It’s been an interesting few months for the rights of gamers in Australia.
After years of fruitless deliberation and gerrymandering between state attorney generals, progress has been made. It was only a year ago that SA AG Michael Atkinson had originally promised a total scrubbing of any public discourse on an R18+ rating for games.
Eventually, he bowed to pressure from fellow colleagues and gamer lobbyists for a public submission inquiry to be released, but looked like it was never going to come.
But, as we all know, it did. But the campaign is far from over. Read on to see how you (Australians!) can help. Or, alternatively, you can read Gamer Limit AU’s submission to the inquiry here.
The public submission may have finally arrived, but you can’t sit on your laurels. A public submission is the first and last chance to make our case for a new classification guideline. The reasoned public support will support our cause significantly more then writing sarcastic blog posts or making crank calls to Atkinson. If you decide to make a submission, and if you live in Australia, you should, then follow these easy rules.
1. Answer the question
Comments are optional in the submission, if you don’t want to make a case, then you can simply answer the multiple choice questions and send off your reply. If you do decide to write something, then make it short, concise, and sweet. Try not to go off topic, chose a point from the paper that you would like to argue and give a proper reason why you support or oppose it. Remember, only 250 words!
2. Be polite and articulate
Don’t embarrass the campaign. It might feel witty or “damning” to write a sarcastic haiku or dump on Atkinson, but all that will do is push his case that gamers are nothing more then Peter Pans (overgrown kids). Use a spell checker, don’t use dry humour, and don’t get angry. It’s understandable, especially after all the hyperbole, but if we can overwhelmingly convince everyone else, Atkinson will have no choice but to cave.
Grow Up Australia has created a fantastic online form that will save you time and effort. Public submissions close on the 28th of February, but the sooner you can get it in, the better.
Additionally, the Queensland Government e-petition is still available here. Public submission or not, this is still an important option. The law states that if a specific state chooses, it may implement changes to its own classification guidelines for its own citizens. As such, all of the other states could proactively implement an R rating, even if the other states do not.
This, however, is pretty unlikely. The national system was established in 1992 to allow consistency throughout the federation, so something bought legally in one state was available for distribution in another. One, or a number of states breaking from the chain would need to be based on a pretty significant charge, and although we have seen some strong support by the ACT and VIC AG’s, it’s not very likely any of them consider this to be a deal breaker from the national scheme.
That said, EVERY letter, every email, every submission, every signing shows real, political support for change. I’d guarantee that the only reason a public submission was released was thanks to all of the press and correspondence generated in the community. If we keep going and refuse to give up, we will prevail.
Also, I’d like to give a quick shout out to Gamers 4 Croydon, a grassroots political party campaigning against Atkinson on this issue the next South Australian election held March 2010! He’s recieved over $6000 in donations already, head over to his website and show your support.