Earlier this month, GameSpot AU reported the public consultation process for the introduction of an R18+ rating in Australia was suffering several delays at the hands of South Australian attorney general Michael Atkinson. Atkinson's proposed changes to a discussion paper due for public release have still not been made, some four months after his initial objection that the paper was 'biased'.
But in a letter to Kotaku AU published today, Atkinson claims he is not the one responsible for the delay; rather, the other censorship ministers are the ones holding back the discussion paper's release.
Atkinson says the changes that he proposed to the draft discussion paper in November 2008 included illustrations of games rated above MA15+, which raised concerns from the departments of other attorneys general. Although Atkinson remains adamant that these illustrations should be included, other censorship ministers are "engaging in a cover-up and trying to delay the discussion paper's going out."
"The change most important to me in this paper was to include illustrations of what games above MA15+ were like. This debate shouldn't be a clinical written analysis of arguments only. Readers should be able to see what we are arguing for or against.
"Concerns were raised about my changes from other Attorney-General's [sic] departments, including whether it was appropriate to include depictions of these ultra-violent, extreme games. I do not understand why anyone would want to exclude this material from the discussion paper," Atkinson's Kotaku AU statement said.
Atkinson said he intends to take "his version" of the discussion paper to the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Canberra in April, where he says a decision will be made on its release. Atkinson stated that he hopes this will be as soon as April.
For more on Australian games classification, check out our Censory Overload feature.