CEO Of The ACCM: R18+ Propaganda Manipulating Public Opinion

CEO Of The ACCM: R18+ Propaganda Manipulating Public Opinion

In an attack directed at pro R18+ campaigners, Barbabra Biggins, CEO of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, has claimed that the media is attempting to sway public opinion “with a well-designed and publicised, persistent propaganda campaign, promising protections that could not have been provided.”

“Over the past year the tactics have changed,” claimed Biggins. “Rather than pushing adults’ rights, the pro-R18+ lobby has argued that having such a category would provide better protection for children. The push became propaganda.

“It’s propaganda because the real outcome of having an R18+ classification would not protect children. It would legalise games with higher level impact than are presently available in the sale and hire system. Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes, could have high-impact levels of violence, of implied sexual violence, of realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing), of drug use and of nudity. Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. Firstly, the use of the word propaganda is outrageous and utterly wrong. The usage in itself is manipulative in the most hypocritical way. Secondly, the whole piece is a blatant attempt to sway opinion in the precise same manner Barbara Biggins condemns – in the same breath.

At Kotaku we usually try and report on such statements with a sense of responsibility and remain neutral. Clearly we have our own stance on the issue – obviously, we’re pro R18+. But in this case, it’s impossible to hold back. This argument is uninformed, deliberately inflammatory, utilising the same outdated points that have already been proven wrong by numerous studies.

The people have spoken, multiple times. And these are the words of a desperate argument, with no sense of structure, in the midst of a futile attempt to win the hearts and minds of a general public who – thankfully – know better.

You can check out the entire piece here.

R18+ propaganda manipulating public opinion [ABC]


  • What drugs is Barbara taking? Clearly she’s on more than just a paracetamol every now and then. She should stop taking them and switch to something less harmful to her state of mind.

  • They must just read the comments we make and try to turn our words against us. Just the other day I was saying in comments that their clearly misleading arguments and grossly inaccurate studies were a form of propaganda used to try and manipulate the public opinion into thinking that games were harmful to children. They repeated the lie often enough and lo and behold, the public thinks that games are harmful to children despite there be no evidence to show that.

    Now our side is using propaganda? Come on now. Their arguments are barely better than “I’m rubber you’re glue” at this point.

    • Sorry, that’s “grossly misrepresented studies”, not “grossly inaccurate studies”. I’m sure the studies are accurate at one thing or another, except for the ones with clear cases of confirmation bias, but none of them show “harm to children” which is what the ACL and ACCM are claiming.

      Now excuse me, I’m off to the angry dome.

    • It’s worthwhile noting, because a link to the story has been on the front page of ABC News all day. It is reaching a large mainstream news audience.

  • And let’s just forget for a moment that every console (Wii, PS3, 360) has some sort of child lock in it.

    So all parents need to do is set it so that it can’t play R18 games. Which would make it far easier to keep R18 games out of the hands of kids than it does for R18 movies.

    I honestly don’t know about the handhelds but. Pretty sure my DS does not have a content lock. Can anyone comment on PSP?

    • all current gaming consoles (even the portables) have parental locks. It’s not very well known in the home consoles and knowledge of the parental locks on the portables is practically non existent. However older DS’s (DS Light and the origional) don’t have parental controls.

          • Heaven forbid that parents these days actually take the time to educate themselves about what their children are doing eh?

            Not only for the purpose of policing the content they have access to, but to better understand and get to know their children, to take an interest in their personalitly, their interests, and passions. I think this whole debate is another witch-hunt, which allows irresponsible, absent, or uncaring parents to feel better about the way they live their lives. After all.. there’s nothing they can do to curtail what their children play or view is there?

            Oh wait…

  • I find all the negative publicity more in the vein of propaganda considering they are constantly repeating the same non factual garbage over and over again, most of the time staying wildly from the point of views being stated. fight the good fight kotaku but I have to say it is getting harder and harder to do this if they keep stonewalling us with the same crap day in day out it seems they aren’t listening to the general public at all but then again when does the government ever listen to the people who elect them…..

  • “Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”

    Oh… oh… OH!

    **** YOU, LADY!

    There, I said it! This is the exact equivalent of “Won’t someone please think of the children!!” from The Simpsons.

    It *is* possible to keep your kids away from R18+ material, just so long as you’re not some hipster soccer mom bitch who casually buys her kids Grand Theft Auto then whine when you find out it has sexual innuendo in it. When you.. I don’t know, play the role of PARENT instead of relying on the government and Barbara Biggins (Bilbo Baggins?) To say the words “no” to your little ray of sunshine.

    *flails his arms around and continues ranting nonsense*

    Fargharble goddamn crop dusters and their two bit R rated crap, trying to take away my fatalities from the desperate housewives bogan parents who don’t say “no” to their kid with a rat tail bowl cut bastard…. stuff.



    • Now we all know where Fistbeard draws upon his rage. Having worked in Big W and schools has shown this fine gent exactly how some parents deal with little Johnny/Sally. They don’t.

      Perhaps as the CEO of ACCM Bilbo would know this? Sorry, my mistake. She’s too busy polishing her medals of semi-achievement to understand responsibility begins at home.

      Okay, I best leave it there before I really start to lose it at such narrow-minded people at the ACCM.

      pffft… ‘think of the children’ – Nazi propaganda said EXACTLY the same thing.

      • I remember reading on a website something along the lines of this:

        *Mother walks up to a counter with a 9 year old boy and a copy of “The Watchmen”

        Clerk: “Umm, Ma’am, this movie is rated MA15+”
        Mother: “But this is a superhero movie!”
        Clerk: “For adults”
        Mother: *blank stare*
        Clerk: “It has scenes of horrible violence”
        Mother: “so?”
        Clerk: “One man gets his head hacked off with a meat cleaver”
        Mother: “….”
        Clerk: “One superhero is naked and you can see his penis”
        Mother: “GASP OHMYGODNO”

  • “Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games”

    I guess we should ban all R18+ movies then. Think of the children!

        • WARNINING: the following post is rated M15+ as it contains Adult themes, Alcohol and drug use and sexual innuendo.

          You just reminded me about a book I found during a small “sleep-over” party while I was at Uni. One of my friends was housesitting an old highschool teachers house and invited a few of us over for dinner and drinks. Having consumed a few White Russians, I was perusing a bookshelf containing an assortment of highschool literature in the living room when I came across a fairly thick and hefty Sexual Education book. The book covered pretty much everything relating to sex in a fair amount of depth, but the amusing part was that since the book was used at a catholic girls school, any reference to people in text or illustration had been substituted with Teddy Bears. Bondage Bear became a mascot for at least the rest of that semester, and I still chuckle at the memory of illustrated Bear Orgies when I pass the soft toy section in department stores.

    • While we are at it why don’t we ban alcohol? And smokes. You are supposed to be 18 to buy those and they have far worse impact but there is still ways for teenagers to get their hands on it due to negligence.

      Oh wait, you drink alcohol and watch DVD’s don’t you lady.
      Bet you don’t play games though.

    • You’re exactly correct.

      Every single argument she makes applies directly to films.

      Her logic, taken to its conclusions, would ban any film rated beyond MA15+

      This is one reason why pro-R18+ campaigners need to stress “equal treatment of media forms” as a key argument. There is no rational basis for treating video games differently to TV differently to Films differently to Books differently to Graphic Novels.

  • The irony and hypocrisy, it burns.

    Nothing I’ve read from the pro-R18 camp has been in the least propagandistic.

    The arguments are consistent, rational and well-reasoned.

    The same can’t be said for the frothing panic and fear-mongering of those arguing against classification reform.

    • But you’re asking panicky, fearmongering idiots to fight logic with logic… they can’t do that? That’d be counterproductive to their argumentative, ridiculous stance!

  • You guys ever play that game with your friends, where you say stuff and sometimes its a lie and sometimes its the truth. When its a lie you call out BULLSHIT!

    I’m calling BULLSHIT on that argument.

    Not having a rating doesn’t stop these games from coming into the country, anybody who believes that clearly doesn’t understand the situation at all and is caught up in their own fantasy world.

    All an R18+ rating would do is provide a legal way for adults to obtain the material which is already available in other forms of media; without having to send our $ overseas and encouraging illegal behavior.

    The truth is, we’re winning over public opinion with fact so they’re firing another salvo of bullshit in the hopes it’ll stick in someone’s ear.

  • “a futile attempt to win the hearts and minds of a general public who – thankfully – know better.”

    I hope the general public know better. You never know, this scare mongering just may work.

  • “Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games…”

    Absolute BULLSHIT.

  • I love these Do Go, Think of the Children, ultimately fundamentalist Christian groups and how they thrust their beliefs on the wider community.

    There is an example in the US (Georgia) at present which is considering legislation to make Miscarriage punishable by the Death Penalty. Yep, insane isn’t it. Funnily enough, the same Republician/mad hatter/Hard Core Christian tried last year to introduce legislation that women who report a rape were automatically charged under defamation laws.

    • I literally just got light-headed and rolled my eyes reading that last part. The blood left my brain reading that much stupid.

      God help us because religion won’t. Uh, you know what I mean.

  • “Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”

    Translation – You do not parent your children the way I think you should therefore the Government should make these decisions for you.

    “Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes, could have high-impact levels of violence, of implied sexual violence, of realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing), of drug use and of nudity.”

    Translation – Using a Restricted rating system for R18+ games would have no impact on Restrictions”
    I dont understand what she is trying to say here, its an oxymoron.

    Why is it that extreme conservatives mistake conversation from their opposed view as propaganda?

    Ive had this discussion with many people who I know who could be considered neutral on the whole affair (non gamers,etc) and understandably when the debate begins they lean more to the anti R18+ rating system. But what is amazing is as soon as they start hearing the other side of the discussion and have both points of view in their mind….Guess what?….they begin to make up their OWN mind…….and more often than not (in my experience) that come around and agree with the Pro R18+ stance.

    Guys the R18+ IS going to happen…soon! Im all for hearing the opposing point of view (in any discussion) but only when its intelligent and rational. I cant wait until we no longer have to listen to these nobodies.

  • Thank gawd we have people like Barbara to watch over us. I mean, I know I’m incapable of making decisions myself. And wasn’t it lovely of her to tell us why we think that way. Propaganda she says. Aww, poor Barbara, she’s lost her last remaning marbles. She’s flashing back to all the wartime posters. The Nazi’s have gone love, did you play the Call of Duty games?

    She does have a point though. I mean, kids watch R movies don’t they? There’s no way to stop a child playing an R rated game. It’s not like ALL consoles have some sort of feature that stops unsuitable material being played….

    • Pfft, as if. You expect parents to look through a manual and press 3 buttons to set up parental controls?

      Why do it yourself when you can get the government to just do all that stuff for you? Screw everyone else! You didn’t get your 4WD chariot and your son into a private school by using your brain!

      (Yes, I work in the private sector, and 95% of the parents at my places of work are just like you would think – rich, demanding, over-entitled royalty.)

  • A serious load of crock that is, bloody hypocrites! *grabs a burning torch*
    These anti-R18+ folk are absolute blockheads for all I know!

  • Given that there are already games which contain most of the things she’s complaining about, I don’t see her point.

    Then she immediately mentions the difficulty in keeping DVDs and games out of childrens’ hands. But DVDs already have an R rating, and putting a DVD in and pushing play is much simpler than actually playing a game.

    • Yeah, there’s no way she’s read the guidelines. It’s an insult to the ACMA to suggest that R18+ is a ‘pass all’ rating. Her statement says that R18+ allows high levels of drug use, real sex, etc.

      You can pretty much defuse the entire argument right there by looking at the RC category in the guidelines (see bottom of post).

      Now all that remains of her argument (which sounds an awful like lot propoganda) is the statement that minors will still be able to get R18+ material. This may be true, but for this statement to have an effect, we have to remove ALL R18+ media, which isn’t going to happen.

      Oh, sorry Barbabra, did I just defuse your entire argument in less than five minutes? I think I just did. That’s a shame, I guess you’ll have to actually do some research next time.

      Referring to


      Note: Films that exceed the R 18+ and X 18+ classification categories will be Refused Classification. Computer games that exceed the MA 15+ classification category will be Refused Classification.

      Films and computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:


      Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.

      The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.

      Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.

      Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

      (i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;
      (ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
      (iii) sexual violence.

      Depictions of practices such as bestiality.

      Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

      (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
      (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

      DRUG USE
      Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.

      Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.

      Note: Some of the terms used in this category are defined in the List of Terms at the end of these Guidelines.

  • I don’t think I can even reply to this without resorting to childish name calling.
    Who does she think she is calling out pro R18+ like that?

  • I like to think that the backwards “think of the children” crowd is running scared. They see and fear the change coming.

    I have no doubt in my mind that it is.

  • Barbara,

    Let me make this simple for you and your ilk – the system is inconsistent and broken and we want it fixed and consistent. END OF STORY.

    Have any of you considered that the classifications may get tougher in the review? How about instead of spouting propaganda, (and accusing others of doing so, which I for one don’t appreciate), you look at the issue as a whole instead of opposing it because it involves gamers and R18+ as a figurehead?

    Did you also know, as others have already pointed out, that consoles have locks in place for parents to use that are simple and pretty much impossible to circumvent. Did you know that DVD players usually have just such a feature as well?

  • At this point, she has lost almost all of her credibility with anyone who is informed on the subject.

    hyperbole indeed.

  • OMG no let’s leave it as it is and those games like Duke Nukem slide in to MA15+ catagories. I mean let the testosterone fuelled teenagers play these games and see the teen pregnancy cases rise or the kleenex company profits soar.

    Maybe we should let more of thes R17, 18+ games come in at MA15 because we are Australian and are so much more mature than our overseas counterparts and can handle it… I mean if it aint broke right….

    But thats the problem it is broke all anti 18+ rating people should just drink a cup of cement and harden the f**k up because without this rating we are exposing our kids to much more now with MA15+ than we would with R18+.

    Games are now becoming like interactive movies so why the difference in the rating system and as most people commented there are locks consoles so please sort this s**t out soon.

  • …there are games that show real sex waiting to be released but the developers are holding back ’cause they can’t release it into our market?! I mean, I haven’t heard about them anywhere else in the world, but this lady seems exceedingly rational…

    It saddens me that people like this have influence and sway over politicians – or even just other people in general.

    I’m thinking of doing something purty to help dispel this floodgate-type argument ’cause I’ve had an idea for some time, but might not get a chance before my Easter break…

  • Have I missed something?

    “realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing)”

    My R18 videogame will have real sex in it? What is it – the return of Night Trap?!

  • Seeing as these people conveniently ignore our arguments, and the careful use of logic, perhaps we should attempt to break through to them through interpretive dance?


  • “Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”
    I love this quote. Conscientious parents are the ones who actually give a damn about thier kids and what they are involved in. Never does a conscientious parent take a back seat in thier child(s) life.

  • Meh, as long as we have smart, rational people like Brendan O’Connor in a position of power then it doesn’t matter what these people think. Anyone know if the change of government in NSW is impacting the next SCAG meeting by the way?

  • So she accuses the pro R18+ argument as propaganda through the use of… proaganda. Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh -_-

  • games that shoulda been R18+ but seeing they arent a ten year old can access them:

    God of War
    Modern Warfare 2 (Airport Scene)
    Gears of War
    Aliens vs Predator
    and others i cant think off the top of my head

  • She’s been around since 1973 doing this sort of thing, wow, just absolute wow. There’s your problem right there, she’s way too old and backwards to have any sort of relevant opinion on this topic.

    Someone get rid of her for the love of god, she sounds way too right wing for modern issues, absolutely out of touch. They forget we’re in a new century, people need to wake up and realise when their time has passed. I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when R18 for games comes in.

  • I don’t think she realises that children won’t be able to walk up to the counter and buy an R18+ game.. And on that matter, from what she’s said, what’s stopping children from getting R18+ movies? Is she lobbying against films as well?

  • I know that this doesnt really do much for the pro r18+ campaign or anything but her name is Barbabra Biggins? Really? It should surprise me though that the CEO of the Australian Council on Children and the Media has a name of a british nanny. For some reason i dont really feel threatened by her words i just feel like some tea and biscuits.

  • I would like to award this woman with a medal. The Order of Media Hypocrisy, a nice star with “Think of the Children!” engraved on the back.

  • 1. There is no organisation of the people who are voicing pro R18+ for games. The massive input received from the public into the debate has been entirely ‘grass root’.
    2. The massive number of people who have sided and voice their opinion was a shockingly large majority even from the point of view of all the people who are pro R18+ out there, even though they know that the movement is the populist one.
    3. Propaganda, is that which is a soaking of the media from a group who represent a party, such as a political group or a religious group. A.K.A where she works.
    4. She clearly hasn’t read the guidelines, where it clearly states that according to our laws, we should have an R rating for games.

    • Forget parent controls on our systems, we need birth control for the amount of ignorant men and women.
      I can’t beleive how good the simpsons are at stereotypes that fit all western cultures. There is so many Maude Flanders out there…

  • ” Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes, could have high-impact levels of violence, of implied sexual violence, of realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing), of drug use and of nudity.”

    How many of those games get made or played?

  • “Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions… ”

    Someone needs to politely inform her that is completely untrue. R18+ is NOT a “free for all”, if it was, there wouldn’t be a need for X and RC…

  • How can she claim it won’t affect the available materiel when we all know full well there are games that barely scrape through the ratings board atm? Under an R18+ system, those games would be rated R instead of MA, and ID would be required by law (I assume) upon attempted purchase. Once that happens, the only way for the child to obtain it without said child breaking the law is for either the sales clerk to break the law by selling it to an underage kid, or the kid’s parents/friends buy it for them, which is then an illegal act. Laws can be enforced. Parental responsibility comes into play there, however, and I think that is really what the ACCM’s issue is: Protecting their members from their own inability to say NO to their child when they ask for the game.

    On a side note, if I read that statement by her one more time, I would seriously fly off into a rage. As it is it took me 10 mins to calm down enough to write something civil here. The blatant stupidity and self-righteousness of some people just drives me insane…

  • maybe the twit should look at this video i did and then explain to me how its ok for 15 year olds to play these games.

  • “Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes” – the CEO of the ACCM is blatantly lying, and she knows it.

    The attorney-generals have stated that an R18+ rating will only come in as part of an overhaul of the classification scheme.

    A videogame R18+ will never use the film classification, as by that time, the film classification will have been replaced.

    Furthermore, from what the attorney-generals have said, the classification scheme sounds like it will be developed into separate but parallel classification schemes for different media types.

  • What an airhead, seriously. It’s like alcohol. Kids will still find a way to get it, but its much, much harder for them, It’s the same with games if the retail staff enforce it.

    “Gidday i’m a politician and i have no common sense or sense of humour, not only that but i’m boring as batshit, paranoid, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS RIGHT!” /sarcasm

  • wow.

    its something like 95%+ in favour of an R18+ rating? And she accuses “us” of using propaganda? WHAT IS SHE DOING THE OLD HYPOCRITE?

    also, to those questioning if she has children. She looks a bit old to have children under the age of 18 (no offence to her in that regard)

  • i know it’s already been said but

    doesn’t she realise that most games that are MA15+ here are rated Mature(17+) in america? don’t spout this “IT’S GONNA LET IN ALL THESE VIOLENT GAMES!” bullshit, because most games ARE let in, it’s just the occasional few that don’t, and for good reason! i wen’t on youtube and looked at the new fatalities for MK9 (thats right government, just found a pretty big loophole in your plan) and no god damn way should a minor be seeing some of that stuff!

  • Books and in particular children’s books have already been removed from shelves like Snow White (sleeping with 7 dwarves) for example since all the politically minded parents complained to the publishers.

    Where to we stop with censorship and being politically correct? I am sure a few kids were freaked out by the Japan and New Zealand news coverage yet no outcry and no restriction to its access.

  • Bahahahaha

    “with a well-designed and publicised, persistent propaganda campaign, promising protections that could not have been provided.”

    Dont like your own tactics being used against you Barbara?

    Well suck it up. You blind fools don’t have a monopoly on “twisting the media” to get your message across.

    Here’s an idea, come and join us in the 21st Century…there are some things you should leave in the 1950s.

  • I seriously do not know where to start with this. Barbabra Biggins has obviously no clue on the issue and is as naive and ignorant as the Christian Lobbiest Group.

    I have never met someone that could be make me so furious in thirty seconds or less. I am also bewildered by her lack of insight into this issue.

    Wow just….wow.

  • It’s getting to the point where a face palm just doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, I’ll be standing in the corner repeatedly bashing my head against the wall until people like this go away.

  • Why am I not surprised that this woman looks like she wrote this from her retirement home? Like seriously, we know you saw both world wars but you don’t need to take it out on us. Talk about an outdated opinion.

  • “R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes” – bold-faced lie, even the R18 has limits

    “could have high-impact levels of violence”
    See most MA15 games today

    “sexual activity (And perhaps the real thing) That would be an X18+ were not asking for that.

    “and of nudity”
    What was Blue Lagoon rated?

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