A parliamentary inquiry will probe Western Australia’s so-called “nanny state” rules, but the premier says tough firearm laws, seatbelts and motorbike helmets are here to stay.
The state’s lone Liberal Democrat MP Aaron Stonehouse pushed for and will chair the inquiry, which will scrutinise the economic and social impact of measures that restrict personal choice “for the individual’s own good”.
Mr Stonehouse is waging war on “paternalistic laws” such as having to wear bike helmets and is alarmed at the prospect of life jackets being made mandatory for water users in WA.
“Everyone knows that I’m not a fan of the ‘nanny state’. And for a while now, I’ve been thinking about the best way to do some serious damage to this life-sucking nebulous amoeba,” he said.
Mr Stonehouse is most keen to probe the ban on e-cigarettes, saying “there’s probably no more ridiculous ban in Australia”.
The five-person committee has the power to look at other matters such as speed cameras, Tasers and pepper spray, and smoking within licensed venues.
Premier Mark McGowan said he didn’t mind a parliamentary committee looking at personal liberty issues but certain rules would not change.
“Under my government, we’ll keep tough firearm laws, we’ll make sure that you still have to wear a seatbelt when you drive, have to wear a motorcycle helmet when you ride a motorcycle,” he told reporters.
“There might be other issues where personal liberties have been infringed that we’re unaware of and maybe there can be changes.
“But tough firearm laws, seatbelts, motorcycle helmets are here to stay.”