Australian Labor recognises the work undertaken by the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA National) for recreational shooters, farmers and hunters. We understand the majority of firearm owners comply with the relevant legislation and acknowledges the work of the various firearms organisations in promoting the safe use and storage of firearms.
As many of you would be aware, issues relating to the prevention, detection and prosecution of crime are, for the most part, the responsibility of state and territory governments. The various categories of firearms were agreed by all Australian jurisdictions at a special meeting of the Australasian Police Ministers’ Council in May 1996 (the 1996 National Firearms Agreement). The categories are reflected in both Commonwealth legislation that regulates firearm imports, Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, and state and territory legislation that regulates licencing (such as the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic). Any changes to the categories would need to be approved by all jurisdictions through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
Labor strongly supports Australia’s existing gun laws which have kept Australians safe and work to protect against mass-casualty shooting incidents from occurring again. We remain opposed to anything that might serve to weaken or circumvent those laws. We believe that as gun technology is updated it is appropriate our laws are reviewed to ensure they keep up with the advances in technology and don’t become outdated.
Labor also understands the importance of recreational shooters, farmers and hunters having a voice and participating in consultation on firearm issues that relate to areas of the Commonwealth’s responsibility. Labor is particularly concerned about the rate of firearms theft in Australia. If elected we will work cooperatively with recreational shooters, farmers and hunters and their representatives to develop measures to better prevent theft of firearms from lawful owners. Labor is committed to a safe and fair Australia – one should not hinder the other.
Australian Labor will continue to support shooting sports in Australia through government investment in high-performance sport and community participation. Participation in shooting sports helps encourage outdoor recreation, foster community connections and promote the safe and responsible use of firearms.
We will support our elite athletes and improve elite pathways to keep Australian shooters at the forefront of Olympic, Paralympic and other international sport. Success for Australians in international sport creates role models for young Australians and encourages participation in grassroots sport. Labor will strengthen Australia’s sporting systems and ensure the Australian Institute of Sport is a world-class facility for elite athletes.
We will continue to support the promotion of women’s sport, including shooting sports, and efforts to increase the general profile of women’s sport in Australia. Labor will support sport, including shooting sports, for people with disability and establishing pathways for athletes with a disability.