READY: Writing To Your Representatives

The biggest obstacle to the R18+ rating isn't logic, it's awareness.

Most people are barely aware that Australia doesn't have an R18+ rating and, more importantly, most of your representatives aren't aware. The danger here is that the issue will be skipped over quickly during the SCAG meeting or, worse, discussion will be pushed back to a later date.

We want you guys to help make the R18+ issue a priority for both your local state representatives and the Attorneys-General, by raising awareness to the point where the issue can no longer be neglected. The petition created by Game and PALGN is a great initiative, but by writing intelligent, well reasoned letters to the right people we can make sure the R18+ issue gets the attention it deserves.

Here are some pointers.

Find Your Local Rep The SCAG meeting is relevant at the State and Federal level, so you can write to either your State or Federal representative on this matter, or both. You can write to the Attorney-General of your state, and you can write to any relevant Minister in Parliament.

You can find a list of MPs here, but if that's a little unwieldy you can try this search engine to find out who your local member is. A quick google search of their name should then bring up their details on the Parliament website.

Your State representatives can be found by heading the to following websites for your state specifically.

NSW VIC SA WA NT TAS ACT QLD

The details of everyone involved in the SCAG meeting can be found here.

Play Nice! Without sounding patronising, it's important for any communication to well reasoned, calm and clear to non-gamers. We'd recommend focusing on the positive outcomes for an R18+ rating: more information for parents, better education for consumers, more scope with which to accurately judge games for consumption, etc.

The iGEA policy statement is also useful when it comes to framing arguments:

The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) believes that an introduction of an R18+ classification is essential to: - Future-proof the computer and video games industry in light of technology convergence which is blurring distinctions between different types of media; - Cater to the rising age of computer and video game players in Australia, allowing adult gamers to be treated as such and have broad choice in the types of games they play; - Provide parents with a complete toolkit to manage children’s game playing; and - Bring Australia into alignment with the rest of the world

Work Smart Bernard Keane wrote a very insightful piece on the best way to get your letter noticed when it comes to writing to any political representative. Essentially there's a very good chance that anything you write will be ignored, or filtered through an automatic system that eventually spits out a meaningless automated reply intended to divert and confuse.

As a former civil servant in Canberra, Bernard Keane has plenty of experience with this system, and has a decent idea of what works when it comes to getting people's attention. In short, you must make life as difficult as possible by involving as many bureaucrats as possible. The more people that get dragged into the issue, the far more difficult it is for a stock standard reply to be thoughtlessly sent back.

Here's a brief selection from the piece:

"... if you want to consume as much of the Department of Broadband’s time as possible, here’s what to do... Throw in some other topics. That means someone will have to put together a reply using standard words from different areas, which is a lot more complicated and can’t be done automatically. Ask about the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). That means someone in the NBN area has to provide some words. Ask about Telstra. That’s another area entirely that has to provide input. If there’s three or four topics in your letter, bureaucrats will start arguing to avoid having to be responsible for it. The NBN area will tell the net filtering area it’s their responsibility to collate the response...

You see, once your letter stops being a standard rant... the amount of time taken to prepare a response can snowball dramatically."

Before you write we advise reading the whole piece which can be found here.

Make noise If you have the time, write to as many people as possible. We understand these things take time, but the more noise we make the better chance we have of making the R18+ issue a priority when it comes to the SCAG meeting.

Thanks guys, and if there's anything we've missed, or you have any advice, drop it in the comments section below.


Comments

    Sadly this isn't gonna get the attention it needs, also fact is there aren't that many titles that require R18, the internet also allows the distribution of the game regardless the rating it receives here.

    Regardless I support the people that are going to participate.

    Though personally I just purchase you games from Europe instead, that way it will also be much cheaper. The suckers/fortunate few that bought the FFXIV game here in Australia got them an $80 worth of regret/enjoyment, while I only had to hand over $20, well for the CD key anyways. This is how I've purchased most games.

    Though most games don't even make it to Australian shores, so might as well get into the habit of getting stuff overseas, we are truly deprived down here.

    G4C had a widget for this on our website, but it's out of date since the election. Growupaustralia is in the process of updating it.

    In the meantime, the best way to find your local representative is here: http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch/

    Allows search by postcode and suburb.

      THANK YOU Chris! That link in the article drowned me in endless options and dumped me in the details for State elections!

    I think this needs more media attention rather than political attention. I think every politician has heard about this matter at least in passing but they don't care about it cuz they don't think it's an important issue. An issue only ever becomes big when there is media scrutiny. But I guess that's where making noise comes in.

    where is the next meeting to be held?? Would it be wise to have a demonstration outside when the meeting is to take place?

    This issue is so long over due, it has been just over a year since the "poo has hit the fan" when the OFLC banned L4D2. A year is way to long

    Something really needs to be done, its not about us getting violent and high impact games, but protecting minors and informing parents about their decision.

    The government needs to get their heads out of the sand a address this issue, not delay it again.

    I have to say this can be worthwhile. I did this about a year or so ago and sent a letter to my local Rep Alex Hawke.
    To my utter amazement he not only replied, he listened to my arguments and ended up agreeing with most of them. He then raised the issue in parliament and I was contacted by the local paper who wrote a piece on it.
    TBH nothing came out of it really because it was the usual .."SCAG is looking into it".. but at least it got some attention and if enough members of parliament do this its at least a start.

    With the Victorian elections coming I decided to get hold of Rob Hulls Attorney General Office (not his local office as they only deal with elections/Maribyrnong seat issues) via phone.

    I am a Victorian and just so happen to be a constituent in the Niddrie seat.

    Had a good lengthy discussion with one of his staff on what he will be doing this coming SCAG should he be re-elected.

    Basically the minister of Home affairs has to really push this matter. For so long we have been relying on the removal of one man.

    The Attorney Generals office said that Rob Hulls is very much in support of an R18+ however he is hesitant to overstep the lead of the Home office.

    While our attorneys general certainly have the deciding vote, its apparent the federal government sets the agenda as to what exactly is to be voted on, and I got the impression that maybe Rob Hulls didn't want to steal the federal members thunder or maybe he was toeing a line and there is a serious smokescreen being thrown about the place.

    Based on whether he be elected or not I would have thought that he would have an idea of what he hoped to accomplish.

    On recent findings of his political career however he seems to be very much the party man and I dont know if I have that much confidence in him rallying the troops so to speak to get something over the line.

    I am happy to be proved wrong tho.

    I have yet to approach the opposition or even the other parties however time permitting I hope to have some sort of insight this week even if its as simple as, whether the Victorian Shadow Attorney General supports an R18+ or not.

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