Atkinson’s Oxygen: Should We Ignore Him?

Atkinson’s Oxygen: Should We Ignore Him?

No matter what the statistics, the research, or the weight of public opinion say, Atkinson has his feet firmly planted in concrete when it comes to classification reform. His position is based on his personal opinions, not facts. What do you do to fight that? Today we’re wondering, would it be best to stop paying him any attention?

On Monday’s Good Game, as covered earlier here, he expressed his personal fear that his family is in greater danger from gamers than from outlawed bikie gangs. That gamers have stalked outside his home, slipping threatening notes under his door late at night.

It’s hard to deny the unfortunate idiots who might be doing such things. But idiots are idiots, and that’s got nothing to do with the pros and cons of classification reform.

Right now it seems there is no argument that could sway him, with statements that show he is pre-judging the nature of the discussion paper submissions and what the final slant of comments will be.

I’m wondering if ongoing attention simply strokes his ego, stokes the fires of his crusade, and makes him feel like the centre of the conservative universe? I doubt we would choose to do such a thing, but what do you think? Would it be better to encourage people to ignore him until he goes away?


  • *sigh* Seriously guys, whilst I may be for the R18 classifications these people who are stalking etc, are just adding fuel to the fire. The same thing happened with that frumpy mum incident where the people who had decent arguments were undermined by all the idiots who sent threatening letters. Seriously if your not contributing in a positive way can people just keep quiet.

  • So long’s he’s blocking the R18+ rating, I don’t think people will be willing to sit quiet so I’m not entirely sure it is possible to make him go away. Those guys slipping notes under his door are bound to keep doing it being the idiots that they are.

    Assuming your theory is correct though, ignoring him probably won’t change anything seeing as there’s no pressure for him to do so. That is unless he’s so desperate for attention that he reverses his decision just so he can get in the spotlight again.

  • While he may be recieving threating letters from possible gamers right now, i wouldnt think that this would be the first time its happened to him either.

    I know that when you start talking politics and relgion people can sometimes do change into different people.

    However having that, doing that stuff just ends up hurting the cause more so than helping the cause.
    First it gives him the moral high ground advantage, and in this day and age it really does mean alot. Second it reinforces the negitive image of all games being bad and games are the cause of all the worlds problems by corrupting our youth etc etc.

    the same thing goes with that group called annomyus that hate any form of censorship and their denial of services attacks last week against government websites over the rudd governments planned mandatory internet filtering.

    • damn, need an edit button, ment to say that it would not of been the first time that Atkinson would of recieved threats in general while campagining/being in office

  • It’s worth noting that the 2am not under the door has been pretty much the same since early last year. At best, he’s basing it on an isolated incident.

    Unfortunately, waiting for him to go away might take years, and his opinion is highly unlikely to change without outside influence. Really, what Gamers4Croydon is trying to do is not convince Mr Atkinson he’s wrong, but rather convince the public he’s wrong, or the government that he’s a liability. Numerous sources from within the Labor government have implied he’s already under pressure to pull his head in.

    Chris Prior

    • Atkinson is a Labor heavyweight and powerbroker. He’s renowned in Party circles as a political thug. If anyone’s telling him to pull his head in other than the Premier or the Treasurer, they’re asking very nicely, not demanding it. He has one of the safest seats in the state, which he did earn that while in opposition, and he’s had the same portfolio for decades.

      The moral populist conservative drum he’s been beating louder and louder while in government is a new thing, and it works well in his quiet, aging electorate.

      The divisive language of the Labor government in SA is taken straight from the playbooks of Joh Bjelke-Peterson and John Howard. While Atkinson would do well to look at those two plunderers’ demises, he’s not going anywhere for a long time.

      • “Atkinson is a Labor heavyweight and powerbroker. He’s renowned in Party circles as a political thug. If anyone’s telling him to pull his head in other than the Premier or the Treasurer, they’re asking very nicely, not demanding it”

        So he’s pretty much an example of the very worst side that our political system has spawned. Screw representing the people, it’s time for POLITICS BABY! Even better!

    • We also have a widget on our website to contact your federal MP with information about the R18+ issue. There is potential to change the structure that allows Atkinson to hold a veto, and the more contact federal MPs get about this issue the better.

    • Chris, silly question.

      We all Atkinson keeps bringing that note up. But has anyone ever found out that he reported this to the police? His views aside, notes like that are serious.

      Also, he claims it was a gamer. How on Earth does he know this? If I remember right, his original statement stated clearly that he only saw the back of the person running off.

      The most I can put this down is that the person in question is a prankster and that Atkinson is only assuming it was a gamer.

    • Seconded, I get the sincere feeling Atkinson is getting on the Jack Thompson express out of credibility.

      Just like jack Thompson the more he speaks the crazier he sounds. The difference being Thompson required a panel of judges to throw him out of the courts. We only need public opinion to toss Atkinson out of his seat.

      His back flip on censorship laws in SA, a call for his resignation by the opposition and his increasingly paranoid and random comments like the ones from today hurt his reputation and those of his party by association.

      The more he talks the less he makes sense and too much crazy in an election year will get him booted from his position as attorney general after the election by his own party.

  • Seamus, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

    No amount of real evidence is going to change his stance, as far as he is concerned his opinion is solid undeniable fact and that anyone with an opposing point of view is simply wrong (especially those of us who are apparently even more dangerous than outlaw bikers)…

    Yet we continue to put all out energy, time and money into surveys, discussion papers, blogs like this, etc… and to what end?

    We would have a better chance of all getting together and building Rapture for real and introduce a R18+ rating there (maybe even live in a democracy where the citizens of Rapture actually get a say on these decisions)…

    In the meantime we will just have to circumvent this archaic dinosaur by continuing to be the criminals (as he has pointed us all out to be) and illegally import them ourselves.

    We’re flogging a dead horse here people, change is not going to happen in his self declared dictatorship.


  • Regardless of whether or not he should be ignored it would be near impossible to actually get people to ignore him.

    Efforts should be made to get him out of power though, such as G4C. I’m in no position to comment on the practicability of doing so, however I’d rather not have to wait until he chooses to retire to get R18 rating for games.

  • I think you might have a point there, we should focus on working around him as he clearly won’t budge. I don’t think the guy is 100% rational anyway, particularly after his interview on goodgame.

  • Notes under his door? Dude needs to buy a mail box.

    Did he turn this note over to the police? Does he still have it? How does he know it was at 2 am? If these questions cannot be addressed I am afraid it is a non issue.

    He is paranoid, delusional and unfit for public service if he believes that bikie gangs constitute a lesser threat to him that the 68% of australia that plays games. It’s pathetic and sad.

    He’s just using every dirty trick in the book, the plight of a desperate man.. Keep it up G4C

    • That’s what I’ve been wondering for a while. If he’s so worried about his family, and he is entitled to – he is human, why is he waving it about instead of seeking advice from the police?

  • sigh

    G4C/Good Game should interview or talk to this guy and prove that the system is NOT WORKING for children right now

    He also mentions rapelay, people need to be educated that refused classification would still exist for extreme topics, just like Film.

  • It’s so ridiculous we can’t shift the status quo because of one man’s opinion who is ruling out the majority. Why do all ministers have to agree for something to pass? The constitution blows basically. But hopefully the public awareness is now raised enough that this is the beginning of the end of Atkinson.

  • The problem is he’s not like Jack Thompson – someone who is just vocally opposed to videogames.

    He actually has quite a bit of political power, and he loves to wield it to suit his own ends.

  • While I can see the benefit in just hoping he goes away, the more attention Atkinson receives, the more he seems to unravel. That, and the majority of Australians still have no idea he exists, let alone what he is doing. So ignoring him won’t make much difference I think.

    Generally, it’s my opinion that ignoring people like Atkinson (and yes, Overington) doesn’t help the Australian video game industry, but hinders it. Consistently responding with sensible arguments that make sense and that are difficult to be refuted is probably the only real way we can try to stop this country’s view of games being the laughing stock of the global industry.

    • Also, there is no evidence that this ‘note’ that Atkinson is talking about ever existed, let alone that it was from someone who plays video games. Atkinson has yet to produce it or tell anyone what it said.

      If he wanted people to believe that gamers did indeed deliver this fictional note, showing it to people sure would help support his claim.

      But he can’t do that because there was no note to begin with.

  • The trouble with the conservatives like Atkinson is that they are not aware of the aggression they are perpetrating on Australian citizens.
    Restricting the freedoms of adults is a pretty aggressive act, indeed it is a form of corruption.
    In a free democratic country laws must be minimised to that which impacts people directly.
    Atkinson is abusing his power: He simply should not have the right to restrict the creative rights of the human race. Guess what: we won’t let him!

    • yeah thing is we cant rant and rave about him censoring the bloody videogames but truthfully steven conroy is really more of a problem at that than Atkinson is

      It’s one thing to prevent materials coming into circulations (we havent really lost anything) yet if conroy gets his bloody filter in we could loose everything hell Abortion gets banned by the filter because of a couple of pictures and suddenly people have lost the ability to make an informed decision on what they want to do

      Its still hilarious hes trying to make google censor for him saying they have to follow the laws because theyll be australian laws except that youtube and what not arent hosted in australia so what angle hed have to force them to do it is minute

      especially when they could simply counter argue that the govt is already making the ISP’s censor other things so why isnt it just done internally By australian ISP’s who are actually bound by the laws to be put in place

      the only reason to get google to censor for them is because it will halt the internet if its done in australia therefore causing negative feedback onto maybe one of the greatest blockage of free speech and choice in australia

  • people need to stop attacking the person at the centre, and start attacking the problem itself. His opinion will never be swayed – so concentrate on swaying the opinion of everyone else and force him to change his mind. Just look at that whole “you must tell me your name and postcode” debacle – it was something he believed in, yet because of the public backlash, he was forced to backflip.

    Attack the problem!
    Make sure people are aware that having an R-rating will help protect the children,
    that it will finally allow Australia to have an easy-to-understand ratings system that will now apply to all forms of visual media,
    that it will be easier to actually correctly ban inappropriate titles,
    that there will actually be legally enforceable punishments for those that supply underage kids with R-rated titles,
    tell people that it will help the economy because people will be able to buy games in THIS country, meaning more money stays on our shores, and helps stimulate the retail sector

    concentrate and focus the attack based on what the general public and those who are currently against a R-rating are fearing, and calmly and maturely address their concerns

  • I don’t think you can ignore him. Unfortunately he is the issue right now. Whilst the goal might be to get an R18+ classification, he stand in the way of that.

    I think the more widespread coverage he gets, especially when he is cast in a bad light like this, is better. It gets the issue to more people and in turn puts greater pressure on the Labor party to sort out their minister.

  • If we want something we have to fight for it. This is especially true in politics. Complacence or inactivity will just see you either trampled by the opposing team or be classified as the bunch of amateur dissenters and can be swept under the rug again. Yes Atkinson is completely stubborn about his own view but if we generate enough force to say otherwise the outside pressure will eventually crumble him.

    It might not happen in the next election but if you think the battle is lost then please go crawl under a rock so we can continue with our effort. Congrats by the way, consider yourself embedded in the Atkinson’s camp – we don’t need you anymore.

  • What annoys me is that “his personal opinion” is blocking this policy. Shouldn’t policies really be decided on the facts and figures and not personal opinions?? I think a blanket ban on Atkinson should be put in place. I don’t think he’s getting alot of coverage on mainstream media only gaming blogs and websites. I think he should be refered to as “who
    must not be named”.

  • I’d agree, some deranged gamer with a vendetta & porn soaked mind is probably more of a risk to this bloke than a biker.

    The Bikie gangs are only a threat to others when there’s a dollar or personal honour at stake. The nutter (gamer) will have a go out of principal – particulaly after practicing in his virtual world.

    While I recognise that most gamers are not nutters there are more than a few that are, & it only takes one – like the stalker.

  • Please don’t ignore him.

    Keep it up people, the more we argue with him the more he is in the public eye.

    The more he is in the public eye the more the general public realise how biased his views are, and how ridiculously stupid he is. The more chance of him not being re-elected.

    He is his own worst enemy.

    trying to get more members of the public on his side of the R18+ argument.

    “I think it’s very hard for those members of the public who don’t play games to relate to the debate.”

    Ahhhhh. Atkinson, before making a comment like this, maybe you should see if it refers to yourself as well before stating that its hard for YOURSELF to relate to the debate you are so strongly opposed against.

    • I agree. If this were Jack Thompson, I would say to ignore him because Jack was trying to create change. But Atkinson is trying to prevent change, and ignoring him will not help. We need to keep him in the spotlight to keep the debate fired.

      If anything, Atkinson should ignore us to keep the debate out of the public eye. As it is, every comment he makes hurts his efforts to prevent change.

  • You know what? It would take some convincing for me to believe that he isn’t making the “note under the door” thing up.

    He doesn’t strike me as someone that has a problem with perverting or stretching the truth. He is desperatly trying to defame the gaming community at every opportunity as he knows his arguments are flawed but is committed to stay the course with his rhetoric so his only option seems to discredit the whole section of the community that has the desire to play a adult form of media labelling them as sicko’s, ultra violent, and now it seems we are branded with a group of people that decide to live their lives above the law traffic drugs, murdering people so on so forth.

    This guy should be ashamed of himself.

    • it wouldn’t surprise me – he’s been peddling this “someone slipped a note under my door” story for over a year now.

      It’s fear-mongering. That’s all he’s doing. Because he knows it works.

  • I am sick of seeing him in the media about this topic. This is not a debate it is a democratic system that is not working due to the tyranny of one individual. There have been no new facts raised. Unfortunately, his approach appears to be nothing more than a blatant attempt to grandstand himself.

  • I’ll pay 20,000 Xbox Live points to someone who RPG’s this guy in the face (with a pie). He’d be used to it anyway, he’s obviously a clown.

    • Juzza, please! Atkinson wants people to do so. Why? Because it *justifies* his comments.

      The only way we can get the better of him is to let him have a his invention on what gamers are and disprove it in the media by reacting differently to how he expects.

      Take the incident where he said he expects gamers to resort to criminal tactics. It is outragious, yes. But if we react, it will turn the fiction into fact.

  • I’m not sure whether putting Michael Atkinson on TV is helping or hurting our position. Unfortunately, to the layperson, MA is the only voice they are hearing in this debate.

    Who was the guy speaking for G4C? He chose his words carefully and spoke with the clarity of someone who thinks rationally. A perfect counter to the careless slandering that MA seems to partake in.

    I think I saw the G4C guy on Q and A about 6 months ago, defending the R18+ rating. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

  • Unfortunately, Atkinson isn’t Thompson. Thompson was a joke, a self important tool with delusions of grandeur and narcissitic personality disorder. By contrast, Atkinson is a self important tool with delusions of grandeur and narcissitic personality disorder AND POLITICAL POWER.

    He is actually able to exercise his prejudices without checks and balances and that is an example of the fundamentally flawed nature of the system. Ignoring him is simply validating his prejudices and giving him unspoken approval. Resistance is the only viable course, you don’t fight prejudice by ignoring it, you fight it with words and positive examples.

    All that said, someone should slip a note under his door (ideally at 2am) with a pressed flower and a text hug.

    Heh he’d probably claim the flower is an assassination attempt because he has hayfever or something

  • Stalking is a crime. He could call the police. Other then that, this guy’s claim to fame is that he’s against R18+ games. I think he just enjoys it. Especially after saying his family is in more danger from games then bikie gangs. Considering one is fiction and the other is reality, that statement is just ludacrius.
    My solution is to buy the games I want on the net, screw him.

  • Remember what happened with Jack Thompson, we just kept pointing out his flawed arguments, providing legitamate arguments of our own and eventually he was recognised for the fool he is.

    Keep up the (political) pressure on Atkinson and sooner or later he’ll suffer the same fate.

  • Wow. . . it really only just occurred to me. . .

    This game is rated MA. . . Michael Atkinson.
    Or, Michael Atkinson, not suitable for children under 15 years.

    If we get an R rating then most MA games will be rated R.
    Poor Atkinson wont see his initials everywhere anymore.
    “Ha! That game is rated MEEEEE!!!”
    I bet he says that ll the time to his kids.

    If its not rated Michael Atkinson, its not rated at all!

  • Atkinson has built a wall behind himself on this issue.
    He can’t back down after essentially calling over half the country criminal.
    It’s dissapointing that fabrications and fearmongering can be seen as truth.
    But the reason this issue got into the mainstream media is because we made him speak. By responding to his nonsense about violent, criminal gamers as sensible, mature individuals with strong opinions and votes.
    And because of G4C.
    Because we didn’t ignore the issue, it has become a mainstream issue.
    The note and stalker, if true, should be a matter for the police.
    I can’t say I appreciate GG showing a note, as it clearly wasn’t THE note, but at least they did a story about it.
    And unless the “stalker” is holding a sign saying “i’m a gamer” it must be Atkinson’s assumption, if there’s anyone there at all.

  • Oh come on, the only reason he’s ‘more scared of gamers’ is because he’s not infringing on bikies rights.

    The only way to protect minors is to implement a legally enforceable rating for high-level content.

    Atkinson’s nothing more than a hypocrite using peoples’ ignorance to score points for himself rather than the public good. (in other words, he’s a politician)

  • I’m hoping he will eventually lose his seat.

    the thing is, this issue is NOT going to go away for him, it will stay around till it happens.

    A person can only be stubborn for so long.

  • Atkinson is a fool. Next thing you know, he’ll be blaming Katamari Damacy for larceny and property damage… He’s uninformed, bigoted, and unfortunately in a position of power that he can easily abuse.

    Hopefully the people of Australia, and in particular South Australia, will tell him that we don’t want his opinions dictating the way we enjoy interactive entertainment.

  • well if his feet are firmly planted in concrete and no opinion papers are going to sway him in any way then what’s the point of even writing a discussion paper? I don’t understand!? all the valid arguments gamers have made about having an r18 rating have been refuted by atkinson already, it’s really a waste of time while he holds office, the only way we’re going to see a change to the classification is if he gets voted out, dies or retires.
    The odd/rare game that gets heavily edited or refused classification here that I want i’ll just import at a cheaper price anyways.

  • There are fools and idiots in our society, only to be out done by a clown known as the Attorney General. This man needs to be ignored and removed from office on 20 March 2010 for the betterment and safety of all South Australians. Let no other state in Australia even consider duplicating the policies of this out of touch / out of control egotistical person.

  • sh!t load of good the ban is doing anyway , my pc copy of Bioshock had Ma15 on the cover and 18+ printed on the cd

    bring in photo ID for R+ games, then no one can bitch about it.

  • The problem with ignoring him is that he is still holding the power. He can still undo all of the hard work of the government’s public feedback analysis by remaining closed-minded. If he can not be swayed by his public or by reason and logic, he has no place in office. To that point we need allies with power to be reasoned with by logic to remove Atkinson from his power in the proper manner.

    While it is a good step to bring in the Gamers4Croydon party to oppose him at the elections, there are 2 crucial points against this:

    Firstly, South Australia has a very strong Christian demographic, who hold the Christian values that Atkinson totes very dearly to their herts.

    Secondly, single-purpose parties “Fishing Party, One Nation, etc” all generally focus the entirety of their existence on one policy, leaving massive shortcomings in other areas and are not seen as serious or genuine competition.

  • It’s the fact that this narrow-minded guy like him is in high position that keeps this country trail way behind first-world countries. Overgeneralising the whole population of gamers as mob if anything he does a damn good job of making enemies.

  • Honestly the whole note-under-the-door strawman seems to be almost a laughable comment to me. By all means, ignore his usual rhetoric. But if he continues to say laughable stuff like that then I’d say give him all the publicity he wants.

  • I understand that we need all the attorney generals to agree to change the classification, but is there really no way to work around this man? Any other process or way to take this issue further apart from electing someone else?

    I read somewhere that gamers in QLD trying to introduce R18+ classification for games puerly at a state level. Is this possible for every state, and if so maybe our efforts should be made towards state government?

  • The only way this law will ever change is to ignore that &%#* and change the laws so one man can’t stop 12 million others’ wishes.

    And I agree he knows politics every time a ‘gamer’ insults him it strengthens him and he feels like he’s important cause ‘gamers’ don’t like him. Ignore him and let him die a sad forgotten sap.

  • It is a real possability that atkinson made up the whole note under the door, trying to tarnish gamers and to get people to rally behind his ideals

  • Please don’t ignore him. The more attention/pressure he gets the more of a fool he exposes himself as being to the community.

    What needs to be done in addition to the status quo is to start putting pressure on the Premier, Mike Rann and all other Labor MP’s and candidates by saying that since the Premier wont’ sack Atkinson and the party won’t force him to, they all agree with Atkinson.

    Nevermind the fact he’s safe because of factional backroom deals, with enough public pressure on all Labor people he soon won’t be because they’ll see what a liability he is, and if he isn’t forced out then hopefully Labor won’t win the election and he won’t be the Attorney-General anymore.

    I’d also suggest forwarding any correspondence with Atkinson that is crazy in response to your reasoned questions to SA media outlets, other political parties and even other Labor MP’s and candidates so that everyone is aware are just how crazy he is in case they’ve been living under a rock and arent already aware of that.

  • the way i look at it, the more attention we give the more chance that the rest of australia who dont surf the web as often as gamers do will actually get exposed to this argument about classification.

    what really needs to happen is that we get main stream press to start writing articles about this issue. arguing, and pondering about whether to keep giving this nimrod attention may (from my point of view) be a negative thing.

    as long as this issue is still in peoples minds regardless of whose time it is wasting the more likely something will actually be done about this. I really do hope that G4C can actually make a difference, but the reality are they are a new independant group on the political scene, and they will need all the help they can get. If they get even 1% of the vote thats a plus.

  • This whole situation would turn on it’s head if some religious nutjob sent a threatening note to the G4C candidate.

    It’d give G4C something they could wave in Atko’s face too.

    Nutjobs and Pranksters aren’t just limited to gamers.

  • Of course we shouldn’t just ignore him. In the past few months, he’s made some blatantly ugly political decisions, such as the R18 DVD laws, regulating political comments leading up to an election, and of course the land grab scandal.

    The more he’s put under the spotlight in a bad light, the more the voters can see his true nature.

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