We've been arguing for years now that the classification system is broken. Well it turns out that Tony Abbott - leader of the Opposition and only real alternative to KRudd for Prime Minister of this country at the moment -agrees with us. Although I'm guessing it's not for the same reasons...
Junglist has penned an interesting piece over on Kotaku where he quotes Abbott responding to a question about the premature sexualisation of children today:
“I think that the best way to handle this is to accept that our current classification system is broken.”
The question was posed at a debate between Abbott and the PM organised by the Australian Christian Lobby. And while that initial statement may sound like a beacon of hope to gamers hoping to be treated like the adults they are, Abbott's next comment should give you pause.
“I think we have to be careful about what some might describe as the heavy hand of censorship. I’m not normally one for wanting to see government enquiries, but I think in this case we probably do need a further review, building on the work of the senate enquiry to which you refer, and I think any such review should be tasked with trying to come up with a new way of ensuring that proper community standards are applied to the media, all media, including new media.”
Sure, that sounds logical enough and safe enough on its own. But let's put it in context. For one, he was speaking to the Australian Christian Lobby, a group that has previously said the games industry mirrors the tobacco industry and has publicly petitioned against the introduction of an adult classification for games.
Next, you have Abbott himself, an individual who believes in fundamental "Christian" values, like not having sex before marriage, and that housewives are responsible for doing the ironing. A man who has failed to state one way or another whether he supports the government's mandatory internet filter, despite it being a hugely polarising issue.
The fact that this man made these comments at an event hosted by the ACL doesn't leave me thinking he's supportive of classification reform that might result in treating gamers like adults. It has me fearing for a future where everybody is treated like children. And that's not a future I want to live in...