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Select Committee Inquiry into Firearms

[5.10 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Madam Deputy President, I also take the opportunity to congratulate you on your new role.

The issue of firearms and firearm control is a complex one, one that almost everyone you speak to in the street has an opinion on. Of course, the Port Arthur tragedy increases the emotional response of many when discussing firearms.

The firearm laws were updated nationally in 1996 under the National Firearms Agreement, which restricted the types of firearms available, installed a nationwide registration system, imposed stricter licensing conditions and introduced a uniform standard for storing firearms. We have been advised that many of the changes the current Government is proposing do not contradict the National Firearms Agreement, though I still believe there needs to be a thorough and pragmatic review into what these changes are and what the results of these changes would mean.

We need to provide all sectors of the community the opportunity to have input into this important issue if we are to make informed decisions over legislative change. I believe the Legislative Council would probably do a better job of such independent inquiries than the other place does. I agree with the member for McIntyre that we are here to do the work of the parliament; some may argue that it probably should have been done downstairs.

However, I would go back to the TasWater inquiry which we had last year, before the legislation came to us. I moved for that inquiry to be held and it was important that we had the facts before us. Sometimes it does not hurt to get the facts so that you have the opportunity to ask the questions when the legislation comes before you.

I will support the motion before us; it is opportune to get as much information as we can and give the community as much opportunity as possible to provide evidence.

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