This Federal Senator Got Really Angry About The Outlast 2 Ban In Parliament

Image: Liberal Democrats Youtube

If you were angry about the Classification Board's recent ban of Outlast 2, don't worry: you've got some support in Canberra.

Liberal Democrat leader and upper house crossbencher David Leyonhjelm recently stood up in the Senate, taking the side of everyone aggrieved by the refused classification rating to Outlast 2. The senator argued that it was nonsensical that adults in Australia could be trusted to vote, but not trusted to make decisions about the video games they choose to play, although his characterisation of Outlast 2's content differed wildly from the Board.

Here's Why Outlast 2 Was Refused Classification In Australia

Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been refused classification in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.

Read more

"This video game takes place in a fantasy world involving all kinds of creatures both human and non-human," Senator Leyonhjelm said. "The mere suggestion of an out-of-screen encounter between a creature and a human character was enough to get it banned altogether by the Australian Classification Board."

"All of this operates on the false assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw. Yet the internet is now awash with all manner of unpleasant images involving real people - not computer generated images - and violent crime around the world is in decline."

Curiously, the Senator also revealed that many major gaming websites are banned from federal computers. Sites like Polygon, PC Gamer, Gameplanet and others (presumably Kotaku too, although it wasn't mentioned) are blocked on the federal network, but politicians can freely access the neo-Nazi site Stormfront.

"In fact, politicians and public servants are blocked from accessing several gamer websites. If we want to access Polygon, IGN, PC Gamer or Gameplanet, the computer says no. This is presumably because we might stumble across an image of something somebody disapproves of on a medium we don’t understand."

The Senator's argument: adults should be free to make choices about the content they view, even if the majority of society disagrees with that content. His remarks also broke a record for the amount of Witcher 3 references dropped in Parliament:

For example, not many Senators or senior public servants would know the difference between a Ghoul and an Alghoul – and so would find it hard to advance in the video game known as The Witcher.

...

Compare this attitude and that of the former Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk who famously presented a copy of The Witcher to President Barack Obama – who presumably now has time to learn the difference between a Ghoul and an Alghoul.

Update: The reason a lot of gaming sites are banned, I'm told, is because they're classified as entertainment sites. Entertainment, as all managers know, is a code word for "massive timewaster". You'd think that logic would apply to LiveLeak as well, but it's not out of form for Canberra to be a little behind the times.



Comments

    This is disturbing on a few fronts.

    The Outlast 2 situation, despite repeated posts by multiple writers of this site, is all because of an isolated 'snapshot' of an in-game moment.

    A ludicrous description of an interactive cut-scene.

    Yet this is the hill that not only some of us are choosing to die on, it's where some politicians see a chance to talk solidarity with us.

    The Liberal Democrats are not people you want to be friends with, no matter how much you want to play Outlast 2.

    I've loved the Witcher games forever, and it's sickening to hear this bloke talk about them to push his libertarian barrow.

      To be fair, if he just wanted to push his libertarian barrow, he'd probably avoid doing this. After all, support for strict video game ratings typically comes from some of the harder right-wing groups, and these groups are one of his more natural support bases. I just see this as a rare act of political consistency from a diehard libertarian.

      Can't stress enough that I don't like his policies and wouldn't vote for the guy, but it's sorta nice to see something like this happen anyway.

      Last edited 21/03/17 11:01 am

        That line about 'violent crime' around the globe being 'on decline' (at least, that's how I heard it) was a prime example of him/politicians being able to use that platform to say absolutely anything, without question.

        Just because he's wanting to be all love-y dove-y with "gamers" rather than the usual response we see from traditional political parties doesn't mean he can still be trusted.

        He's seeing you and me as a means to an end, that's his agenda. Political opportunism.

        In fact, I would put money on the fact he has staff that visit sites like this.

        Hello to any Liberal Democrats people posting here!

      God, Leyonhjelm of all people. I'm with you.

      Sure, it'd be nice to play Outlast 2.

      Wouldn't be as nice to be shot in the face by an adler shotgun for standing up to a racist in the sort of world Leyonhjelm wants.

      The Liberal Democrats are not people you want to be friends with, no matter how much you want to play Outlast 2

      But what if they invite me for lunch in their helicopter?

        You'd want to ask why you're going to be eating lunch in a helicopter.

        Choppers are for eating but not those sort of choppers.

      A ludicrous description of an interactive cut-scene.You mean non-interactive, or did I miss part of its description somewhere?

      The enemy of my enemy is my ally.

      In this battle, he is an ally. You may not like him or have any other common ground with him, but if he's fighting the same battle as you are for the same outcome and is not a liability to your common cause, then he is your ally.

      If I'm hanging from a cliff and a guy wearing a swastika comes and offers to pull me up, I'm not going to tell him to F off because he's Nazi scum. I'm going to accept his offer for help and get myself to safety. The time for discussing his beliefs can come afterwards, but the immediate need is much more important. By saying "The Liberal Democrats are not people you want to be friends with, no matter how much you want to play Outlast 2." you're saying "I will only accept allies in this battle if they also provide a full employment and moral history which complies with mine. I would rather lose this battle than admit that people I disagree with in some areas can have common goals to me that are irrelevant to their disparate social views"

        Or I could just import.

          I'm sorry, but that seems like such a cowardly answer.

          At least he's fighting the fight that needs to be fought, regardless of his other beliefs.

          You'd rather the system stay broken (and you use a workaround that only directly benefits yourself) rather than ally yourself with someone with a different belief system and have the system overhauled for everyone's benefit?

            Say I was still hanging off that cliff - you're saying I now have to ally myself with the swastika bloke?

            Which is it?

            Accept the help now and work out the horse-trading later with the Naz-sorry, Libetarian; or refuse the help now from the Naz-excuse me, Libertarian, because by that stage we'd already have arrived at a world where it's socially acceptable to wear a swastika in public anyway.

            He wouldn't need to help me because he'd already have what he wants.

              Yes, I'm 100% saying you'd ally yourself with the swastika Nazi.

              Let's say you're Aryan and so his reasoning for wanting to pull you up is that he wants to help the Aryan gene pool so he looks better to other Nazis. You just want to live. His other beliefs are abhorrent to you. You have the same goal for totally different reasons. If his temporary goal is pulling you up to safety and your goal is pulling yourself to safety, then you ally yourself with him and both work together to achieve your goal of pulling you to safety.

              That's an allegiance.

              It doesn't need to go any further than that. You've both worked together to achieve a common goal. You both benefited from this exchange. No one owes anyone anything because you've both agreed to an allegiance that gives you mutually exclusive benefits.

              I'm not sure why you think that saying "this person has arguments that further my cause" is equal to saying "I will vote for this person" or "I agree with all of this person's views".

              Do you honestly believe that if classification gets reviewed due, in part, to his arguments that you'll be required to get a swastika tattoo? or that you'll have to vote for him come the next election? Of course not, that's ridiculous. It's slippery-slope reasoning.

              By refusing to acknowledge that people with different viewpoints to your own can have common ground and goals to you, and by refusing their assistance towards the goals that you wish to achieve (that don't detract from other goals you have) you're not only doing yourself a disservice, you're actively sabotaging your own efforts to achieve your goals.

              NOTE: THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN POSTED MULTIPLE TIMES DUE TO KOTAKU'S CURRENT ISSUE OF MODERATING ALL EDITS AND MODERATION TAKING UPWARDS OF 24 HOURS. THIS COMMENT WAS REPOSTED TO PROVIDE AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE AND AVOID THE MODERATION PERIOD. THE PREVIOUS EDIT WAS MADE TO CORRECT SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.

                I feel you on the mod/edit thing man.

                I think my idea of this scenario is either different to yours or I'm just not getting the difference between asking someone for help when I'm in need, and signing up to their mailing list.

                We don't currently live in the society Mr Leyonhjelm desires. I think that's what kicks the legs out of your argument.

                Nor do we currently live in a society where a Nazi could think they could be socially accepted enough to a) wear the swastika b) explain they ignored me hanging off the cliff because they were a Nazi and that's somehow supposed to be respected c) expect that in order to recruit like-minded folk they have to make it a matter of life and death?

                He doesn't have arguments that further my or anybody's cause. Can you prove his 'violent crime is on the decline around the world' announcement?

                He spent more time on the fact he can't access thepolygon-dot-com then he did Outlast 2 and classification.

                Nobody trusts parliamentarians in this country 364 days out of the year, I'm saying a healthy skepticism is the very least that should be engaged here.

                  I think you're going a waaaaaay too deep into the metaphor here. My metaphor was not to be taken literally and was just meant to show as an example that there's a difference between an ally and a friend. An ally doesn't necessarily have any intentions of further allegiance or friendship. You can ally with someone for a single cause, then fight against them for everything else.

                  You're right in that we don't live in the society he desires. But if, in the Venn diagram of your goals and his goals, there's some overlap (in this case overhauling the classification system or removing government censorship and control of media) then why wouldn't you work towards those goals with him as an ally? Because you don't like his other policies? I feel like putting aside your personal beliefs to work with someone you dislike to achieve a greater good is the mark of a great man.

                  I assume he spoke about Polygon because his whole speech seemed to revolve around censorship in one form or another.

        I'm not sure we're all working towards the same thing: Leyonjhelm and his ilk want for people to be able to engage with whatever media they please without government intervention; I would like a revision of the Classification Act and the National Classification Code that at least reduces disparity in classification across different media.

        Saying that the two are the same and therefore "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a gross misrepresentation.

        However, we don't even know the full details of why Outlast 2 is RC, we have a small public-facing snippet. Any comments we make on that particular scenario will be extremely limited.

          I never said "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". I said "the enemy of my enemy is my ally". Those two phrases are used interchangeably, but the fact is that there's a reason the correct usage is "ally" and not "friend". I'm not saying he should be your friend, but if he shares a common goal, he should be your ally in that battle.

          Personally, I believe that the government should have zero ability to restrict what media I consume in any way at all. I find it deeply offensive that someone can have the ability to say to another adult "you're not allowed to watch this because I find it offensive".

          I agree with the ideals behind the classification system (up to the age of 18 years when it should all be available).

          So maybe that's something to consider. I find it hard to understand how any adult can be happy with any media being restricted from them based on someone else's ideals, morals and desires.

            The government through the classification body is not saying "you're not allowed to watch this", they're saying "you're not allowed to commercially obtain this product in Australia."
            The two are incredibly different arguments.

            I don't particularly care about the semantics of the idiom, it's only applicable to people in specific demographics such as yourself, and I've already voiced my opposition to its use in this scenario.

            If you can't understand a viewpoint, consider reading and listening to people with different perspectives. I'm sure there's a wealth of writing that covers the idea of vulnerable populations, equity and equality, and the role and function of media classification in society. The last item especially should be a place to start.

    At least he's nothing if not consistent. David Leyonhjelm is such a prime example of "even a broken clock is right twice a day".

      Yep. Don't be fooled, the Liberal Democrats are a party full of people who think the Liberal party is a bit too left-wing for their tastes.

      Leyonhjelm is the tip of a very unhinged iceberg.

    I don't like most of Leyonhjelm's policies, but I really do appreciate that he's actually following his libertarian ideals to their logical conclusion. A lot of libertarians - particularly those like tea partiers in the US - suddenly turn into hard-right religious apologists as soon as social/moral matters are on the table. Freeing corporate entities of their burdens with one hand whilst trying to ban blasphemy on the other.

    So yeah, credit where it's due. A libertarian is sticking up for a sensible libertarian position instead of falling into line-towing doublethink. Good on him, even if he's pretty much the last guy I'd vote for.

    Last edited 21/03/17 11:02 am

      This is the exact way I feel about vegans. I understand they feel the way they do and I understand that they want other people to feel that way, but I won't be a part of it. That said, I have full respect towards them for sticking to their beliefs and standing up for what they believe in (unlike wishy-washy vegetarians).

      I would never vote for this guy in a million years. But I'll be damned if I wouldn't accept his help in winning this battle. It's not like I'm signing a contract stating I'll ever ally with him again.

      Last edited 21/03/17 2:43 pm

        Mark Maron put it best:

        "Vegans, I understand - you have an ideological eating disorder."

    Sorry this man doesn't deserve his face photoshopped into a video game. He tweeted out support of looser gun laws on the same DAY of the recent Melbourne massacre (it's too abhorrent to even go into detail, search Twitter and you'll find it).

    *Cough* im reading Kotaku on my work computer right now .... *Cough*

    Nope. David Leyonhjelm ain't someone you want in your corner.

    I'm sure more than one person in Canberra wants outlast2.

    I'd rather not support a blatant move to gain political capital, and I especially want nothing to do with the unconscionable dealings of either Leyonjhelm or his party.

    This has always shitted me with work. Game news sites like kotaku are banned under "games", at my work. The older guys sit at the computer with a paper for hours reading the news. My type of news is different to theirs so i don't see why i should be denied my source. At least Gizmodo works...

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