The Australian push for an R18+ Adult rating for video games has potentially suffered another set back, with the Tasmanian Attorney-General David Bartlett resigning from his position yesterday.
Bartlett was one of the cause’s most vocal and passionate supporters, but it seems that his heart was no longer in the job.
“I have had to question whether or not I still have the passion and commitment that is required.”
(It’s worth pointing out that he is referring to the demanding Attorney-General position as a whole, not just the aspect relating to video games!)
The decision shouldn’t surprise too many people, really. In January, Bartlett resigned as Tasmanian Premier, citing “family reasons”, and announced his intention not to contest the 2014 state election. A by-election held on the weekend resulted in Labor minister Lin Thorp losing her seat. Apparently, when Premier Lara Giddings called Bartlett to her office to discuss “other responsibilities he could take on”, he dropped the bombshell.
Originally planning to retire in July, the Attorney-General brought the date forward, to prevent a second cabinet reshuffle in coming months. He’s the third senior Labor minister to resign in six months.
While this doesn’t necessarily sound the death knell for the R18+ campaign, it does come when gamers aren’t completely convinced of where each Attorney-General stands on the matter. Bartlett was a key supporter, and has stepped down a couple of months before the SCAG meeting tipped to be the decision-maker.
In a statement released just a few months ago, Bartlett proved he had a calm and rational approach to the topic:
“The introduction of an R18+ classification would help give parents a clear idea of which computer games are suitable for their children.
“It’s about giving parents clear information, a clearer choice, and more confidence in the games they buy for their children.”
Bartlett was certainly not the only Attorney-General in favour of the R18+ rating, but our fingers are crossed that his replacement – as-yet unnamed – will continue in his footsteps.
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