Anti-R18+ Campaigner Softens Her Stance

You may have heard of Elizabeth Handsley, Professor of Law at Flinders University. She wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald claiming the pro-R18+ arguments didn't stack up and, as the President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, she spoke at December's SCAG meeting against the introduction of an ault rating for games. Now, it appears, she is softening her stance.

As reported by the ABC, apparently Handsley is not against an R18+ rating, "As long as it's a higher category, and as long as we're not getting access in the community to even higher levels of violence than are currently available."

It's a pretty vague statement, but it is progress. Essentially all Handsley is supporting is an R18+ rating that doesn't allow any more violent games to pass through classification, which amounts to an R18+ rating that is precisely the same as the MA15+ rating we currently have already - but it's nice to see that she at least understands the benefits of an R18+ rating for games.

So not exactly the grand leap forward some are reporting, but a slight softening of a hardline stance at the very least.

Baby steps people. Baby steps.

Handsley softens stance on R18+ gaming [ABC]


    What a strange, irrelevant woman.

    ...I almost wish I knew some law students at Flinders so I could make fun of them :P

    Nope. Never heard of her. That's what you get for working at a sub-par University and trying to move into politics when you should in fact be doing the job you're paid to do.

    This comment though, "...and as long as we’re not getting access in the community to even higher levels of violence than are currently available.”, does not highlight a softening of views either. More likely she is seeking to abolish MA15+ to be replaced by R18+ with the same content restrictions.

      Okay, the "sub-par" thing is just obvious trolling. Anyone attending Flinders Uni please don't take offence to my comment. Feel free to be offended by Professor Elizabeth Handsley's obvious double-talk though :)

      Yeah what I got out of that comment, I first had to read it again... then read it again, then one more time just to be sure. That just sounded like she just wanted to put an R18+ sticker on top of the current MA15+ title and just say "Done! You got your R18+ rating" with a smartarse attitude. So we'll still get the same RC garbage afterwards... politics for you

        I wouldn't blame "politics" for this... But this woman is trying to influence the process and impart her own views. And to be clear, we're just doing the same thing by supporting it.

        The difference, and where the problem is, is that she's being given more of a voice than most people by media outlets because her position is tangentially related to the issue at hand.

        The other issue is that her "change of stance" is virtually fallacious; while I suppose there would be a functional change to the ratings system if she had her will imposed on it, the situation for Australian gamers would not change: It would still be illegal for retailers to sell the titles in question and illegal for individuals to import them.

        Having thought about it, a bigger issue than this woman getting media coverage is that she's allowed to speak directly to the SCAG at their meeting(s).

        Felt like I needed to point that out.

          We really should be starting our own lobby groups about these things.

          May I suggest the following names?

          Responsible Parenting Australia
          Christians for Representative Media
          The Australian Organisation for Social Equity
          Voters for Responsible Change
          Controls for Electronic Media in Australia

    If she is the president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, surely she should be spending her time educating parents to understand and care about games/media their kids are watching or playing, instead of making things harder for everyone.

      That may be because she treats her role with ACCM as a feather-in-the-proverbial-professional-cap rather than making a real difference to society and the role of parents/children in it?

    Is she serious? The one argument she uses to disqualify the reasoning that adults should be able to play what they want is the sex in grand Theft Auto? I realise that she's arguing a point so probably doesn't want to present too many other examples that may not work with her view but a little more research wouldn't have killed her.

    I also thought the R18+ rating would mean that any games supposedly too hardcore for an MA15+ rating would be moved to the R18+ rating instead, and the children would then be saaaaved?

      Essentially, but this bird is too far gone to see reason. I bet she sleeps like a child in that delusional world of hers. The Pros of an R18+ rating absolutely curb stomp the Cons.

      That is in fact the view of most Pro-R18+ people and the thing that Anti-R18+ people can't get through their heads. The TYPES of games that are currently rated incorrectly on my shelf would be moved up a category, to be in-line with the rest of the world. Eg. COD4, Fallout, Borderlands just to name a few.

    Won't somebody please think of the children!

      If the children witnessed two collections of polygons awkwardly engaging in a vague simulation of sex, they'd immediately turn into vicious rapists. I know this for a fact.

        i'm too upid to think that rape is wrong... so i'm going to go and do it even though i'm like six and shouldn't be playing these types of games because my parents hate me and want me to grow up and become a serial killer cause thats how all parents think :|

    It is absolutely not progress. An 18+ rating must be a *higher* content rating, not simply splitting the MA15+ rating in half through some arbitrary means and putting the top end under a different name. That gets us no closer to where we actually want to be. And it's the fatal flaw in the whole 18+-games-get-put-into-the-15+-category argument. Doing this would be seen as a 'compromise' that makes 'everyone' happy.

    Australian adults want to be able to make informed decisions and don't want to be prevented from accessing material simply because it's not appropriate for children. The fact that stuff is misclassified isn't relevant.

    No matter how she tries to phrase it, her argument basically boils down to "won't somebody please think of the children?!?" with a little bit of trying to point out the flaws in our side's argument without actually raising any valid points herself.

    It saddens me that people like her and the ACL are listened to when their views simply are not relevant or very well formed.

    So according to her we'll get R18+ but still no Mortal Kombat. Don't see a point to it then. Playing to the back galleries, as most people do.

    She couldn't close the commenting quick enough could she?

    She quotes Craig Anderson's "study" in her story. Enough said.

    We could try to appreciate that it may indicate some members of the Anti-R18+ crew are rethinking their positions on this issue.

    Of course, it's clear that she's settling for far less than what we want, but it's something.

    And I rather have something as opposed to a fanatically opposition that refuse to even think further about the issue.

    Hopefully others will see our reasoning as valid and understand what we're trying to do; perhaps even moving to our side.

    Also, I think I'm going to a sub-par university.
    So, like, ouch. :)

    I, likewise, only support an R18+ rating to give a more accurate classification to the most violent video games. Ideally, I'd like to support the extra category and still have the same amount of material refused for classification.

    Very occasionally, I will watch an MA15+ film. I never watch R18+ films. When it comes to games, having just MA15+ makes it almost impossible to distinguish great games like Portal (MA15+ on the PC box) and horribly violent games that are rated 17+ or similar in every other country.

      So you subscribe to the "IF I don't like it, neither should anyone else" category?

        I believe that there is some content that is not suitable for anybody. Hopefully, so do you. It's just likely that the threshold for what I think is not suitable for anybody is stricter than yours. But as this Kotaku comment is as vocal as I ever intend to get about it, you are in luck.

      You should reconsider your position. Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas are awesome.

      But no, you're right. If something is too violent for you to personally enjoy, then it should be banned nationwide.

    It's not even a baby step. The baby made an attempt at a step only to find it misunderstood the concept of walking then toppled over to land in a slightly different position from where it started.

    She should be getting slammed for being just as stupid as ever. Nothing there indicates she's softening her stance. Games currently scoring RC would still be getting RC.

    From her public profile at the uni and that lovely photo she looks like a time warped bitter old feminist, that has a grudge on the world because she cant get a guy in bed or her husband is sleeping with a younger woman behind her back.

    All she is doing here is trying excuse he ignorant view by renaming MA 15 to R18. Because if she did a complete 360 it mean that she was wrong and a feminist like her can be wrong because she know the best.

    You guys should play the ball, not the wo(man). I think there are lots of good arguments for R rated games - but all I see here is a bunch of lame personal attacks on the opposing team. Not at all persuasive. Perhaps you don't care to persuade - but we won't get change unless we do.

      That's because this here is the forum for personal attacks. No one with any sway reads these comments, so it's the place to let off steam. If we were writing actual letters to people with policy-changing powers, I'm sure we'd be a lot more polite.

      So anyway, the people who decided I can't buy Mortal Kombat are stupid and ugly and frigid and probably kiss their own butts.

        Don't be too sure of yourself that people without any sway don't read read these comments.....attack the argument not the messenger. Noted.

    Serious? Wow. These comments almost make me want to support an anti-R18+ stance. Attacks as these comments do nothing but tarnish the actually well structured debate of the pro R18+'s. Firstly, attacking a person, their accreditation, or their occupation is just childish, not to mention completely undermining the argument for change. "we can't attack the issue so attack the person?" really? Aren't we meant to be better than Atkinson? Come on guys! Secondly where does Handsley actually say she is softening her stance? The article is written by Mark Serrels, he is the one that states a stance has been shifted. Feel free to take Handsley's comments how you want but to attack her for something she doesn't state is stupid and just makes you all look like a bunch of childish people getting grumpy because they were told by their parents they couldn't stay up past their bed time. This is a serious issue, and one that does impact a lot of people, parents, gamers and children alike. Everyone has a right to a view on the topic and parliaments have the right to explore options for input on the matter. Don't think you aren't represented though in South Australia an official party contested the last election the Gamers for Croyden didn't do too bad considering. Also if you look at the presentation on the issue made by the ABC both parties are given air time. Obviously there is a changing of attitudes of some in parliament and it's really exciting to see Brendan O'Connor lending his support to the issue. But face the facts. changing peoples minds comes slowly and is to be done by a well reasoned argument free of personal attacks and childish remarks. There should be a discussion about the R18+ classification in Australia and I really hope that it does get through. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so make sure yours counts by supporting the issue, strengthening its argument by providing well structured arguments and demonstrating to those on the fence that our arguments are worth listening to.


      Paragraphs are your friend

    We are thinking of the children. That's why Adults want a category of games we can access which they can't. You're not saving the children by stopping Adults from accessing content they wish to. And not having the rating doesn't stop them either, so really all you're doing is encouraging $Aus to go overseas and worsen our ever spiraling trade deficit.

    clueless!!! all brains.. no sense...

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