By Calvin Palmer
Western Australia looks set to join the ever growing number of democratic governments imposing bans on smokers.
New anti-smoking measures have passed the Lower House of Parliament and the Bill’s sponsor, London-born Independent MP Janet Woollard, is hopeful it will be passed by Parliament’s Legislative Council as early as next week.
Woollard’s draconian measures include a ban on smoking within 10 meters (33 feet) of playgrounds, in cars carrying children under the age of 16, in the outdoor areas of cafés and restaurants, in at least 50 percent of outdoor areas of hotels and in designated beach bathing areas.
Cigarette advertising will be banned in all shops, while outlets other than tobacconists will be required to keep tobacco products under the counter or in a drawer where they are hidden from view.
And that is a watered-down version of the original Bill. Originally, Woollard had sought a ban on smoking in all outdoor areas of hotels. What made her let hotels off the hook?
Restaurant and café owners found to be in breach of the laws will be liable for fines of up to A$2,000 ($1,535).
Citizens found flouting the law face an initial A$200 fine ($153), while repeat offenders can receive a penalty of A$1,000 ($768).
Similar laws are due to come into effect in New South Wales from July 1.
But why is Woollard pussy-footing around with these childish restrictions and puny fines? She should don her jackboots, unfurl the swastika and introduce legislation to round up every smoker in the state, Australia, the world, and bring a final solution to the problem of smokers and second-hand tobacco smoke.
And , sadly, I can see some of you nodding in agreement.
[Based on a report by the Melbourne Herald Sun.]