SYDNEY DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS
The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK
[7.02 p.m.]: Being St Valentine's Day and although it is not Chicago, I suppose it is somehow appropriate that law-abiding firearms owners are again being put upon by government in response to the gang-related crime and drive-by shootings in Sydney. Since the new Government came to office there have been more than 60 incidents where criminals with illegal weapons have shot at each other and at each other's houses to send a message of some sort, if scuttlebutt is to be believed, about turf or drugs. However, because this illegal activity is one that piques the interest of the media, governments tend to jump up and down in an effort to calm the media storm and what happens? Longstanding, law-abiding firearms owners who do none of these illegal things get it in the neck.
I speak here about the Government's decision—without any consultation with a party that represents thousands of shooters in this State—to come up with a law that has already failed in South Australia. The South Australian Government brought in the same red tape restrictions on ammunition to stop bikies shooting themselves. Did it work? Perhaps we could ask the boss of one of the gangs who has just been the subject of a fourth assassination attempt by shooting. It is unfortunate that the Government, through the Premier, who does not seem to like the fact that shooters have two representatives in the Parliament who are actually shooters and know the laws, did not talk to us about these proposals. We wish they had done so. We would have told them that their ammunitions plan will not and cannot work. We would have suggested a plan that will work and will not involve dealers in unnecessary paperwork.
The Commissioner of Police has been quoted as being "particularly pleased with the introduction of the ammunition laws" because he said, "They are laws that we have been waiting for, for some time." I would ask: Why? As the proposal now stands they cannot have any impact at all on stopping drive-by shootings, which is apparently what the commissioner thinks. Good police intelligence is the way to deal with these crimes. If police have intelligence that someone with a firearms licence is buying ammunition and passing it on to criminal elements doing the drive-by shootings, they should crack down on the wrongdoer. Laws are already in place making it an offence to possess ammunition without a proper licence, and this would apply to the criminals in those shootings.
If there are any concerns about someone supplying criminals with ammunition, the proposal from the Shooters and Fishers Party is to create a new offence under the Firearms Act to make it an offence to give or supply ammunition to a person who does not hold a firearms licence or a licence for that particular category of ammunition. That is a simple, practical measure that removes any perceived vagueness in the current legislation. We offer that proposal to the Government, free of charge. It gives police the powers to arrest and charge criminals without imposing an undue burden on firearms dealers or massive inconvenience to legal firearms owners. Legal and law-abiding firearms owners are as much against these criminal activities as anyone else. They do not need to be unfairly impacted by government and opposition parties competing to see who can come up with the biggest and best law-and-order package.