Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1296 ..
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.
Debate resumed from 25 March 1999, on motion by Mr Humphries:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (10.41): Mr Speaker, the Opposition is also quite pleased to support this piece of legislation. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill deals specifically with arrangements that are necessary to allow competitors in the 2000 Olympics to bring firearms into the ACT for the purpose of shooting competitions that will be a part of the Olympic Games. The Bill obviously covers the possibility that people training for or participating in the shooting competitions that are part of the games will be allowed to enter the ACT with firearms for which they otherwise would not have authority.
To that end, the Bill allows the Registrar of Firearms to issue temporary permits to international visitors and to grant temporary recognition to licences and permits issued interstate principally for the purpose of those shooting competitions. Under the legislation, the temporary permits or the temporary recognition of interstate permits will be limited to a period of three months or less. It is notable, Mr Speaker, that the amendments give effect to a decision to that effect by the Australian Police Ministers Council.
The absolute period for which a permit may be granted is three months. That does give some latitude either side of the Olympic Games, which, as members would appreciate, in effect cover a two-week period; but it is quite reasonable, I think, in order to promote the ACT's interest in a role in the Olympics, that a three-month period be allowed for a temporary permit for firearms for these purposes.
I do not think the amendment derogates in any way from the very good position that the ACT has adopted in relation to the prohibition of firearms. I am conscious of the very significant and strong role played by the Attorney in relation to the banning of firearms. This temporary exemption for the purpose of the games is something that I think we would all support, without in any way suggesting that the strong attitude adopted on both sides of this place in the ACT in relation to firearms is maintained.
I might add a rider. I believe the Attorney has introduced an amendment which the Labor Party will also support, although we did raise with the Attorney's office some questions about whether or not the amendment was the cleanest and most clinical way to achieve the purpose that he seeks to achieve by it. I just place on the record that I am not sure