Amendments to the South Australia Electoral Act 1985 that came into effect on the January 6 will mean that anyone wishing to post a comment about the SA state election will be legally required to include their real name and postcode. The restriction will only apply during the election which extends from after the writs have been issued until 6pm on polling day.
Many supporters for the introduction of the R18+ for games debate are hoping for SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to lose his seat in the upcoming election as he is strongly opposed to an R18+ for games and has the power to veto the change.
The change to the act was included in a number of amendments that were made last year and was supported by the Opposition. The part of the act that has been changed is quoted below with the changes emphasized.
116—Published material to identify person responsible for political content
(1) A person must not, during an election period, publish material consisting of, or containing a commentary on, any candidate or political party, or the issues being submitted to electors, in written form, in a journal published in electronic form on the Internet or by radio or television or broadcast on the Internet, unless the material or the programme in which the material is presented contains a statement of the name and address (not being a post office box) of a person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material.
(a) if the offender is a natural person—$1 250;
(b) if the offender is a body corporate—$5 000.
(2) This section does not apply to—
(a) the publication in a journal(including a journal published in electronic form on the Internet)of a leading article;
(b) the publication of a report of a meeting that does not contain any comment (other than comment made by a speaker at the meeting) on any candidate, or political party, or the issues being submitted to electors;
(c) the publication in ajournal (including a journal published in electronic form on the Internet) of an article, letter, report or other matter if—
(i) the name and address (not being a post office box) of a person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material is provided to the publisher of the journal and retained by the publisher for a period of 6 months after the end of the election period; and
(ii) the journal contains a statement of the name and postcode of the person who takes responsibility for the publication of the material;
(ca) the publication of a letter (otherwise than as described in paragraph (c)) that contains the name and address (not being a post office box) of the author of the letter;
(d) a news service or a current affairs programme on radio or televisionor broadcast on the Internet;
(e) any other prescribed material or class of material.
(3) In this section—
journal means a newspaper, magazine or other periodical.
Gamers 4 Croydon have announced some candidates for the South Australian election this year. The G4C website also tells us to expect further candidates to be announced at a later date. The two candidates announced so far are Kat Nicholson and Chris Prior.
Kat Nicholson will be running directly against Michael Atkinson in the electoral district of Croydon
Some information about the candidates from the G4C website:
Candidate for Croydon: Kat Nicholson
Kat has sustained a lifelong love of both gaming and politics and is a highly intelligent, motivated and educated young woman. She completed a BA at Flinders University and is currently studying a Masters in journalism at the University of South Australia. She spent a year as an intern at one of Adelaide’s leading animation studios, and has a long history of participation in community and amateur theater.
Candidate for the Legislative Council: Chris Prior
Chris is the President of Gamers4Croydon and will be leading the G4C ticket in the upper house. He is a self-taught software engineer, and has volunteered extensively in the community, providing help for youth groups and church organisations.
Grow up Australia supports the introduction of an R18+ rating for video games. We believe that adults are responsible enough to protect children from inappropriate material within the home. Our view on the government’s plan to censor the internet is a similar one.
Below are some points copied from GetUp! A form is provided on the GetUp! site to help you send your views to Senator Conroy.
The scheme is opposed by child welfare charities, civil liberty groups and professional bodies – and with good reason.
Both the mandatory blacklist and the optional filter miss the vast majority of unwanted content, which is normally shared using email or file-sharing networks – not through web traffic.
ISP filtering will detract resources from tackling child abuse and waste tens of millions of dollars. Senator Conroy has reneged on a promise to have a public consultation process on his proposed mandatory internet censorship scheme.
His alleged public consultation is narrowly limited to one aspect of the scheme, and does not invite question of the central issue, which is whether to have a mandatory internet filter. GetUp! has gathered over 120,000 petition signatures in opposition to mandatory internet censorship scheme.
There are plenty of alternatives – like distributing software to parents to use at home, or making the filter opt-in rather than mandatory.
Alarmingly, the Department has indicated that it may not publish all submissions, singling out submissions made by individuals using online tools like GetUp’s website. In short, they are threatening to censor a public consultation on accountability and transparency.
You can find more information at the following websites:
Grow up Australia has just been informed of an event in Sydney that has been organised for tomorrow. The event is being organised by a new Pro R18+ website R18+ Games Australia and aims to raise awareness about the discussion paper and encourage people to get involved in the public consultation.
Gamers and non-gamers alike will be taking to the footpaths outside of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney on Saturday the 9th ofJanuary to raise awareness about the Australian Government’s recent discussion paper regarding the classification system for video games in Australia.
The discussion paper calls for public response to the current system which, unlike that of many other nations, does not include an R18+ rating for the video game medium. This event aims to encourage participation and public response, with copies of submission forms available.
Information sheets about video games, including details about the current and proposed classification system will be made accessible on the day.
MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND
Where Queen Victoria Building, Corner of George and Druitt Streets, Sydney
Will 2010 be the year Australia introduces an R18+ classification for computer games?
As a result of passionate individuals voicing their opinions via blogs, social media and old fashioned word of mouth we have enjoyed a huge increase of awareness in the greater population. Due to the boost in interested people we have also seen more exposure on television, radio and in popular publications.
In 2009 numerous letters were sent to Attorneys-Generals and rallies were organised. Even a political party was formed to challenge Michael Atkinson in the upcoming state election. A petition was set up on a Queensland Government website with the intent on exploiting a possible loop-hole in a State Act.
Most significantly The government finally released the highly anticipated discussion paper and are undergoing the public consultation that they promised. This valuable opportunity to voice your opinion expires on the 28th of February 2010. You can participate directly by downloading the forms available on the Attorney-General’s Website or you can use our Online Form.
With the government appearing to take an interest It’s easy to be lulled into inaction. Individuals need to continue to raise awareness. This can be as simple as raising the topic with a friend or family member.
A number of games expected to be released this year are likely to have problems qualifying for MA15+, our highest possible rating for games. Six Games were Refused Classification in 2009 .
In less than 24 hours children and adults alike will be unwrapping their Christmas gifts. Many will receive socks and strange knick-knacks. Some however will receive computer games and gaming consoles.
A couple of things have been revealed to us lately that will be relevant to parents whose children will be receiving gifts of the gaming variety.
We recommend parents take the time to explore this function when helping set up their child’s new Xbox, PS3 or Wii. Parental Controls include the ability to limit the amount of time that can be spent playing and the ability to lock out games rated above a certain classification.
Grow up Australia has created a table displaying all the games rated MA15+ this year with their PEGI (Europe) and ESRB (USA) classifications. You may find the ratings supplied by these organisations helpful in guiding you when making decisions on what your child should be allowed to play. The Australian Classification Board, PEGI and the ESRB all provide search facilities on their websites that allow you to find a specific games rating. The ESRB also has an App for your iPhone that serves the same purpose.
Thank you to all the Facebook Group members, Steam Community Group members,Twitter followers and all the other people who have helped make us a success and helped spread the word about Australia’s lack of an R18+ rating for video games. All of us here at Grow up Australia wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
SEGA’s appeal has been successful and The Classification Review Board has now given Aliens Vs Predator an MA15+ rating.
When the game was Refused Classification earlier this year AVP’s developer Rebellion publicly announced that they would not edit the game in an attempt to achieve our highest rating for computer games, MA15+.
We will not be releasing a sanitised or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.
The games publisher SEGA decided however to appeal the classification and now that it has been successful Australia will see the release of the unaltered game in February 2010.
Aliens Vs Predator is expected to be rated Mature (17+) in the US. Rebellion has also declared the game is not appropriate for children.
…we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.
In the early days, there was Pong’s black and white tennis game, Space Invader’s alien shooting adventure and Pac-Man’s world-renowned yellow blob. Now, fast forward nearly 40 years and times have changed. Australians spend more money creating virtual cities and obliterating hidden zombies than at the movies. Interactive gaming is the new black – no matter your race, gender or culture.
And what’s more, the games itself have grown increasingly sophisticated. Two dimensional, black and white games are a thing of the past with the array of next-generation releases containing rich graphics, dynamic characters and compelling storylines. With the average Australian gamer 30 years old, it’s no surprise that more and more games carry mature themes.
But what does come as a shock to many is that Australia is the only developed country without an R18+ rating. Films, which fall under the same classification system, can be granted an R18+ or even X18+ rating but this is not the case for computer and video games. If a game exceeds the MA15+ rating, it is either refused classification or modified to fit within the rating guidelines.
If the deadly Mafia series The Godfather which is clearly not the romantic drama Gone With the Wind can be considered one of the greatest films in cinematic history why can’t the same thinking apply to games?
Our classification system needs to be changed so adults can play games as they were meant to be played. The Commonwealth Government has released a discussion paper to canvas public opinion on the possible introduction of an R18+ for Computer Games. You can participate in this public consultation by using our submission form . Don’t forget to spread the word!
This form will no longer be available after the 14th of February to allow adequate time for collating responses and submission prior to the final deadline of the 28th of February.
Be sure to show your support by joining our Facebook and Steam groups!
The Commonwealth Attorney‑General’s Department has finally released the Discussion Paper on the R18+ Classification for Computer Games. The public are invited to make submissions on the matter up until the 28th of February 2010.
The Discussion Paper outlines some of the arguments for and against the R18+ rating:
Some arguments against including an R 18+ classification for computer games
Computer games should be treated differently from films given the specific, negative effects of interactivity on players, particularly their participation in violent and aggressive content.
It would be difficult for parents to enforce age restrictions for computer games.
Minors would be more likely to be exposed to computer games that are unsuitable for them.
An R 18+ for computer games would exacerbate problems associated with access to high level material in Indigenous communities and by other non‑English speaking people.
There is no demonstrated need to change existing restrictions.
Some arguments for including an R 18+ category for computer games
The R 18+ classification category sends a clear, unambiguous message to parents that the game material is unsuitable for minors.
Consistent classification categories for films and computer games are easier to understand.
A new classification will supplement technological controls on minors’ access to age-inappropriate computer games.
Adults should not be prevented from playing R 18+ level computer games simply because they are unsuitable for minors.
Consumers access games which would be R 18+ illegally – it would be better if they were legally available with appropriate restrictions.
Comparable international classification systems have an adult rating for computer games – international parity is desirable.
You can download the entire discussion paper and a template for making a submission from the Commonwealth Attorney‑General’s Department’s website.