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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2590 ..



I hereby call upon the government to assure that this legislation will only allow minor changes, meeting such international competition and COAG approved benchmarks. If the minister can assure this place that this will be the case, then there will be no objection at all to this legislation.

I do not support the Democrats' amendments. They suggest changes which I think are well outside the agreed COAG benchmarks. While I agree with the concerns and the spirit behind those proposed amendments, I do not believe that they are necessary. The opposition therefore stands to support this piece of legislation.


(4.16): Mr Speaker, the ACT Democrats have many concerns with not only the proposal in this legislation but also the hurried nature that it has been made in. This bill is to prohibit the possession of a number of hand guns. The ACT Democrats are supportive of tighter gun control, believing that, whilst there are a number of legitimate sporting shooters who should be able to continue in their sport, there is no reason why hand guns need to be stored in domestic homes.

Further, given that the ACT is a largely urban city-state, the ACT could be leaders in our nation with the tightest regulation of firearms. This round of restrictions on hand gun ownership was first proposed following the mass shootings at Monash University in October 2002. That tragic event saw two students killed and five injured. I note here that the Monash shooter was licensed and a member of a shooters club.

At the time, Prime Minister Howard took a firm stand. He wanted essentially to create two categories of hand gun. One list would have weapons that could be used under strict conditions by legally recognised sporting shooters; weapons on the other list would be generally banned. Those with a legitimate use, such as police and licensed security guards, would be able to have exemptions. This is the sort of reform I thought we were going to have.

In early November 2002, federal customs minister, Senator Chris Ellison, released a list of the guns that were likely to be banned. The initial hand gun proposals included a ban on all hand guns other than those used in official sporting competitions. The list included the Beretta .22, the Browning Baby .25, the Colt .38 Special Lady, the Glock 9-millimetre and the .357 magnums. Yes, the Dirty Harry style .357 revolver-said to have been a favourite of the American police during the mobster era, as it could shoot through a car's engine block-was going to be banned.

Chief Minister Stanhope was reported in the Sunday Times around that time as saying that the ACT was going to lead the country with the tightest gun laws in the nation. Then when the police ministers met, the leadership showed by Howard and Stanhope started going back. Since that time, information has been scarce as to which guns will be banned and which will remain legal. Police ministers said it would be too hard to list makes and models, and the ban became watered down.

Some months later, Victoria was the first to introduce the legislation. The proposal before us is a partial ban, with a buy-back scheme, based on the calibre, barrel length and shot capacity of the gun, and it is meant to be effective from 1 July 2003. We still have no comprehensive list of what is in or what is out. From my research of hand guns, I

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