How the Prime Minister ‘almost’ bought a vote with a gun

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A rowdy question time on Tuesday saw Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vehemently proclaim that Australia’s firearm ban regulations “will remain in place” for the foreseeable future.

These statements come after the Prime Minister was publically criticised by his predecessor Tony Abbott for reneging on a deal that would have made it legal to import a lever-action shotgun which can shoot more than five rounds.

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm this week said the Turnbull Government had “dudded” him over a deal made last year. In 2015, he received a written commitment from the Coalition Government saying that it would lift the 12-month sunset clause on Adler lever-action guns, allowing them to be imported, “in exchange” for his vote in support of the Government’s legislation restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

This was a strategic agreement for Leyonhjelm, who voted accordingly. However, the Prime Minister has since told Parliament the Government would “stand by the national firearms agreement”. In fact he said, “We want to see it stronger”.

Mr Turnbull said that is remains the Government’s objective “to ensure no Adler lever-action guns with more than five rounds can be imported – in any category. They can’t be imported at all!”

Tony Abbott, who appears to be vying to be reinstated as Prime Minister, and who originally stopped imports of the gun in July 2015, criticised Mr Turnbull’s actions on Tuesday night. He claimed that there was “no way on God’s Earth” he would have allowed eight-shot Adler guns to “flood into the country” while he was prime minister.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has also accused the Liberal Party of entering into “grubby deals” for its own gain, and stated gun reforms instigated by former Liberal PM John Howard following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre should be upheld.

The ABCC bill, which seeks to reinstate the building industry watchdog, passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon, though its fate is yet to be decided in the Senate.

It was expected that Leyonjhelm would vote for the bill, however, he had said he would not commit to any promises beyond talking to the Government.

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Opinion: Sounds like a floodgate opening

Who among us doesn’t receive the news of another shooting in America with just a flicker of relief that it is unlikely to happen here? In Australia, we allowed this type of tragedy to happen just once before we took action and enacted some of the toughest gun laws in the world.

Following the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded when Martin Bryant opened fire at the historical site. John Howard led a world-first buy-back of firearms. Since then, there hasn’t been another massacre.

Proving the success of the campaign, a recent study revealed that the overall rate of firearm killings in the country has declined. Everyone, from Hilary Clinton to Barack Obama and John Oliver (check out the video below) agreed it’s a good model.

Twenty years on, who would have thought gun reform would ever be back on the table?

What’s so special about this gun, anyway?

Senator Leyonhjelm says there is “nothing unusual” about the Adler A110 shotgun, except that it’s a cheaper firearm for farmers, compared to pump-action options. It is said to be more effective for shooting groups of animals, such as pigs and birds, which destroy crops and properties.

The firearm can shoot up to eight rounds in eight seconds. In July 2015, the Abbott government suspended imports following concerns it undermined the Howard-era National Firearms Agreement.

If brought back, it would supposedly be restricted for use by farmers and people with a “specific need” for using the weapon. Sounds a bit like a floodgate opening, doesn’t it?

As to the political aspect of this issue, we’ve witnessed another bout of flip-flopping in an unstable government. While Mr Turnbull had previously appeared to have cut a deal with a Liberal Sentor in exchange for a vote (and more recently, refused to rule out negotiating on the Adler), he yesterday confirmed he would “stand by the national firearms agreement”. There’s nothing new to be said here: politicians are endless fonts of promises and backdoor deals. Is this just another manipulation to conceal some other hidden intention? We’ll wait and see.

 John Oliver compares America’s gun reform laws to Australia’s.

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Written by ameliath

127 Comments

Total Comments: 127
  1. 0
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    I don’t see any problem with guns. Perhaps the govt fear there own safety and don’t want its citizens armed

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      There are lots of problems with guns. Example the USA killings.

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      That is spot on Tom. Funny how those who want guns never look at the bad side of this argument.
      The reality is that gun crimes still occur because the criminals all seem to have guns and the rest of our thugs now use knives to kill people. The only difference is that you cannot kill dozens of people with a knife whilst you can with a gun/guns.

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      Garbage MICK.
      As we have just seen in France, you can kill a lot more people with a truck than you can kill with the firearms & ammunition you can actually carry.

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      An often overlooked fact about laws restricting gun ownership and use is this. Chicago Illinois has some of the most restrictive “gun laws” in America, yet dozens of shootings are reported every week, Why is this so? Obviously Chicago, and much of America, has a problem with illegal drugs and the gangs that battle over which gang will control the sale of said drugs. The people involved with these drug gangs ignore Chicago’s gun laws in the pursuit of their criminal activity. This has gone on in Chicago since the time of Prohibition and Al Capone, and the problem with drug gangsters shooting each other in Australian capitol cities reminds us that Australia is not immune to this problem.

      Laws that make gun ownership more difficult for the average person are simply ignored by the criminals. Home invasions we hear about on a weekly basis simply did not happen a generation ago. Would be home invaders simply did not know if they would be confronted by a gun owning house holder or not then. This is not the case now.

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      Illegal guns are irrelevant to this discussion.

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      And you can kill at lot more people with nukes than with a truck Hasbeen.
      The issue is putting this ticking time bomb (sic) back into society after experiencing all its horrors here are well as watching it unfold in America where no amount of massacres is too many.

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      If the comment wasn’t so dumb kev88, I’d tend to believe you must do comedy for a living!

  2. 0
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    the problem is not guns its people

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    Where did you get your information from the buy back and the drop in crime stats that you claim is false. It seems most people agree even the government know alls that it is not the legal firearms owners that are the problem but the criminals that cause the mayhem in this country. How is tighter gun laws going to help stop criminals importing guns illegally and how many criminals turn in their illegal guns and do you think they will abide by any further strict laws imposed on the legal firearm owners, wake up leave the legal firearm owners alone and start spending time chasing the criminals bringing in illegal firearms. Do you think the Australian people will allow the few members of the Government to take away their firearms I don’t think so.

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      Whilst I agree the issue is that if you start allowing guns like the shotgun which is currently under discussion then it will only be a matter of time until the crazies get one and use it.

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      The law did not prevent the Martin Place Lindt Café murderer from getting his mitts on an illegal pump action shotgun. John Howard’s gun reforms prohibited the sale of Self Loading and Pump Action rifles and shotguns to the general public.

      The lever action Adler shotgun that is the subject of this controversy is not specifically banned because it is neither self loading nor pump operated. Lever action rifles that featured so prominently in the old John Wayne western movies are a 19th century technology and should not be confused with the more modern weapons subject to the ban.

      Lastly, the rapid fire demonstration of the Adler we have seen on TV makes me wonder how accurate ( and effective ) using the shotgun in this manner would be in a hunting situation. Sure, it would be capable of ruining someone’s day in a confined space, but there are plenty of other guns that would do that which are not stirring up the controversy the way the Adler debate has done.

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      The issue is wally that Monus had an old single fire shotgun. Had he decided to start shooting the difference would have been a few souls compared to the whole lot.

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    If you are going to quote something at lest get it right Yes it was after the Port Arthur Massacre that Howard and his followers decided to band certain types of Firearms. It was a tragedy that need not have occurred 1.the shooter did not possess a shooters license 2. The firearm was not licensed. Would this have stopped the tragedy I doubt it the person was unbalanced and probably would have done something else horrific. The part I come to is Who among us doesn’t receive the news of another shooting in America with just a flicker of relief that it is unlikely to happen here? In Australia, we allowed this type of tragedy to happen just once before we took action and enacted some of the toughest gun laws in the world. We Allowed this type of tragedy to happen just once perhaps you were to young or not even born then but there was the Hoddle Street Massacre in Melbourne again by an unlicensed shooter and unlicensed firearm, The Millipare Massacre in a shoot out between bikes where a young girl so tragically lost her life. There have been others around Australia but thankfully in not in recent years. Their have been shootings of Police who were just going about there business of tr to protect the public to the best of their ability with diminished Police. I my self have no problem with firearms and even though Howard’s said if there are more guns in society there is more chance of a similar incident occurring well to my knowledge there are more firearms in society nowadays that there were and yes we do not here of the big massacres but what we do here f nearly every day is what the press like to call drive by shootings, there are people being shot just about every day. Just because we ban guns in society does not mean that certain people of dubious character will not obtain them. What we have now is hundreds of thousands of wild pig in national parks completely destroying the ecosystem, hundreds of thousands of wild camels stripping trees bare. No don’t give the public firearms whilst crocodiles roam the rivers and creeks in places like Cairns, Port Douglas, and a host of other city’s and towns around the North of Australia. Let them take Humans, Dogs etc but for goodness sake don’t allow a sane, law abiding citizen of this country a firearm. No wonder we are called the nanny country of the world.

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      Agree but professional hunters already have access to high powered weapons. They do not need this semi automatic shotgun. If they do then time to find another profession.

    • 0
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      True but there were a sizable amount of people who would go away Pig Shooting and they were not professional but just law abiding citizens. They had registered Firearms and they were registered themselves. The farmers loved them.

    • 0
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      And the pig hunters and hunters of other animals can still do so without the Adler.

    • 0
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      From a hunting perspective, the two extra shotgun shells in the Adler’s magazine are there for the convenience of the shooter. It is just the hunter does not need to reload the gun so frequently.

    • 0
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      Exactly KSS.

    • 0
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      SO who cares if they call Australia the

      Nanny country of the world.
      REally We care about our citizens, NOT what other ppl say about us.
      We don’t need extra guns, and some may be deemed good citizens, but even they can run amok>?
      Stop trying to make it sound like its a good thing to have more guns. WE are not america, NOR should we be following in its path of destruction. and they will self destruct, the way they are going.
      Murdering and killing willy nilly!

  5. 0
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    Why is it? why is that human beings (have I said humans…?) love TO KILL just because they can?

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      If you had read my previous posts there are millions of Feral Pigs out there wrecking the ecosystem. There are Feral Goats doing the same thing what would you do leave them alone. The professional hunters will never eradicate all the feral animals in Australia there are two many of they and unfortunately a lot of them sit in our Parliament. No I am not suggesting going out shooting Politicians

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      because they are macho arseholes!

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      Oh yes, there are also thousands of millions “feral humans” all over the planet who are the precursors of wrecking the whole of the planet…to a soon coming total extermination…

    • 0
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      Nena if you had a brain in your head you would be dangerous.

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      ARE you always so rude Fred. A person just gave an opinion. no need to put them down like that, perhaps you have NO brains either>?

  6. 0
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    This government is so desperate to destroy the union movement that it looks prepared to sell out citizens with the guns laws which were introduced to keep weapons out of the hands of crazies. The argument that only responsible gun owners will have them is the sort of stupidity that pervades this arrogant and unaccountable government and it is about time this pack remembered who brought these laws in.

    • 0
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      “This government is so desperate to destroy the union movement that it looks prepared to sell out citizens with the guns laws”

      That is the risk we face here.

    • 0
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      Mick, I don’t agree that the government is desperate to destroy the union movement, just those unions which believe that they are above the law. The government also wants to make unions accountable and bring them under the same rules as company directors who can be jailed for breaking company law.

      As things stand at present, there are reportedly 2 million union members in Australia and if we allow a modest $10pw as union fees, that means that unions have $20M pw which they can use without any serious checks or balances on where the funds go or who spends them. I was a union member all of my working life because I believe in the union movement. I was never in a union that was militant although I was never given a balance sheet to show how my dues were spent.

      There has been a number of Royal Commissions into unions over the past 40 years and each one has found corruption with union officials being charged with various breaches of common law. If any government wants to clean up the union movement then I have to declare I support them.

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      Fair enough but that is the perfect reason we need a RC into the big end of town and the relationship between the money and governments. It’ll never happen though.
      I’ll support cleaning up the unions if you support clearing out the corruption at the top.
      Sadly this is a one sided argument where fairness and common sense is not going to prevail.

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      Agreed Mick, I support cleaning out corruption wherever it rears its ugly head.

    • 0
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      I just did a quick check the other day and the following countries are just some where the Law Abiding citizen is not allowed to own any firearm.

      African Dictatorships.

      CHINA.

      North Korea.

      I am sure there are many more.

    • 0
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      Irrelevant.

    • 0
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      Barak,
      Only because it does not “Fit in” with you want to see things!

    • 0
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      No, it’s because the topic is whether Australia’s gun laws should be loosened up a tiny bit.

      Nothing to do with “the Law Abiding citizen is not allowed to own any firearm”.

      That is a very different topic.

  7. 0
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    Unbelievable that some idiot Senator thinks this is a good idea and can horse trade with the Government. Grow some balls Malcolm and stand up what’s his face Senator.

  8. 0
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    The current gun laws are tough enough on law abiding gun owners. The illegal guns that criminals have in their possession is the big problem. The enormeous amount of crime caused by drugs is a much greater problem. The misguided do gooders need to focus their attention on that problem.

    And I belive that a majority of the audience that this publication is aimed at would be of the same opinion as this reader.

    • 0
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      There are some serious misconceptions floating around in this conversation.
      There are more people killed using prescription drugs than using illegal drugs. Alcohol are both legal but cause a greater amount of harm in the community than illegal drugs.
      The availability of guns in the community leads to a greater toll of life simply because they are there. Baseball, or cricket, bats, knives, bottles are all used in the heat of the moment incidents when tempers flare and they do cause damage. When a gun is used death more often results.
      In the U.S. we have cases of children shooting other children, children shooting parents, etc etc. It just goes on and on.
      Switzerland, a very stable country, recorded a reduction in deaths by shooting when they reduced the number of people in military service storing their guns at home.
      It is the availability of guns in the community that creates the threat.
      The mark of a stable, peaceful community is the fact that weapons are not needed.

    • 0
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      BM if the gun laws are as tough as you say can you answer me this one I had to had in a Semi Auto .22 (Which some dumbo from the coalition against guns called an Automatic on TV) but I was allowed and legally licensed to have a .303 bolt action now anyone who has any sort of clue would agree more damage would be done by the .303 that the semi auto .22.

    • 0
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      Fred, I’m sure some details were less than perfect in its implementation, but the the fundamentals of the gun buy back told ALL Australians that guns aren’t toys, and owning guns was a big responsibility.

      The message was almost more important than the details of the implementation.

    • 0
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      Guys. Seriously. Think Port Arthur. End of gun lobby promotion!

    • 0
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      BM, why should we have an ‘either/or’ when it comes to law enforcement? Surely we can have police work on getting rid of illegal weapons and illegal drugs at the same time?

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      The notion that a semi-automatic rifle will kill more people than the same calibre weapon in a bolt action style is ridiculous.
      Semi automatic weapons are notoriously inaccurate as the person using them usually depends on rate of fire to replace accuracy and skill.
      A skilled person with a long range .303 will out gun an amateur with an AK 47 any day, This was proven in the Afghanistan/Russian conflict.
      I am more concerned with the thousands of guns in sheds and under beds that were made illegal by government legislation and were not turned in because there was no compensation offered for them. I would guess that a lot of the guns in the hands of criminals were stolen from homes and were not reported because they were illegal and the owners did not want to get into trouble.

  9. 0
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    Softening Gun Laws….would amount to Polictical Suicide…..people would react with Venham next election! So much so…..that the Liberals would suffer a Massacre/ Landslide Defeat!
    Thankfully….they have received massive protests…notice…of same.
    As for the Senator….don’t be surprised if he looses his Senate Seat…..Voters will remember his sneeky deal! Or his own party will not nominate him!

  10. 0
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    Leyonhjelm’ deal a year ago was actually done with Ministers Keenan and Dutton, definitely not the brightest tools in the shed.

    The must be times when Malcolm gets really depressed that the deal HE has signed with his party’s right wing to become PM prevents him from sacking these morons.

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