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Senator Lundy Tables R18+ Video Game Petitions in the Australian Senate


** Senator Lundy Supports the GAME / EveryonePlays / PALGN
Campaign for an R18+ Game Rating System **

Hi All,
 
After many months of discussions with Senator Kate Lundy and her office, I am happy to announce that the GAME / EveryonePlays / PALGN petition – calling for a mature video games ratings system – was yesterday tabled yesterday in the Australian parliament.
 
To quote Senator Lundy:

“The absence of an R18+ computer games classification creates something of a grey area for parents.  There is limited guidance for parents or young people, creating a risk where games are purchased that they are not suitable”, said Senator Lundy.

“It is my view that if such games were able to be classified R18+ in the first instance, then parents would have greater peace of mind that the games rated MA15+ their children are playing are in fact, age appropriate”, continued Senator Lundy.

You can take a look at the Senator Lundy’s speech at the following:
 
http://www.katelundy.com.au/2010/11/23/adjournment-speech-supporting-an-r18-games-classification-in-australia/
 
Over the campaign, we have maintained a single focus – the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games will help parents and guardians in understanding which games are suitable for children and which are not.  This message is one that resonates with Senator Lundy, who is also a parent and understands that adults need more information at retail to help them make better purchasing decisions.

On a factual note, in what is a history making petition, in just 8 weeks, 89,210 Australians signed the GAME / EveryonePlay / PALGN petition in support of a change in PC and Video game ratings.  Independent auditors BDO have verified that 89,210 petitions were signed in GAME stores across the country.

You can take a look at the official count from BDO auditors here:

http://www.game.com.au/18PlusRating
 
Tabling the GAME / EveryonePlays / PALGN petitions in the Australian Senate will help censorship ministers understand that a record number of everyday Australians support a change in PC and Video game classification.  Petitioners signed in record numbers in GAME stores were mums, dads, grandparents, young adults, new gamers and, of course, core gamers.
 
Family gaming is now the fastest growing segment of the video games market, and it is important for all video games to provide a clear message with regards to their content.  Some games are played by everyone, but some are really only meant for those over 18.  And, right now, because there is no R18+ classification in Australia, some content that should be rated R18+ is currently rated MA15+.

It's my mission to change Australia’s media classification laws.  It may not be over yet, but we are getting much closer.

Many thanks to all those who signed our petition!
 
Best,

Roland

   

 

WA and ACT Attorneys-General

Hi All,
 
I’m attaching a letter from the Office of the WA Attorney General.

No surprises in this latest correspondence.  The letter simply signals the government’s desire to “undertake further analysis of community and expert views” before examining an R18+ classification for computer games at an unspecified “future meeting”.

However, readers may be pleased to hear that the very engaging ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell (the gentleman with the blonde hair), openly supports the introduction of an R18+ classification.

"The ACT supports the introduction of an R18+ classification.  This classification would ensure that games with adult content are sold only to adults and that the purchasers are fully aware of the content of the games.  There is evidence that many people are purchasing games from overseas and over the internet, and because the games are not classified, they may have little or no information to enable them to determine whether this is something they truly want to view or use."

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/12/act-attorney-general-confirms-support-for-r18-rating/

Phase 2 of our campaign for an adult computer games classification begins shortly.
 
Best,
 
Roland

 

 

Two Form Letters from the Office of the NSW Attorney General

Hi All,

I’m attaching two form letters from the Office of the NSW Attorney General.

The first, dated the 12th April 2010, simply acknowledges receipt of our own letter. Around mid April, the PALGN / EveryonePlays / GAME petition count was well and truly on the way to hitting 50,000+ signatures. As you’ll notice, the second letter comes after this on 28th April, 2010, providing a more detailed response.

While acknowledging consideration of views raised in the R18+ classification discussion paper, it is clear the government is still some way off making a final decision.

More responses from Attorneys-General to follow.

Best,

Roland

Click here for report by Barry Collier

Click here for report by NSW-Attorney-General

 

Tony Abbott: current classification system is “broken”


Hi All,

At a recent debate, an event organized by the Australian Christian Lobby, the Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, expressed dismay over the current dysfunctional classification scheme, as reported by Kotaku.

Alas, various incumbent State Attorneys-General would like to get “more research and public consultation” before making a decision on the matter, one way or another. Even after presenting your petitions to Brendan O’Connor, it has become clear that we must keep this debate alive.

Please stay tuned…

Best,

Roland


 

The Advertiser Newspaper

Hi All,
 
This past Easter break I was in Adelaide for a family reunion.  While waiting for rental car paperwork to get processed, I picked up the local metro newspaper, The Advertiser, and discovered some well placed points-of-view on the R18+ PC and Video Game issue. 
 
Given that I received a phone call from John Rau’s office a couple of days prior to the recent SCAG meeting in Melbourne, I think you’ll find the following an interesting read.
 
First Point-of-View -
 
The Editor of The Advertiser, Melvin Mansell, wrote an editorial feature with the headline “It’s time to act on video game ratings”.  He presented a point-of-view that, from where I sit, mirrors PALGN / GAME press releases. 
 
Mansell went on to say, “the gaming lobby has collected tens of thousands of names on petitions calling for the introduction of an R18+ classification.”  (No mention that in just 8 weeks the PALGN / GAME “wet signature” petition count surpassed the November 2005 “Work Choices” online petition count of 85,189.  And, to think, “Work Choice” was a driver, among others, that brought down the Howard Government.)
 
“Only the ACT Government has come out to support of an R18+ classification, during the Federal Government’s inquiry into the issue.”
 
“Former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson was the most vocal opponent of the R18+ classification.  His replacement John Rau has so far been silent on the issue and needs to remove himself from the fence in the near future.”
 
“This is an issue that is not going to go away.  The Federal Government now has the chance to formulate a policy that satisfies the overriding need to protect our children from inappropriate material, and also reform a system that already allows it.”
 
Second Point-of-View -
 
On a different page of the newspaper Miles Kemp from The Advertiser wrote a story with the headline “Why ban on sex and violence must stay”. 
 
Kemp continued, “Australia should keep its ban on R18+ games because children could be damaged by the act of participating in simulated violence and sex, says Guardian for Children Pam Simmons.”
 
Ms Simmons who is the woman in charge of protecting the rights of children in SA, said “people should understand that watching simulated domestic violence, for example, on a DVD was totally different from getting involved or children watching parents or older siblings getting involved.  We are talking about high-impact violence including sexual and domestic violence and the game participation in drug use, she said.
 
Simmons went onto say, “there was new evidence as recently as two weeks ago showing the link between the actual participation of violence in games and violent behaviour.”
 
“No matter how well we think it will be controlled, we cannot control everything, and there will be situations where children are using the games, watching older siblings or adults playing them,” she said.
 
Miles Kemp continued … Victims of Crime Commissioner Michael O’Connell said while R18+ violence in movies was clearly entertainment, participating in make-believe violence in a game created less empathy.
 
“Participating in make-believe violence does have the potential to minimize the understanding the player has on the effect that violence will have on other people, continued O’Connell.
 
Third Point-of-View –
 
Again, on a different page of the newspaper The Advertiser wrote a story with the headline “ALP pledge on R+ games”.
 
“AUSTRALIAN Christian Lobby SA claims Labor has given a written promise to oppose introduction of an R18+ classification for violent and sexualized video games.  Director Rob Ward said the party responded to a pre-election survey indicating changes to the current regime would harm children.”
 
Mr Ward said, “the pledge throws cold water on suggestions Attorney-General John Rau will agree to reform, and contradict, his predecessor’s opposition to the classification.
 
Before I knew it car rental documentation had been processed.  It felt like one of the shortest, hassle free waits I’ve ever had in a car rental office.  Separately, from my side, the journey continues.  Phase 2 begins…
 
Best,
 
Roland

 

Letter from Rob Hulls, VIC Attorney-General

Hi All,

I received this letter from Rob Hulls, VIC Attorney-General, one day prior to meeting various State Attorneys-General at the SCAG meeting in Melbourne.

Best,

Roland
Petition Urging for an R18+ Classification for Computer Games - Roland Kulen

 

New Australian Record

In what is a history making petition, in just 8 weeks, over 89,000 Australians have signed a petition in GAME stores across the country in support of a change in PC and Video game ratings.   

The in-store GAME R18+ PC and Video Game Petition beat the November 05 "Work Choices" online petition count of just over 85,000.  And, to think, with the support of the ACTU (and their membership) "Work Choices" was an issue, among others, that brought down the Howard Government.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/australians-sign-up-in-record-numbers-for-say-in-r18-videogame-classification-debate/story-e6frfro0-1225859930783

 
One leg of the journey is over.  Another leg begins.
 
Please stay tuned…
 
Roland

 

On Track to Surpassing Nov 2005 Work Choices Online Petition Count

82,581 signed petitions in 7 weeks.  2,608 petitions short of cracking Work Choices petition count. 

 

Over 77,000 Signed Petitions

Next petition count update early next week.  Soon we'll surpass 80,000.  We need about 9,000 petitions to break the Nov 05 Work Choices online petition count of just over 85,000. 

The BIG difference is that our petitions are "wet signature" whereas Work Choices was an online petition.

History in the making.

 

Petition Count Cracks 70,000

In just 6 weeks gamers, mums and dads across Australia have signed 72,156 petitions. 

Invitations have been sent to each incumbent and shadow Attorney-General inviting them to receive our final petition count.  We're on track to making history - surpassing the Nov 2005 Work Choices "online" petition count.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/aussies-sign-up-for-r18-game-ratings-a...

Many thanks to all the GAME staff involved.  Their commitment and enthusiasm has been unparalleled.

Let’s keep the cause alive!

It's not over yet.