 years ago only on PC that nobody bought Postal? Is that what you're talking about?

      First off, no point really posting here. Not going to be heard by anyone that matters.

      Second, the games are made in Japan, for Japan, and to stay in Japan only (Rapelay). I don't want that in Australia, and the entire Western World would probably be happy to see that not in development.

      Third, he talks about "blowing themselves up, torturing human figures… killing people and taking drugs to improve their sporting prowess." These are all aspects of games that have been around for ages in M and MA15+ games. GTA the prime example for blowing stuff up and toturing, and take an old classic like Max Payne which you use painkillers to heal.

      I think people would be more willing to accept the ban on an R18+ game if the argument put forward by opponents had some merit and substance behind it, instead of scaremongering.

      @ Quarternari

      Also, I have to commend you on the wiley attempt to obsfucate the issue by trying to misdirect everyone's outrage back onto themselves. Kudos.

    Grrrr. Violent games do not make me want to commit violent acts and I am responsible enough to ensure my children do not have access to ANY innapropriate material, but this guy makes me want to spend major time in the angry dome. Can we get Atkinson tagged with a Refused Classification trigger since he is much more likely to make me go postal than any form of fictional entertainment.

      It's actually comments like these that Atkinson is trying create.

      Gamers forget that this isn't some old, ignorant luddite you're dealing with. This guy went toe to toe with the South Australian outlaw motorcycle gang establishment, and won - he used this exact same tactic; by being aggressive with his rhetoric, he tried to encourage the kind of behaviour from bikies that confirmed the electorate's stereotypes.

      He's doing the same thing with gamers. Every time a gamer says something inflamatory or threatening about Atkinson, his media advisers will be keeping it on file for when he's talking to journalists, community forums; I wouldn't put it past him to do a mail out of selected quotes from this very website about him in every letter box in his electorate, to remind people that his stance on R18+ games is not only right, but that the kinds of people he's fighting against are not the kind good, law abiding croydon residents want anywhere near their children.

      This guy is not ignorant about games, or gaming culture. He'll be armed with the worst we have to offer to prove his point, and he has the resources, both in terms of research (I bet his staff are reading this right now) and in his ability to disseminate the information to the mainstream press.

      This is why I can't see a grass roots movement beating him.

        He might be armed against gamers by their sometimes passionate comments, and might get the press on his side, but then again gamers didn't recently cost the state taxpayer $200,000 in an out-of-court settlement for defamation.

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/a-g-forced-to-settle-defamation-action/story-e6frg6nf-1225760818426?from=public_rss

        Nor do gamers call aboriginals an "evil phenomenon beyond rehabilitation".

        http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2009/s2712251.htm

        And these are merely the public missteps he's taken. If someone were to know his political enemies within the Labor party, for example, who knows what would be uncovered?

        He can bring try a dirty tricks campaign against them, but remember, he's the Goliath to Gamers 4 Croydon's David...

        Realistically j5, I don't think anyone here is expecting him to win. I don't think even he's expecting to win.

        However, what this will do is at least bring this issue to the attention of the masses and give it some public face. He's got off his arse and is doing something about it, in fact he's taking up a challenge issued by Atkinson himself. And good on him for it.

    I saw good luck Mr Doe

    “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"
    Yes, every R18+ game let's you do these things, why Attkinson would you even think this is a mystery. No game would ever have this and no company would, that is wrong

    Did anyone see the poll commited by Adelaidenow 82% of the voters voted for the R18+ classification but somehow Mr Atkinson has oblivious to the fact that most people want. Somehow he thinks that if there is an AO classification that every game has to get through, but the OFLC will still have the right to refuse classification to any game. Pity i dont live in the croydon area otherwise i would vote for this guy but Mr Doe will still have a hard time becuase 1 Mr Atkinson is a excellent campaigner and 2 Atkinson has held the seat of croydon since 1989. The best of luck to Mr Doe.

    We will win eventually. We're coming to the age where games are not seen as ONLY for kids. The gaming industry is one that has aged in line with it's consumers. the average age of a gamer is over 30. this is just the tip of the iceberg, we can't continue to have a classification system that's maximum restriction is half that of the average. As years go by, we will still be aging, and playing games. Heck, I hope to be still playing games 50 years from now. As the average age of gamers continues to rise, the government will take notice and start to see the medium as something more serious. Heck, the industry makes double that of hollywood, and it's only rising. Soon, the government will want some of that action and games will be taken seriously, and not just seen as a kiddy hobby, like it still is today in this country.

    We have to wait yes, but we will eventually get a proper R18+ rating. Although I don't like it, I'm willing to wait.

    “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.”

    This statement is a great indication that not only is Atkinson completely clueless about the issue, but also that he will never listen to a reasonable debate on the subject. Ever.

    It's the same mentality that advocated book booking in the twentieth century.

    Where are people getting this "Gamers are poor, jobless and irish" idea from? My computer costs more then most people's cars and how do people think we buy all these games? Gaming shouldn't be treated like the new witchcraft, the ignorance is amazing, older people are generally too convinced they are right to believe what us young gamers tell them, let's just show them what the internet can do.

    Mr Atkinson needs to be educated on how the rating system works , if he thinks just because we could have a game that contains rape in a R rated game still doesnt mean that the OFLC would let to be sold in Australia.

    Even if their was a R-rated classification - who's to say a game that features someone raping a mother or daughter (i like his choice of words - trying to make it seem even more worse cause their related), would even get passed for a R rating.

    R rating means certain games like Fallout, L4D2 etc.. can be sold the way they were made with the graphic nature of violence and blood and certain item names.

    Doesn't mean there are going to be games crated that lets you go round raping people or eating humans and that graphic. Theres the odd game here and there that has a stupid feature similar to that. Those games hardly get purchased or even picking up by a publisher. They are usually games used to gain self-promotion and speculation.

    If a game were to feature raping it would still get refused classification or banned in AUstralia even if a R-rating was present. Thats way to graphic and violent and would receive an X rating which there is none and therefore banned.

    Michael Atkinson names all these things which are outrageous and stuff i wouldn't want to play in a video game. We just want to have games that feature blood and dead bodies. Molotov Cocktails and headshots and limbs falling off. Not rape.

    Why doesn't he interact a little with the community and ask the gamers what they want from an R-Rating. I bet less than 1% would ask for rape.

      @Jay

      I doubt Michael Atkinson will even want to 'dirty his hands' by communicating with us gamers. He'll just stick with whatever story he makes up about violent games (worthy of the R rating) that could "warp children". He could get a short glimpse of L4D2 and say that you're killing innocent bystanders. If Fallout 3 were still banned, he would say something about drugs and the violence and stuff to keep it banned.

      He will be watching Gamers 4 Croydon like a hawk and when he sees them make one small slip, he will do absolutely anything to turn that slip into a train wreck for them.

      Though that's if they're unlucky and he actually finds them as a form of threat or something.

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