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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1222 ..


MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, question No. 191, asked of me by Mr Berry on notice, is overdue by, I think, 24 hours. I want to apologise to Mr Berry for not having the answer in on time. I will try to hand it over to the Secretariat by the close of business today.

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, I have two questions that are similarly outstanding. Could I ask about the state of questions Nos 181 and 182 to Mr Stefaniak.

MR STEFANIAK: They are sport and recreation ones. I think I signed those off today, Ms McRae. You should have them.

Ministerial Statement

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Police): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on the Australasian Police Ministers Council meeting on gun control.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: As members will be aware, on Friday last week I represented the ACT Government at the special meeting of the Australasian Police Ministers Council. That meeting was called at the personal instigation of the Prime Minister to attempt to reach agreement among all States and Territories on a nationally uniform firearms control scheme. I am pleased to report to members that the meeting was successful. After some considerable discussion among State and Territory Ministers, a substantial package was agreed to and will be enacted quickly by all jurisdictions. In respect of one item of agreement - a ban on semiautomatic weapons - I shall be introducing legislation immediately following this ministerial statement to give support to it, and I trust that it will gain the support of all members of this Assembly.

To put the meeting in context, it is necessary to remind members of the tragedy which befell the small community of Port Arthur in Tasmania. As my letter to the editor in the Canberra Times shortly after that massacre read, it took one gunman to wound 18 million Australians. This meeting was a responsible reaction to grave community concern at the lax position of firearms laws in some States and Territories. The meeting of Ministers was addressed by the Prime Minister and by the Premier of Tasmania. They both spoke of the national tragedy which, unfortunately, brought about this meeting. The Prime Minister accurately summed up the views of all Australians when, on the question of States and Territories reaching agreement on tough gun laws, he told the meeting that the people of Australia demand it and the national interest requires it.

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