The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'wowserism'


It has emerged that Australian opposition leader and predicted next Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attended a strip club four years ago.

It's not clear which way this will go. On one hand, Rudd's big advantage over Howard is his perceived honesty and cleanness. If the Howard government (or, more precisely, sympathisers in the media and pressure groups, who can be kept at arm's length) can succeed in using this (and the juxtaposition between Rudd's straight-laced Christian public image and this incident) to damage this aura, then Rudd may become just another grubby politician, only without a track record. On the other hand, Australians do love a larrikin (see also: Bob Hawke), and this minor indiscretion may make him more appealing to some voters. (Not the wowsers, of course, though whether they were ever likely to leave the Howard camp is uncertain.)

Either way, let's hope that it puts paid to any Labor overtures to Family First.

australia politics wowserism 1


International consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers has called on Australia to introduce an 18+ rating for video games, rather than the present system of banning anything not suitable for children. Given that it's a voice of multinational corporate capital (a force the Tories respect more than paternalist wowserism and populist culture-war politics) making the call, and not the despised inner-city refugee-loving latte-socialist elite, perhaps someone will give the censorious theocrat in South Australia who holds the veto a sharp push and get things changed.

australia authoritarianism censorship culture war wowserism 0


In Australia, there is no R rating for video games, and hence all video and computer games deemed unsuitable for children are illegal (either that or are shoehorned into the suitable-for-teenage-mooks MA category; after all, commerce is commerce); it is a similar situation to what existed with comic books in the US in the days of the Comics Code Authority and the red scare. 88% of Australians want a R rating introduced, recognising that video games aren't merely childrens' entertainment; however, it's not likely to happen any time soon, because a devoutly religious, ultra-conservative state attorney-general holds the power of veto:

In order to change the current regime by introducing a classification bill before parliament, all nine state and federal attorneys-general must agree unanimously to the proposal for an R18+ games rating.
South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson opposes the introduction of an R18+ classification for games which would bring interactive entertainment in line with other media like films and publications.
An R rating would give the OFLC a lot more flexibility when dealing with borderline decisions like the recent controversial banning of Marc Ecko's Getting Up as well as sending a much stronger message to parents that not all games are suitable for children.
Singapore is the only other Western country in the world not to have an R classification for games.
I suspect that Atkinson isn't the only attorney-general who would veto a R rating. The federal government is quite close to the religious right, and I believe has previously opposed any moves that would Send The Wrong Message by legalising adults-only games.

(And is Singapore really a "Western country" by any criterion? It's in south-east Asia, more Confucian than European in philosophy, somewhat authoritarian, and not, strictly speaking, a functioning liberal democracy. Though, being also descended from the institutions of the British Empire, it could be a model for a more orderly, efficient Australia.)

australia censorship culture war wowserism 0


Seemingly trying to outflank the Tories on the right and court the favour of the evangelical churches and wowsers, the Australian Labor Party has announced that it will institute ISP-level blocking of adult internet content should it win power. The policy, which will allow those who wish to access porn to sign a perverts' register and get access to a less-filtered version of the feed, originally belonged to Christian Fundamentalist party Family First, to whom Labor has been cozying up lately (such as, for example, by giving them preferences ahead of the Greens and Democrats in recent state elections).

Of course, the prospects of Labor winning power within the next decade or so aren't exactly promising. Though the prospect of two paternalist wowser parties trying to outdo each other's social conservatism isn't exactly appealing. Though, if anything, this is the first time in ages that the Liberal Party has lived up to its name as the more liberal end of the spectrum.

australia censorship wowserism 4

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