Critic: Aussie Ratings Turning Middle Class into Criminals

Byteside has a video interview up with Australian film critic Margaret Pomeranz discussing the state of Australia’s classification system.

Pomeranz specifically calls out South Australia Attorney General Michael Atkinson, who is against adding an R18+ rating, as GP discussed earlier this week. She states:

You have one AG calling the shots for all of Australia. It must be very frustrating for videogame players who do want to play R rated games.

Pomeranz thinks that governments should act in an advisory role only when it comes to rating media:

“It’s the start of danger, where you have a government effectively saying this is what we will allow you to see. Fortunately, they have very little power these days because we can see anything we want, as long as we are prepared to break the law. What you are doing is turning middle class people into criminals.”

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  1. 0
    Kojiro says:

    How does this make people into criminals?  There is no law stating Aussies can’t own foreign games.  They can just order US or UK editions from online.  Where’s the broken law?

  2. 0
    Aliasalpha says:

    I read somewhere a while ago that she actually organised screenings of films that were refused classification and the screenings ended up getting raided by the police. Now THAT’S cool!

  3. 0
    Longjocks says:

    Margaret has always been outspoken in her views for freedom of expression. I can’t say I’ve agreed with all of her movie reviews , but I certainly like her determination on issues such as this.

  4. 0
    Monte says:

    Well, as usual, the video game issue alone is likely not enough to get Atkinson removed as there are more important issues at stake… However, i would hope that this would spark a change in their current system… right now, a decision like this requires the unanimous apporval of the AG… this is really inefficient… imagine if the Supreme Court required unanimous agreement to pass or strike down a law? nothing would ever get done as they would never reach such a decision. As it is, in australia, a single AG can hold up an entire system. What really needs to be done is having the system change to something of a majority rule; how big of a majority is questionable… as it stands, this issue along with other issues, can be struck down by the opinion of a single man amognst many.

  5. 0
    Erasmus Darwin says:

    As near as I can tell, everyone in Australia can be divided into three groups:

    1) Michael Atkinson.

    2) People who think Michael Atkinson is completely and utterly wrong and an R18+ classification for games is a good idea.

    3) People who haven’t heard about the game rating issue.

    While it’s great to hear from another vocal member of group 2, it seems like there’s never any actual progress made on the issue.  As far as I can tell, Atkinson’s made it clear that he’s not going to change his mind.  As such, it seems like the only real option is to start making whatever political waves are necessary to get him removed from his position.

  6. 0
    Alyric says:

    When the law being broken shouldn’t exist in the first place, it’s entirely fair to blame lawmakers.

    For example, if a fictional country passed a law that said all blondes had to be killed on sight, anyone who failed to do so – or worse, harbored a blonde – would be a criminal. Who’s in the wrong?

    (And before you say I’m arguing against a straw man, bear in mind that Japan once lived under a law where all foreigners were to be put to death on sight, and anyone failing to do so or found harboring a foreigner was executed.)

    Were the people operating the Underground Railroad in 19th century America in the wrong? After all, they were breaking the law.

    Things are very rarely black and white.

    Censorship might not seem as extreme an example, but in general it’s very, very dangerous to meekly accept any kind of censorship. It has a way of expanding.

  7. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    Good point. Thieves wouldnt be criminals if stealing werent illegal. Theyre going to do it anyway…

    Seriously, I see what shes getting at, and shes right. I just worry about how she puts it, blaming lawmakers for lawbreakers. "Crime cannot exist without laws to break."

    Although, it is a stupid law.

  8. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    And she’s right. If you really want to play a banned game, you can with a bit of effort, and then you’re effectively a criminal.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  9. 0
    black manta says:

    This pretty much proves my point that there’s a need in AU for an R18+ rating for games that goes beyond just the core gamer demographic and well into the mainstream.  As I was saying earlier, if major developers and publishers chose not to release their games for the Australian market, the populace would raise a big stink about it and put pressure on the government, and specifically Atkinson, to allow an R18+ rating.

  10. 0
    Zerodash says:

    The Aussie government may counter this with "but playing these evil games will make people criminals anyway- only they will be murderers or rapists".  That’s the gist of it.

    Does Austrailia have religion as tied up in their politics as the US, or is this issue more along the lines of "nanny state"?

  11. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    I think I might love her. She seems like a fair and reasonable and balanced person, unlike that certain AG…

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

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