Australian Politician Claims Video Gamers Are A Bigger Risk To His Family Than Angry Biker Gangs

from the maybe-in-a-game... dept

South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, last seen around these parts supporting a law that banned anonymous political commentary during election season (though he later said he’d repeal it after the election), is apparently now taking on video gamers. Slashdot points us to the news that Atkinson has claimed that video gamers are a threat to his family, after he found a note from a video gamer left on his doorstep:

“I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me… The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven’t been hanging around my doorstop at 2am. A gamer has.”

I like how he automatically lumps all video gamers together into a single group because one gamer left him a note. Atkinson appears to have a way with words — including those against both bikers and video gamers. In the past he was forced to apologize after falsely suggesting that a group of motorcycle gang members had used a local park to “cook a cat for human consumption”. Turns out it wasn’t true: “The animal was not a cat, the incident happened at another location and bikies weren’t involved.” So, he’s good with the details, it seems.

The specific issue when it comes to video gamers is that Atkinson has been an adamant opponent to allowing any sort of “adult” or “mature” rating for video games. As you may or may not know, Australia censors video games, and will simply not allow games they don’t feel are appropriate for those under the age of 18. Yes, if you’re an adult and make the conscious choice that you want to play a violent video game, you are legally out of luck in Australia.

At times, Atkinson has supported this position to ridiculous levels. When the football video game “Blitz: The League” was banned from Australia, Atkinson supported this because one option in the game was that a player could take performance enhancing drugs, and apparently, he prefers to keep reality out of video games. When asked by a constituent why he wouldn’t support a mature rating for adult video gamers who want to play such games, his response was quite dismissive:

“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.”

And now he’s claiming that video gamers are a threat to his family? I think the person dealing with the “imaginary worlds” might be Mr. Atkinson.

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Comments on “Australian Politician Claims Video Gamers Are A Bigger Risk To His Family Than Angry Biker Gangs”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Any chance...

That this “note” left by this “gamer” is the world’s gayest, wimpiest Reichstagg Fire?

Just sayin’, did they go all Aussie CSI on the note?

“Crikey! Look at this ‘ere note! It’s from a gamer, it is!”

“‘Ow do you know that, mate?”

“It’s covered in Cheetoh residue and Mountain Dew spittle! This is the biggest threat to Australia since that shit movie Kangaroo Jack!”

“I agree! Let’s go find Jerry O’Connell and kill him!”

Anonymous Coward says:

I live in Adelaide in South Australia.

Thankfully they have a “pro-gamer” candidate running in the numbnut’s local seat of Croyden.

If you live there… you know what to do.

@Attorney General Michael Atkinson: Hey numbnut – allow an “R” category for games just like there is for literature & movies and you won’t have to worry about “gamer” notes. Get with the program.

LM says:

The Aus game’s classifications are bit more nuanced than reported here. They are restricted to anything involving sexual violence, sex with sheep, and something else. That’s why GTAIII was initially banned. It wasn’t the hookers, or the beating of people up, it was the fact that you could have sex with a hooker then beat her up for a refund.

Shameless plug (profile) says:

Public consultation template on R18+ rating for games

Any Australian readers who haven’t already done so should take a moment to fill out the public consultation form the Australian government has provided and send it in. It’s short, it’s multichoice and you can make your submission via email. (submission template to the right of the page).

Submissions close Feb 28th.

(Hope you don’t mind the plug, Mike…)

Fred McTaker (profile) says:

Re: Re:

To be completely fair, he is right that intelligent video gamers are a much bigger risk to the livelihood of a stupid politician, than some random huddle of bikers are. Biker gangs are only a threat if you like to drive on curvy mountain roads during the weekends, or you get your kicks opening your door in front of lane splitters, and you don’t have insurance for when their yamurlke-sized helmet inevitably fails them. Video gamers know how to vote, present their arguments in a cogent manner, and much harder to knock off and blame it on a “gaming accident.”


Paul` says:

Some background on this bloke:

In Australia, to get a change made to the rating and classification system there must be a consensus between all 7 State Attorney Generals. So far 6/7 think that a rating system for games that includes a R18 section for games aimed for adults is a good idea. The one who is holding out is this bell end from South Australia called Michael Atkinson.

He seems to think that if you play a video game where you defend yourself from a zombie with a frying pan then OF COURSE the next day when you walk outside you’re going to club the first 6 people you see to death with one.

This man is about as right wing we have to deal with here, plus he is barely a real Australian coming from SA… They are a weird bunch.

toddski (profile) says:

Beware for the offtopic

This guy seems extremely detached from the majority and how they relate to violence in video games.


That said, I would say that certain video games do seem to be slowly eating away at the ‘work ethic’ in a minority of my young peers.
Unless your definition of work includes raiding dungeons or killing people online with an m4a1 ofcourse.

So I suppose it could be argued that video games could have a negative effect in that way. Not that this would ever advocate the removal of a certain video game in my opinion – it is a problem with a minority of users, not with a game or console itself. I suppose moderation is what needs to promoted, if only for the health of the individual.

Then again if you can feasibly fund your gaming life with government handouts then at the moment there is little reason for many ‘hardcore’ gamers to try to further themselves in the real world.

Michael Atkinson says:

Just to point out some other stuff that I have also said while banning those terrible video games.

“It was banned because in the course of the game, the player may use illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of his or her team.”
– Explaining why Blitz: The League was banned in a speech to South Australian Parliament in March 2008

“This game was banned because it promotes breaking the law by vandalising public buildings with graffiti.”
– Explaining why Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was banned during the same speech

Anonymous Coward says:

The fallacy of this guys position is that by refusing an R18+ classification for games he effectively forces those games to make a few changes here and there to get the lower classification, thus he himself is the main culprit in bringing games, created from the ground up for an adult audience, to the chilldren and young people of austrailia.

Yeebok (profile) says:

I’m sure every country has a politician that they’d much prefer they didn’t. At least he’s currently the worst we have to offer. To my understanding he’s pretty safe in his seat, which is probably even more unfortunate.
Any twitter users, the candidates are on @Kat4Croydon and @Gamers4Croydon.
.. and yes I hold the man personally responsible that my 15 year old son can play Fallout3, Alien Vs Predator and GTA4.

TechNoFear (profile) says:

Please don't give this idiot any more press...

Atkinson was voted for by less than 13,000 Australians, yet is able to block all 23 million Australians from having a full rating systems for games.

Problem is games that should be R 18+ are rated M 15+ (ie GTA) which makes it harder to use the parental controls on a console to restict access by children.

All we can hope is that either he fails to be re-elected this March (not likely)
or is not appointed AG again (not likely)
or the federal government puts some pressure on the SA governement to change his stance (not holding my breath).

World Help Us says:

We get some games that should be 18+ introduced as 15+, wheres the logic in that.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg, Michael Atkinson’s labor mate Senator Stephen Conroy wants to introduce an Internet Filter.

this shows just how restricted we will be

Our current government is a joke, how can we call ourselves a free country when we have such archaic censorship laws.

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