For release: March 26, 2010

Prior to the election the South Australian Labor Party gave a written commitment to oppose calls for an R18+ classification for computer games “due to the potential harm that violent computer games can have on children”, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL SA/Victorian Director Rob Ward said that the commitment throws cold water on claims being made by proponents of an R18+ rating that former Attorney- General Michael Atkinson’s resignation will clear the way to give them what they want.

In a written response to an ACL questionnaire, which included a question on whether the party would “commit to influence the SCAG to maintain the status quo regarding computer game classification, where games rated beyond MA15+ are refused classification”, the South Australian Labor Party said:

“The State Government has consistently opposed calls to introduce an R18+ classification for computer games due to the potential harm that violent computer games can have on children. The South Australian Attorney-General has consistently put the argument against this move and continues to be attacked by groups supporting the creation of the new classification.”

“It is important to note that this written commitment to oppose an R18+ rating for computer games was given only a few weeks ago on behalf of the SA Labor Party, not just on behalf of Michael Atkinson. As such it would be a clear breach of trust for the SA Government to change its position on this issue and we have received no indication that they are planning to do so – only third party accounts
from the gamers’ party,” Mr Ward said.

“Through his vocal opposition to an R18+ game rating, Mr Atkinson made a valuable contribution to the previous government and to upholding the best interests of children. We now look to his successor to continue that role.”

Mr Ward said that the introduction of an R18+ rating would allow excessively violent and sexual games to go on sale in Australia – games that would inevitably end up being played by children.

“Given the clear links between violent video games and aggression, there is no justifiable reason to allow these games into Australia, and we welcome the SA Government’s stance on this issue,” he said.

“Proponents of an R18+ rating try to make the claim that this would assist children but that is obviously not the case. If any games are currently being wrongly allowed into Australia under an MA15+ rating then the answer is to tighten up classification procedures – not to allow even worse games in.”

Media Contact: Rob Ward on 0408 348 352 or Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.