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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2061..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

homes of women and children are often committed on impulse as well; although not always, I acknowledge. I think, in Killing the beloved: homicide between adult sexual intimates, Patricia Easteal has very clear statistics. There are some people who will hunt down their ex-wife or wife or whatever and children, but the majority of those sorts of killings will occur on impulse, and sometimes under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. So there is a really strong argument there, too, to try to make it harder to have access to that lethal weapon quite so quickly.

We will continue to have this discussion, I hope, as the Social Policy Committee looks at this issue, but I am very proud that this Assembly was so quick to respond to this ministerial meeting and that we came out as quickly as we did in support of it. It is a pleasure to work with all members here on this issue.

MR WOOD (12.24): Mr Speaker, I agree with the previous speaker. I note that the Premier of New South Wales was very proud to declare that his was the first State to introduce and pass such legislation. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a member of the same party as I am, I have to disagree with him. He should also incorporate into his terminology the definition of "Territory". It was this Territory that led Australia in the speed of getting that legislation through.

I want to comment on one aspect of the debate arising from the gun control issue. I have heard a few times from some who resist the changes the response: "The next thing is that they will be banning knives". That strikes a chord with me because I think there is a problem with knives. It is dangerous for a politician or for any person to come to judgments about how society changes, that there is so much more crime these days, or that this aspect of our life has increased, but it does seem to me that the use of knives is increasing. As I watch media reports of stabbings and the like, it seems there are more of them. The data may show otherwise. These matters may come to our notice more frequently than they did formerly, but I am concerned about some aspects of the use of knives.

It seems to me - again I emphasise the word "seems" - that there are more advertisements about knives. Swiss Army knives, for example, an eminently useful tool, are heavily advertised come Christmas time, and there are many more of them around. I recall an occasion in a court case in Canberra not so long ago, as I read the details in our local paper, of a defence being argued that a teenager carried a knife, which he had used in an attack in defence, or in reaction to comments, to peel fruit. It somehow did not ring true with me that a teenager would be using a knife to peel fruit. I think there is a greater propensity for some in our community, not just teenagers, or not necessarily teenagers, to have a knife on them than was the case in the past. I would think that any move to control the sale of knives would be extraordinarily difficult.

Mr De Domenico: And there are more.

MR WOOD: Well, maybe. I have been struck by the comments and I am concerned about that apparent increasing use of knives. I hope that, as people talk about changing mores in our society, we do not just focus on guns, but we look at other weapons that may be commonplace in society but can be used to the detriment of individuals.


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