South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson is no longer standing in the way of Australia’s quest for an R18+ rating for video games. In an announcement made earlier today, he confirmed that despite winning his seat of Croydon in yesterday’s state election, he would be taking a role on the backbench, stepping down from the ministry position of Attorney-General.
Despite inevitable rumours, he claims that nobody suggested he stand aside, and the decision was made yesterday prior to the election results being announced. Atkinson explains that he will retain his seat for the next four year term, but is making way for some fresh blood in the newly-elected Labor ministry, which looks likely to win the election holding a majority of just one seat. In his eyes, with such a slim margin, it would be “irresponsible” to create a by-election, but he believes “there ought to be renewal in the ministry”.
“I think there are talented people on the Labor backbench who deserve a go.
“I don’t think we want all the ministry leaving in a bunch about 2014 and so it’s important that renewal be staged.”
In an interesting addition, it seems that “thinking of the children” may have been a contributing factor to his resignation from the post – his son Johno has started playing soccer for a local team and Atkinson has promised that he will be at every match to cheer him on.
In his 20 years in parliament, and particularly in the past two, Atkinson has been a bit of a “foot-in-mouth man” for the Labor party, creating a whole bunch of drama they could have done without. Stashed cash, Ashbourne-Clarke, senior magistrate defamation, land swap issues have all made headlines, plus his involvement in the anti-bikie laws, a recent attempt at internet censorship and (of course) his well-publicised stance against adult video games have all lost him votes.
Atkinson suffered a swing of nearly 15% against him in his home seat of Croydon, which he still won comfortably with 52.8% of the vote. Newly-formed special interest party Gamers 4 Croydon won nearly four times the amount of votes Atkinson predicted they would – with 3.7% at this stage, putting them in fifth place in an seven-party race for the electorate.
Predictably, Croydon was their most successful seat, but the other polling districts reported good turnouts for Gamers 4 Croydon: with 1% of the vote in Light, 1.2% in Norwood, 1.7% in Adelaide and 1.8% in Mawson.
On the other side of the coin, the final numbers won’t be in for a few days yet, but the G4C candidate in the Legislative Council probably won’t get a seat in the upper house. However, he currently has 6073 first preference votes, or 0.8% across the entire state of South Australia. Congratulations to Chris Prior, Kat Nicholson, all the other candidates and everybody else involved in Gamers 4 Croydon!
…now, what this will actually mean for the R18+ debate is yet to be seen, but I think we’ve successfully shown that Australian gamers are adults, we can vote, we will vote, and we will win.
This story broke on AdelaideNow, who I’m sure are as amazed as we are.