FIREARMS AND OTHER ACTS AMENDMENT BILL – Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Posted on 06. Aug, 2010 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I am pleased to be joining the debate on this particular bill. I rise to support the Firearms and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2010, which provides amendments to a range of acts including the Firearms Act 1996.

There are three major amendments to acts outlined here. The first major amendment concerns the Firearms Act 1996 and the Control of Weapons Act 1990. To ensure Victoria is a safe place and to provide a sense of security in the community, the system of possessing firearms needs to be revamped — there is no doubt about that. The first of the prerequisites to legally obtain a firearms licence in Victoria is residency in this state. This is very important.

Because of the nature of their work, some people in the health sector may require possession of certain types of firearms during the course of their duties. Such people will be exempted from the offence of possession of a firearm as such. Another similar exemption is for shooting games organised interstate. Participants in games of this nature may need to carry firearms to compete. Therefore one of the requirements for obtaining a handgun license will be the need to participate in legitimate shooting games.

People visiting Victoria for the purpose of working in the firearms community may apply for licenses provided that they are residents of other states and the nature of their work genuinely requires the possession of firearms. An example of this occurred during the Black Saturday bushfires where personnel from interstate possessing firearms travelled to Victoria to assist in wildlife destruction during the natural disaster. The Chief Commissioner of Police will have the power to revoke such a licence if the person no longer resides in Victoria, which will make police work addressing the community’s firearms concerns more efficient.

Honourable members interjecting.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms Munt) — Order! There will be no communication between the gallery and the members.

Mr LIM — It is common knowledge that there are certain types of imitation weapons on the market which have been proved to be intimidating and dangerous to people. Such imitation weapons will no longer be tolerated and will be regulated as prohibited weapons under the Control of Weapons Act 1990 in lieu of their existing inclusion in the Firearms Act 1996. This amendment is consistent with the federal regulations. In Victoria the Chief Commissioner of Police is responsible for firearms licence variation, the time period in which a licence cannot be obtained and the cancellation of such a licence. Technical amendments will be made accordingly under the bill.

The second set of key amendments, which are very important, are those that address the Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 and the Transport Act 1983. Graffiti has long been one of the challenges to our community, along with maintaining a pleasant living environment in Australia and Victoria. It would be remiss of me not to mention that there is no graffiti in Singapore, and to a certain extent this is also the case in China. We know what they are doing up there. It would be remiss of me also not to say that we have been treating graffiti offenders very leniently. These offenders take the community for granted and are creating havoc in public places and also in our transport system. It is amazing that they would not do that to their own home, their own room or to their body. It is very annoying that these people get away with all this. Private property should be off‑limits, and even public places should be off‑limits to graffiti. Graffiti should not be tolerated anywhere.

When I had the honour to travel to Taipei in Taiwan with the member for Box Hill two years ago I was amazed that the whole city was graffiti free. So there we have an example of how a city can be graffiti free. This set of amendments will to a certain degree help owner‑occupiers of property so that they have a permit to remove all graffiti from their site for a time or until such a permit is withdrawn.

Binge drinking and being under the influence of alcohol can cause disorderly behaviour in public and can lead to intimidation and harm to others, thus an important amendment outlined in this bill is to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998. This set of amendments will authorise banning notices and exclusion orders to be imposed on those who commit the offence of behaving in a disorderly manner. I think it is an understatement to say that we have a problem out there with people who have no respect for others, let alone respect for themselves, and who are perpetrating this rather disgraceful behaviour.

In conclusion, the amendments contained in the bill will set clearer guidelines in Victoria for firearm regulatory mechanisms and make graffiti prevention more effective, and the bill has been found to be compatible with the human rights charter. As such, I commend the bill to the house.

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