Thursday, 20 October 2016
In question time today, various Labor members, led by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, put it to this parliament that I had somehow connived at a deal with Senator Leyonhjelm to weaken Australia's tough, gold standard gun control laws. This is absolutely and utterly false. The bottom line here is that but for the ban imposed by the Abbott government and continued by the Turnbull government, there would be many thousands more rapid-fire shotguns in this country than there currently are.
If I could refer to an adviser's note that I received on 23 July last year—note the date: 23 July last year. Remember the claim of a deal done with Senator Leyonhjelm on 11 or 12 August. That adviser's note said:
Law enforcement agencies are concerned about a shipment of Adler 7 high powered shotguns due to arrive in August.
We had been advised that there was a very large shipment indeed of these rapid fire shotguns coming into our country. More than 7,000, we were advised, had been pre-ordered and up to 20,000 had been ordered. We were further advised that at that stage there some 10,500 rapid-fire shotguns in this country. So this order, had it gone ahead, would have potentially much more than doubled the number of these rapid-fire shotguns in this country. I should remind the House, if it needs reminding, of just how much damage these shotguns can do. An old standard shotgun, let us never forget, was used at the Lindt Cafe siege, which locked down the city of Sydney for 18 hours.
So my adviser's note continues:
The government will therefore take steps to place a temporary ban—
I repeat a temporary ban—
on the importation of these shotguns until the review has been completed and a new national firearm agreement has been reached and all jurisdictions have updated their respective regulations.
My adviser's note goes on:
The temporary ban will be achieved through a change to customs regulations.
The adviser's note goes on:
The temporary ban will keep these shotguns out of the country and off the streets until such time as they have been properly classified under the new agreement.
The adviser's note points out that but for the ban and but for a new agreement, these rapid-fire shotguns would:
… be classified at the same level as an air rifle under existing arrangements. This is not an acceptable situation for community safety and demonstrates the need for the national firearm agreement to be updated and the sense—
The very good sense indeed—
in placing a temporary ban on the importation of these new high powered shotguns.
I put it to you, Mr Speaker: how can there have been some kind of deal, or concession, or weakening for Senator Leyonhjelm on 11 or 12 August if the temporary ban was what the government had always intended, pending a permanent resolution of this by COAG?
In conclusion, let me say that we all know what members opposite are trying to achieve here. This is a smokescreen. Everything said today was a smokescreen to cover up for the fact that Labor is running a protection racket for the CFMEU. The bottom line is: you can always trust this coalition—you can only trust this coalition—to keep our country safe. (Time expired)