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




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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 Prime Minister wants then we do not get our $5m. It is a pretty poor way to bring legislation into this House. It is also pretty poor when you turn around and blame the Prime Minister for all of this when, at the end of the day, the responsibility lies fairly and squarely with the ChiefMinister. I am not trying to preach, but I do know how COAG meetings work. They are pretty general in the way they have discussions. What you have ensure is that you are not a signatory to a communique to which you do not agree. I believe the ChiefMinister was wrong to go in there and slide off the politics of it without thinking about the effect it would have on responsible, law-abiding Territorians; by saying: We will make the streets safe! We have signed up to the COAG agreements. Arent we great? Maybe that is good politics. But sadly, in playing this sort of polidcs, good people are always hurt. The people being hurt in this case are probably some of the most law-abiding people in the Northern Territory. They are people who conduct their sport responsibly, keep records responsibly, and are very sensitive to any irresponsible activity in their own sporting organisations. What they can see is a sliding scale; a slippery slope where they had the first tranche after Port Arthur, and the second tranche after this idiot went mad at Monash University. They are saying: What is going to happen next? There will be another shooting somewhere in Australia, and what will be next? These are the times when governments have to stand up strongly. You may not win at the end of the day. I accept that, but you have to stand up. You do not cave on day one. The government of the Northern Territory should have seen that, by agreeing to COAG after one meeting, hitting the street with media releases, they would end up with the mess they have today. That is the most unfortunate part of this legislation. The other part of the legislation that concerns me is, if you look at the requirements of the COAG agreement - and I am sure that the ChiefMinister did not sit in that meeting and go through the pages of this stuff; there would have been a communique, an agreement in principle - what has resulted is that the Australian Police Ministers Council have taken an opportunity to get some of their stuff in there as well. The Australian Police Ministers Council are saying: Here is an opportunity to get something through that we have been pushing for, and we can roll it all up in one piece of legislation. That is fine if it is responsible, protects Tenitorians, and is absolutely necessary. I do not believe it is. There is one part of it that is crazy: this notion that somehow a .357 mm Magnum is less lethal in a sporting shooters organisation than a .44 mm Magnum. God damn! A .44 mm Magnum or a .357 mm Magnum will take you out as easily as each other. Why, in Gods name, does the Northern Territory government sign up for something that says: We agree that a .357 mm Magnum is okay, but a .44 mm Magnum is no good? I do not understand the logic of it. What has happened is that the bigger states are playing the politics of this issue against the responsible shooters in the Northern Tenitory. That is sad. The powers of the Police Commissioner are worrying. I stand to be conected, and I had a briefing at lunch time, but I do not believe that any Police Commissioner should be given the absolute power that he is being given under this legislation: no review, no appeal, nothing. He can just revoke a persons licence based on information that he has received and, under this guise of police intelligence, he does not have to reveal any information to anyone. You can be a person who is seen to have an associate who has impugned your reputation, and the Police Commissioner can make a decision to revoke your licence, and that is it. The Police Commissioner might be right, and I am sure on most occasions, if this occurs, he would be right. I do not doubt his ability to make those decisions, nor his authority. I do wonder why the person involved has no appeal, because certainly, under cunent legislation - and I am sure the Shadow Attorney-General would have pointed to things like the Misuse o f Drugs Act - where these sorts of things occur, people have a right of appeal. If there is any concern about anyone else or sources being revealed through that appeal process, there are practical ways of getting through that. It could be a private appeal to a magistrate, for example, with no one else present. I find it strange, to say the least, that the Police Commissioner has been given such arbitrary power, and I do not believe that the amendments are required under the terms of the COAG resolution. Madam Speaker, there is nothing that can be done with this unless you use your discretionary vote, which is an interesting scenario - 1 am not putting any pressure on you at all in that regard. Unfortunately, the situation in which the Northern Territory finds itself is that we prematurely agreed to a scenario before we knew the outcome. Piece by piece, if there are any arguments to be put, they have been whittled away. The Commonwealth - and they are pretty good at this sort of stuff - eventually gives you a package whereby you agree to the lot or you get nothing, and that is the situation in which we have ended up. What I believe the Northern Territory should have done - and I stand to be corrected; the minister might wish to correct me on this one - I am not sure whether Western Australia has gone as far as the Northern Territory as yet, they may have. What the 4416