A WA Labor MP has blamed "nastier" violence on the streets on the fact that those who commit such crimes are not being "culled" by being sent to foreign wars.
During debate in Parliament on legislation to enable uniform R18+ classification for video games, Forrestfield MP Andrew Waddell said violence on the streets was less frequent but nastier.
“I put it that one of the reasons for that is the sorts of people who are committing those violent crimes are the very same types of people who in past times were sent off to fight in wars,” he said.
“The reality is that we are not culling the young any more. We are not sending them off to a foreign battlefield to kill other people any more. And that is why they are on our streets.
“That is the reality. The fact is we have not had a major conflict in a very long time.”
RSL State president Bill Gaynor said Mr Waddell’s comments demeaned professional servicemen and women.
"These people choose to enlist,” he said. “They choose to do the training and they become very proficient at the work they are trained to do.
“What he is really saying is that if we have wars, then people tend to vent their spleen or get their aggression out,” he said.
“People who go off to war to fight for their country are highly trained persons.
“They have been put through rigorous training to make sure they can mentally and physically stand the strain and react in the appropriate manner.
“He is trying to compare that to people who have gone out in the streets and because they have nothing to do, they make something to do and if it’s violence, so be it.”
Liberal MP Joe Francis, who served in the navy before entering Parliament, described the comments as “offensive and weird”.
“I was speechless,” he said. “I find it offensive to anyone who’s ever been in the military.”
“Is he saying that only people who have a predisposition towards gratuitous violence join the military and therefore they used to die?”
“I just don’t get it. This guy is just in la-la land.”
I would wonder what his colleagues who have also been in the military say about that.”
Labor backbencher Peter Tinley, a former SAS commander, declined to comment but shadow education minister Paul Papalia said he was not offended and Mr Waddell had not said what he meant.
“He said stuff that, when you read it, sounds extreme,” Mr Papalia said. “People say heated things in the course of debates. I’m a veteran, I’m not offended by it.
“I’ve talked to him. What he was trying to say is that video games don’t cause violence.”Labor later released a statement from Mr Waddell saying: “In the heat of parliamentary debate, I used a clumsy form of words that did not express what I really meant. If anyone is offended, I apologise.”
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