Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

July 30, 2008 -

While some Australian politicians want to ban mature-themed games and others don't even seem to realize that their nation has a rating system, at least one would-be legislator Down Under not only understands games, but is a hardcore gamer himself.

As reported by Kotaku Australia, ACT Democrats candidate Greg Tannahill makes no bones about his gaming. A press release issued this week says:

Affordable housing, quality education and comprehensive public transport are the issues that Greg sees as key to Canberrans, but gaming remains close to his heart.

 

"Politicians don't understand videogaming and aren't interested in learning", says Greg. "There's good reason for people to be angry about the way games are treated by our parliaments, our media, and our classification board. I think gamers want to see leaders who have real respect for what they are passionate about, both as a pastime engaged in by millions of Australians from all walks of life, and as a multi-billion dollar industry which our governments should be attracting and nurturing".

While Tannahill has a campaign website, he also maintains a game blog, where he describes last week's Q&A program as "frankly terrifying":

Censorship is odious because it removes community choice. Censorship says that the thought is the action; that the common person can't distinguish between depiction and actuality... Censorship says, "Let me decide who talks."

And games are talking. They're talking very loudly, to a great many people, in strong and clear voices. They're speaking in places that have never read a newspaper and in houses which have never listened to politicians. It's okay to be worried by what games are saying. It's okay to disagree. But it's not okay to stifle those voices. It's not okay to kill the game.

 


Comments

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Keep it up and I hope you get elected and lift some of the stupid bans Australia has been putting up against video games. In fact you should actively work to bring game developers set up and working out of Australia the way a lot of Hollywood movies are now coming out of New Zealand (WETA Workshop is now a competitor of Industrial Lights and Magic for movie special effects).

Canada and France both made policy to attract game developers and both those countries are now benefiting from the booming industry.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

As an Australian who knows as well as other Australian Gamers who are aware of the R18+ issue, I say I will not vote of Mr Kevin Rud for PM or even Brenden Nelson, but I will vote for Greg Tanahill because he is clear that Videogames ARE an important issue for Australia, and one that needs some positive steps to fight the steriotype and talk some sence to inform the parents of Australia and also the parents of the UK and the parents of the USA that Videogames are no worse than TV or Music when it comes to how entertainment can influence a culture of generation. The world NEEDS clear thinking politicians like this man. These are the ONLY people worth driving down to the polling booth to cast your vote for.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

finally an Aust poly that knows what he is talking about, you have earnt my respect Greg Tannahill.

Tannahill for PM.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

This remind me of something.

A long time ago I had to do a report on prohibition (for those of you not from the states, it was a 13 year period in the 20s where alcohol was almost entirely banned). I remember reading about a speech from someone from the anti-prohibition movement. He said (and I'm paraphrasing)

"This law sends out a message that Americans cannot be trusted."

He was right and the same logic applies here. This stupid censoring is saying that Australians cannot be trusted with adult games and that they are too stupid and weak to handle such violent images. (If this wasn't such a serious issue I'd make a joke about that right now but I won't). Banning these games assumes that all Australians (not kids or even 20 year olds but everyone) have so little control over themselves that they will all become addicted or commit crimes if they get their hands on these games.

I've repeated this quote numerous times before but it still holds true.

"Censorship is like saying a man can't have steak because a baby can't chew it."-(Author unknown but believed to be Mark Twain).

You guys should really get that bum AG out of office. He's an insult to your intelligence.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

In all fairness, way too many people CAN'T be trusted with alcohol, as it physically impairs the brain, and has, and continues to, directly lead to the deaths of thousands every year due to poisoning, cancerous buildups, stupid mistakes, and car accidents. Never mind the slightly less fatal cases of abuse, family and social breakdown, and addiction that it causes.

In spirit, your analogy is very thoughtful, but until someone gets run over by a 17 year-old behind the wheel screaming "Leeeeeeeeroy Jenkins!" because he was under the influence of WOW, I don't think it's an appropriate comparison. Games are far less serious and dangerous than alcohol, if you consider them serious and dangerous at all.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

The effects of games normally stop when you finish playing them unless you're psychologically unstable or jack thompson (I say as if there's a difference). Maybe a better anaolgy would be some stupid teenage twat running someone over because they're trying to play tetris on their phone or some DS/PSP game

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

As an Australian, I can tell you that the Australian Democrats are pretty much a dead party over here, unlike in America where they're one of the two major parties. Currently there is ONE Democrat in any parliament in Australia, and that's in South Australia, and she's doing her damn best to get ecstacy legalised because it has "no harmful side effects".

Hope=fuck all

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Yes sadly the democrats here are in Australia are analogous to the fringe 3rd parties in american politics (pretty small & generally politically inconsequential) and the few members they had who had some form of political capability seem to have defected to the major parties or left politics because they were tired of the 2 party system rolling over them all the time.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Wow. That's pretty depressing.

... So, how much do they have in common with American Democrats? Besides the name, anyway.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Tannahill for PM!

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

He really needs to focus on the level of respect the anti-gaming crowd have for the intelligence of the voting public (that being none at all). Their position is that persons over 18 (which I assume is within a year or two of their voting age) are too stupid to handle violent video games. Just hammer that point, the anti-game people think the voters they owe their jobs to are drooling morons.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Man, can we make him leader of the UN?  haha

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

After the hilarity of the politician Q and A last week, this was something everyone needed to see.  Good for him!

Michael Carusi

Capitol Gaming

augamers.blogspot.com

Good for him!

Hopefully he's only the first drop of a flood of gameing politicians who will recitify the wrongs that have been done in that country. The only thing I fear is that years from now, when we are the ones in control and our children are the ones who've found a new medium to play with, that we will forget our past and fall in line with the fear mongerers like the generation before us (with their rock and roll and game hateing). We need to remember this dark time so we can avoid makeing the same mistake.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

I'd vote for him, if I was down-under

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Can I vote for him even though I'm from Canada?

Finally!

As an Australian, whos directly effected by people like those on that clueless Q&A, this really made my day. He couldn't be more right.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Watch. I bet the AG will do all he can to sabotage this man's career now.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Forgive the US ignorance, but what's the AG?

 

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

I may be wrong ,but I think it's the Attorney General of Australia who's been preventing them from being able to classify games for those 18 and over

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Actually, there is one Attorney General per state.  The decision to create a R18+ rating has to be unanimous agreement by the state AG's and currently, Michael Atkinson, AG for South Australia, is the only fly in the ointment.

One man blocking the will of thousands.

I don't expect gamer issues to take up the majority of governments time (after all, it's a virtual world, I'd prefer they just give us what we want, let the ratings board regulate it and leave it the hell alone), but it's nice to know that a few pollies are actually cognizant of the issues.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

He's likely damn proud of that too.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Attorney General. These are the people who have the final say in whether Australia gets an R18 rating.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

AG is "Attorney General" here in the states.  They might have a different meaning in Oz, but it is a fairly universal legal term, and, really, the only guy that could hose up someones life in fairly short order.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

I say bring him to north america he's got my vote...

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Nooo, we need this guy right now. :(

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

I was gonna say, can you Aussies ship us a few of this guy, but he seems to be limited edition and I agree you all need him more on your side of the globe than we do.

For now.  Hopefully he and guys like him will change that =)

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Omg that's amazing, and to find one in Australia of all countries..  I didn't think it existed, that it was only  something you told youngling noobs when they needed hope... This means that pigs really can fly, and that my t-shirt is not meant to be sarcastic.

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

You're getting logic in my politics! 

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

I agree

Re: Australian Politician Courts the Gamer Vote

Wow, a politician actually speaking some sense about gaming.  And in a place where it's desperately needed.

I think this is a small glimpse into the opinions of future politicians.  Once the "gaming generation" or however you define it starts to become the dominate force within society, anti-gaming legislation will fall far into the background.  It won't totally go away (don't politicians still complain about rock music here and there?) but it won't have nearly as much of a chance of being passed into law.

Until then, though, we probably have a good 10 years or more of slogging through political ignorance like what we saw with the Q&A session. :\

 
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Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm
 

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