Atkinson Wins, Then Resigns

Atkinson Wins, Then Resigns

South Australia’s ex Attorney-General (man, it feels good to say that) Michael Atkinson has won the recent election, before promptly stepping down from the front bench. He will stay in parliament until 2014, but has no more say over our classification scheme for video games.

Citing family reasons, Atkinson made the announcement outside of a Prospect church, reports Adelaide Now:

“[My son]was supposed to play his first game last night at 7pm and like so many times in my time in Parliament I wasn’t there,” he said. “I am pretty disappointed about that.

“So I resolved that every time Johnno walks on the pitch this year his dad is going to be there even if it embarrasses the hell out of him.”

While Atkinson says there was no suggestion for him to step down, a series of events has kept him in the spotlight for the later part of his 20+ years on the job. His veto power on an R18+ rating for games we all know well – but certainly his recent fumble over internet censorship didn’t help his image of not understanding digital culture, as he is currently suffering a -11.6% swing. With 64.5% of the vote though, his position was still a strong one. At the time of writing, 74.4% of votes have been counted.

Pro R18+ party Gamers4Croydon may not have taken any spoils of war with their 3.7% of the Croydon vote, but still managed to edge out the Democrats and Family First Party, with 2.5% and 3.2%, respectively.

Supporters of Atkinson may feel they aren’t getting the man they voted for, while gamers will undoubtedly take advantage of recent organisation to try and influence the new Attorney-General ahead of the Standing Committee’s meeting on the 29th of April, which may or may not discuss the proposed R18+ rating for video games seriously.

Gamespot AU has been in contact with the AG’s office, who have said the new Attorney-General will be decided “in a week or two.” Atkinson’s views on our rating system were his own, not the Labor party’s, so shall we all raise a glass in hope of the new Attorney-General playing Counter-Strike on the weekends?


  • I doubt there wasn’t pressure internally for him to resign- Labor is ruled by the factions and the ALP have notched a victory that smells more like a defeat. An 8% swing against the ALP is not going to be without scalps being claimed and Atkinson is one of many.

    Hopefully now the ball gets rolling for the R rating.

  • “so shall we all raise a glass in hope of the new Attorney-General playing Counter-Strike on the weekends?”

    No, because there are better games than CS. Myst, Panzer Dragoon, anything by Tim Schafer….

  • It was pretty unrealistic to believe that G4C was ever going to win outright against the established political parties. But for a group that has been active for about half a year, 3.7% is great, especially considering they beat out Democrats AND Family First.

    With more funding and a longer timeframe to spread their message, I see a bright future ahead for our pro-gamer politicians.

    • But with Mick out of the picture and now a possible R18+ for games in the future, will G4C even bother?

      • They had a reasonable, if limited policy base…look at the Greens, originally a one idea party which has become the big minor party in Australia.


  • Outstanding !
    Having said that, this man is known to be a bully, and will no doubt try and influence the new A-G, whilst sitting in the shadows. Let us not forget that.

    Hopefully, the stats from the gaming community and industry will show it to be an economically viable option to pass R18 ratings to the SCAG.

    Lastly, congrats to G4C for taking a stand.
    It was a good focal point for both gamers and to the media to illustrate the issue.
    Without them, it would have just been a ‘gamers problem’, and would not have got the media attention that it did.
    Without their efforts to serve as a lightning rod (+4), it is unlikely that Michael Atkinson would have resigned.

    gg all

  • Due to the time difference between Perth and Adelaide, I was able to keep an eye on the elections, and I didn’t have to wait until ~7pm at night to get an indication of the results ^_^

    I was upset when I found that Atkinson was dominating the Croyden votes, nervously optimistic when it looked like Labor might have been beaten. Then finally, I was terribly pleased that Atkinson stood down as the Attorney-General of South Australia. It was a devious thing that he did, running in the election as the incumbent and as the AG, only to stand down immediately after the election – it is quite probable that the results would have been very different had the consituency been made aware of his intentions before the polling.

    Anyway, we can only hope that Atkinson has taught both major political parties that openly divisive opinions such as the ones exhibited by Atkinson, as well as the poor judgement and sensationalism he displayed, will not be looked upon kindly by the Australian public. Hopefully the new AG will be reasonable and open-minded with regards to the R18+ issue, especially with the SCAG meeting so soon.

  • Jumping for joy.

    Whoever takes the job will surely be more
    open minded than Atkinson.

    Anyone know roughly how long would it take for the classification system to be changed, IF it were to be pased at the next AG meeting?

  • This isn’t over by a long shot. Atkinson opened a can of worms by showing us how broken and poorly devised our ratings system is. The fact that the entire nation could be held to ransom by one man must give everyon serious pause. All industries regulated by a censorship regime should now work to have the entire system overhauled.

    • I agree. It is too hard to change the classification system in any way. How does the system reflect the will of the people of Australia, when a change can be vetoed by a single man who doesn’t like it?

      • The will of the People as such was never in doubt – from a legal standpoint, I’d say we need to kill the federation and go Republic and soon. Most of our broken laws to do with censorship and distribution of (un)rated stems from the fact that legally, every federal decision has to be because the states agree to vest power in them. In this case, we’ve seen how brittle and crappy this system can be, even before we get to the broken state of the OLFC and how vulnerable it is to wankers with a barrow to push in Canberra!

  • This was what we realistically considered the most likely outcome of our campaign. The benefit of it is that it demonstrates both the significance of the classification issue (3.7%!) as well as political readiness to dump someone who’s a liability. The 2 party preferred swing was ~11%, but his personal vote was hit by 14%. Which is massive.

    The future Attorney General, plus others around the country, have got to be looking closely at their margins. Parties generally will be wondering whether they can afford to lose 4% (or more) of their vote. Gamers4Croydon (a name that, as intended, will be changing soon now that Atko’s out of the picture) will certainly have a much stronger position to work from in subsequent elections.

    • Indeed.

      Firstly Outstanding result for you guys . Simply awesome and far far better than the 1% Mr Atkinson thought you would fail to get anywhere near 🙂

      And agree that for a seasoned politician Mr A’s insistence that his choice to focus on his family, while clearly having become a fire magnet for bad press and a massive, most certainly fatal (politically) blow of losing 14% of his personal vote, simply serves to highlight that he has become a liability to his party, and most likely was told to step down.

      Better to walk away with a win than leave him in the firing line for further media maulings, ebarasments and a rapidly diminishing popular support. Cut your losses BEFORE they become actual losses.

      Oh and the Cynical ploy of announcing this in front of his church…

      • I’d also like to congratulate you guys at G4C, Chris. Well done on fighting the good fight and not just whinging about it from your desk chair. 3.7% is a great result! I’m also glad you are realistic about what was likely to happen there… given that Croydon is described as Labor’s 4th safest seat in the country, dropping him from about 74% of the vote to just over 60% is a massive effort! Very very few other electorates would not change hands with a swing of that size. Good job, and good luck with the future.

  • “[My son] was supposed to play his first game last night at 7pm and like so many times in my time in Parliament I wasn’t there,” he said.

    Perhaps Michael Atkinson is finally ready to admit and deal with his ‘political addiction’.

    For too long now in this country, we have seen politicians forsake their families for office.

    We can’t rely on the politicians to take responsibility for their own terms, and ensure they do not forsake their family for the fun and excitement of political agendas.

    I propose a rating system be introduced, so that we as constituents, can be adequately advised on how appropriate a government position is for our respective local member, before we vote them into office.

    Without this political office classification system in place, we are bound to see more cases of neglect, such as Michael Atkinson and his family.

  • Junglist? How long have you been here?

    Anyway, this is definitely good news.
    And Atkinson’s claim that G4C wouldn’t get more than 1% of the vote… was as wrong as I expected.

  • please note that akinson did not recieve 64% of the vote, He only recieved 52%, then through the prefences of family first and the greens (WTH?) was he able to get to 64%.

    And Atkinson also suffered a 14% swing against him personally from the last election, which if you ask me is something that will make you stop and look.

    • Which is the way out voting system works?
      But is also proof of how unrealiable our voting system is and how much it sucks too!

      Not saying i am FOR Liberal, but they could have most likely WON the election had it come down to FIRST preferences. BUT it has come back and bit them in ass for bringing in that sort of system into practice anyway, how else could they get the votes they received WITHOUT preferences? Oh thats right they don’t… until some gold digger comes round claiming to sleep with Labor members and the Libs take advantage… bunch of rich

      Either way, i hope to see a R18 rating but I ain’t jumping for joy just yet. Atkinson does claim he is the only OPENLY opposed AG for a R rating. That doesn’t mean all other AG’s aren’t opposed, just means they don’t voice their opinions like Atk. does.

      They gotta pass it through first & all that…
      Either way, good to see him go for that reason, but Labor and SA in general will miss him for all the other good he has done for the state. I mean he may be hated by all gamers in Australia – but he is hated by the bikies too and for good reasons! We may look down on him about video gaming, but others laws he has pushed for has done the State justice.

      Hard and BIG shoes to fill, whoever does replace him. He did have A LOT of guts that man.

      • Ok, i understand you don’t like the two party preferred system, but i don’t quite get how Atkinson could have lost if it was only on first preference, as he’d already had 52%. That means that even if every other person had voted for the same party at most they’d only come to 48% (less if the opposing voters were spread out amongst other parties).

        Unless my maths has failed me, 48 < 52

        This of cause assumes thyco had the numbers right, which i didn't bother to look up myself.

  • Good to see the original article Kotaku posted was pulled and replaced!
    (We weren’t going to have to wait until 2014 for Atko to go Kotaku, but you know this by now!)

    Now, to celebrate…

    *fires up Wizard of Oz’s Soundtrack*


  • Dont count this as a win yet. There is a chance that the new SA AG will oppose the rating as well and we will be back to square one. Yes… we are now closer then ever to having the R18+ rating but i am not celebrating until i see the news article saying that the law has been passed.

    Fingers crossesd

  • Although I am glad I had the opportunity to vote for G4C, it is surely dissapointing that a spur of the moment party rakes in more votes than the Democrats. – they are but a shadow of what they used to be. I hope to see both parties with stronger results in the next elections though.
    Good news, hopefully it all ends in a great result.

  • I’m optimistic that Rann will not want the new AG to continue getting press and pressure about this, let’s face it, piffling issue for simple reform, and that any new AG will then likely be chosen or instructed regarding their position on this issue. “Close the book, the electorate thinks we’re arseholes” SA Labor must be saying to themselves.

    They can only thank an ineffective opposition for their win by the looks of it.

    • yeah, rann has ALOT of cleaning up to do. considering 6 months ago they pretty much had no opposition.

      hopefully the new AG will think about the benefit of the country and not try to force their own views on us… wait i forgot we are talking about politics, No doubt some “issue” will arise from the R18. but hopefully it gets changed eventually, like within the year.

  • Yes. About time he manned up and starting spending time with his kids instead of becoming confused and frustrated and trying to legislate ways of fixing his relationship.

  • 64.5% is EMBARRASSINGLY low for a blue ribbon seat, especially given that that includes preferences (yes Tycho, the Greens ALWAYS give their preferences to the ALP, that’s why you should always vote below the line).

    As for G4C, just wow, I’d hoped but never thought they’d do that well. I’m thoroughly impressed.

    • There is no line with lower house elections. You number all candidates in this case.

      SA does have a facility to let you number a single box, and have them distributed according to the candidate’s wishes, but such votes are not counted until afterwards. From the initial counts, you can be fairly certain that most of the people voting Greens really do prefer Labor to Liberal.

  • Was some great news yesterday. Fingers crossed his replacement will be a bit more open minded. Probably the only ray of sunshine for me. (Freak rainstorm – From Perth 😛 )

  • Abosultely delighted at this news, if the new AG were to be as simple minded as Atkinson, well..we’ll make him fear us as much as he does bikies 😀

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!