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Atkinson: My family is at risk from angry gamers

Attorney-General says he has received more threats from gamers than from bikers

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, an outspoken opponent of violent videogames, has said that his family have been threatened more frequently by angry gamers than by disgruntled bikers - another group of people he has riled with his political views.

"I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me," Atkinson told ABC TV's Good Game, as reported by news.com.au.

"The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstop at 2am. A gamer has," he added.

According to Atkinson, a "threatening note from a gamer" was placed under his door one morning.

The debate over whether an 18+ age rating should be introduced for videogames has picked up pace in recent months as the Australian industry lobbies for such a law to be passed.

Currently, Australia is the only Western country to disallow the release of games that do not adhere to the requirements of a 15 certificate. Even though there is an 18 rating for films.

According to recent polls carried out in the country, between 91 and 97 per cent of people think that 18 rated games should be made available.

However, Atkinson has been clear in the past on his own personal views on violent games, although he has also said that his opinion on them is unimportant.

Talking about his constituents in a letter to The Advertiser last year, Atkinson wrote:

"Their vote is hardly likely to hinge on the 'right' to score gamer points on the computer screen by running down and killing pedestrians on the pavement, raping a mother and her two daughters, blowing oneself up in a market, cutting people in half with large calibre shells, injecting drugs to win an athletics event or killing a prostitute to recover the fee one just paid her. (Welcome to the world of R18+ computer games)."

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Kath Brice