Restriction of “adult liberty” is “small sacrifice,” says Australian’s Atkinson

Tuesday, 27 January 2009 06:49 GMT By Patrick Garratt


South Australian Attorney General Mike Atkinson, the Australian politician usually blamed for the fact the country doesn’t have an 18 rating for games, has told Gamespot AU that his stance is necessary to protect children and vulnerable adults from explicit, interactive content.

“Some of your readers may believe that the present system restricts adult liberty,” he told the site. “It certainly does restrict choice to a small degree, but that is the price of keeping this material from children and vulnerable adults.

“In my view, the small sacrifice is worth it. Classification exists for advertising, films and books for the same reason – to protect children and vulnerable people.”

Atkinson, in a lengthy comment to Gamespot, explains his stance in detail, claiming violent games are more affecting to children and impressionable adults than film.

“The interactive nature of electronic games means that they have a much greater influence than viewing a movie does,” he added.

“People are participating and ‘acting-out’ violence and criminal behaviour when they are playing a video game. They are essentially rehearsing harmful behaviour. Children and vulnerable adults (such as those with a mental illness) can be harmed by playing video games with violence, sex and criminal activity.”

Australia’s maximum game rating is 15+, meaning many more “adult” titles must be either edited of banned to make sale in Australia.