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Attorney-General Atkinson quits front bench

Notorious opponent of violent games to stand aside at next election

Australian attorney-general Michael Atkinson is to leave his front bench role at the next election, in order to make way for fresh blood in a new Labour ministry.

After 20 years in Parliament, the controversial minister will leave at the next election, due to take place in 2014.

"I think there ought to be renewal in the ministry. I think there are talented people on the Labor backbench who deserve a go," said Atkinson, as reported by Adelaide Now.

Atkinson is an infamous opponent of violent videogames, and has refused to back recent moves to create an 18+ age rating for games in the country.

Australia is currently the only Western country that doesn't have an adult rating for games - even though one does exist for films - a rule which has led to the censorship of titles such as Left 4 Dead 2.

The attorney-general has said in the past that he believes games have a greater influence on consumers than viewing a film or reading a book due to their interactive nature, and has also backed recent moves that censor the internet.

"People are participating and 'acting-out' violence and criminal behaviour when they are playing a video game," he has commented. "It certainly does restrict choice to a small degree, but that is the price of keeping this material from children and vulnerable adults. In my view, the small sacrifice is worth it."

He recently made claims that gamers have been more threatening to his family than bikers - another group who oppose his policies - saying that a "threatening note from a gamer" had been delivered to his home.

The decision by Atkinson to stand aside was unexpected, say reports, but he said that no one had suggested he should leave.

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Kath Brice