Premier Colin Barnett has recently confirmed that a shark tower will be built at Cottesloe Beach. This is his own electorate, so it's not surprising that many people claim the decision is a case of cynical pork barreling, an accusation he denies:

"Yes it is my electorate and as the Member for Cottesloe I'm delighted the government is going to help the club build a much needed patrol tower and I think beach users at Cottesloe will appreciate that," he said.

"Most of the other surf clubs do have adequate facilities at this stage, Cottesloe doesn't."

Well, whatever his reasons for having the structure built, it is interesting in the context of what the State Opposition are suggesting as a solution to the shark problem. Labor Leader Mark McGowan has promised that at least three ocean pools will be constructed if he's elected Premier.

There seems to be a major philosophical difference here. That's notable because the two major parties are usually quite similar on a lot of issues.

In this case the right of centre party accepts that there will be risk when people swim in the ocean, and seeks to mitigate that by various measures such as the shark tower and selective culling. The left of centre party is more utopian and paternalistic, endorsing a costly but absolute solution that involves no killing of sharks.

Being more on the conservative side myself, I prefer the Barnett option. Sure, a pool right next to the beach will certainly completely remove the risk of shark attack for those who use it. But it kind of defeats the purpose of going there in the first place, doesn't it?