Wednesday, 28 November 2018
National Firearms Agreement
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1253 standing in my name for today relating to the National Firearms Agreement.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that, according to reports:
(i) there have been more than 50 breaches of the National Firearm Agreement across Australian states and territories since it was implemented in 1996,
(ii) corporate members of the gun lobby group, the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA), include suppliers and manufacturers of weapons, such as Nioa, Raytrade, Outdoor Sporting Agencies, Winchester and Baretta, who stand to benefit from relaxed gun laws, and
(iii) SIFA is becoming increasingly active in election campaigns with a clear strategy to weaken gun laws – the gun lobby group contributed $220,000 to a political campaign in Queensland last year, and is contributing at least $165,000 to a political campaign in Victoria this year; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) show leadership so that the National Firearm Agreement is complied with in all Australian states and territories, and
(ii) resist moves to weaken Australia's gun control laws.
The Commonwealth government is proud that Australia's firearm laws are among the strongest in the world. While we recognise that many Australians have legitimate reasons for owning legally registered firearms, community safety remains our paramount concern in firearms policy. In addition to the tough firearms laws, the government is committed to removing illegal firearms from our community and tackling gun-related crime, such as through the 2017 national firearms amnesty. The 2017 amnesty resulted in the surrender by the community of more than 57,000 illegal firearms, including 2½ thousand fully automatic and semiautomatic firearms. The government consults with the states and territories as well as the community and industry groups. We welcome feedback on all aspects of the National Firearms Agreement and broader firearms issues.
The gun lobby's attempts to replicate NRA tactics in Australia are reprehensible and must be rejected. The NRA is a blight on American democracy. The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia, SIFA, is bankrolled by the gun industry heavyweights, such as Beretta. The gun lobby is becoming increasingly active in election campaigns, with a clear strategy to weaken our gun laws. SIFA contributed $220,000 to a political campaign in Queensland last year and at least $165,000 to a political campaign in Victoria this year. This shouldn't just alarm us; it should terrify us all. We have to make sure that our gun laws are never watered down.
The Nationals proudly stand with law-abiding firearms owners and would like to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that the National Firearms Agreement has been operating for over 20 years. We stand with over one million law-abiding firearms owners across Australia who have purchased their legally obtained firearms from a local law-abiding business. These businesses go through thorough processes to ensure that our nation's gun laws are adhered to. It is because of law-abiding store owners, shooters and industry that we've had such a small amount of breaches over two decades.
It's clear the Greens don't support firearm ownership. But you've got to remember that this means not supporting shooters, hunters, farmers and our elite medal-winning athletes who own a firearm. Further restricting law-abiding businesses, individuals and industry will not reduce the amount of gun related crime or the use of illicit firearms by criminals. We must continue to work on ensuring that law-abiding sporting shooters, hunters and farmers are respected and are able to continue to enjoy legally partaking in their activities and sport.
Once again the Greens have shown that they have NFI about the NFA. In fact, they have no idea about firearms, the firearms industry or gun control in general. They pretend the National Firearms Agreement is a binding contract the states must follow or else. It isn't; it is a guide the states can adapt to their own circumstances. This motion is essentially calling on the federal government to bully the states into implementing a non-binding document that's over 20 years old and has many unintended consequences that punish a million law-abiding shooters. Also, for the record, it's 'Beretta', not 'Baretta'.
The National Firearms Agreement was a travesty—simply a left-wing plot to undermine the constitutional rights of the states to independently legislate their own gun laws. Like the $400 million registered buyback after Port Arthur, the NFA has been of zero value in reducing firearm related crime, because terrorists and criminals do not buy registered guns. Restrictions on licensed firearm ownership by law-abiding citizens do not target those who own and misuse firearms illegally. So this motion, like the policy to which it refers, makes no sense. You might as well try to crack down on unlicensed, dangerous drivers by increasing the difficulty of the driving test.