South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, the person holding back any progess on the introduction of an R18+ for digital games in Australia, labeled a report commisioned by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia "absolutely bogus polling" and "trash". The report, which found 91 per cent of Australians support the introduction of an R18+ rating, was conducted by Bond University on behalf of the publisher's lobby group. Its author defended the research pointing out that the it was done impartially by international firm Nielsen and the statistical analysis was performed "following the highest standard of research ethics":
Dr Jeffrey Brand, Associate Professor at the Bond University Centre for New Media Research and Education, told Screen Play today that "the research team for Interactive Australia 2009 would be interested in hearing specific criticisms from Mr. Atkinson with respect to particular flaws he sees in our research methodology".
"All research must be funded and idle claims about the impact of funding influence on research outcomes are less useful than thoughtful considerations of how methodology impacts outcomes," says Dr Brand.
Mr. Atkinson made the assumption that "he who pays the piper calls the tune", but Dr Brand says he approached the IEAA with the proposal for the research in 2004 and was "not seeking to be paid for my views". "I have sought to bring quality national polling research to the table to facilitate discussion about the place of computer games in our society with the one funding source that would be willing to support the research.
"We make no profit from this research. The IEAA simply covers the cost of the research - not even my time is paid for, instead funding pays for Nielsen to field the study and for postgraduate students to help with analyses, build graphs and write up the report."
Damn you inconvenient reality! This outright refusal to take the vast majority of the people seriously really shines a light on Atkinson's understanding of democracy.