Page 2761 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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paintball markers elsewhere. This provision will enable young people to gain experience in and learn about the responsibility of using firearms. That is all part of a legitimate learning process so that they develop a good grounding for the future.

The gamesmanship and fun of paintball battles must not go unnoticed here either. If and when young people sought to take a high level of interest in the ownership, possession, use and handling of firearms or weapons as enthusiasts, collectors, sportspeople or professionals, they would have had the benefit of learning about those matters in a controlled, safe, and non-threatening environment. And of course paintball games are often used by various companies and groups to take their employees out as a form of bonding.

I think the Assembly went out once with the Canberra Times just to see what it was like. My colleague Senator Humphries went there with several other people. It was a well-conducted range. I think everyone appreciated the experience. It was a lot of fun. They are effectively dangerous weapons, so they have to be used in a controlled environment.

Given that everyone else seems to have 16 and 17-year-olds involved, there is no reason why the ACT cannot. So I commend my amendment to the Assembly, although I note Mr Corbell has got a very similar amendment and obviously he will be speaking to his amendment as well.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.12): As I indicated earlier, I think the amendments that Mr Stefaniak is putting forward make a lot of sense. I cannot see any basis why 16 and 17-year-olds should not be allowed to take advantage of these paintball facilities. I gather the government has got something similar in mind. It seems a reasonable age for this kind of activity. It appears to be consistent with other jurisdictions and we should not be disadvantaging ACT businesses in relation to their competitors across the border. So I think that the amendment ought to be supported as presented.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.13): The government will not be supporting this amendment. The government’s amendment does address the key issue that Mr Stefaniak raises by providing a scheme where 16 and 17-year-olds are able to participate with the written consent of their legal guardian. We believe that that consent is important. We are talking about weapons, and we believe that, for minors to use weapons, the consent of their legal guardian is appropriate.

Amendment negatived.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.14): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 2787].

This amendment will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to participate in paintball sports at approved paintball ranges with the written consent of their legal guardian. This amendment has been included following the careful consideration of the legitimate

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