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Federal firearm reform needed to reign in NSW gun culture: Greens

Media Release
Penny Wright 21 Jun 2012

The Australian Greens will today call on Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to get on with the job that former Prime Minister John Howard started and tighten uniform national gun laws, in response to the O'Farrell government's deal making with the Shooters Party and today's ongoing debate of legislation allowing recreational hunters into 79 national parks and reserves.

Greens Senators Lee Rhiannon and Penny Wright will move a motion in the Senate this afternoon condemning NSW Coalition government plans that open up national parks to recreational hunting and calling on the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to strengthen uniform gun laws (motion in full below).

"With Premier O'Farrell up to his elbows in pro-gun culture there is a role for the federal government to step in to ensure the good work started by former Prime Minister John Howard in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre is not undermined", said Senator Rhiannon. 

"We are hoping Labor Senators will support this motion as many of their state colleagues have condemned Premier O'Farrell for opening up NSW national parks to hunting.

"Spruiking hunting as a means of controlling feral animals is a crude attempt by the Coalition to justify their unsavoury pact with the Shooters Party.

"Feral animal management should not be handed over to amateur shooters. It needs to be undertaken by professionals using evidence based plans to maximise the number of feral animals removed.

"The O'Farrell government is too close to the hunting and shooting industry.

"Last weekend the NSW government's hunting body, the Game Council, used public money to back a two day 'Shot Expo' promoting guns, knives and pistols. 

"The Expo was co-sponsored by the NSW government and firearm manufacturers including Beretta, a weapons supplier to the former Gaddafi regime.

"Deals with the Shooters Party in NSW are weakening the uniform gun laws adopted in 1997.

"There is a role for the federal Attorney General, who should move quickly to win the agreement of all states and territories to tighten firearm controls.

"This is one area where the federal Labor government should follow in the footsteps of John Howard and put public safety first," Senator Rhiannon said.

Motion [check against final wording]

That the Senate notes:

1. Uniform gun laws were introduced across all states and territories following the ground breaking work undertaken by former prime minister John Howard in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre;

2. The NSW government has sponsored a two Day "Shot Expo" that promotes guns, knives and pistols, in conjunction with firearm manufacturers including Beretta, a weapons supplier to the former Gaddafi regime.

3. The NSW government has given its support to a longstanding Shooter's Party plan to allow recreational hunting with firearms in designated NSW national parks.

That the Senate:

1. Condemns the NSW government's plans to allow recreational hunting with firearms in NSW national parks.

2. Calls on the federal government to support the adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations.

3. Calls on the Attorney General to take the steps required to strengthen uniformity of Australian gun laws.

Question negatived. 

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