Earlier this afternoon Brendan O'Connor claimed that the introduction of R18+ would help create jobs in the games industry. We expressed worry that fringe groups would spin this negatively, and within two short hours those fears have come to fruition, with ACL's Managing Director, Jim Wallace claiming that O'Connor's statement "reduces this debate to farce."
“Ensuring children are not exposed to the introduction of violent games should come before industry profits and economic concerns," claimed Wallace.
“First the creation of the R18+ rating was meant to be about the rights of adults to play adult games, then it was supposedly about protecting children, and now it is about creating jobs and boosting the economy.
“Introducing an R18+ rating for games has never been a child protection measure, and this new claim to major economic benefit from R18+ games reflects a mark of desperation in the debate.”
There are no words. Admittedly O'Connor's statements were a miscalculation - but they were a miscalculation purely because the introduction of an R18+ rating would have little influence on the games industry in Australia. The fact that the statement has helped fuel misinformed beliefs is a tragic, secondary concern.
What was an innocent, encouraging statement made to students looking for prospective work in the games industry has been reduced by insidious spin into something completely cowardly and irrelevant.
That's a mark of desperation. That's the real farce.
You can read the full statement from the Australian Christian Lobby here.