Page 2775 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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firearms in assaults. There has been a dramatic increase in the use of knives in crime. But the bottom line is that I think Mr Stefaniak’s amendment is sensible. I reject the attorney’s rationale for his amendment. As Mr Stefaniak said, he has got the numbers to do what he wishes, but I still want to put on the record that I do not think that the approach is appropriate. I think in this case the amendment is sensible and reasonable and ought to be supported by members.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.59): Many of the provisions in Mr Stefaniak’s proposed new section 10 are really sensible, but they are not stand-alone provisions so I cannot support the whole amendment. The reason is that I am not comfortable with the idea of a collector not being required to compile and retain a register of all their weapons. At the very least, they should be required to provide and maintain a written description, accompanied by a photograph of each item in their collection. Current technology makes this possible. A private register could be submitted online to the registrar. I urge the government to consider instituting such a scheme because, as has been remarked, there is a lot of sense being talked but it is a question of how we do it.

Proposed new clauses 76A and 76B negatived.

Clauses 77 to 79, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Proposed new clause 79A.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (7.00): I move amendment No 13 circulated in my name which inserts a new clause 79A [see schedule 3 at page 2791].

Including handheld laser pointers in the current schedule of the Prohibited Weapons Act ensures that the item is prohibited immediately following notification of the amending act. This will mean that where a person is convicted of the possession or use of a prohibited laser pointer they will be liable to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for one year.

The description is identical to the description in the commonwealth Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Governments across Australia have created or are in the process of creating a legal framework to prohibit high-powered laser pointers. While the government strongly supports the continuing use of laser pointers by members of the community with a genuine reason for owning them, the risk of catastrophic injury as a result of the behaviour of a small number should not be ignored.

The increasing number of incidents involving people using these items to target aircraft and vehicles creates a significant risk for the community. Whilst many of these instances are simply caused by mischief makers, the real risk, to aircraft in particular, cannot be ignored. In the last 12 months, there have been seven reported instances of lasers being used to target aircraft in the ACT alone. Laser pointers are dangerous when misused in this fashion as they distract pilots and may even cause eye damage.

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