Firearm Regulation

M HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Premier. It is regarding the Adler lever action shotgun, which can fire rounds at speeds comparable to an illegal pump action shotgun. The temporary ban on the importation of the eight-shot Adler expires on 7 August this year, and the review of the national firearms agreement is still ongoing. So I ask: what is the state government doing to lobby and to ensure that this gun continues to be banned from Victoria?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — I thank the member for Prahran for his question. I am indebted to my honorable friends the Minister for Police and the former Minister for Police, who have given me a very quick update on this matter. I know it has been the subject of some media concern and community concern, and I do genuinely thank the member for his question. My understanding — and I am happy to arrange a briefing with departmental officials for the member to go through all the details of this — is that there is good progress being made towards a national approach.

Importation issues are of course the province of the federal Parliament and are indeed always best served by a national approach. The cumbersome nature of trying to legislate separately on those issues or other related issues is pretty obvious to everyone. I do understand also that the commonwealth has a ban on this particular firearm until August, and we are hopeful — post the federal election, once a new government is in place — that the work that officials are doing, the work at a bilateral and a national level that has been going on, can continue with a view to always maximising safety and getting certainty and clarity around the regulation of these particular firearms.

On the issue of firearms more broadly, can I just say to the member for Prahran: I could not be prouder of our government and the work that we have done, particularly around illegal firearms and making sure that we legislate, as we have done, to increase penalties and to increase and broaden the definitions of possession and trafficking or selling illegal firearms.

Obviously the regulation of those who are law abiding is important, of course, but equally some would argue, certainly Victoria Police would argue, that there is an even greater imperative for us to make sure that we have the best statute book around illegal firearms and that we have given to Victoria Police the best resources to take action against those who would peddle and deliver the violent outcomes that can only be logically associated with illegal firearms. That is the leadership we are taking.

On the issue of the specific weapon that the member raises a question about, my honourable friend the Minister for Police will arrange a briefing for the member. Hopefully that will give him the clarity about what the next steps can be. But be in no doubt, we are proud to have taken action, particularly on illegal firearms, and if we are given advice from the chief commissioner about resources, about the statute book, about different things we might do to assist him and the brave men and women of Victoria Police in fighting crime and keeping our community safe, then we will heed that advice as we have done every day that we have had the great honour of governing this state.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My supplementary question is regarding the five-shot Adler, which is currently classed as a category A weapon — the least restrictive classification — and is currently being imported into Victoria. It is also being modified to increase its capacity. Will the government reclassify the Adler five-shot gun to a higher restrictive category C or D so it can only be used for occupational purposes in the absence of a national agreement?

Mr ANDREWS (Premier) — My very direct answer to the member for Prahran is that I do not think we would necessarily get the best firearms regulation if we were to regulate firearms at question time between him and me. I think this is a much more complex area than that. Surely he would agree that the best thing to do is to have a briefing process, and I offer that genuinely, and if relevant shadow ministers want to be part of that briefing, we are happy to include them as well.

I do understand that this issue is on the agenda currently, prior to caretaker mode, and it will be on the agenda once a new government is sworn in in Canberra. The Law, Crime and Community Safety Council made up of attorneys-general, ministers for police and their commonwealth equivalents will consider these matters and allied issues at the next meeting of that ministerial council, which of course cannot occur until the writs have been returned, a new ministry has been sworn in and the government is functioning again outside of caretaker mode. In the meantime, if a briefing is sought, one will be offered.