The first election

Game Together: Responsible Gaming This month's South Australian election is the first for my younger daughter, who turned 18 last year. This afternoon we had a preparatory talk, prompted by her suddenly saying: I have to vote tomorrow. What? Who? How? Fortunately she knows "where". She's come along on many previous voting days. I have to vote by post, so I was able to show her the voting slips. She took one look at the Senate slip and said: What is that? An alien robot sex-ed diagram? Quite possibly. Question Time does makes one wonder. However, this handy webpage tool (thanks to the ABC for publicizing it) reduces the Panadol quotient of the Senate voting slip. You can rate your interest in each political party, then the tool outputs a page looking just like the Senate voting slip, with your numbers already filled in. It even takes account of preference voting. You can print out the page, even scribble on it, and take it with you when you vote. It's like having a whiteboard with all the Senate names and boxes already shown. You can see the whole thing in one place, and adjust your ideas as you go. So, my daughter and I worked our way down the list of parties on that webpage. She's very keen to support Gamers 4 Croydon, who represent the online gaming community. At the age of 19, she enjoys playing network games with her friends all over the world. However, our inconsistent and frustrating censorship policy bans all games not suitable for children, regardless of the very large adult gaming community. The Australian censor appears to ban games almost at random. My daughter bought the computer game Left4Dead, which was rated 15+ in Australia. When the sequel, Left4Dead 2, was released, her friends bought it overseas, and couldn't wait to play it with her. However, she couldn't buy it in Australia, because our censor decided this second version of the same game should be Refused Classification. This event has infuriated adult gamers all over Australia, who have been lobbying for years for an R18 rating for adult games. So here we have Gamers 4 Croydon on the Senate voting slip. Its varied and responsible platform belies the name. The other urgent topic for my daughter (and the rest of our family, and all netizens) is Internet censorship. Only the Greens have opposed it from the start. Other parties have vacillated at best, and at worst, parrotted Senator Conroy's horribly embarrassing lack of basic understanding of how the Internet works. Australia now looks really stupid to other countries, and as voters, we don't like that. Also, the Labor Party has dropped the ball on the environment, so the Greens are needed even more. Even allowing for eccentricity, this year's Senate ticket is a walk on the wild side. From the head-in-the-sand "Climate skeptics" and "Family First" to the cryptic "MAGS 2010" and "CARS", we have almost every tint on the political spectrum, including more than one party aimed at corruption in state government. What worries people most right now? As usual, we want our rights and services protected. Who can we trust to represent our needs? As my daughter said: We don't want to turn out like America, where everyone has guns and no-one has health insurance.


  1. Clytie,
    A little difficult to write this. Will not deluge you with wallowing sympathy. Trust you get enough of that. I have a daughter with MS and a wife who is in the last stages of some nonsense involving her heart and lungs.
    We all read vociferously.
    My wife, Brenda, has three iPod Touches because the batteries go flat if you read with the screen illuminated for more than, say, 2.5 hours. (Apple does not make much of this and repairers do not know it. They think people only listen to music when one charge will last, say, 11 hours.
    The Kindle last a week on a charge but it has the worst indexing system ever invented -- or more accurately no system -- but a wondrously readable, though not back lit screen.
    As to books available/not available in Australia it is Australian publishers who simply do not understand e-books.
    I am an author and journalists and put all my 22 books in the public domain and they were furious.
    If there are any particular popular authors you would like to read let me know and the format you would like them in. I have well over a million e-books and a large quantity of popular authors -- Bill Bryson -- and so on in any form suitable to whatever reader you use. DRM is a farce and cracking it the hobby of several hackers.
    What I am suggesting is, of course, in total breach of contract but I would seriously love to be sued so I could get this nonsense into court.
    So this is a note of support from an author. If there are any books you would like just let me know.
    No reply is needed for this e-mail.

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