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‘Tasers should be available in Kmart’

Should women be allowed to carry tasers?
Should women be allowed to carry tasers?

SHOULD women in Australia be allowed to carry tasers and pepper spray?

It's a question that's been raised this week after the horrific death of Melbourne woman Eurydice Dixon who was killed on her walk home from work on June 12.

Victorian MP with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Jeff Bourman, is filing a motion to Parliament that would allow "all reasonable and practical methods of self defence".

Mr Bourman wants women to have the option to defend themselves "against a stronger and probably more experienced attacker". Specifically, he wants them to be able to use pepper spray and stun guns.

It is illegal to carry "any article designed or adapted to discharge and offensive, noxious or irritant liquid" in Victoria.

Victoria's Critical Incident Response Team is allowed to carry tasers but they are not permitted to be owned or used by the general public.

Western Australia is the only state where pepper spray is considered a controlled weapon and can be carried where there are deemed to be "reasonable grounds".

Perth woman Yushan Luo was fined for carrying pepper spray in 2014 after it was given to her by her boyfriend. She also had a taser disguised as a mobile phone.

Tasers and pepper spray are being pushed by a Victorian Shooters and Fishers MP.
Tasers and pepper spray are being pushed by a Victorian Shooters and Fishers MP.

 

A Facebook post by Mr Bourman noted that Victoria's Minister for Police Lisa Neville and new Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp are "afraid to walk the streets alone at night".

It created fierce debate from both sides of the argument. Many said it was a "slippery slope".

Rodney Phillips wrote: "Not on. Don't start something of which you have no idea where it will finish … putting more weapons on the street is not the answer."

Sue Phillips wrote: "I do not want access to weapons. I want appropriate consequences for offenders. Timely and respectful responses by police."

Harley Pettirosso wrote: "If the Lord Mayor is afraid to walk the streets at night in her own city then a new Lord Mayor is required. Take a leaf out of (former New York City mayor) Rudy Giuliani's book on how to clean up a city."

But others said it was time for change and that Ms Dixon's death proved women need to be able to defend themselves.

Marion Barnes wrote: "Thank you Jeff, at last someone gets it."

Aleta Rowland wrote: "I'm in, where do we sign? 'Bout time, we need to be able to legally defend ourselves like they can in other countries."

Sam Cannuli wrote: "Tasers should be available at Kmart."

David Brown wrote: "The debate needs to step up a gear. Women and men equally deserve the right to protect themselves. They should have a choice of lethal and non-lethal or both."

The comments were raised on the Today show on Monday where presenter Alicia Loxley said the plan was a bad one.

"I just feel this debate, once again, is moving completely in the wrong direction, putting the onus back on the woman to ensure that she is safe," Loxley said.

"I think what is really sad in the wake of a tragedy like this is when the commentary goes in the wrong direction and makes women feel like they are the ones who need to take responsibility for their actions."

 

Pepper spray is not legal in Victoria.
Pepper spray is not legal in Victoria.

 

It's not the first time Mr Bourman has weighed in on law on order in Victoria. Previously, he wrote that "police aren't doing enough" about gangs.

"Given that the police on the police on the streets are flat out, there is obviously a resource shortage that must be dealt with," Mr Bourman said.

"Separate to that, and in my opinion as important as the resource shortage, is the sub standard judiciary.

"Serial offenders getting bail and thugs getting a tiny sentence given their history and that the gravity of the offences sends a message that you can do serious stuff and get away with it.

"We can put another 10,000 police on the streets but the weakest link is still the court system. We must have the courts reflecting the will of all society, not just the lefty hand wringers.

"Make the judiciary accountable, it's within the power of the government and the opposition can make a promise, a core promise, to do it should they get elected.

"We're not allowed anything to protect ourselves, so it's the government's job to keep us safe and it's not happening."

Eurydice Dixon was farewelled at a private funeral last week. More than 10,000 people also turned out to Princes Park in Carlton North for a vigil to offer their condolences to the young comic who was killed after a gig at the Highlander Bar in the CBD.

Her alleged killer, Jaymes Todd, 19, handed himself in to police after CCTV images were circulated. He is due to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates' Court in October.

Topics:  editors picks eurydice dixon sexual assault women