State Libs/Nats in decline after Gun Laws.

Much has been written regarding the parlous state of Coalition Parties in the States and Territories. It is clear that State Coalitions have been “on the nose” since 1996.

When John Howard forced the States to accept his ill-conceived gun bans, he said, “I know many Australians will not agree with these laws, but you can show your contempt at the ballot box.” That was following the Australian Police Ministers Conference in Canberra on May 10th 1996. Since none of those Police Ministers are now in Government, is it time to demand that the “National Firearms Agreement” be overturned?

At each post-1996 State election, Coalition Governments were voted out. Because Gun Laws are a State responsibility, under the Australian Constitution, voters showed their contempt at State level.  The NSW Labor Government even increased its majority, but later retired the Police Minister Paul Whelan, who had been present at the fateful APMC meeting on May 10th, 1996.

Efforts are being made, by both Peter Debnam (reminder; he’s the NSW Liberal Leader) and Adrian Piccoli, (Nationals firearms spokesman) to come up with a policy statement in support of sports shooting and private ownership of firearms; they both addressed the AGM of Sydney Branch of Sporting Shooters Association along the lines of  “…getting rid of illogical and unreasonable gun laws…”

It is well known how Queensland National Party membership dropped by 30% and funding dropped by 60%, after the 1996 gun laws. A similar result had also occurred in other States which had been held by Liberals. 

Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce made the observation (ABC Radio) that “The Nationals should never have given in on gun laws”. This was further supported during an interview (also on ABC Radio) when Russell Cooper (former Police Minister) confirmed that “…the Howard gun laws were so unpopular that the Nationals were wiped out…”

Highly respected head of NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Dr. Don Weatherburn claimed that he could see no evidence that “Tough Gun Laws” had any effect on crime. (Reported in Sydney Morning Herald, Oct. 29-30, 2005)

The newly elected Canadian Government has taken steps to disband their Firearms Registry after a study found that it was of no help in preventing or solving crimes.

When Howard forced his idea of gun control on the States in 1996, he hadn’t realised that there would be such a backlash. Farmers, hunters, target shooters and others who treated gun ownership as an Australian tradition and who had never committed any crime, resented being treated like criminals. Hundreds of thousands of Liberal and National Party votes were lost.

Beattie swept into Government in 1998, when a newly-formed pro-gun political party (One Nation) gained 12 seats; people voted for O.N. as a clear rejection of the gun laws. Premier Kennett was next to fall, when three pro-gun Independents sided with Bracks. The “belting from the bush” they called it!

Similarly, all other Liberal Premiers were subsequently rolled as each State election came around.

Even Prime Minister Howard’s own electorate of Bennelong is now “marginal”!

Australians have witnessed a massive amount of taxpayer money and police time and effort wasted pursuing Howard’s personal hatred of guns. This has caused considerable inconvenience and expense to those who choose to legally own a firearm, while criminal activity continues.

Meanwhile, other critical Government services such as hospitals, roads and mental health remain starved of funding.

Let’s make a move to overturn the NFA!


12 Responses to State Libs/Nats in decline after Gun Laws.

  1. kleinepisher says:

    We have a Prime Minister who has an unhealthy obsession with firearms. As it is emotional no amount of logic or reason will prevail to overturn his anti-gun stance.
    Australians die in car crashes, from drug overdoses, action of criminals, medical misadventure and so on but governments do nothing unless a firearm is involved.
    If politicians really cared about preventing Australians dying unnecessarily they would take action against those implements causing the majority of the problem. But can you imagine them banning or limiting the ownership and use of cars?
    It’s too easy and popular to demonise firearms and their users.
    That way they appear to be doing something without having to spend money or take positive action to solve the problem.
    All we can do is keep chipping away at the politicians until they realise their political survival is threatened.

  2. ChrisPer says:

    Definitely time to re-evaluate the NAF.

    However, lets not let our wishful thinking get in the way of a hardnosed view of political reality. The state liberal governments were dumped for being useless, and gun ownership votes were probably only a small part of the reason.

    What would people change in a new NAF?

  3. pete2whelan says:

    Sorry, but I referred to it as NFA. Should be NAF! (National Agreement on Firearms) Perhaps I had confused it with SFA, which is what law abiding gun owners received.
    By the way, WTF is an “acronym”?

  4. pete2whelan says:

    In response to ChrisPer, I would agree that in some States the Coalition Governments may have been “dumped for being useless”. However, that could be taken as “being useless” in not rejecting the Howard doctrine on gun bans. Certainly in the case of Victoria, Kennett had a large majority in 1996. The then police Minister McGrath assured all Victorian gun owners that he was going to the May 10th APMC confident that Victoria had already tough gun laws, Registration etc. and that he wouldn’t be agreeing to any more gun laws. He came back from Canberra with his tail between his legs! Even before the details were worked out for the buy back, Vic police had already started collecting semi-autos from hunters, target shooters and farmers. Two country independents, Craig Ingram and Russell Savage, campaigned against the gun laws and won, then gave their support to Bracks, who took Government. It was definitely an anti-Howard vote, against the gun buy back.
    In Queensland the Nationals could have governed forever, but One Nation also ran an anti-Howard campaign well and truly against the gun laws. A party which didn’t exist pre-1996, won 12 seats! The Qld Nats collapsed and the Qld Liberals didn’t even win enough seats to be recognised as a Political Party in Qld Parliament!
    In response to the question, “What should be a new NFA?” I would think we don’t need one. Australia already has tough laws which prohibit murder, robbery, rape, etc. Alalysing the instrument used to commit such crimes, simply deflects attention from the crime itself.

  5. Mat. says:

    In what is supposed to be a free country the gun laws are a joke,
    when the so called leader of the country is biased against something he may aswell be president..
    It amazing that i cant protect myself or my family from a criminal in my own home but the P.M can have ARMED Escorts and ARMED Security Personel protecting his family and assets, and we as tax payers are paying for this (( Sounds like double standards to me ))
    You can do the same amount of damage with a semi-auto than i can with a bolt-action, semi can just fire faster.
    Its the Law abiding citizens that are being forced to live under laws started by a few peoples fear of guns and , i bet most of the polititians have never owned or fired a firearm in their lives.
    We are one of the only countries in the world who have people in charge who have no “”you know whats””….. They get told what to do by other countries., President bush might aswell run this country aswell. Gun laws would definatly change then..
    With this government they take our money so they can live the high life , speed in cars purchased with tax money , some even perform in pedophile acts as recently seen in the headlines, they dont care about the people struggling to pay off mortgages or losing their homes to higher interest rates.
    In reference to BOB CARR and other “X polititians”.., he doesnt even work for the government anymore but we still pay him with our hard earned Tax dollars to run HIS OWN PERSONAL advising company for Macquiare bank.. How does that work????? It legal robbery…
    The problem is with this government we can have a heap of people saying the same thing but if its too much work or its going to put a hold on another pay rise it wont happen.They just want to get driven to their luxury home in the governement car , armed security staff will open the gates for their personal driver to escort them up to the door where their personal ” Housekeeper” will greet them and sort them out for the night. ( all tax payer funded of course ).
    As you can tell i am not happy with our theiving/deceitfull government..

  6. D says:

    I totally agree with Mat .. he’s pretty much spot on with everything said.. I used to work in a government office and i know how they work, thats why i resigned.
    I have personally seen and organised personal holidays, golfing/fishing trips , some have even gone on overseas hunting trips , all tax-payer funded under ( expenses ) .
    A few of them do shoot and have class C & D permits ( not that they need them but who’s going to argue .)
    In relation to the gun laws, The issue that brought on the change in 1996 was the pressure on the government to act on the incident. the only way they could show they were doing something was to ban a certain type of rifle like the one used.
    One persons mental problems have affected every single law abiding gun owner.
    There is no reason why the laws cant be changed back to the way they were,
    Or atleast make everyone eligible for class C and D licenses on the fact they pass the a semi-auto licensing test first. just like pistols.. There would be no harm in that.
    FINALLY in reply to Mat’s blog::
    1.) Legal robbery is the perfect way to describe government officials jobs.
    2.) A friend of myne had someone break into her house while she was sleeping about a year ago. she didnt have access to anything for protection, she was raped and she recently had her last round of plastic surgery for her face as it was badly damaged in the attack. Not long after that she tried to aquire her pistol license but was refused as she wanted it for protection at home, she was told that if she had a pistol and used it when her attack occured she would of been charged with second degree murder. she has recently moved to America where you can own a pistol for personal protection, the catch is you are only allowed to use it if someone enters your house and you FEEL your life may be in danger ( no proof is required). If it leaves the house you can then be charged for firearms offences if you dont have the correct permit.
    I think that law should be changed, that law is a fair one for Law abiding gun and house owners.
    It is supposed to be a free country after all………………….Whatever ……………….

  7. Josh says:

    I was just wondering if anybody agrees with the irony of this situation.

    Gun laws were introduced in response to the Port Arthur Massacre which was perpetrated by Martin Bryant.

    Martin Bryant had a documented history of mental illness.

    The firearms that were used were stolen from an elderly couple during a home intrusion (they were not allowed to defend themselves under state and federal legislation).

    Firearms are restricted and banned for law abiding legitimate shooters (more heavily regulated).

    Firearms buy backs have cost in the vacinity of one billion dollars and futher on-going costs to administer legislation.

    Mental Health funding is almost completely eradicated and the system de-regulated.

    In summary:

    Mental health problem, stolen firearms, failing mental health system.


    Punish legitimate shooters-ban guns.

    Is it just me, or is this a clear misappropriation of resources?

  8. Redneck says:

    In addition to objecting to the injustice of gun laws, think about why they are like that.

    Why does the government think it ought to control guns?
    Why does the government stop us from having guns for our self defence?
    Why do politicians enjoy perks that they awarded themselves?
    Why are we prevented from making our own decisions and being responsible?

    The reason is that the government is out of control. As a result, politicians and public servants are out of control. Governments are too powerful and the people too weak.

    In the long run, the best solution is to reduce the size of the government. Start by cutting taxes so they don’t have the money to control us.

  9. Frank Gasparini says:

    NSW has an election comming up soon. Both major parties are out of favour with the general electorate. That gives the independents and minor parties more votes. Think obout Greens with a balance of power. Lee Rhiannon will think it’s Christmas and banning semi auto pistols (including revolvers) will be just the starting point. Then
    All ex military firearms (long and short)
    followed by all other centrefires.
    then rimfires
    followed by air rifles
    And can’t let kids have cap guns – negative culture that.

  10. Redneck said: “Start by cutting taxes so they don’t have the money to control us”.

    I’d be interested in any example from any country over the last century in which any reduction in tax rates lead to a sustained reduction in tax revenue. The dynamics of most economies as well as demographic growth etc ensure that you really need to slash tax rates extremely hard in order to have any lasting impact on the spending power of government. Not that this should stop us from advocating a cut in tax rates. They are almost universally good for the economy.

  11. Redneck says:

    I can’t give an example of a country. But there are lots of examples where State governments in Australia have relaxed interventionist policies out of sheer necessity, because they didn’t have the money to impose or enforce them.
    Besides, we have to start somewhere.

  12. Paul B says:

    A lot of the things this govt does to people are their nasty dreams made real because they are cashed up ,you have a nasty man with his hands on a lot of other peoples money and no control over him .

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