Atkinson Wins, Then Resigns

Belying the old adage that says quitters never win and winners never quit, Australia is coming off quite the weekend in which incumbent anti-game South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson won re-election then resigned his front bench seat.

Pre-election, Atkinson claimed that no one cared about the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia other than gamers and also predicted that the Gamer4Croydon party would “struggle” to receive one percent of the votes.

Well, in Croydon, according to election data, Gamers4Croydon’s candidate against Atkinson, Kat Nicholson, managed to achieve 3.7 percent of the vote, assisting in eating away at 14.4 percent of Atkinson’s vote from the previous election. Despite that erosion, Atkinson still won rather easily however, garnering 52.7 percent of the vote. Nicholson came in fifth out of seven candidates in the Croydon suburb, besting candidates from the Family First Party and Australian Democratic Party.

In a post on the G4C website entitled "Here’s Your 1%," President Chris Prior expressed pride at what the upstart party accomplished:

With so very little to work with, we have contributed to two other incumbents losing their seats, and all of our lower house candidates polled higher than the 1% we apparently wouldn’t get. In the upper house, we outpolled the majority of groups, including a significant number with more resources, more experience, and much more time.

Atkinson then stunned the country, electing to vacate his role as Attorney General for South Australia, citing a desire to spend more time with his family as one factor contributing to his decision.  Atkinson will remain in Parliament through 2014, but will be replaced as AG, which GameSpot reports could take a week or two. A spokesperson from Atkinson’s office told GameSpot that the caucus would decide the new minister, and added that “Atkinson has made this decision by himself,” and that he “wants to spend more time with his family as he has been here for 21 years and he wants to give younger backbenchers a shot in cabinet.”

Australian Game Developers Association President Tom Crago, speaking to Computer World, hoped Atkinson’s resignation would improve the chance of an R18+ rating category for games being added, saying, “With Atkinson out of the fray, we have a better chance [of passing the reform].”

Gamers4Croydon’s Chris Prior also appears to have come up short in his bid for a seat on South Australia’s Legislative Council. The top 11 vote-getting candidates win a spot on the Council and Prior was not among them. He garnered 0.83 percent of the vote (with just about 73.0 percent of the total vote counted).

While gamers and the game industry are celebrating Atkinson’s resignation, keep in mind that the addition of an R18+ videogame rating category requires amendments to three federal classifications and requires unanimous consent among all state, territory and federal Attorney Generals, so a single dissenting opinion could still quash the movement.

That being said, let’s enjoy the moment at least. As an aside, while it’s unscientific at best, a poll on the Adelaide Now website asks if readers were happy about Atkinson stepping down. “Yes” was the overwhelming answer, with 96.43 percent of the vote.

Thanks to everyone who sent in links (and accompanying smiley faces)!

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  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Finally he’s gone!



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. Michael Chandra says:

    The others originally expressed support but some got more careful in their speech, most likely not to cause public conflict and solving the argument behind doors. Chances are that if the next guy isn’t a problem, they’ll start to push things along as good as they can without losing too many votes.

  3. Michael Chandra says:

    While I suspect as much, since I’m getting better at talking political, do you have a link where it’s stated more outright?

  4. hellfire7885 says:

    As far as I remember Atkinson was the only one saying no, and ALL of the AGs have to agree before moving forward.

  5. TBoneTony says:

    Glad he is now gone, but I am more concerned about who might replace him.

    Also what about the other AGs, who are the current ones who also don’t want an R18+ rating for games yet have kept quiet only so they could pull the rug from under us?

    I won’t be celebrating yet, only celebrating that there is one man we don’t have to deal with again, but the silent AG’s might be more dangerous than MA was.


  6. Arcanagos says:

    Another "family values" politician appears to have a corruption scandal brewing around him?  Shocker!

    Kudos for posting that Aliasalpha.


    "Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson’ll justify it in the end." – nightwng2000

  7. asmodai says:


    Atkinson went very quiet after the debacle over attempting to curtail net anon speech(although he was really just the public lightening rod, most of the parliament on both sides supported that) and calling out that guy as a Liberal plant when he was an actual resident.

    His seat is one of the safest Labor seats in South Australia (the election before hand he won with ~75% of the vote) and he managed to piss away 15 odd %.

    So basically he has been told to warm the seats but resign from effecting policy.  He’ll get 4 more years of pay and keep his parliamentry pension etc, but he’s up on blocks as far as having any power goes.  I’m not sure how his electorate will really take that, but it’s a positive for the rest of the country…

    Gamers 4 Croyden should be rightly proud even if they don’t manage to gain a seat on the legislative council (still waiting on that outcome last time I checked).

  8. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Finally, some good news from Australia. Maybe, like someone said, his tantrums made him a risk for the office, and even if he won, he would be very dangerous to keep in his seat, so he was forced to quit.

    He was a very poor excuse of a politician. He really represented the worst part of a person being in a elected charge. He was dishonest and paranoid. He threatened people just for being critiziced on the internet. He was pro-censorship and disregarded any kind of argument or evidence. He mocked of his opposition and called them criminals and perverts without any respect.

    In many ways, he was worst than Jack Thompson. He had actual power, but he just wasted on his own ego. Too sad when this happens. Any town or city or country don´t deserve a clown as an elective representative.

    He was a crook. A fraud. A true Jack Thompson.

    Good by Mr. Atkinson. Please, don´t come back ever.


    ———————————————————— My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  9. count23 says:

    Just an FYI, since this isn’t the original article that’s been reposted here, I’ll give you the cliffs notes.


    Atkinson was told GTFO, behind closed doors. The way his step-down message has been phrased to make it look like this is voulentary and that it’s a personal choice is the standard for politicians when their party has told them, "You’ve frakked up, resign or you’re fired". Front-benchers dont fall to the back bench unless they’ve been fired by the premier (or prime minister in federal)

  10. nightwng2000 says:

    So, when he claimed that his constituants didn’t care about an R18+ rating, thereby implying overall that his constituants didn’t care about the overall issue of Freedom of Expression, which IS an important issue concerning Human Rights, how does he feel that almost half of the voters didn’t vote for him?

    Also, interesting point coming out of the various news articles how he wants to spend more time with his family because he’s put more attention into his job in the past, does that mean he is addicted to politics and needs to go for treatment for politics addiciton?


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  11. Sajomir says:

    While I agree with your sentiment, I dont’ think that analogy really works. Non-smokers have very real health concerns for their own safety, so of course they’d have an interest in cigarette laws. Non-gamers’ interest in gaming is likely not a matter that could be life and death.

  12. IsoNeko says:

    "Atkinson claimed that no one cared about the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia other than gamers"


    That’s like saying "Nobody cares about Cigarette’s in Australia other than Smokers"


    Also: "So lets turn down this extra income we would get from the tax’s we’d get from R18+ games, and the increased purchases of games due to uncut content."

  13. Father Time says:

    Well this was unexpected. It feels like someone winning a contest then giving a trophy to the loser saying "I don’t really want it I just wanted to prove I’m better at this than you."

    Goodbye Atkinson I guess.


    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.

  14. DarkSaber says:

    Dennis is long since fled like a rat from a sinking ship.


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

  15. MaskedPixelante says:

    Good. Now, I’ll release his dog, and we can get started on a proper 18+ rating.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  16. Arell says:

    I wouldn’t celebrate quite yet.  The enemy you know is better than the enemy you don’t.  Who knows who will replace him.  Movements tend to lose steam when they lack a target to rail against.

  17. Michael Chandra says:

    There was this thing in an Avengers bootcamp, where a guy was being tough to Tony Stark. Next thing you know, he’s resigning to spend more time with his family. In comes the reporter’s remark "but sir, you don’t have a family."

    Basically, this situation just shouts "bullshit, you got forced out" to me.

  18. jedidethfreak says:

    Agreed.  We need mature discourse on both sides in order to make real change.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  19. Zerodash says:

    Well, at least he’s seemingly out of the debate.  His childish and paranoid tantrums were getting old.  Now, if only the pro-games people would grow up (WTF zombie walk) and then a real rating system may actually see the light of day.

  20. DarkSaber says:

    GamePolitics does not post over the weekend. Ever. You should know this by now.


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

  21. hellfire7885 says:

    Well, hopefully whoever gets the seat listens to the people instead of making their decisions for them.


    And not to sound TOO critical or tell how to run the site, but this really should have been a breaking story over the weekend, giving it was reported yesterday.

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