Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003
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
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 by the federal CLP member for Solomon, who sits with the Liberal government in Canberra. After all, it is the federal Liberal Party that is responsible for the demise of international sports shooting at the Arafura Games by their position of demanding that there be only two sporting disciplines. I said then, and I repeat: the member for Solomon, Mr Tollner, who so loudly called for a brigade of so-called freedom fighters to join him on his crusade to safeguard all Territorians rights, was kowtowing to Canberra by his silence on this matter. No matter what those on the opposition benches say about this debate, they support the hypocrisy of their CLP colleague in Canberra. Their only contribution to this debate is to confuse, take up the popular position, and bark that they are about freedom. M r Burke: This is supposed to be a debate, not reading your script. M r KIELY: That is what you are about, sport. Let us get it on the public record, that is what you are about. The truth is they are about themselves. They yearn for the government benches, and they would sell their souls to the devil if it meant that they could take us all back to the dark ages of CLP waste and arrogance. I have had quite a number of people make representations to me about the proposed firearm amendments, particularly while I was at the Micket Creek complex. I have also received a letter from a shooter in Alice Springs, which said that shooters do not want the Martin Labor government to fold and give way to Canberra. We have been right in the thick of it, putting forward the case why the governments of Australia - because that is what we are dealing with here - should allow five, not two, shooting disciplines, and why we have no objection to the ownership of .45 mm calibre firearms by licensed shooters. We tried hard; we stood up and were counted. However, the Northern Territory is a small jurisdiction and we cannot go it alone. The simple facts are these: for many years, Australian political leaders, from all sides of politics and all jurisdictions, have agreed in principle that nationally consistent laws governing guns are required. This continues to be the case. The federal government has flagged it will ban importation into Australia of guns outside the range of defined calibres, which includes the .45 mm calibre hand gun. The majority of states have banned, or will soon be banning, these calibre guns. This will have the effect of putting competitions using .45 mm calibre hand guns in the history basket in those states and the ACT. Territory sport shooters will not be able to travel interstate or overseas in possession of firearms in excess of .38 mm calibre, due to the federal and state restrictions. With inconsistent laws between states, we would face jurisdiction shopping and potentially set our own Territory as a Mecca for illegal hand gun trading and all associated problems that accompany such illicit trade. In this context, a ramshackle of state laws would make hosting national sporting events very problematic. It is the nature of politics that you have to make compromises for the greater good. Australian society, through its federal, state and territory governments, has decided to restrict the type and calibre of hand guns which will be available to the general population. This is not an issue of individual freedoms and rights. We are not Americans, although some in this House certainly wish we were, nor do we share a common constitution. No Australian citizen has a right to own a firearm. We, as a government, have represented our constituents well, far in excess of those federal and Territory CLP opposition people, and we will continue to represent the best interests of our community as a whole. Mr Burke: Dont lose your place on the script there, Len. Mr KIELY: I thought it was important to think this out and have it all in front of me, to get it on the record, because this is an important issue. I am saddened that my friends in the shooting fraternity will not be able to go to the range and use their favourite pistol and participate in their favourite sport. It brings me no joy to be in here bringing in this law. However, I will tell you that we had a go; we stood up and were counted and made representations at COAG, contrary to the opposition, who did nothing ... M r Burke: After you agreed. M r KIELY: He did nothing! The opposition ... M r Wood: That is not what the Shooters Council say. M r KIELY: Hang on. The opposition did not make any representations to Canberra through COAG. They did not even brief their own federal member. Yet, they come in here and have the temerity to purport to be the freedom loving people who look after the poor downtrodden and disenfranchised people of the Territory. That is not right. I cannot sit here and let them get away with that. I want it to go on record, before I do have a little shot at their inability, and their opportunism to climb on the back of a very, very serious issue and then try and make out what a great mob they are. Well, they did not stand up in 1996 or 2003. It was 4421
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