Member for the South Metropolitan region Aaron Stonehouse has officially stepped up his war against what he describes as “the nanny state” with a new committee set to challenge laws which restrict personal freedoms.
Mr Stonehouse is now chair of the Select Committee on Personal Choice and Community Safety, a group which enjoys cross-bench support from Labor, Liberal and other minor parties.
They are set to examine any laws that restrict personal choice “for the individual’s own good” including the sale and supply of e-cigarettes.
Mr Stonehouse said the committee will also test the claims of public health experts about mandatory laws on bicycle helmets and life jackets.
“Historically, Western Australia was a relaxed place – older folks can recall a time when the government tended to leave you alone, but that’s no longer the case,” he said.
“There’s probably no more ridiculous ban in Australia than the ban on e-cigarettes.
“These things are 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco and are proven to save lives, yet the Government says ‘no, you have to quit our way, or the highway’”.
Mr Stonehouse – an outspoken proponent of libertarian law and removing government intervention – said he didn’t understand why so much emphasis was being placed on forcing people to wear protection when boating or cycling.
“We have some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, much of which our indigenous people have been enjoying since time immemorial and yet politicians today seem to think every man in a tinnie needs a life jacket,” he said.
“Every time I see a person wearing a bicycle helmet in the city, I think to myself: here’s another sign of the Government forcing someone to do something they may not have otherwise felt they needed to do.”
The terms of reference of the inquiry include the power to inquire into any other measures introduced to restrict personal choice, which would allow the committee to look at other areas including speed cameras, Tasers, pepper spray, and smoking within licensed venues.