Australian Senator Chastises Rating Board, Urges it to "Leave Gamers Alone"

Australian Senator Chastises Rating Board, Urges it to "Leave Gamers Alone"

david-leyonhjelm-320

Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm has a simple message for the country's Classification Board.

Last week, the Australian Classification Board refused to classify Outlast 2, effectively banning it from sale in the country. While it certainly wasn't the first game to get that treatment from the board - Saints Row 4, Hotline Miami 2 and State of Decay received similar treatment - this action got the attention of Senator David Leyonjhelm, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in New South Wales.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate earlier this week, Leyonjhelm pointed out that while 68 percent of Australians play games regularly, and the average age of those gamers is 33, the country's laws relating to those games are made by those who have no knowledge of the medium. He said, "For example, not many senators or senior public servants would know the difference between a ghoul and an alghoul, and so would find it hard to advance in the video game known as The Witcher."

He also said that "politicians and public servants" are unable to access a number of popular game sites, including IGN and PC Gamer, because their network blocks the sites. Leyonjhelm said, "This is presumably because we might stumble across an image of something somebody disapproves of from a medium we don't understand." He contrasted this with other sites that remain accessible, including "Neo-Nazi forums like Stromfront, and video sites like LiveLeak, where you can watch videos of real people being killed."

He also called into question the board's reasoning, saying, "All of this operates on the assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw. Yet the internet is now awash with all manner of unpleasant images involving real people, not computer generated [characters], while violent crime around the world is in decline."

"It makes wonder," Leyonjhelm said, "how is it that adults are not trusted to make choices about video games, and yet they are allowed to vote?"

In concluding his statement, the senator contrasted Poland, whose Prime Minister gifted a copy of The Witcher 2 to then-US President Barack Obama, to Australia, where he says, "every signal we send to the gaming community...is of censorship, disapproval and discouragement."

"Video games do not hurt anybody," Leyonhjelm said, "and the government Classification Board should leave gamers alone."

It's not clear what, if any effect this statement might have on the Australian government's policy, but it's nice to see that someone down under is willing to speak out in defense of games. You can watch the senator's full remarks below.

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Freaking seriously, the shit they keep pulling down there is freaking stupid.

Surprising to see such common sense coming from a senator in the current government. And he is sadly correct that the people making these laws have virtually no clue about the medium they write laws for and I'd be surprised if any of them actually played games. It is refreshing to see that this bloke has done his research and we can plainly see he knows what he's talking about, unlike those wholly uninformed reporters during that GTA5 modding fiasco.

This guy is for real my new fucking hero.

erttheking:
Freaking seriously, the shit they keep pulling down there is freaking stupid.

I think Jack Thompson pleasures himself to the Australian rating board. He then pays them to be this stupid.

MercurySteam:
And he is sadly correct that the people making these laws have virtually no clue about the medium they write laws for

This is surprisingly common all over most governments.
There are a lot of people in charge of things that they have no idea about, in most countries the education system is an easy example.
In the Netherlands, the whole secondary education system is changed about every 4 years, where there is another new minister of education in charge that thinks that they can improve it and get their name in the papers, and they always, always make it worse and more of a mess. The Dutch education system used to the one of the best in Europe, if not the worst, and now ... we're falling way down and ever further.
I have no idea how this can be fixed, but all I know, it can only get better once it hits rock bottom.

But it's good to see that things in Australia might be looking up!
I hope this whole thing grows in something lasting and meaningful!

i honestly never expected to hear that from someone down under who made so much sense. at least i was still able to get witcher 3 (and hopefully uncensored) that was clearly rated 18, so as the latest doom title.
if we can have more guys who actually did their homework for other issues we have down here, there may be hope i can actually shake a politicians hand instead of bunching reality in them.

just found this on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isxuKURk_5g

Its bad enough the entire ecosystem in Australia seems designed to kill humans, should their government be killing their spirits too?

Imperioratorex Caprae:
Its bad enough the entire ecosystem in Australia seems designed to kill humans, should their government be killing their spirits too?

Maybe they haven't gotten the memo that it isn't a penal colony anymore.

Dornedas:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
Its bad enough the entire ecosystem in Australia seems designed to kill humans, should their government be killing their spirits too?

Maybe they haven't gotten the memo that it isn't a penal colony anymore.

I've heard of mail getting lost in the cracks but damn that's inefficient communication at its finest.

I looked up Senator Leyonhjelm's background, and the guy's an extreme liberatarian who supports things I'd consider pretty backwards. Of course, if there's one thing I learned these past two years, it's that it's completely okay to agree with a person on some things while disagreeing with their other views.
And good god, we need more politicians who are willing to openly defend video games as an art form.

LunarRepublic:
I looked up Senator Leyonhjelm's background, and the guy's an extreme liberatarian who supports things I'd consider pretty backwards. Of course, if there's one thing I learned these past two years, it's that it's completely okay to agree with a person on some things while disagreeing with their other views.
And good god, we need more politicians who are willing to openly defend video games as an art form.

If someone supports cultural, scientific and artistic progression, then they have my support. I might not support everything else that they do, but if we can all culturally and socially move forward towards something better and more inclusive, then they have my vote.

LunarRepublic:
I looked up Senator Leyonhjelm's background, and the guy's an extreme liberatarian who supports things I'd consider pretty backwards. Of course, if there's one thing I learned these past two years, it's that it's completely okay to agree with a person on some things while disagreeing with their other views.
And good god, we need more politicians who are willing to openly defend video games as an art form.

hes good on somethings but is a nut job on others like relaxing gun laws and was quoted as saying womens sport should be defunded because it wasnt interesting

yet he supports gamers and same sex marriage

so partial dipshit

pookie101:

LunarRepublic:
I looked up Senator Leyonhjelm's background, and the guy's an extreme liberatarian who supports things I'd consider pretty backwards. Of course, if there's one thing I learned these past two years, it's that it's completely okay to agree with a person on some things while disagreeing with their other views.
And good god, we need more politicians who are willing to openly defend video games as an art form.

hes good on somethings but is a nut job on others like relaxing gun laws and was quoted as saying womens sport should be defunded because it wasnt interesting

yet he supports gamers and same sex marriage

so partial dipshit

Other pros to the list is he's all for ending regressive taxation which, as always, are designed to shift debt burdens of paying the country's debts to the poor than the rich who benefit from continued deregulation of public corporate earnings that once helped balance the books and reduce private debt.

JenSeven:

LunarRepublic:
I looked up Senator Leyonhjelm's background, and the guy's an extreme liberatarian who supports things I'd consider pretty backwards. Of course, if there's one thing I learned these past two years, it's that it's completely okay to agree with a person on some things while disagreeing with their other views.
And good god, we need more politicians who are willing to openly defend video games as an art form.

If someone supports cultural, scientific and artistic progression, then they have my support. I might not support everything else that they do, but if we can all culturally and socially move forward towards something better and more inclusive, then they have my vote.

He specifically target low paid workers and says that they do don't do anything at their job and should be paid less, even if they are on minimum wage (childcare and retail workers.)

I'm glad we have some positive news from the real world once on a while.

Yeah, nah, he's a nutjob who only got voted into the senate because his Liberal Democratic Party appeared on Oz's (hilariously enormous) senate ballot lists before the Liberal party. Seriously, people accidently voted for him.

The only time people listen to him is when he attacks women, racial and religious minorities, demands the legalisation of lever-action shotguns, or is generally acting like a cunt. People certainly won't listen to him now.

Escapist News Room, guys, you know I love you, but not every scrap of defiance against the Aussie Ratings board is worth reporting.

LongAndShort:
every scrap of defiance against the Aussie Ratings board is worth reporting.

Yes it is. It is a crappy ass system, and the more light that is shone upon it, the better it will be forced to become.

Well, this is- wait, Senator? There's actually a Commonwealth country that's realized what a monumentally stupid idea parliamentary democracy actually is? And done something about it? Well, you've risen a few notches in my estimation, Australia. And if you'd like to rise a few more, perhaps it's time to switched over to an RSAC-style rating system: giving direct, objective information about a game's potentially objectionable content. If you trust people enough to let them elect their own representatives, maybe you should trust them enough to make their own informed decisions.

Recusant:
Well, this is- wait, Senator? There's actually a Commonwealth country that's realized what a monumentally stupid idea parliamentary democracy actually is? And done something about it? Well, you've risen a few notches in my estimation, Australia. And if you'd like to rise a few more, perhaps it's time to switched over to an RSAC-style rating system: giving direct, objective information about a game's potentially objectionable content. If you trust people enough to let them elect their own representatives, maybe you should trust them enough to make their own informed decisions.

I wouldn't get too excited. While Senator Leyonhjelm is a member of the federal senate, his party has a single seat on the crossbench. I highly doubt that either of the major parties are going to take much notice of this at all.

The Eupho Guy:

Recusant:
Well, this is- wait, Senator? There's actually a Commonwealth country that's realized what a monumentally stupid idea parliamentary democracy actually is? And done something about it? Well, you've risen a few notches in my estimation, Australia. And if you'd like to rise a few more, perhaps it's time to switched over to an RSAC-style rating system: giving direct, objective information about a game's potentially objectionable content. If you trust people enough to let them elect their own representatives, maybe you should trust them enough to make their own informed decisions.

I wouldn't get too excited. While Senator Leyonhjelm is a member of the federal senate, his party has a single seat on the crossbench. I highly doubt that either of the major parties are going to take much notice of this at all.

Australia parliament has a wide split in seat, being more like Europe than the US. This guy also likes being contrarian and populous

Hey! Good to see there are some good pe-

ffronw:
Senator David Leyonjhelm

AH FARCK! EVERYBODY RUN!!!

ffronw:

... to get that treatment from the board - Saints Row 4 and received similar treatment...

Saints Row 4 and what?

SAINT ROW 4 AND WHAT?!

I NEED TO KNOW!

Wraithsight:

ffronw:

... to get that treatment from the board - Saints Row 4 and received similar treatment...

Saints Row 4 and what?

SAINT ROW 4 AND WHAT?!

I NEED TO KNOW!

A rogue tag was blanking something out. Fixed, and thanks for the heads up!

ffronw:

He also called into question the board's reasoning, saying, "All of this operates on the assumption that people who play video games are impressionable children who would play out anything they saw. Yet the internet is now awash with all manner of unpleasant images involving real people, not computer generated [characters], while violent crime around the world is in decline."

"It makes wonder," Leyonjhelm said, "how is it that adults are not trusted to make choices about video games, and yet they are allowed to vote?"

[...]

"Video games do not hurt anybody," Leyonhjelm said, "and the government Classification Board should leave gamers alone."

Quite thusly.

It's somewhat peculiar how we have to rely on random Aussie politicians (or ladies from the American Enterprise Institute) for the occasional word in defense of gaming these days, is it not? As opposed to the people actually working in the industry, for example. Or prominent members of the "enthusiast press".

"U gaiz, if we self-hate hard enough, everybody will respect us soo much!"

Wow, I almost forgot how divisive Leyonhjelm was.

I respect the guy, don't agree with everything he wants (I like his emphasis on personal freedoms, but he also has the aura of a tobacco company spokesperson). Lord knows we need politicians recognising how dumb the OFLC is and that adults can make their own decisions in regards to fiction. I also discovered that his party won a seat in Western Australia, so this should be interesting. The guy's got in twice now too.

... Plus his party made this handy dandy complaints form:

But how can be he a hero to us? He wasn't bashing feminism or \women with colored hair! He didn't even say anything there about immigration or domestic violence policies! He was just straight up defending the medium and informing clueless bureaucrats that they were in fact, clueless.

 

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