22nd March 2010 - In what is a boost for the Australian game industry, the campaign to get an R18+ games rating introduced has overcome a major stumbling block with the resignation of South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. This will mean the biggest opposition to the rating will not have a casting vote in the final decision. The following press release was issued in Australian papers today:
"R18+ video games are a step closer to being allowed in Australia following the resignation of South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson.
Mr Atkinson's decision to leave the front bench means he will no longer be in a position to vote on changes to the country's classification system, including the introduction of an R18+ rating for games.
The decision came after voters gave the Rann Government a kicking in last weekend's state election. Mr Atkinson won his seat of Croydon comfortably but still suffered a 14.3 per cent swing against him, according to ABC reports.
Mr Atkinson said he was stepping down so there could be "renewal" in the Government's leadership and so he could spend more time with his family, including his son Johnno.
"He was supposed to play his first game last night at 7pm and like so many times in my time in Parliament I wasn't there," Mr Atkinson said yesterday.
"I am pretty disappointed about that."
"So I resolved that every time Johnno walks on the pitch this year his dad is going to be there even if it embarrasses the hell out of him."
Mr Atkinson has been Australia's most vocal opponent of introducing an R18+ rating for games and earlier this year claimed his family was more at risk from angry gamers than bikie gangs.
Gamers4Croydon candidate and R18+ games campaigner Kat Nicholson, who ran against Mr Atkinson, secured 3.7 per cent of the votes, ABC said.
Changes to Australia's classification system require the approval of all state and federal attorneys-general. Their next meeting is in late April.
Earlier this year the Federal Government asked for public input on the issue and received around 60,000 submissions.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Conner said the response was "staggering". A report is being prepared for the attorneys-general meeting.
Mr Atkinson, who was first elected to Parliament in 1989, said he would stay in his seat until the next state election in 2014."
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