Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie has hit out against the leaking of WA firearm ownership data in recent media reports, saying it is a “national security concern”.
The betrayal of privacy, which this time involved sensitive information being used to create maps showing the location of legal firearms held by law-abiding licensed owners across metropolitan Perth and WA’s South West, has played out in the eastern states on multiple occasions.
Senator McKenzie, who is standing for re-election as a Victorian Senate candidate, has questioned the security of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) Australian Firearms Information Network (AFIN) twice in Senate Estimates in recent years. The lines of questioning with relevant experts allowed her to reveal the weakness of the AFIN system comes from access by the end-user jurisdictions rather than the database itself.
As a result of the most recent media attention, Senator McKenzie has written to the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood and the WA Premier Mark McGowan to express her concerns. Senator McKenzie also reached out to the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) President Lance Miller to update the Association on the issue and provide assurance she will continue to advocate on the importance of data privacy for all law-abiding licensed firearm owners.
SSAA WA President Paul Fitzgerald labelled the release of the map informed by WA Police Minister Paul Papalia and WA Police as a “breach of trust”.
“The release of the location data shows a blatant disregard for the sporting and recreational shooting community and has caused significant distress for responsible gun owners who have been unfairly targeted,” he said.
SSAA WA representatives have been working to communicate with members of the WA Government and Opposition to ensure changes to WA’s firearm laws do not adversely affect law-abiding licensed firearm owners.