The New South Wales’ Attorney General, Greg Smith, has told Seven News yesterday that he wants to see Grand Theft Auto and other similar games banned, despite Australia introducing an R18+ classification rating for games, claiming that they are unsuitable.
“I think they should be banned,” he told the programme. “It involves a prostitute giving sexual favours for money to a man in a car and then… he comes out with a semi-automatic rifle and shoots her dead. Now what good does that do anybody?”
He has also used the tragedy in Norway as evidence why Australia should ban these games, despite the fact that most gamers won’t become mass murders. You can view the video below:
His comments is a huge backflip, coming a few months after announcing his support for the classification rating which would allow this material to be sold mostly uncensored compared to the MA15+ classification rating, which is currently the maximum rating for video games before being refused classification and banned.
Many have come against the comments:
“The problem is, the people in charge of this sort of thing (such as the Attorney General in the story) still see video games as children’s toys, and believe’s they should all be in the vein of ‘Pong’, ‘Pac Man’ and ‘Frogger’,” said media industry worker and gamer Mick Attard in a blog post.
“What they fail to understand (and what the above story completely fails to mention) is that the average age of a gamer is over 30, and that over 88% of Australian household have a gaming console, yet the medium is still treated as though it is a niche market with no artistic integrity (thanks in no small part to media attention like the story above).”
However, as Delimiter points out, Smith comes from a largely conservative background. He is the former president to the Right to Life Association, who is against abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia; and has expressed dissatisfaction at the relationships register which gives gay couples equal rights under the law as married couples (except for the act of marriage).
I do get the feeling that Seven News is trying to exploit this issue, trying to create fear to undermine some progress in reducing censorship. But then again, since when has Seven ever became the beacon of journalistic integrity?