Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Censorship Government Games Politics

Anti-Gamer South Australian Attorney General Quits 104

Posted by timothy
from the usually-the-car-holds-more-clowns dept.
dogbolter writes "South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, infamous for the banning of R18+ rated games and the censoring of political comment in Australia, has quit. The recent South Australian election provided a massive swing against Atkinson's governing labor party. As a direct result of the South Australian election result, he is standing down. Hopefully someone with half a clue will assume the vacant post and overturn the decision to ban adult oriented computer games."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Anti-Gamer South Australian Attorney General Quits

Comments Filter:
  • Wow... (Score:2, Funny)

    by dohzer (867770)

    There actually is a "Gaming God"!

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:27AM (#31555884) Homepage

    RAGE QUIT!

  • One Down!!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:27AM (#31555886)

    As far as politics news this would have to be the best thing I've heard in ... well forever (In Australia anyway).
    So can we all get Senator Conroy (the minister for fascism) to throw in the towel too?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deniable (76198)
      It wouldn't do a lot of good. The unelected defenders of our morals would have a new stooge in short order.
    • by strack (1051390)
      well theres a federal election coming up in australia in november. i dont think his seat is up for election this term, but if there is a swing far enough in labors favor, he wont hold the balance of power anymore, and hence have little influence.
      • by deniable (76198)
        You responded to a post about Conroy, not Fielding. A swing to Labor means more power for Conroy, not less. As for the election, it might be in November, but possibly not, depending on Rudd's poll numbers.
      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        WTf you smoking, The last thing we want is a swing in labors favour. We want retards like conroy out not with more power.
  • by ihaveamo (989662) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:29AM (#31555890)
    A lot of game shops have petitions to sign - Aussies, if you are dropping by one to pick up the latest austrlian-modified (aka heavily-censored) version of whatever, ask to sign the petition. (I found one to sign, right at the front of the store "GAME", in the Brisbane CBD). More info about the craziness of no R18+ games for Australia is Here [r18games.com.au]
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @03:30AM (#31555896)
    Finish him!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know I will be called a troll for asking this: but how is the SA AG's view on computer games flawed? It should be obvious to anyone that he believes that the views of his constituency (which BTW is more than just teenaged and 18-25 year old anglophone middle class computer-literate males) are not supportive of a "wider range" of content in video games. Given what he does, his decision is quite sensible.

    To cater to the sensibilities of other people, and decide that their needs come before some others, do

    • DOESN'T mean he'll stop. He may not hold the political office anymore but he may become what Jack Thompson has been for us Americans. A real pain in the ass that doesn't seem to know how to stay down. .
      • by mjwx (966435)

        DOESN'T mean he'll stop. He may not hold the political office anymore but he may become what Jack Thompson has been for us Americans. A real pain in the ass that doesn't seem to know how to stay down.

        He'll end up preaching to the same small choir. I doubt he'll get anywhere near the level of attention that Thomson gets. The only significant group of people in Australia who actually care about R18+ gamers are the gamers who want to play R18+ games.

        Of course he could go to the States and do a book tour w

      • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @05:41AM (#31556396)

        He may not hold the political office anymore but he may become what Jack Thompson has been for us Americans. A real pain in the ass that doesn't seem to know how to stay down.

        Thompson is hardly a pain in the ass, as that would require him to be somewhat effective. If anything, his lunatic raving has worked in favour of game players and -publishers, since he makes the anti-gaming side look bad by association.

      • but he may become what Jack Thompson has been for us Americans

        You mean disbarred so he can no longer work in his chosen profession and then become so irrelevant that people that formerly supported him are "distancing themselves" from him as he goes down? Yeah, that would be too bad...

      • but he may become what Jack Thompson has been for us Americans. A real pain in the ass that doesn't seem to know how to stay down

        Yeah, a zombie. Or maybe a vampire. Depends upon how intelligent you think he is.

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:08AM (#31556028)

      how is the SA AG's view on computer games flawed? It should be obvious to anyone that he believes that the views of his constituency...are not supportive of a "wider range" of content in video games.

      First of all, he doesn't believe that. In a recent letter he wrote about this, he stated "this issue has little traction with my constituents who are more concerned with real-life issues than home entertainment in imaginary worlds". So it seems that he is not representing the will of his constituents, but he thinks that they don't care about it.

      As to why it is flawed, that is because it is so out of step with the rest of the country. Adding an R rating for video games requires the agreement of all Attorneys General of all the states. Michael Atkinson is the only one who will not agree to it, despite the evidence suggesting that the majority of Australians support the introduction.

      The main problem is that it doesn't stop kids from seeing adult games. In fact, because there is no R rating, games that would have received that tend to get MA15+ ratings. Those that aren't banned, that is.

      • by Eskarel (565631) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @06:34AM (#31556578)

        It's mostly because what he's trying to do and what's actually doing are two very different things.

        Here in Australia, anything which is Refused Classification(RC) is, in effect, banned. If/When the new internet filter gets put in then apparently even websites talking about RC games or other material will be blocked in part or whole. Since there is no R rating, anything which would receive one is instead RC.

        This has a number of negative effects of course. For the purposes of this guy one of the most important is that the ratings board which is of course "at arms length from the political process" which is supposed to mean unaffected by politics, but really means unaccountable to voters, despite their generally rather stodgy views do not particularly like banning things. They perhaps feel that banning things is a really rather serious action to take.

        This means that a lot of material which should probably be in the lower end of the R rating band gets pushed down into the MA15+ band, because while it's not exactly appropriate it's not exactly ban worthy either. This means that the upper end of MA15+ is full of a lot of stuff which really isn't necessarily appropriate for someone who is 15 years old to be able to buy on their own without mum and dad being vaguely aware that it's being bought.

        Personally I dislike games like manhunt and the other over the top gore games and wouldn't be at all sad if they had never been made at all, but I also feel that Fallout 3, while I personally loved it, is probably a bit borderline for some younger players. Under the current law games like that get pushed into the MA15+ rating zone when they would probably be more comfortable in the R region(and of course the drug animations could have remained in all copies of the game rather than being cut because of this very reason).

        Atkinson's position is counterproductive to what he actually wants to accomplish.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Here in Australia, anything which is Refused Classification(RC) is, in effect, banned.

          This is wrong (at the very least misleading), please stop spreading it.

          It is not, emphatically not illegal to posses RC material. It is illegal to sell, hire or publicly exhibit RC material. The classification law covers sale, hire and public exhibition, not possession.

          RC is not effectively banned, there is a separate classification for outright banning which makes it illegal to posses material on this list. It is

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Importing RC is illegal - you most certainly could have been warned/fined/jailed for importing RC material! I might be legal to possess, but if they take away any legal means to obtain it (via Internet censorship) then they are doing the same thing.
          • by Eskarel (565631)

            Well, let's see. If I download an RC game, I've committed copyright infringement and can be prosecuted, if I buy it oversees and import it then I am breaking the law and can be prosecuted, if someone else imports it and sells or gives it to me they can be prosecuted. About the only way to legally obtain an RC game is to write it yourself, so yes it's a ban.

        • by mr_snarf (807002)

          Then apparently even websites talking about RC games or other material will be blocked in part or whole.

          Actually, RC computer games will be explicitly left out of the mandatory filtering until a review is finalised on how to classify them. (According to http://openinternet.com.au/learn_more/ [openinternet.com.au] anyway)

    • by Xiroth (917768) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:25AM (#31556094)

      Every independent survey run found wide support for an R rating for games amoung the Australian community: Link [smh.com.au] (reference in there to a survey finding 88% support). Atkinson is considerably more conservative than his base on the issue - this is (or was) a politician's individual crusade, not him representing his electorate.

    • by deniable (76198)
      Why should his constituency matter? I can't vote against him, but he can stop me getting R rated games. I just wonder if he jumped or was pushed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The point is that a cabinet minister has to consider more than just the views of his electorate, he has to work for the good of the whole state. Approximately 11200 people voted for Michael Atkinson (as their first preference) in the lower house, whereas about 8300 voted for Gamers 4 Croydon as their first preference for the Upper house (just shy of 10000 votes were distributed to their candidate before he was excluded), and several of the other minor parties also support an r18+ rating for games.
      These is a

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by biryokumaru (822262) *

      It should be obvious to anyone that he believes that the views of his constituency (which BTW is more than just teenaged and 18-25 year old anglophone middle class computer-literate males) are not supportive of a "wider range" of content in video games.

      Let's say that I don't believe in setting aside reservations for Native Americans, or giving them special rights with regard to gambling. I feel that it makes them second class citizens, and stunts their ability to be contributing members of a larger society.

      So I should get a say in what happens to them, right? Just because I have an opinion? Even though eliminating reservations or leaving them be would have virtually no effect on my life what-so-ever?

      Yeah, democracy makes lots of sense...

      Next, you're gonna

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dragonslicer (991472)

      I know I will be called a troll for asking this: but how is the SA AG's view on computer games flawed? It should be obvious to anyone that he believes that the views of his constituency (which BTW is more than just teenaged and 18-25 year old anglophone middle class computer-literate males) are not supportive of a "wider range" of content in video games. Given what he does, his decision is quite sensible.

      To cater to the sensibilities of other people, and decide that their needs come before some others, does not necessarily make him "anti" anyone. Just like how if x is not larger than 3, it does not automatically make is smaller than 3, but it could also be equal.

      Even if this is the view of his constituency, you're talking about tyranny of the majority, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, problem with a democratic government.

    • I know I will be called a troll for asking this: but how is the SA AG's view on computer games flawed? It should be obvious to anyone that he believes that the views of his constituency (which BTW is more than just teenaged and 18-25 year old anglophone middle class computer-literate males) are not supportive of a "wider range" of content in video games. Given what he does, his decision is quite sensible.

      The judicial role is to prevent tyranny of the mob. Just because most people don't like it is not reason to ban something (in theory - I know this doesn't hold well in reality). To ban something you need to prove harm to others. Banning things performed in your own home that does not harm others is against most constitutions and against the founding principles of most western democracies. It isn't the AG's role to curry favour with the electorate. It is to prevent the electorate from using superior num

    • by Rennt (582550)
      1) Are you really advocating tyranny by majority? Censorship is evil, popular support does not make it OK.
      2) There was no evidence of "majority" support. Maybe Atkinson did believe it, but he certainly wasn't listening to his constituents.
      3) [minor issue] Your gaming demographic is off. The average age is over 25, and most of them are quite computer illiterate.
    • by jythie (914043)
      It is a worthwhile question. A big piece of the answer is that his constituency does not believe in the censoring, even if only a small percentage of them are actively pushing him for the 18+ rating. He is also the lone holdout among other AGs, so his personal opinion is running pretty strongly against, well, everyone. He stopped 'representing' and is instead pushing his personal agenda.
  • Not quit as in quit (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can I make a point here.. he hasn't quit parliament, he's just quit cabinet.. he will still remain a member of Labor's government (or be in Opposition if Labor don't get over the line)..

    I don't think this is quite the scalp everyone is looking for..

    • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:27AM (#31556108)

      I don't think this is quite the scalp everyone is looking for..

      It is good enough. He was the one person in Australia who was preventing the R18+ rating from being introduced. He wasn't just one politician who was against it, he was someone who had veto power over the entire thing. Now that he is out of that key role, the way is clear for all Attorneys General to allow the change to go through.

  • It seems to me he's made it easier for kids to get the games.

    • In Aussie, if its unrated, it can't be sold. It was used as a way of censoring without calling that.
      • by deek (22697)

        Actually, the majority of refused classification games are modified, or classification appealed. Then they're moved to a lower rating, thus allowing kids to get the games.

        There are, of course, a few examples of games where that didn't work. The majority make it through, though.

  • I'm sorry, but this is all too good to be true, I had to check the date twice! Now all we need is for Conroy to admit he's completely wrong and step down!

    For a good laugh, you should complete the "Vote Now!" on the left hand side (no login required)
  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:16AM (#31556068) Journal

    To my knowledge he didn't 'ban' R18+ games, he simply didn't agree with the vote - which was required by each AG to get it through.
    You could say he effectively banned them but it's more his lack of support than anything.

    Also he stepped back into a backbench role, he's still in politics although yes we do REALLY hope someone with a clue steps up for his old position.
    As a Victorian I'm glad to see him go, the capital of this one state of South Australia, Adelaide is referred to as "the city of churches" (quite seriously) these morons have been causing the rest of the country for too long.

    Now if we can just get rid of this Stephen Conroy idiot, maybe Australia won't be a laughing stock for tech news and articles for a while again.
    Good riddance Atkinson, good riddance.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a Victorian I'm glad to see him go

      Indeed, my dear chap, it shall be most delightful finally to be permitted to experience uncensored marvels on Mr Babbage's wonderful Difference Engine CCCDX.

    • yes we do REALLY hope someone with a clue steps up for his old position.

      The problem with power vacuums is that they tend to suck in people who want power, and they're rarely honest about what they intend to do with that power. I do wish you luck though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by exomondo (1725132)

      Now if we can just get rid of this Stephen Conroy idiot, maybe Australia won't be a laughing stock for tech news and articles for a while again.

      If possible please help to get the word out to send emails of support to Joe Hockey, an MP who has strongly and vocally opposed the internet filter and is doing a damn good job! If we as a community show support so such people im sure they are likely to continue with those actions!

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      I like how someone (likely a South Australian) tried to mod this troll, sorry mate but the rest of Australia are sick of your shit.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:22AM (#31556082)

    It wasn't a great election result for Gamers4croydon [gamers4croydon.org], who were standing against the Attorney General on the platform of allowing R18+ ratings. They only received 3.7% of the vote [sa.gov.au]. In fact, there were more informal (or invalid) votes at 5%.

    Still, they will be happy with the final outcome, even if it wasn't a victory for grass roots campaigning.

    • by Swampash (1131503)
      I'm a South Australian voter and I'm proud to say I voted for Gamers4Croydon. My vote may have been insignificant but I still feel that it was important.
    • by Arbition (1728870)
      At least they beat Trevor Grace (AbortSA) in the upper house. Now we just need an Attorney General who isn't as morally backward as the last (That is, not so influenced by faith).
    • by rtb61 (674572)

      More importantly were the Greens coming in third all over the place, becoming the alternate to Labour rather than going to the right. In this case the right wanted to buy 500 tasers to tackle anyone they deemed as hooligans, the electric whip and so called conservatives always seem to go hand in hand. The reality is of course their is nothing conservative about using torture devices on citizens that is purely the field of radicals and fundamentalists.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Orteko (530397)

      To be fair they always had an uphill battle.

      Atkinsons seat is one of the safest around - G4C's vote isn't actually half bad, they beat a large amount of minor parties and independents in the legaslative council.

  • Game over Michael (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mjwx (966435) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @04:53AM (#31556194)
    Victory. /administrator voice

    Shock Horror, the system worked. Sorry for the rant but after numerous threads about the issue and countless uniformed "why don't you Aussies do something" posts I think we can are entitled to a little schadenfreude. We dealt with Atkinson within the system. I wonder how Conroy is feeling about now, between the censorship and NBN debacle he hasn't many people left who like him enough to vote for him.

    However we can be certain the people behind Atkinson who are the driving the anti-game agenda aren't quitting as easily but still, this is a step in the right direction and I think it will be very hard for the puritans to replace Atkinson on the ratings board.
    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      I reduce at that prick being thrown out, but I am not calling it a victory or that the system works until I hear his replacement is not a self righteous prick that puts his own views before that of the people./
    • by srjh (1316705)

      I wonder how Conroy is feeling about now, between the censorship and NBN debacle he hasn't many people left who like him enough to vote for him.

      As long as Conroy retains top billing in the Senate, he doesn't have much reason to worry. He's considerably less popular than other Labor senators, but because of internal factional politics, he's pretty much guaranteed top billing.

      An overwhelming majority of Labor voters will mark "1" above the line and think nothing of it, if Conroy goes, it will be because Labor, not Australia as a whole, pushes him.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        An overwhelming majority of Labor voters will mark "1" above the line and think nothing of it, if Conroy goes, it will be because Labor, not Australia as a whole, pushes him.

        Until Conroy's seat comes up for re-election. I don't know if Conroy is up for re-election this term or not.

        I would say it's quite possible that Conroy will be "pushed" by Rudd after the next election, first they bought in Kate Lundy to act as his understudy then they start giving more air time to Lundy and using Lundy to water dow

        • by Tri (60119)

          Conroy is a senator. His electorate is the whole of Victoria.

          Since almost everyone votes for the party (above the line) there are two possibilities that will result in him loosing his seat: a) he's moved from his current top position in the labor list to #3 or #4. It's still possible for him to get elected again if he's at #3 but unlikely. He's currently one of the leaders of the Labor Right faction in the Labor party, so even going from #1 to #2 position is unlikely.

          b) is for Labor to get less than 1/6 of

    • by Lunzo (1065904)
      This has nothing to do with the system or R18+ video games. RTFA. Atkinson moved to the back bench to let younger blood take over and to spend more time with his family.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        This has nothing to do with the system or R18+ video games. RTFA. Atkinson moved to the back bench to let younger blood take over and to spend more time with his family

        Wow,

        Do you believe everything you read in the papers?

        That is just Atkinson's justification after the fact, he either had to quit with dignity or be forced out in shame by his own party.

        This has to do with the 7% swing against Labor in South Australia and the 14% swing in Atkinson's seat of Croydon. Anything else is just PR fluff.

  • by romiz (757548) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @06:43AM (#31556606)
    And in the meanwhile, in Switzerland, politicians have passed the first step for making a law [mcvuk.com] targeting all games that "require cruel acts of violence against humans and humanlike creatures for in-game success”. The objective of this law is to make it forbidden to produce, advertise, import, sell or distribute such games. It seems, however, that this is not the final vote, and there is a real possibility that public outrage [www.tdg.ch], from gamers as well as games companies, could bring the politicians to back down on this, and simply make it forbidden in the law to sell 18-rated PEGI games to minors.
    • by Rennt (582550)

      targeting games that "require cruel acts of violence against humans and humanlike creatures for in-game success”

      Interesting wording. They may be seeking not to ban depiction of violent behaviour, but rather to ban the REWARD of it.

      I can actually see the merit in the distinction, but banning of course is going to far.

  • Is far better then the unknown.

  • Not only games (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ninth Marion (1310141) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @09:43AM (#31557504)
    Atkinson's censorship of games is a part of a pattern of behaviour. This is the man who also passed a law making anonymous speech illegal specifically for this election campaign. [techdirt.com]
    He then had the cheek, after intense criticism, to say if he was re-elected he'd remove it after the election. It's likely that this was more damaging to the Labor party in this election than the R18 issue.

    I am very happy to hear he no longer holds office, as I detest the man and what he stands for. Australia is now a slightly better place. Next up, hopefully, Conroy and the internet filter.
    • by Stropp (1599677)

      Atkinson still holds office. He was re-elected to the South Australian parliament and will have some say in government policy as a result. He's simply standing down as AG and is now on the backbench, ie, not holding a ministerial post. He's also a powerbroker for one of the factions, which is why he was made AG in the first place and why he held that position for so long.

      From what he's said, he'll be retiring at the next election. He said that it would be irresponsible to force a by-election at this time w

  • Great news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sphazell (745128)
    This is good lets hope the guy never again gets into a position where he can threaten our freedoms and liberty. Not only was he against the R classification for games but he was also an advocate for Internet and press censorship.
  • by bug1 (96678) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @08:43PM (#31562464)

    The poll results from the mentioned article are below, 96% want him gone, he should have been pushed a long time ago, but at least he knows his time is up.

    Thanks for voting!
    Are you happy that Michael Atkinson will no longer be South Australia's Attorney-General?

            * Yes 96.57% (1211 votes)
            * No 3.43% (43 votes)

    Total votes: 1254

  • Of course, in Westminster parliamentary politics, resigning from the front bench is often the first move in positioning yourself to challenge for the leadership of the party...
  • A lot of people here apparently haven't bothered to read even the summary, and as such are assuming we took a stand and kicked this guy out of office. This isn't true. Michael Atkinson won the election easily, and then announced he wouldn't be taking the job anyway, instead moving to a back-bench position in the Labour government to retire in 2014.

    Yes, the arsehole is going, but no, we didn't beat him. The vast majority of voters, as always, don't know or care about these issues, so the battle is far from

  • Hopefully someone with half a clue will assume the vacant post and overturn the decision to ban adult oriented computer games

    Wasn't that the problem in the first place, that this was someone with only half a clue?

    This is so often the case, that people only understand enough to get scared or decide that they don't like it; I suspect we all do it, sometimes - I know I do. The thing is - that kind of people are also valuable members of society, and in a democracy we have to try to find a compromise that accomodates the interests of at least a majority of people.

    To me it seems that the importance of games is hugely overstated. A comp

  • Let us celebrate the demise of this fossil, for this is truly, a great day for gamers !! 3 cheers for gore !!!

Entropy isn't what it used to be.

Working...