Borsak Wrests Backdown From Police
In a three-hour sitting of the Senate Estimates Committee into Police and Emergency Services, the Minister, Troy Grant, was repeatedly questioned by Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) Upper House member, Robert Borsak, who co-chaired the hearing with Green David Shoebridge – strange bedfellows indeed.
I was invited to sit in on the hearing and can briefly describe how SFFP has gained some important wins in backdowns by the Minister to the Draft 2017 Firearms Regulation. The Draft proposed many iniquitous restrictions on NSW LAFOs that would have resulted in no improvement in public safety or passed the “sniff test” in any way, shape or form.
Expect to see a more comprehensive article here next week when the full Hansard record is released and the video of proceedings are cut and assembled, but for now the following major wins have been achieved by removal of these offending regulations from the final document:
- More stringent firearm transport measures – removed.
- Refusal by Police Commissioner’s delegate to issue a Firearms Licence whether or not the applicant has been prosecuted or convicted – removed.
- Replacement of annual membership reporting to Police by monthly reporting – removed.
In addition, the Minister, who did not have answers at hand by way of Commissioner Fuller, took several questions on notice, including:
Why has the NSW Government’s Model Litigant Policy not complied with by NSW Firearms Registry, but maliciously appeal decisions made in favour of LAFOs by the Civil and Administrative Tribunal (i.e. bastardry just because they can – my words)?
- Re the stupid (my word) Ammunition Bill, has the information collected on ammunition purchases ever assisted NSW Police in leading to a conviction for firearm crime?
There were many other areas where other MPs questioned the Police Minister and his Commissioners, but the regulation “bogey” concerns of LAFOs are largely covered here.
In an interesting aside, Green MP Shoebridge only just held his temper when asking if the Police had approached any individuals or organisations to alert them to the contents of the Draft Firearm Regulation. The point of his question appeared to be that his fellow travellers in Gun Control Australia (GCA) never found out about it and were not approached by the Police to prepare a response. Borsak made the point that no one else had special status in that regard, including SFFP, so why should GCA be afforded such a rare privilege.
After the hearing, we adjourned to Robert’s Office for a debrief and it was concluded that these concessions by the Police were made possible by the change in the political landscape in NSW. With ineffectual National Party MPs deserting the LNP machine (Piccoli) or being ousted at the ballot box (Orange By-Election), the Government is feeling the heat and the pressure from its rural heartland who have been neglected too long. Those constituents are finding a new home with the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party.
In my interactions with the Party over the years I have also come to realise that Party Researcher, Steve Larsson, has worked tirelessly dissecting not only the 2017 Draft Regulations, but every existing document that could hurt or benefit NSW LAFOs, and advising his Ministers, who must devote their time to a multitude of other duties, on their most effective courses of action to benefit us all in the interests of good governance.
There may be other bodies which project an image to their unsuspecting memberships of representing NSW LAFOs’ interests, but they are pale imitations of the SFFP. They are the real deal.
Watch this space.