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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1158 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I think we can also take heart from the historic, momentous decision taken by the Prime Minister and all Ministers for Justice last Friday. I think this action will prove that those people in Tasmania did not die in vain. Most Australians have been most shocked at the possibility that we were going down the same path as the US when it comes to violence. In that country, every 21 minutes a person is shot and killed. I am proud that Australia has decided that it wants a safer and more rational society. This event has also made me think about the socialisation, particularly of males in our society, and how that contributes to the violence that we witnessed at Port Arthur. Perhaps later, when we are debating the issue of gun control, I will elaborate on that issue of socialisation.

Mr Speaker, I offer my sincere sympathies to those who have to deal with the loss of their loved ones - their children, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. Although these statements of sympathy may sound hollow in some way from strangers such a long way away, I would like to reassure those people that we will ensure a positive outcome in the future and ensure that those loved ones did not die in vain.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, the Greens join with other members of this place to offer condolence to all people who have been affected by the events at Port Arthur, and I would like to express our sincerest and most heartfelt sympathy to all those people.

Not long after the event I received a letter which I would like to read to members. I was surprised to receive this letter, because it was from someone whom I know personally and who would normally just ring up and have a chat on the phone. She wrote to me as an MLA in the ACT and she said:

Dear Kerrie

I am writing to you as MLA for the ACT to urge you to do everything in your power to press for tighter gun control laws.

[My family] and I were in Port Arthur on the day of the massacre. A chance decision to take a walk before going to the historic site meant that we escaped the shootings but discovered the body of a woman in a car at the petrol station. I got out to see if she was still alive and someone crept out of the post office to warn us someone was loose with a gun. We dashed for our lives to the post office. And we were lucky to have been so little traumatised compared to others. I will never forget it.

The arguments for gun control are well known and I will not repeat them here. What I can add is my account of a harrowing experience that I want no one else ever to suffer.

Later I rang this person, and we talked for a long time. I understand that there were at least 15 people from Canberra at Port Arthur on that day who have been offered counselling in the ACT.

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