Over the weekend, Australia's first gamer rights political party held a membership drive in Adelaide, recruiting support in its effort to oust South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson from his state seat of Croydon. It proved a huge success.
"All up, it was a very encouraging weekend," says Gamers 4 Croydon's Chris Prior. "The total number of members included in the submission to Electoral Commission SA was 241, with more still coming in. That's well past the 150 required."
Chris and party co-founder David Doe set up recruitment desks in four venues over two days, from shopping centres to LAN events. In a delicious display of schadenfraude, one of the LAN events was held in the same parkland at the centre of corruption allegations directed at Atkinson's office.
"The fact that we were literally a stone's throw from Croydon electorate, and in the park Michael Atkinson has been under pressure for was just too poetic," says Prior.
Doe told me the response from non-gaming parents was overwhelming.
"The biggest battle here will be informing parents that there is no R18+ rating and that games being rated as such overseas are being shovelled into the MA15+ rating inappropriately. When they find out who has been blocking its introduction, their responses ranged from shocked, to embarrassed, to angry that they didn't know this was the case. In almost every instance after I'd told them, they'd say "But films have an R rating."
Gamers 4 Croydon lodged its application to the Electoral Commission on Monday and Doe expects the party to be officially registered once that process is finalised.
"We've raised over $5,000 in donations for campaign material and have over 500 members nationally in the party. I want to thank you and everybody who has helped make this possible. Without the efforts of our grass-roots volunteers, we wouldn't be in the position we find ourselves today."
"Next step is sending out membership packs and organising the internal workings of the party," adds Prior. "That means finding people willing to give up some of their gaming time to help out on the Council, and we've already got some people lined up for this. There are a few potential candidates - for both the lower and upper house - but the final call on who they'll be is up to the party members. We're also planning attendance at further LANs, including Reloaded."