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SA: democratic deficit « Previous | |Next »
February 4, 2010

The Bill introduced by Michael Atkinson, the SA Attorney-General, to change the Electoral Act and the rules governing democracy in South Australia offers an insight into Rann Government's understanding of individual freedom and it highlights the democratic deficit in South Australia.

This is not an open government, it has a track record of curtailing freedoms and rights, and Atkinson stands for hard-right or authoritarian law and order policies and is known for his refusal to accept R18+ rating for computer games and the introduction of an adults-only games category.

This is a government that opposes South Australia needing an Independent Commission Against Corruption--there's no corruption in SA you see. There's no need for the furiously spinning politicians to clean up their own act, despite the lack of open accountability around political donations. This is a government dominated by the Labor Right.

Atkinson 's agenda was to increase the minimum number of members a political party needs to be registered, and therefore to be capable of effective electioneering. Secondly, to political candidates putting up posters on power poles, the cheapest form of political advertising.Thirdly, the Act also makes it compulsory, the instant electoral writs are issued, for people who send a letter or comment to a newspaper, or news sites (eg. Crikey) or blogs, Facebook and Twitter to provide their real name and postcode address. Individuals blogging about the election could have been hit with fines of $1250, while businesses weighing into the foray faced fines of up to $5000.

All parties had supported the bill when it passed through parliament! they now say that they were hoodwinked by Atkinson's smokescreen. The reality is that vigorous public debate is unwelcomed in SA. and Atkinson has little time for the uncivil, unruly blogosphere as a modern-day version of the town square meeting. It needs to be controlled and managed.

Atkinson's law can be interpreted as muffling free speech in the public sphere---a cracking down on internet political comment ----even though political speech is an implied right in the Australian constitution. Most journalists are on the drip feed of leaks and tidbits and so they don't rock the boat too hard preferring to 'top and tail' the media releases that come across their desk

Atkinson then, backflipped under pressure from News Ltd, told South Australians that he would repeal the law after the election.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:56 AM | | Comments (13)


It is Atkinson who stands in the way of a rational classification system for video games, refusing to countenance an R18 rating. He is one of those Manning Clark termed punishers and straighteners who require that the sale or rental of R-rated movies will have to be distributed in brown paper bags.

R-rated movies include Apocalypse Now and Mad Max.

The only person standing in the way of the downfall of civilization from moral degeneracy, depravity and decadence of video gaming culture is Attorney General Michael Atkinson in SA. This social conservative and devout Roman Catholic is the savior of good conservative Australian (Christian) values from the dirty gamer hordes swarming at the gates!

He's all about moral panic and he leads the fight in keeping Australia a censorious, authoritarian society. Australia still does not have an R18+ rating category for videogames and Atkinson opposes an R18+ videogame rating category. He is the lone holdout. His reason? People are motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence.

The threat to the moral order is “sinful conduct” that is represented in the media (sinful conduct is personal behaviors that are considered morally bad).The guardians of decency fight to save “the children” from being exposed to the depictions of bad behavior (violence, sexual depravity, nudity and the uncivil rude bloggers living the sewer etc etc).

It was interesting trawling through the comments on this yesterday, how many people associated this with Conroy's filter. A similar connection is being made over the iiNet win against global Hollywood today. Atkinson's legislation was a good example of the sort of mission creep that worries so many opposed to the filters.

The iiNet decision was made on the basis that ISPs can't be held responsible for the actions of their customers. I wonder what impact that decision will have on everything else authorities expect ISPs and other hosts, like newspaper websites, to take responsibility for.

Atkinson's actions can only further erode public confidence in politicians' understanding of what the internet is and how it works. How did he imagine his laws were going to be policed? Nitwit.

the only way that I can see how Atkinson can broaden his attacks on the gamer culture (games breed terrorism, are full of drug use and cruel sex) to the offensive language of the rude bloggers is if he regards the internet itself as depraved and corrupt (a sewer of criminal defamation, a sewer of identity theft and fraud) and full of bad people doing bad things.

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson continues to block the adoption of an R18+ video game rating despite the fact that an R18+classification exists for movies. Currently he holds the key to the locked door at the moment.

He appears to be the sole roadblock to the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games that are about pornographic violence and gore, and he doesn't want these interactive videos to even enter the country. The interactive bit is what makes computer games different from movies.

A Commonwealth Government discussion paper on an R 18+ classification for computer games has been released.

Eegads! First us Queenslanders had to take on all your bikies because of your laws. Now we will have to cope with the wave of renegade political comment refugees.

Les, wait till the flood of porn fleeing the now uprighteous state of SA hits all you innocents up there in the Banana republic.
Gary, as you yourself have explained in the past, globalist neoliberalism demands the end of regional autonomies, in the interests of "development" and "freedom".
The p**n stuff is only a fait accompli for closer monitoring of the internet, as part of a comprehensive move across society to dumb down dissent and suffocate contradictory information to the given wisdom handed down from the Guardians. Keeps the likes of Murdoch and the merchant bankers and developers happy.
The Great Unwashed are compelled to learn to adjust to and accept the new simulacra and regard the eventuating sceme of things as "normal" in the absence of information to the contrary.
BTW, re Atkinson, as I understand it he is not mainstream Catholic, but belongs to an Anglican or Catholic splinter group that's peeled of from the mainstream.
The thing with Atkinson and co is, they've given up hope of changing society and now just patrol for it, taking their thirty peices as they implement dogged reaction on behalf of neolib capitalism and avoid at all costs taking on or challenging the system.

Yes, that may well straighten our bananas Paul but tell me do you think Rudd backed off on his population growth stuff because it may cause more refugees to turn up.

Les, its true that most of us only have the assurances of the people running things, as to whether they are implementing promises.
This was the notion that Howard so shrewdly picked up on from the late 'nineties, that fear and lack of information make for combustible fuel for re election stunts starting with Webb Dock, then a stack of nonsenses about migration and refugees that deliberately blurred the distinction between the two.
Should we recall the grace and elegance of the Cronulla farce, or attacks on hapless and gullible Asian students over recent times. You can trace this recent phenomena back to the Hansonist days. And all the way, bringing in cheap labour backdoor, via other types of visas or schemes anyway.
As for the wider implications, I'd go back to a comment I made here, I think, where I wondered if we would get an economists explanation as to why or whether the future Rudd sees for Australia need be predicated on slash and burn "development" and "growth" (always think of the Elephant Man when I recognise that term!!) or whether or not this frenetic compulsion to ramp up population to 35 million outer burbs zombies is justified on good economic modelling or necessarily creates good conditions for the future.

Atkinson's plan was clearly about stopping political discussion. At least his intent was clear. Conroy's plan is another thing altogether. He says it's about child protection, but it's pretty clear to me that child protection, porn, bestiality, RC material and rest of it is not motivating the filter policy.

Over the past few months I've seen more and more commenters drawing connections between Conroy's policy and the demands of the film and music industries. Then there's Rupert's claim that free online news content is piracy. It's all a bit too conspiracy theory, but I can't help thinking these attempts at controlling the net are using Australia as a testing ground.

While you South Australians are giving stuff away, can we have the Hilltop Hoods as well? I doubt Rann would approve of the songs they write about Adelaide. They could come here and write depressing songs about the Gold Coast instead.

We don't have an orchestra, but we've got plenty of stadiums they could play at.

You're welcome to them, Lyn. (I don't much care for rap anyway, but the Hilltop Hoods seem to be merely a pale imitation of the beastie Boys.)

If you publish comment during an election campaign, shouldn't you be required to take responsibility for that comment?I haven't found any convincing argument as to why this shouldn't be the case.