The election of South Australian backbencher, Jon Rau, as the state's Attorney-General (AG) has been hailed a breakthrough for higher classification reform for video games.
Rau will assume control of the Justice and Tourism portfolios handed down at a Labor party meeting.
Outgoing AG and one of the country’s hardest violent video game critics, Michael Atkinson, announced his resignation Monday after suffering a 14.3 percent swing vote against him in the state elections last weekend. He said he would exit ‘before’ the next election in 2014 to pave the way for new Labor blood.
Atkinson has vetoed previous attempts to introduce a R18+ rating for video games at Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meetings. The reform would prevent the banning of games that exceed the MA15+ classification, but it requires the individual support of each Attorney General.
Rau was unavailable for comment, but a media representative in his Enfield electoral office understands Rau will assume the AG role in full after he is sworn-in. However he would not be drawn on whether Rau will be present as the states’ AG at the next SCAG meeting in April, which would see the R18+ classification enacted if it is signed-off by the AGs.
Gaming advocate groups understand Atkinson was the only AG opposed to the rating reform, but some AGs had not cast votes due to his veto.
Electronic Frontiers Australia board member and spokesperson, Geordie Guy, said it would have been “a bad political decision” for other AGs to voice opposition given Atkinsons’ public stance.
Gamers4Croydon president, Chris Prior, described Rau as an “incredibly level-headed, intelligent person”.
He and Guy describe Rau as a supporter of the R18+ classification for video games.
Prior told Computerworld the “battle is won” to remove Atkinson from the AG seat (fledging party member Kat Nicholson received about 3.7 per cent of the vote).
“It remains to see how the 'war' turns out, as nothing in politics is ever certain. It is a significant victory though,” Prior said.
“Any AG who might have considered blocking the rating would definitely be looking closely at their margin, to see if they — and their party — can afford to lost the kind of votes that Gamers4Croydon has demonstrated it can garner.
“Even if Mr Atkinson decides to continue railing against the R18+ classification, I think he has lost most of his political influence within his party,” he said
State Liberal MLC Rob Lucas told Adelaide Now that Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond considers Rau as the “best of a bad lot”.