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Thursday, 18 March 2010 19:50

Don't be a dick: G4C gamers get serious


With just two days remaining until polls open in the South Australian state election, the R18+ advocacy group Gamers4Croydon's plan to challenge Attorney-General Michael Atkinson for his safe Labor seat of Croydon is in full swing.

The infant party has a decent preferences deal with the Australian Sex Party - which is running a candidate in Croydon under a "Dump Atkinson '¦ we're sick of wowsers" banner - and last week launched the Gamers4Croydon official constitution (a document that puts "Don't be a dick" at the top of its regulations.

The constitution is certainly different - betweens regulations 3 and 4 is Pi, which directs its membership to have fun - but it covers the basics, if in an unfamiliar vernacular.

Most interesting is that it officially constitutes a process for name change. Having successfully commanded a national public awareness campaign for the R18+ adult games classification, Doe says the party is now looking to broaden both its horizons and its constituency.

Specifically, Gamers4Croydon is now in early preparation for a tilt at Senate seats in the next Federal election later this year, and will change its name (something, apparently, that retains the G4C acronym).

And its grassroots membership are hoping Kevin Rudd pulls one of his double dissolution triggers - which it says gives it a outside chance, if the campaign success it has enjoyed so far continues.

"We will analyse the results from the State election and try to determine just what sort of a groundswell we have created," Doe told iTWire..

"And if we have created something that we think is significant, then we will go for the Federal election. And fingers-crossed, it will go to a double-dissolution, because then we would have a really fantastic chance of getting in."

Doe says the party will make a final decision on its Federal ambitions after Saturday's poll, but it has started the registration process in preparation regardless.

But first it has the South Australian election. While the party's Genesis was the Atkinson/Croydon issue, it is running six candidates - five in the lower house (it will contest Atkinson's and four Adelaide marginals and one for the Upper House.)

It is not unkind to say Gamers4Croydon have no chance of taking Atkinson's seat, although Doe pointedly refuses to go there ("we wouldn't be in it if we didn't think we were a chance.")

But it is hard not to say the campaign has already been hugely successful. The issue has enjoyed spectacular, national coverage in mainstream newspapers and television, a direct result of the campaign.

And without getting preachy, Doe counts the grassroots political involvement of large numbers of Gen Y peers as significant. The adult games issue was the catalyst for mobilizing the activism, but the process also drove a broader set of "progressive" policies.

"It is getting exciting, because we are getting a huge community response and we are getting a very strong response from a lot of people who might not have felt that they were in our demographic," Doe said.

Gamers4Croydon's best chance is obviously the Legislative Council, the South Australia, where party president is a single candidate.

"If we continue with the same success we have been having with our grassroots campaigning over the past four months and our people keep up their enthusiasm as they have, then I think you are going to see this as one of those quiet campaign victories."

Games4Croydon has been successful precisely because it is grassroots based, with a motivated and passionate membership. The party receives no funding from the computer games industry, a powerful multi-billion bloc made up of some of the largest software companies in the world.

It hasn't been the slickest operation to arrive on Australian political scene, but it used social media effectively, and has tapped an advocate games media that has fed the broader mainstream.

"We have really tried to engage. We keep trying to get people interested and keep people interested in the political machine, and how the political process works," Doe said.

"The R18+ issue was definitely the catalyst, and the rest of the policies are things that our council and our members felt strongly about. And it is fortunate that the R18+ plus issue is something people feel strongly enough about to push us into the political sphere."

And between now and the Saturday election?

"We stock up on Red Bull '¦campaigning in Croydon and in the CBD and we Norwood Light and Mawson and we'll be getting the word out: Vote 1, Box Z, because it's really time for Generation X and Generation Y to start voting for their best interests," Doe said.

"And be starting a progressive political party like ours, we are going to give them that option."

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