Skip to main content

Australian politicians blast violent videogames

Senators pitch in on censorship row: "As a society I think we can live without it"

The debate in Australia as to whether or not videogames in the country should be able to receive an 18-rating is rumbling on, with a number of politicians pitching in, lambasting violent games and "rape" simulators on national television.

On the panel in ABC's Q&A programme were senators Nick Xenphon and Barnaby Joyce, who both outlined the apparent dangers of videogames.

"I think we need to listen to the psychologist who looked into this," said Xenophon in response to a question about why an 18-rating can't be introduced. "This is different in the sense that it's interactive. People get immersed in these games, I think there's a real risk. As a society I think we can live without it."

And Joyce added: "You can't say just because you can see it, you should be allowed to see it. Otherwise you'd legalise snuff movies and all sorts of profane things which I don't think take our society ahead.

"We had a thing with amatars [avatars] - is that the right term? - where people can actually go out and rape people. Now, this is not acceptable. You have to draw a line, you must take into account - not where a certain group in society is, but those who are vulnerable to influence, how they would be affected by that.

"And if you don't you suffer what comes next. I too have got four kids, and you've got to think 'I want these kids to grow up in quiet, unaffected streets, and if there's someone playing a videogame where they're raping someone, I'm not feeling good about the place.' So knock it out."

Additionally, Heather Ridout, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, also joined the debate.

"As a mother of three kids, two of whom spend an awful lot of time playing these sorts of games, I just find the whole thing appalling - the sort of minds that come up with stuff.

"Grand Theft Auto was one of the more famous games, that seemed to turn everyone into a car thief. My children thankfully didn't do that.

"I'm not a censorship girl...but violent games, violence - breeds violence. It's not nice"

However, while the tone was largely negative, the discussion did generally conclude that a ratings system for videogames was needed - despite videogames already having some age ratings in the country - while points were made that the average age of the gamer "was around 30" and that interactive entertainment was different to a purely visual experience only.

In the UK the debate is further along, with an acceptance that 18-rated games are a small but important part of the gaming spectrum, although currently who should actually apply the ratings is up in the air.

Read this next

Related topics