Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm has come out swinging against Gympie Times Saturday columnist Colin Claridge.
Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm has come out swinging against Gympie Times Saturday columnist Colin Claridge. MICK TSIKAS

Leyonhjelm says Gympie columnist pathetically ill informed

(GYMPIE Times columnist) Colin Claridge must live a very sheltered life if he has never experienced the nanny state (The Gympie Times, January 12). But I suspect he is also unclear what the nanny state means.

READ MORE: Colin Claridge's column as it appeared in last Saturday's Gympie Times

The normal definition, and the one used in the Senate nanny-state inquiry which I chaired, is government-imposed rules for our own good. That is, when nobody else is affected.

A good example is compulsory bicycle helmets; nobody else is harmed if you fall off and land on your head.

Suggesting I oppose all restraints on behaviour on nanny state grounds is absurd.

My guiding principle, and that of the Liberal Democrats, is the harm principle espoused by John Stuart Mill: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."

Although I have never met or corresponded with Mr Claridge, I suspect I already know something about him.

First, he makes stuff up.

Unlike his apparent hero, Sarah Hanson-Young, I have never had to withdraw any statements in the Senate. She has had to withdraw 27 times. His claim that I "made a career" out of being obnoxious is just absurdly false. 

I also know he doesn't understand the electoral system.

Senator Anning might have received 19 below the line votes but he was elected on the One Nation ticket, which in Queensland got 250,126 votes.

In NSW my party, the Liberal Democrats, received 139,007 votes. Mr Claridge says they are "pathetically low" percentages. I say he is pathetically ill-informed.

Finally, I can tell that he knows nothing about me.

I've been a member of the Liberal Democrats since 2005. How is that drifting "from one party to the next"?

And far from moving to the NSW parliament because I need an income, I am moving so that I can wind back the nanny state that the likes of Mr Claridge cheer on from the sidelines.

Even if Mr Claridge likes being told how to live their lives, there are a lot of people who don't.

Senator David Leyonhjelm,

Liberal Democrats Senator for NSW

Gympie Times


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