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Costello slams Abbott's parental leave plan

Costello slams Abbott's parental leave plan

Broadcast: 17/03/2010

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

Former Treasurer Peter Costello has slammed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's paid parental leave
plan and that the proposal is worse than the Rudd Government's, 'mildly bad idea'.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: With friends like Peter Costello, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must be
thinking today that he needs no enemies.

The former treasurer questioned the Opposition Leader's economic credentials by declaring taxes
will rise under the Coalition's paid parental leave plan, and that the proposal is worse than the
Government's, quote, "mildly bad idea".

The unwelcome intervention spoiled what was otherwise a good day for Mr Abbott. He had more
ammunition on the home insulation scandal and a chance to make political capital out of a coroner's
report that said three Afghan men might have deliberately started a fire which claimed five lives
on an illegal entry boat.

Political editor, Chris Uhlmann.

(Irish music plays)

CHRIS UHLMANN, POLITICAL EDITOR: St Patrick's Day came early in Queensland last night as the Prime
Minister and Opposition Leader broke Lent for some Irish frivolity.

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: St Kevin was in fact an abbot. He was not a mad Abbott he
was just an abbot.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Guinness flowed and so did the blarney.

TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: It's nice to be among friends, even if they are someone
else's friends.

(Laughter)

CHRIS UHLMANN: Come dawn, Tony Abbott was in Canberra and dealing with an old colleague who's now
someone else's friend.

TONY ABBOTT: I don't have any argument with anyone except Kevin Rudd.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Former Treasurer Peter Costello was spoiling for an argument, using his column in
the Fairfax Press to shred the Coalition leader's paid parental leave plan.

MOTHER: Hey, darling.

CHRIS UHLMANN: He said it was a bad idea that would see big companies drop existing entitlements
and encourage their staff to use the Government scheme.

(Quote from Peter Costello's column) "So private benefits will be socialised, spending will rise
and taxes will increase".

"The idea of increasing tax would be as foreign to the Liberal Party as voluntary unionism at the
local ALP branch".

It was a gift for the Government.

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: How much damage are they going to let the Leader of the
Opposition do to the brand of What it is to be a Liberal?

CHRIS UHLMANN: And Liberals lined up to bag the man they once hailed as Australia's greatest
treasurer.

DON RANDALL, OPPOSITION BACKBENCHER: What I love about people who leave this place is they become
full of advice after they've left.

WILSON TUCKEY, OPPOSITION BACKBENCHER: When you leave this place it's not a bad idea that you keep
your trap shut.

IAN MACFARLANE, OPPOSITION INFRASTRUCTURE SPOKESMAN: Peter Costello had his chance to make a
contribution to the economic debate in Opposition and he declined to take it.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Peter Costello has form on making light of Tony Abbott's finance skills.

JOURNALIST (June 16, 2009): Do you look to Tony Abbott as the next- as the next instalment...?

PETER COSTELLO, FORMER TREASURER: Oh not on economic matters, but you know, Tony...

(Laughter)

CHRIS UHLMANN: At least Peter Costello was liberal with his critique, saying Labor's health plan
was an equally bad idea that would strip the states of money.

(Quoting from Peter Costello's column) "Under Rudd's plan they will lose control over 30 per cent
of their revenue, which will be administered by a new tier of bureaucracy. If the states agree to
that, they might as well give up the lot. Why trust them with the balance?"

LINDSAY TANNER, FINANCE MINISTER: Well, we're not suggesting Peter Costello's right about
everything, it's just that it's interesting and very significant that somebody from the Liberal
Party and a Liberal icon like Peter Costello would come out there and criticise Tony Abbott's plan.

TONY ABBOTT (to baby): Come to the big, scary man.

CHRIS UHLMANN: While the Opposition Leader's parental leave plan has drawn a lot of flak, it's a
sign of growing confidence.

It is the first time he's reached out beyond his base to try and court the middle ground.

That means he thinks he can win the election. And he certainly thinks he's on a winner pursuing the
Government's now discontinued ceiling insulation program.

CHRISTINE MIKOLAJCZAK, CANBERRA HOME OWNER: There's only three here in the lounge room.

TONY ABBOTT: Yeah, mm hmm...

CHRISTINE MIKOLAJCZAK: That's the only down lights I have in this house and they were not to cover
them. But apparently they did.

TONY ABBOTT: They did, yeah. So when did you notice the burning?

CHRISTINE MIKOLAJCZAK: It would have been about 2 or 3 o'clock.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Kevin Rudd is the target.

TONY ABBOTT: My question is to the Prime Minister and it relates to the 106 house fires that have
been linked to his disastrous home insulation scheme.

And I draw the Prime Minister's attention to comments yesterday from the head of the fire
investigation unit within the Victorian fire brigade who said and I quote "It is a ticking time
bomb and the only way we'll defuse it is to get up in the ceiling space, check that everything's
okay and is safe".

Given this direct warning, will the Prime Minister finally commit to inspecting all of the 1.1
million homes that are at risk as a result of his disastrous home insulation scheme?

KEVIN RUDD: The Government thus far has committed to 150,000 inspections. Can I say Mr Speaker, in
response to the honourable member's question, that based on inspections to date 92 per cent of
those have been concluded have had no safety issue related to them.

SPEAKER: Order!

KEVIN RUDD: Mr Speaker I would also say to the honourable member what we said at the beginning of
this matter, namely the Government of course will undertake all home inspections that are necessary
and that we say to members of the public who are concerned about these matters to contact the
Government through the appropriate numbers which have been indicated in earlier statements by the
minister.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And this afternoon the ACT Government revealed that it's investigating an accident
where a worker was shocked while inspecting ceiling insulation in Canberra.

The accident happened on the 8th of March. The man was taken to hospital and later released.

The ABC understands he was a sub-contractor with no electrical qualifications who had been employed
under a contract generated by the Commonwealth's Environment Department.

Given the man was inspecting thermal, not foil, insulation, having electrical experience might not
be deemed necessary. But the incident highlights that this is a problem not easily or quickly
unravelled.

TONY ABBOTT: The most monumentally bungled government program in Australia's history.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Coalition's also mining what it sees as another rich vein, the rising tide of
unauthorised boats.

Today the Northern Territory Coroner handed down his findings on a boat that exploded off Ashmore
Island in April last year, killing five asylum seekers.

The Coroner said petrol was deliberately spilled on the boat and then lit. He named three asylum
seekers who were involved in a plan to cripple the boat and referred his findings to the police.

SCOTT MORRISON, OPPOSITION IMMIGRATION SPOKESMAN: Will the Government now cancel the permanent
protection visas granted last October to these three individuals under section 501 of the Migration
Act on grounds the Minister reasonably suspects that these persons do not pass the character test.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Government is reserving its judgement until the law runs its course.

KEVIN RUDD: It's important to proceed cautiously in public comments on a matter which has been
referred to...

(Loud objections)

KEVIN RUDD: ..referred to-referred to the relevant legal authorities.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Twenty-four boats have arrived this year carrying 1,125 people.

And if they continue to come at this rate, before long Christmas Island will have to spill its
inmates into Darwin.

So you can expect to hear a lot more about boat people this election year.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political Editor Chris Uhlmann.

Wayne Swan on Australia's resources boom

Wayne Swan on Australia's resources boom

Broadcast: 17/03/2010

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Treasurer Wayne Swan speaks with Kerry O'Brien about the future of Australia's economy and the
possibility that the nation could be heading into the biggest and longest running resources boom.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: As we highlighted on this program two nights
ago, Australia is heading rapidly into what could be the biggest and longest-running resources boom
in this country's history.

Despite concerns that America could be heading for a double dip recession, China is going
gangbusters and Australia's big mining companies are now looking at big increases, big price
increases, in commodities like coal and iron ore.

Market analysts are increasingly optimistic about the Government's budget returning to surplus much
earlier than current forecasts.

But is Australia really ready to cash in? Are those infamous bottlenecks in Australian ports that
limited the volume of our exports in the last boom now a thing of the past? And how will Australia
deal with the next surge in demand for labour without the economy over-heating and forcing interest
rates up again.

I put these questions to Treasurer Wayne Swan earlier tonight.

Wayne Swan, firstly, can you clarify whether the optimism of recent market analysis is justified.
Suggesting that the Australian economy is in such good shape that the budget will return to surplus
as much as four year earlier than Treasury's most recent projections.

WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: Well, Kerry, we get this sort of speculation before every budget and most of
it, frankly, is pie in the sky and that particular piece of speculation is most certainly pie in
the sky.

The truth is that there are accumulated losses in the system, which are going to be a drag on
revenue for some time to come and that is particularly the case this year, so we're certainly not
expecting a return to surplus earlier to the extent that that prediction is being put out there.

KERRY O'BRIEN: by the same token, you know the size and the scope of the last resources boom before
the global financial crisis, you know that we're rapidly heading back towards something of that
size, if not bigger.

I know that you can't have precise projections on that, but nonetheless, surely that suggests that-
that you're going to be getting some very big tax dividends inside the next two years beyond what
you may have projected in the recent past.

WAYNE SWAN: Well, Kerry, the contract price negotiations are going on now. There's no doubt there's
going to be a substantial improvement in price for some commodities, but on the other side of the
ledger, we've just been through a global recession, which has had a very significant impact on
revenues in our budget. We've still written down revenues over the forward estimates to the tune of
$170 billion as recently as MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) last year.

No doubt there will be some improvement but I do need to make the point that there are accumulated
losses in the system, which will continue to be a drag on our revenue for some years to come.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It seems pretty clear that the Reserve Bank now thinks that unemployment has reached
its peak in the response to the global recession, judging by its most interest rate increase, apart
from anything else.

Do you think it's that cut and dried that unemployment has reached its peak?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, certainly the figures we've seen recently, Kerry, are strong. We must bear in
mind, however, that hours worked are also down, although in the recent employment number, there was
a strong reduction in that figure as well.

The Government is delighted with this outcome. it is the case that the economy is performing better
than anyone would have anticipated and I certainly hope it is the peak but there are still people
out there working less hours than they would like and we would like to see more improvement there.

What we've got is a patchy global economy. Our advantage, Kerry, is that we are in the right region
in the global economy. Our region is doing well. That means we can do better and it also means that
we are in a very good position to maximise the opportunities that will flow from the Asia Pacific
region.

This will be the Asia Pacific Century and we're located at the right place at the right time.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But I wonder how well prepared we really are to cash in on this next resources boom.
The next phase after the global financial crisis - a boom that does appear to be open-ended - is
showing all the early signs of returning Australia to a two-speed economy.

Of course the boom is good news for Australia, but how concerned are you about the implications of
returning Australia to all the dilemmas that the two-speed economy throws up.

WAYNE SWAN: Well, it is the case that the resources sector is going to do much better, but if you
go back to the national accounts, which were released a couple of weeks ago; there are some sectors
in the economy which are still weak, Kerry.

Let's have a look, for example, at non-residential construction. That area is very weak - there was
a 20 per cent drop in private investment in that area over calendar year 09. So what we have to
understand is that some sectors will do well and some sectors are still weak.

That's why stimulus has been so important. We will go into this up-turn in better shape than any
other advanced economy. We're the strongest-growing advanced economy out of 33 in calendar year 09.
Only two countries didn't contract during that year, so we're in good shape.

But some sectors of the economy are still weak. That's why stimulus as we move forward is
important. And also, Kerry...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But... but I'm not talking just about some sectors versus other sectors, I'm talking
about boom states versus states that aren't doing so well and you would remember better than
anybody the conundrum that the Reserve Bank had in applying interest rate increases in trying to
reduce the overheating in the economy during the last boom, when the overheating was really taking
place in only two of Australia's states.

In other words, States that weren't doing so well, that were flat, were being hit with interest
rate increases as well as the boom states. Now, that could well return.

WAYNE SWAN: Well, Kerry, it's not just a question of states. I think we all know that there is
going to be strong investment in resources in Western Australia and that's happening now,
particularly off the back of the Gaughin approval. We also know that coming in Queensland is much
stronger investment in terms of- in terms of investment in gas and that's important.

But if you look at the various performances of the others States, Tasmania has been going quite
well; South Australia has been going quite well. Victoria has been going quite well. I prefer to
look at sectors rather than states, because there will be some parts of Queensland that are not
going as well as other parts and vice versa.

It is the case that resources will go well. It is also the case that some other sectors of the
economy are weak. But either way, Kerry, what we have to do to prepare for this surge of
investment, particularly into resources is attend to the capacity constraints in our economy that
basically the Government has been attending to from Day one.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, that's what I wanted...

WAYNE SWAN: Before we came to...

KERRY O'BRIEN: That's what I wanted to come to because one of those, of course, was infrastructure.
You made some big promises on infrastructure when you came into government two years and four
months ago.

Does that mean that we won't be seeing those notorious bottle necks we were seeing at ports around
Australia during the last resources boom?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, Kerry, when we came to Government, we inherited the twin deficits of a deficit in
infrastructure and a deficit in skills and we've set about repairing those deficits during the past
two years as well as dealing with the impact of a global recession. We've put a lot of money into
infrastructure...

KERRY O'BRIEN: I understand that, I understand that but are you confident that we will not see
those bottlenecks recurring around Australian ports as we saw the last time around?

WAYNE SWAN: Kerry, what we are doing is everything that is humanly possible to deal with those
deficits. For example, $36 billion invested in critical economic infrastructure - in road, in rail,
in port. If you just take the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, we've doubled the investment there
in its freight capacity via our investments. We're putting money into ports in Western Australia.

All of these things are critical. All of them are investments that have a long lead-time. That's
why...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But let's come - let's come to the lead-time, Mr Swan. Are you saying we may well be
looking at more of those bottlenecks for the next two, three, four years until that infrastructure
kicks in?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, it's possible...

KERRY O'BRIEN: I mean, what stage are those-are those projects at?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, it possible that there may continue to be bottlenecks in some parts of the
country, but we've done as we've talked about before, as we've set up Infrastructure Australia.
We're now publishing a pipeline of projects that not only will the public sector possibly invest in
but the private sector may invest in. We began to deal with this at our first budget and last year,
we put something like $36 billion into critical economic infrastructure and more...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Okay, but are you happy with the rate of...

WAYNE SWAN: And more will be required, Kerry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Are you happy with the rate of- are you happy with the rate of progress on
infrastructure? Are you happy with the cooperation of the states?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, we're working very hard with the states and the private sector, not only on
infrastructure but also on skills. We're making progress; we could always do better, but we're
working very hard because we understand the nature of the challenge ahead.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So what would you regard as the critical weaknesses in what lies ahead. When you say
that in some states it might be more problematic than others.

What would you identify as the biggest weaknesses right now?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, I think we've been concerned about our port capacity and the Minister for
Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, is now preparing an integrated strategy for ports in Australia.
That's just one area.

Rail is another. That's why we put so much investment into the Australian Rail Track Corporation in
our last budget. All of these things are important.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you're saying the Infrastructure Minister is preparing a plan for these ports
now.

WAYNE SWAN: We've never had a plan for our ports. We've started investing in our ports and we did
that in the last budget. The first time in our history that a national government has done that.
The first time in our history that a national government...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But he's-he's-he's working on the plan now? He's been the Minister for two years and
four months.

WAYNE SWAN: He has been the Minister for two years and four months and he's done an enormous amount
in the area of infrastructure.

All of these things, the building blocks are being put in place now, the funding is being put in
place for some of the projects. Many of the projects will depend upon private sector investment but
we are doing everything we can through our Commonwealth agencies and through working with the
States to put in place the critical economic infrastructure for the future. Also, the skills.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Western Australian Chamber of Commerce highlighted in a story we put to air two
nights ago - it's projecting 400,000 more workers would be needed in Western Australia alone over
the next few years to meet demand in this resources boom.

If that is true, that would put enormous pressure back on the rest of the workforce, would it not?
How are you going to meet that shortage and is it inevitable that you're going to have to call on
higher immigration as part of the solution?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, Kerry, this is one reason why we published the Intergenerational Report at the
beginning of the year: to look at participation in the work force, to look at productivity and of
course to look at population.

And what we know is we do have an ageing population and the conclusion we reached, which you and I
discussed on this program, was we need to dramatically increase our productivity, which does mean
getting the investments right when it comes to infrastructure and skills, as we've discussed.

It also means a range of policies to encourage more workforce participation, particularly from
females but also from those in older age groups who wish to keep working. That's why paid parental
leave is so important...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Yeah, but this is like, now... The Western Australian Chamber of Commerce is saying
now that we're going to be looking- We, Western Australia, are going to be looking for 400,000 more
workers in our state alone over the next few years. That is a huge challenge.

WAYNE SWAN: Yeah, it certainly is, it's an enormous challenge if that turns out to be the correct
figure. And the Government has been working with Western Australia in particular and with the
resources sector to examine in great detail, through a taskforce chaired by Gary Gray, what the
precise requirements will be.

We've got a taste of this when you look at the Gaughin project but it could be bigger than that.
And it could be bigger than that when you go to Queensland as well. So all of that planning is
being done now but they're not saying they need 400,000 workers tomorrow.

KERRY O'BRIEN: No...

WAYNE SWAN: That does have imp- that does have implications for future training programs. That's
very important. We put something like 700,000 productivity places out there.

They are being taken up in that sector with gusto. And more will be taken up as time goes on. And
then of course there will be the whole question of the extent to which workers come here on a
temporary basis or not.

All of those things are currently part of the planning process, Kerry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you think...

WAYNE SWAN: But I can't say to you right now that we would have to lift migration by a certain per
cent to cope with that. It is not before us at the moment but what we always do is, on a yearly
basis, we target our migration program to suit the set of... to suit the economic circumstances we
are facing.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Wayne Swan, we're out of time. Thanks for talking with us.

WAYNE SWAN: Good to be with you.

Emotive debate over R rating for video games

Emotive debate over R rating for video games

Broadcast: 17/03/2010

Reporter: Thea Dikeos

Australia is one of the few countries that doesn't have an adult or R classification for video
games and the push to change the law has sparked a major row. All state Attorney Generals need to
agree to an R classification for it to become a reality. South Australia's Attorney General Michael
Atkinson is the only one publicly opposing the R classification and has received flak for his
decision.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: The impact of violence in popular culture almost always ignites a highly
emotive debate and the rise of the video game as a modern phenomenon has added to the equation.

Now a significant strand of mainstream entertainment, violence is a recurring theme in many of the
blockbuster games.

Australia is one of the few countries that doesn't have an Adult or "R" classification for the
games and the push to change the law has sparked a major row.

Some child rights advocates say the rating will open the floodgates to more extreme material, while
gamers say it's common sense.

Thea Dikeos reports, and a warning that the following story contains images that may disturb some
viewers.

THEA DIKEOS, REPORTER: These eager fans are queuing for a sneak preview of the latest blockbuster
in a $70 billion a year global industry.

Video games are now threatening to eclipse movies and music as the world's most popular form of
entertainment.

Last year Australians spent a record two billion dollars on video games.

GAMER 1: Gone are the days where gaming used to be Mario Brothers for your 12-year-old when you
went out. It's very much an adult thing these days.

RON CURRY, INTERACTIVE GAMES & ENTERTAINMENT ASSOCIATION: The typical gamer now 30 years-old, more
likely to have a university degree than not. And also, the gamers now are 68 per cent of the
population.

THEA DIKEOS: Psychology lecturer Caleb Owens is by his own admission an obsessive gamer who spends
most of his free time at a console, but he was so disturbed by scenes from the popular game Modern
Warfare 2, in which a player could at an airport assume the role of a terrorist in a Mumbai-style
massacre, that he complained to the Classification Review Board.

We've avoided using some of the more graphic scenes.

CALEB OWENS: The game's publishers at the time said "Oh, this is to help gamers understand
terrorism from the other side", but it... Even gamers agree that it's - it was a poor addition to
the game. The game is otherwise fantastic. Certainly it's violent everywhere else but in this
particular level, which you could skip, I guess. But this particular level, I thought, was just
offensive beyond belief.

THEA DIKEOS: In Australia, Modern Warfare 2 is rated MA 15 plus, which means it can be sold to
players aged 15 and over.

CALEB OWENS: There are people who lost family members in the Bali bombings who now have the
knowledge that from this day forth any video gamer in Australia can simulate a civilian massacre at
no penalty to them. And that's just horrifying.

(Guns blast at characters in a video game)

LAURA PARKER, JOURNALIST, "GAMESPOT.COM.AU": It was about moral choices. It was about showing
gamers what can happen in that situation.

CROSSHAIRS PRESENTER: This week on Crosshairs, we speak to Aussie retailers to find out their
thoughts about the R18 issue for games...

THEA DIKEOS: Laura Parker is an avid gamer and online journalist for a gaming website.

LAURA PARKER: A lot of people take these violent scenes out of context and say, "Well, you know,
this is blood, dismemberment, and post-mortem abuse and drug use. That must mean that the whole
game is made up of these elements," and that's often- very often not the case at all.

THEA DIKEOS: MA-15 plus is the highest classification rating for video games. Australia is one of
the few countries in the world not to have an R rating.

Games with excessive violence, drug use and adult themes are refused classification and banned from
sale in Australia.

LAURA PARKER: This is a form of censorship and it's basically the Government telling us that we are
not allowed to play video games that everybody else in the world is allowed to play.

CALEB OWEN: The kinds of games that are being refused classification are only being refused
classification because the gore is excessive - tendons are visible, decapitations are possible,
bodies pile up. That's the only thing that we are missing out on in Australia.

THEA DIKEOS: The body which represents the interactive games industry is pushing for an R
classification.

RON CURRY: We kid ourself if we say, "Without an R18, a big wall goes around Australia and prevents
the games being here".

That's simply ridiculous. The games are here. It's being pirated, it's being downloaded and it's
being, you know, imported by mail order.

THEA DIKEOS: Ron Curry doesn't believe an R 18 plus rating will open the floodgates to more violent
games.

RON CURRY: The classification guidelines say if there's extreme violence in a game, or gratuitous
violence, it'll be refused classification anyhow. So, it's not, all of a sudden we're going to see
a bunch of games that currently are refused classification coming in. They'll simply still be
refused classification, and we're happy with that.

THEA DIKEOS: An R rating is unlikely to lead to the reclassification of existing MA-15 plus games.
Last year, according to the industry, only five games that may have fitted into the R category were
refused classification.

CALEB OWENS: The argument for five or six more violent games per year - and that's all it is - has
been translated into an argument for free speech or mature games. There are no mature games in that
category! They're games with lots of blood and lots of guts but they're not games which are mature
in a way that you or I might think they're mature.

DR ANDREW CAMPBELL, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY: Most parents that I've spoken to about games for their
children have no real idea that the games themselves could get to a level of inappropriate
behaviour both through language, sexual information or violence.

THEA DIKEOS: As part of a Sydney University study, Dr Andrew Campbell asked 150 young people aged
between 17 and 22 to watch a violent movie clip and then a week later play a violent video game.

(Explosions and dramatic music on screen)

ANDREW CAMPBELL: In both conditions their rate of aggression went up, but it was more prolonged -
as in held over for a number of hours after playing - with the video game, especially in the more
realistic settings of the video games.

THEA DIKEOS: Andrew Campbell supports the introduction of an R rating for video games.

DR ANDREW CAMPBELL: I think parents do need to be informed about how severe the content can be in
some games that are coming out today, which is equivalent to a lot of R 18 movies.

PROFESSOR CRAIG ANDERSON, PSYCHOLOGY, IOWA UNIVERSITY: If the industry in Australia really wants
parents to have more information, it's pretty easy for them to do. That is, they could create a
rating system that would emphasise what the content is and would put warning labels to warn about
content that has shown to be harmful - much like, at least in the United States, cigarette
packages.

(Onscreen, to a group of students) How many of you play computer games...

THEA DIKEOS: Psychology professor Craig Anderson of Iowa University recently published a study in
the prestigious American Psychological Association analysing 130 research reports on over 130,000
subjects worldwide.

CRAIG ANDERSON: Exposure to violent video games has now been shown to increase the likelihood of
aggressive behaviour in both short term and long term contexts.

THEA DIKEOS: Professor Anderson's research is being used by child advocates here in Australia to
oppose the R rating, but the industry questions such findings.

RON CURRY: We've looked hard and talked to a lot of academics on that issue, because there's been a
lot of debate and we'd love to stand up and say, "Here are some undisputable facts that say there's
not."

Conversely, we haven't been able to find anyone who could stand up and say, "You know what? Here
are some undisputable facts that it is." At the moment, the jury's out.

THEA DIKEOS: All state Attorneys General need to agree to an R classification for it to become a
reality.

South Australia's Attorney General Michael Atkinson is the only one publicly opposing the R
classification.

(Michael Atkinson plays a game featuring a murderous human-ape hybrid)

He's become the focus of a concerted online and real world campaign by angry gamers.

Michael Atkinson was unavailable to be interviewed for this story but sparked controversy when he
spoke on ABC2's Good Game program last month.

MICHAEL ATKINSON, SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ATTORNEY GENERAL (on Good Game): I had a threatening note from a
gamer shoved under my door. I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are
from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me.

RON CURRY: Firstly, we don't condone that sort of behaviour. It's ridiculous, it's stupid and it's
counter-productive.

THEA DIKEOS: The Federal Attorney General's department is now considering the 55,000 public
submissions it received on this issue.

LAURA PARKER: It's not about a small amount of gamers with blood lust. It's about everybody. We're
all affected when a game is refused classification. Partly because we know we're being censored for
no- for no good reason.

CALEB OWENS: It's one thing to say, "I want freedom to enjoy watching a depiction of something" -
freedom of consumption, if you like.

But this is about simulating acts. Do we want people to have the freedom to simulate gory,
murderous acts, day in, day out?

Thea Dikeos with that report. Do join us again tomorrow. But for now, goodnight.