ACL: O'Connor's Statement Reduces R18+ Debate To "Farce"

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.


    So basically if you have more than one reason something is a good idea, it means its not a good idea because there are too many different reasons its a good idea.

      This. And that, below.

      Logic has never, um, exactly been a strength of their arguments.

      This morning Jim Wallace, the ACL's Managing Director and a former SAS Brigadier, said this morning that women shouldn't serve in combat roles because his wife couldn't unscrew a jar lid. (

      A paragon of rationality!

        Are we sure it's the same Jim Wallace? It doesn't say...

        Though with arguments like these, it's not hard to imagine:

        "I'm sitting here at breakfast, my wife just handed me a jar that she couldn't open and I opened it. You know, I rest my case," he says.

        They believe that there is an invisible man who lives in the sky, who loves you and will forgive you for anything because he killed his son for us. Anything that is except a list of 7 things... a list that used to be 8 things but two of them were kinda similar so they amended it. If you do any one of these 7 things even once, he will be very mad and when you die he will send you to a realm of fire, agony and punishment where you can suffer for eternity.

        Also, for some reason, he's taking donations.
        Yes, their logic is flawed.

          You neglected to credit Mr Carlin for that quote... RIP George.

      It's ridiculous. Of course he mentioned those points since that was the forum he was in. There are not enough facepalm images in the world for the ACL.

    The whole process until now is already a farce. An entire decade has gone by with no resolution despite enormous public support.

    There truly are no words.

      Oh, there are several words. But this is a family site, so I shan't utter them :3

        We should ban the use of all words that are unsuitable for minors anyway.

    Don't visit their website, don't give them any more legitimacy that they already have.
    Its laughable "the church" is defending children so much, awesome job there catholic church, christian brothers etc.
    Dear ACL please stay out of my lounge room stop your moral outrage, nobody thinks you are any more pure than the next man.


      Err mate, the ACL doesn't represent the views of the Catholic Church. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference do that, and they have been arguing for the introduction of an R18+ rating. Please don't tar all Christians with the same brush when speaking about the ACL. Not all of us are complete nutters like that lot, and they certainly don't represent my opinion on the matter either.

        amen to that.

        speaking as a non-christian, i know from published articles/interviews/occult scryings on the ACL that the ACL represents fringe presbyterianism at best. What is worse, it is not a democratic organisation, but one controlled by its self-appointed board, who of course, are the only ones to have a say on who sits on their board.

        kinda like a happyclapper star chamber, if you will.

      Weren't the catholic bishops in support of an R18 rating being introduced?...

    I don't want to live on this planet any more.

    A family of three; a father, a mother, and child are at the supermarket buying groceries.
    The mother picks up a carrot for her child, but the father puts the carrot back, stating that celery is better for the child. The mother rejects the celery insisting that the child prefers the carrot, which the father once again rejects.
    The two argue long and hard over whether the carrot or celery is better for the child, they argue all day and night refusing to see logic or reason.
    Eventually the child starves to death.

      "Eventually the child " ... eats its own parents limbs in a desparate bid to stay alive.

      ACL blames tragic incident on violent video games.

    I can't help but laugh everytime i hear the church lobby's talk about protecting the children. They can't even stop their own members from sexually abusing children, yet a little bit of violence is the end of the world! :0 OH NOES!!!

    Well we all called it.
    It's amazing they can get back so quick when they attack our viewpoints.

      thats because, an R18+ rating in australia brings us one step closer to the devil razing the planet in their minds

    Wait, we're taking the words of the ACL seriously?

    Lets look at the last quote shall we

    "That’s a mark of desperation. That’s the real farce."

    It seems to me that they the ACL are the ones who are desperate, ignoring the fact that there is overwhelming public support, They are the ones who are turning it into a farce.

    Yes... a small part of it is the enconomy, jobs and money but its mostly about "adults having the right to play adult games", protecting children is in there somewhere but it is foolish to say that this is the most important issue, as with cigarettes, alcohol and anything else, kids will get a hold of them anyway, wether its perents, older siblings or friends.

    Dont they say desperate times call for desperate measures.

    the acl are complaining about video games being harmful to children, while the front page of yahoo news has a story about a boy being sexually assaulted by a church youth leader. ironic.

    Well, Mr. Wallace is not completely wrong by calling this claim as 'desperation' on our end. Think about it. We've tried to attack the R18 issue from several angles. Adult rights, better guidelines for parents, economy. All in the name of finding a way around the 'PROTECT THE CHILDREN!' angle. This would work in a logical debate, but as we all know, the ACL has turned the debate into a debate of ideals. And logic and rationality hold no ground against moral superiority, sadly.

    And another thing. Brendan O'Connor is wrong. Jobs in the gaming industry are completely independant of our ratings system. An Australian developer could make games within Australia without the intention of selling here.

    And let's not forget that Australia is still a relatively small market in the gaming industry, and there have only been a small number of games that have actually been banned(as opposed to Germany, South Korea, China, and Japan or all places). So in truth, having an R18+ rating would make diddly squat's worth of difference on the economy, and I think that Mr. O'Connor has destroyed all of our credibility by mentioning it.

      O'Connor isn't wrong, but it's not the lack of an 18+ rating that's causing the issue, it's classification in general. The cost to get a game classified is high enough that a local indie developer wouldn't release their game in the market because it would cost more to classify the game than they could make off it. It's why we're prevented from accessing systems like the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace.

      Also the lack of an 18+ rating tells local developers that their work is still not considered valid, that it's just for children and has no substance or significance that would be of interest to an adult, which is hardly a culture that encourages developers a lot. Gaming is still considered to be barely legitimate here. Was it one of the guys at Krome that said in a Kotaku AU interview that it's socially not much further up the acceptability ratings than wanking? The constant repression and dismissal of the medium just encourages that. So in a round-about way, having movies and games seen as on par with each other will in the long term foster better attitudes and probably more game development in Australia.

    "First the creation of the R18+ rating was meant to be about the rights of adults to play adult games"

    It is!

    "then it was supposedly about protecting children"

    It is!

    "and now it is about creating jobs and boosting the economy."

    It is, and it will!


    The debate became a farce the moment the ACL decided they should be involved.

    Can't we just ignore the ACL so they will go away? Reproducing their viewpoint through "our" media channels is counter productive as people who are not informed about the R18+ issue are exposed to the nonsense purported by the ACL. It's like that issue about Jack Thompson and the gaming media in the US. The gaming media blew the issue up so big that people were taking Thompson's claims seriously. The ACL is a rabid minority, not representative of anyone other than extremeist christians, which thankfully are an extreme minority in Australia. I do not even know why Jim Wallace was consulted for the R18+ review as he knows nothing whatsoever about videogames, science, psychology, retailling, censorship, marketing and public policy. Ron Curry told me that because Jim Wallace was in the SAS, he think's it gives him the right to have an opinion about everything and get involved in everything. And Jim, I know your an aspiring media star so I am going to say it here... You do not have the right to get involved in something which you simply do not understand and does not concern you whatsoever. Christianity is not the vanguard of public decency so Jim on behalf of gamers everywhere, STFU. <3 GOPSpaceRanger

      its because the ACL are a highly organised political lobby group that is successful in selling itself to politicians as being representative of conservative Australian christians.

      check out their website - R18 is not their only campaign, they have many national and state ones, all of which seek to push a very conservative christian agenda that opposes the fundamental values of a free, liberal and secular democracy like ours.

        I agree. It's potentially dangerous for the average citizen to let their word go about unchecked. Unless we contantly challenge them when they speak to politicians on our behalf, they'll continue to abuse their influence over politicians until it becomes a criminal offence to not attend Sunday mass.

    So a representative of the Australian Government expanding the reasons for an R18 rating beyond those already covered is a farce, yet a fringe group who ignore the views of the community and continue to trot out an unsubstantiated argument and maintain a presence in a debate they shouldn't be a part of isn't?
    Double standard ACL.
    Honestly it was more of an argument for the revision of the classification system rather than the rating.

    This? They think THIS is what has reduced the debate to farce?

    What reduced the debate to farce was the ACL's insistence that everything has to be appropriate for children and if not then they must be banned.

    Man, must be nice to have the leisure of picking and choosing individual minor arguments to pull apart.
    We're stuck over here with there two or three arguments, based on.. nothing.

    The more attention we give to the ACL and their morally righteous horseshit, the more attention they'll get from everyone else.

    They have been a joke for a long, LONG time, long before they involved themselves in the R18+ debate. I GUARANTEE you, if they had something to benefit financially from the introduction of an R rating, we sure as HELL wouldn't be hearing a word from them.

    The last thing Religion should be preaching is MORALITY.

    Why can't it accomplish all 3 goals at once? Last I checked, there was no actual rule saying it can only accomplish one of the 3 goals he's saying the R18+ is seeking to accomplish

    Meantime, an R18+ category shouldn't be available to children anyway, any more than the games that are RC are currently. The only way for children to obtain them will be through someone breaking the law. All this does is allows adults the ability to purchase the games instead of breaking the law to obtain them. It's not protecting the children any more or less than it was before.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    People are idiots

    I'm Christian, but DAMN the ACL. Idiots, they need to grow up, this is just another area they refuse to grow up in, like gay marriage. Violence exists everywhere, not just games. I think this is the excuse they have been looking for all this time.

    I have the same sentiments as y'all, but I just want to note something.

    The ACL is not THE church's lobby group.

    I'm not Christian, but I know many and grew up in a very Christian setting, and it barely seems fair that accepting and tolerating Christians are stereotyped and grouped under with the same kind of people that constitute the ACL.

    Especially when people make jokes about the ACL, the Catholic Church and the use of broad terms such as "The Church".

    This is borderline over-sensitivity on my part, but to be taken seriously as a mature, level-headed and intelligent front (and therefore, make the gaming industry be better recognised as more than just a bunch of man children and 12 year olds), we have to clarify and ensure that insults, jokes and comments are made with sensibility.


      Awesome point - I'm glad you made it. My wife is a Christian and I know she wouldn't want to be bundled in with the ACL.

      You're not the first person to make this point. I remember an article posted by Junglist here on Kotaku ot so long ago stating the same argument.

      So why is it that members of both major parties are willing to meet with and bend over backwards to please a religious group ( who don't even represent the people they claim to represent?

      I think if sensible Christians want to stop being associated with the ACL, they should make a concerted effort to let their members of parliament know that this minority fringe group does not speak for them. I can think of no other reason why such a small group is given a voice to our leaders other than they've somehow managed to convince politicians they speak for a much larger base. We gamers are well aware that they're an inconsequential bunch of conservative... (tries to think of something inoffensive and gives up), it's the politicians who apparently need to be informed of this. You're preaching to the converted (no pun intended) here.

        I can honestly say that not a single Christian I know (except those that are gamers) even know the existence of the ACL or any other Christian lobby group.
        The simple fact, I'm thinking, is that many Christians that are tolerant, and even supporting legislation aren't as passionate about having a R18+ as the Christians that are opposing R18+ ratings.

        So, ultimately, the basis of it all, is that we're seeing what we see from any sub-section of a faction not necessarily speaking for the rest, is that the small minority will always have a larger voice, be more passionate and in the spotlight more.

        And because of this, many take on the assumption that Christians in general despise a R18+ rating.

        We see this in a range of issues, where a minority is more outspoken than the majority of a religion or group, and poor assumptions are made.

        I've sort of gone off on an irrelevant and unhelpful tangent.

        But I think to bring it back to the issue (and somewhat highlighting a smaller point), Mark's wife isn't as passionate about telling everyone how she is a Christian and how she isn't with the ACL, than the ACL is about saying how they ARE Christians and how they oppose the R18+ with extreme prejudice.

        Of course, that isn't saying that Mark's wife (using his wife is becoming a worse and worse idea) doesn't have an opinion on the issue or isn't concerned about the misappropriate presumption over the general Christian populace, but it always tends to be the minority of a group that is always the most outspoken and always gets the most attention; for better or worse.


        Oh, and I do agree with you crotchdot. It would be fantastic to see a group of Christian not with the ACL or not R18+ to remove this idea that it is a religion we're opposing, but rather just a few individuals and one very outspoken group with Christian beliefs.

        Shit, that was a lotta text.

          Oh, also, I've made a huge assumption on Mark's wife's beliefs and level of passion she has about this issue and removing herself from the ACL affiliation.

          So, uh, sorry, if that was wrongly made.

          you know what, this is similiar to some discussions i've seen amongst mainstream/liberal Muslims and the louder, angrier conservatives and other fundamentelists. Part of the problem is that regular/mainstream and/or liberal types let the public discourse about certain issues directly effecting their own lives be dominated by western right-wingers and muslim right-wingers, and have not spoken out on their own.

      You make a really excellent point, it's important to distinguish the ACL's position from the (vast?) majority who, polling shows, disagree with them.

      It's unfortunate that so many lump "all Christians" or even "all religion" together in the one basket here, and even more unfortunate that the ACL falsely claims to speak for every Christian in Australia.

      crotchdot: Sadly politicians see far more risk in pissing off the religious right than the (relatively apathetic) secular middle. It doesn't help that some may rarely approach policy positions from a position of rationality; enough politicians on both sides agree with the ACL on many issues to give it far more influence than it deserves.

      I'm of the opinion that if there are good christians out there who are dissatisfied with the ACL they should do something about it. Simply sitting on your hands and saying that you don't agree with them isn't going to change the public's opinion of christians as a whole.

      Kind of like the whole R18 debate.

    I cannot even begin to express my burning hatred for the ACL, there are no words.

    Mark, I'd just like to direct your attention to this image for use whenever the ACL makes any more comments in the future.

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