Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 people - that is, sports shooting clubs - involved in discussions before the Australian Police Ministers Council? I say that because the NT Shooters Council have stated that after reading the Australian Police Ministers Council resolutions of November 2002, they could only conclude that whoever drew up the list of recommendations had a misunderstanding of firearms management, and that the inflexibility of the resolutions from the Australian Police Ministers Council and COAG were based on flawed directions to restrictions. To back that up, they produced a list of 22 points, which commented on the Australian Police Ministers Councils resolution. At the end of this list was a summary. At the end of the summary, they suggest that: ...consultation be the order o f the day before ending up with resolutions that are pointless and misdirected. I realise that comes from a vested interest, but they do have a valid point that, basically, we have to react to something, where very few people except a limited number of police and other ministers were involved in the discussion. When we are dealing with such an emotional - and sometimes a legitimately emotional - issue, surely it would be better to include some of the legitimate bodies, such as the Northern Territory Shooters Council, upfront, so they can discuss these issues. We then have a more reasoned debate, not a rushed debate, about policing at that point and, hopefully, better input into what legislation is being put forward. I do not think the Northern Territory Shooters Council is opposed to national hand gun control. However, they wanted to see it done with a lot more input from bodies like themselves at the beginning. We are now debating a bill which is to be decided during these sittings as a matter of urgency. It is a pity that, once again, we have before us a very important bill that will affect quite a few people in my electorate. I know this bill is subject to the whims of our federal colleagues, but I really have to ask why, perhaps at COAG meetings, we cannot spend a bit more time looking at the issue of adequate time for other legislatures to look at this act. I have a couple of points to raise. I know, originally, there was a move to include fingerprinting in the bill. I am happy to see that the Northern Territory government has removed that. I do see, on both sides, the argument that there is good reason for having fingerprints. On the other hand, some people would say it is the thin edge of the wedge; it is reducing our rights. Are we criminals if we own a gun? If we have to have fingerprints taken, is that saying that we have done something wrong? The other question is: is it consistent? For instance, I own a rifle but I do not have to be fingerprinted, so why should a person with a hand gun have to be? On the other hand, I can see it being a valuable tool to control the illegal use of guns; to ensure that people who have guns are not criminals. Whilst I see the argument, I believe our present laws are strict enough to tackle that without the use of fingerprints. One concern - and I believe it comes under the ministers 28 points that we cannot change because they are COAG points - is that there appears to be duplication of responsibilities between clubs and police. Then there is the question of why the clubs have to do certain things that have already been checked out by the police, because of their requirements. You cannot get a licence unless you have safe storage for your gun, and there is a requirement for the clubs to do likewise. I accepted at the briefing that, hopefully, that will be shortened by little tick boxes in the forms, so people do not have to write lots of detail because, as most people would know, the people in these clubs are volunteers. You certainly do not want to be driving these people away from the sport they love simply because they have paperwork. Hopefully, that will be at least minimal or easy for people to fill in. There are some other questions I would like answered. I am not sure whether the member for Goyder raised a similar question, which is the rationale behind why you have one calibre of gun being permitted and another calibre of gun not being permitted. What was the reasoning behind the cut-off as against the cut-off here. I would be interested to know that because the Shooters Council gave me a nice list of bullets. I gather that to use any of them pretty close to a person, you can certainly kill them. I would be interested to know why, in this document I have here, I have some marked blue - which I presume are permitted - and some marked pink, which now would be illegal. Why did the government make a cut-off at that point, and what was the rationale? Minister, could you clarify what will happen with people who make their own bullets? In the buy-back, what equipment will receive a payment? Is it only bullets that you have purchased from a firearms dealer or, if you are making them yourself, will you get any reimbursement for those? Or do you have to do an awful lot of shooting between now and 1 July to use all those bullets? Is there any compensation for the equipment that is used to make those bullets as well? As I said, minister, I realise that you spoke about the disadvantage the Northern Territory will suffer by losing the disciplines we have at the moment. 4411

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