Michael Atkinson’s replacement as Attorney General for South Australia has been named and according to Gamers4Croydon President Chris Prior, he’s a supporter of R18+ ratings for videogames.
Atkinson, the Australian politician notorious for his opposition to an R18+ rating for videogames, stepped down from his position as Attorney General for South Australia earlier this week following an election which saw his Labor Party maintain a slim majority in the state. After 21 years in Parliament, Atkinson reportedly wants to spend more time with his family and feels that this is a good opportunity for some of the younger backbenchers in the party to take their place in the front-line ranks.
While it was initially expected to take as long as two weeks to choose a replacement, South Australia Premier Mike Rann got the job done in only three days, naming John Rau as Atkinson’s replacement. “He’s served on the backbench, he’s a very distinguished barrister, his knowledge of jurisprudence is without exception in this state and I look forward to working with him,” Rann told ABC News.
Gamers, of course, will have a more specific interest in Rau’s political leanings: Where he comes down on the question of videogame ratings. In that regard, the news is good, according to Chris Prior, the president of anti-Atkinson political party Gamers4Croydon. In a Twitter post, Prior wrote, “New SA Attorney-General is John Rau, a supporter or the R18+ classification for games (and a nice guy, to boot)”
This is obviously a big step forward for the R18+ crusade in Australia but I don’t think it’s quite “game over” just yet. Other sources of opposition to mature game ratings remain and Atkinson claimed early last year that while he was the industry’s favorite punching bag, other Classification Ministers were also opposed to the idea. Rau’s appointment would appear to be a big boost for gamers, but as Atkinson himself proved, it only takes one well-placed opponent to hang things up for everyone.