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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2594 ..



suspiciously or persons they have cause to believe are in possession of concealed weapons, searching both the person and the premises.

Even though New South Wales has introduced some excellent law and order measures in recent times, as I suggested to Bob Debus, there is further scope for action to be taken to enable the police to make an inroad into seizing illegal pistols. In all the crimes we have seen with pistols, very few pistols are registered. Among stolen pistols it is about 4,000 out of either 250,000 or 600,000. It is not a huge figure, and some of those might have come from persons with legitimate private ownership. Improved storage and tightening up will help there, but that is the tip of the iceberg.

There are a lot of pistols out there that are illegal-not registered-which are used on a fairly regular basis by criminals, especially in the major capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne. There are areas of the Crimes Act that I think should be loosened up to give the police more ability to do random searches of individuals, if we are really going to start getting unlicensed pistols off criminal elements. That will have a significant effect on the murders, gangland murders and armed robberies that criminals want pistols for. With pistols we are talking the nastiest crimes. They are favourite weapons of the serious criminal who is going to engage in a hit, a murder or an armed robbery.

That sort of crime is far more serious than anything else, and every government needs to look at this, especially the governments of the big states. Even though it does not seem to be quite the same problem here as it is in New South Wales, it is something the ACT government at least needs to monitor and, if need be, take steps to put in that legislation-if our current laws do not offer innocent, law-abiding members of the community proper protection.

If we do not do that assignation, if we do not take the relevant steps at a federal, state and territory level, I fear that, whilst there will be some benefit from this legislation, the real problem of unlicensed pistols will go largely unaddressed and we will still see those very horrible crimes being committed as a result.


(Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.34), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contribution. There seems to be general support for this legislation, which is uniform across Australia. Mr Pratt had a particular point about what the regulations might say.

Mr Pratt, not only do we table variations to regulations; we also point them out to you, at the time, to save you the task of going right through them, so that you can keep your eye on what is happening. We will let you know what that outcome is, if it has not been part of the general debate before then, although there will probably be plenty of discussion ahead of it, in any event. We will certainly go out of our way to let you know about that.

Ms Dundas and Ms Tucker each said, or implied, that this is hurried legislation. We tabled it last week, but it has been on the agenda for over six months, and it has been in the public domain for quite a time. While it is much in debate in the community, when you get back to a bill, it might seem a short period of time. But it has been thoroughly well researched, and the groups have been consulted. Not every last person, as Mr Pratt indicates, is happy with the outcome, but it is a generally agreed package. For that reason

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