Firearms Amendment Bill 2017

I take great pleasure in joining the debate on the Firearms Amendment Bill 2017 and the amendments in the message that has come back from the other place. I am pleased to add my contribution to this bill, because I was scheduled to speak on it in the second-reading debate before it passed this place originally and I was not able to at the time. I am particularly pleased to join the debate now when we have seen the absolute abject hypocrisy of those opposite, particularly after having heard the interview that the Leader of the Opposition did on the ABC radio program earlier this week where he was in absolute denial about the facts of crime statistics in this state, because the trend downward does not fit with his narrative. It also does not fit with his absolutely and abjectly shameful fear campaign, particularly targeting the outer suburbs and repeating over and over that there are crime issues there. I proudly live in the outer suburbs, and I proudly represent the outer suburbs.

Before the Leader of the Opposition scuttled off to the leafy eastern suburbs, he represented the outer suburbs. He attempted to represent the outer suburbs in this place in 2002, but I am pleased to say that the electorate returned me as a member and not him. He then contested for Northern Metropolitan Region in 2006 and was elected to the other place. I have got to say we heard barely a whisper and there was barely anything that he could concretely say that he ever delivered to the outer suburbs of Melbourne and particularly the fantastic outer suburbs of Melbourne’s north when he had the privilege of representing that community for eight years. He was absolutely silent. He seeks by association to decry everyone living in an outer suburban community by putting out the lie that there is an unaddressed crisis of crime in the outer suburbs.

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, the member has had a substantial amount of time to set her context and come to the bill. Instead of doing that, she is now proceeding to infringe standing orders and accuse other members of deliberate dishonesty. I ask you to instruct her to cease doing so and come back to addressing the bill and the amendments before us.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Spence) — I do ask the member to come back to the bill and the amendments.

Ms Green – I am pleased to continue. Thank you, Acting Speaker. The member for Box Hill said correctly that I was setting a context. There is a long lead time to the context of where the opposition finds itself in relation to firearms. It is a position of the emperor having no clothes. To be working hand in glove with a criminal element to try and reduce the power of this bill —

Mr Wakeling — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, the member has been advised by you to return to the bill. I understand she probably does not have a copy of the bill report. Perhaps the member for Williamstown could provide her with a copy of that. I would ask that she return to the bill at hand.

Ms Hutchins — On the point of order, Acting Speaker, the member was referring to the bill. In fact she said the word ‘bill’ as the point of order was taken. She was giving background, and she was referring to the bill. I think she should continue.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Spence) — I ask the member to continue.

Ms Green 

I know why those opposite would try to interrupt my contribution on this bill. They should be ashamed that they have sought to water down this bill and that they have sought to curtail this government’s efforts to control the availability of firearms in this community. I want to commend the work of Victoria Police, who are constantly undermined by those opposite, for their hasty arresting and charging of those involved in — and I will not go into detail, but I think everyone is aware — a very public theft of firearms in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in recent weeks. I think Victoria Police need to be absolutely commended on the fact that they speedily made arrests.

To have the member for Box Hill in this place earlier this week casting doubt on the number of arrests that Victoria Police have been making of the perpetrators of crime in this place is a disgrace, and —

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, the member for Yan Yean has been misrepresenting and misstating what I have said to the Parliament. In the course of doing so she is making improper imputations against me, in breach of standing order 118. I ask you to instruct her to cease making untrue imputations and to return to debating the motion before the house.

Ms Green – On the point of order, Acting Speaker, I fail to see how the member for Box Hill could claim that I am making imputations against him when he in fact asked a question in this place that questioned the number of arrests that have been made by Victoria Police. I was addressing that in relation to this bill.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Ward) — Order! I ask the member to get back to the amendments that are before us so we can continue the debate.

Ms Green

There have been house amendments moved by Edward O’Donohue, a member in the other place, and there have also been amendments moved by Mr Bourman, a member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in the Council. They propose the removal of the prohibition of the advertising of the sale of firearms by a person other than a licensed firearms dealer. This would allow any person with a firearms licence to advertise their firearms for sale online.

Under the Firearms Act 1996 as it stands a person who wishes to advertise a firearm for sale online or in a newspaper can do so by asking a dealer to place online an advertisement on their behalf. A private individual can place an advertisement in club magazines or commercial shooting sports magazines. The government’s bill, prior to these amendments, stated that individuals would also be able to advertise in any such magazines that are published online. I think this addresses the criticisms made earlier by the member for Gippsland South, who tried to present that this government is opposed to recreational sporting shooters, who are actually very much respected by members on this side of the house. The changes are not addressed to those members at all.

I absolutely support the contribution that the Attorney-General, the government speaker prior to myself, made earlier. He went into great detail about the facts from the Australian Bureau of Statistics about recorded crime offenders in 2016 and 2017, which is comparative data across Australia. It shows that the rate of offences per 100 000 people in Victoria is 1392 — some 500 less than New South Wales and some 900 less than Queensland. It is more than two-thirds less than that of South Australia. In youth offences Victoria has the second lowest rate of offences in this country.

I call on the opposition to get on board. I call on the conservative side of Parliament to stop talking down this great state, to get on board with the changes we are making, to support Victoria Police, to support these reasonable changes and to not support these amendments.