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.
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.