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Thursday, 19 November 2009 17:13

Atkinson to R18+ games lobby: See you at next election


South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson has thrown down the gauntlet to adult games advocates, challenging the R18+ lobby to run a candidate and try to unseat him at the State election next March.

In an extraordinary six-page letter to a gamer who had written to oppose the Attorney General's stand against the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games, Mr Atkinson gives a passionate but reasoned argument to defend the South Australian Government policy on the issue.

Mr Atkinson is the only member of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) that oversees the classification regime who publicly opposes an R18+ classification for games. A change to the regime requires the support all Attorneys-General.

But Mr Atkinson clearly believes that others on SCAG support his stand and that he has been left to pay the political freight on the controversial issue.

"Other Attorneys-General who are opposed to introducing an R18+ classification are content to let me be the lightening rod for the gamers," he says.

Mr Atkinson says his opposition to an R18+ classification has "a trifling impact on the choices available to Australian adult gamers" while protecting a broad set of at-risk adults and children.

He makes clear he has no intention of changing his view and allowing the change to the games classification system, and says the gaming lobby should instead seek to unseat him if they want those changes introduced.

"I acknowledge that other have opinions different from mine. However, I will maintain my reasoned and considered opinion on this issue and will continue my campaign against the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games," Mr Atkinson said.

"I am up for election in March 2010. The state district I represent is called Croydon. I would welcome advocates of R18+ computer games testing public acceptance of my policy by standing a candidate against me in that general election."

“I think you will find this issue has little traction with my constituents who are more concerned with real life issues than home entertainment in imaginary worlds," he concludes his letter.

The letter was posted to a popular consumer web site three days ago and has attracted more than 500 comments.

Some gamers have argued that some computer games have slipped through the classification system with the MA15+ rating, and that an R18+ classification would actually provide more protection for young people, not less.

Mr Atkinson rejects this argument.

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