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Senator Leyonhjelm embraces a dangerous fringe gun culture

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 29 Jun 2016

Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm has shown himself unfit for office after he has failed to distance himself from a militant gun extremist with the self-styled title of 'The Sydney militia.' The local gun extremist has filmed himself openly brandishing a small arsenal of private weaponry and ammunition while celebrating the fact he received a T-shirt and how to vote cards from Leyonhjelm's Liberal Democratic Party. 

The YouTube video by the so-called “Sydney Militia” was posted on the 24th of June and his open display of multiple weapons and ammunition breaches strict NSW firearms laws regarding the safe handling and storage of weapons and ammunition. Disturbingly, far from distancing himself from this heavily armed fringe element, Senator Leyonhjelm escalated the situation by stating "nobody says [the Sydney Militia] has broken the law" and that the Greens MP who raised the concerns with NSW Police can "go and get f#cked." 

Senator Leyonhjelm's unsavoury and angry response can be found here. The YouTube video posting from the Sydney Militia can be found here.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"What we are seeing is a local version of the extreme gun advocates that have lead the United States into so much unnecessary trauma and loss. Their aggressive pro-gun culture has no place in Australian politics.

"Any elected official with a genuine concern for public safety would be horrified to see someone supporting their political cause while flouting our firearms laws and calling themselves a local militia, but not Senator Leyonhelm it seems.

"Rather than distancing himself from this pro-gun extremist Senator Leyonhjelm has launched into an unsavoury attack on the Greens MP David Shoebridge who brought the disturbing video to the attention of NSW Police. 

"By siding with an angry, unlawful self-styled militia and rejecting the nation's gun control measures, Senator Leyonhjelm has confirmed that he is unfit for the office of an Australian Senator.

"Given the lack of judgment of Senator Leyonhjelm, Prime Minister Turnbull needs to explain why the Coalition continues to preference both the LDP and the Shooters and Fishers party in the Senate," Ms Rhiannon said.

NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said: 

“The video is disturbing because it not only flouts our firearms laws but does so in the context of the upcoming Federal election. It is obviously of heightened concern when firearms laws are breached in support of political aims. 

“That this person considers it appropriate to describe himself as “The Sydney Militia” is also of alarming. It is contrary to our laws for individuals to gather together in armed groups in support of political objectives. 

"I have referred the matter to the NSW Police who are taking the matter seriously and it is currently being investigated by the State Crime Command. 

“There are pro-gun MPs in Parliaments across the country planning to weaken our gun laws and they are giving fuel to people like this who are intent on bringing firearms and politics together. 

“Senator Leyonhjelm's angry and abusive response when these concerns were raised with him is hardly unexpected given his support for US-style gun laws and the aggressive pro-gun culture that goes with them.

"Thankfully there's not much appetite in Australian politics for the kind of Trump-lite political aggression being displayed by Senator Leyonhjelm,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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