Labor’s contentious firearms reforms introduced to Parliament

The Opposition has hit out at the State Government’s contentious new Firearms Act 2024 after it was read into Parliament today.

Opposition Leader Shane Love MLA accused the Cook Labor Government of abandoning due process in an ideological rush to pass Australia’s most unworkable gun laws.

“Last week, we saw the Police Minister backgrounding media on a proposed gun buyback scheme well before legislation was even introduced to Parliament or the Opposition has been briefed,” Mr Love said.

“And this week, we’ve seen the State Government strategically providing information to the media about a raid on a firearms dealer, which occurred a month ago, in further efforts to provoke fear and concern around the perceived threat of firearms in the community.”

Mr Love labelled the State Government’s consultation process as “nothing more than a sham.”

“Allowing WA’s 90,000 registered firearms owners just three weeks to provide feedback to a complex, 62-page document proposing significant changes to all aspects of the licensing and regulatory regime in WA makes a mockery of the consultation process,” Mr Love said.

“No wonder over 12,000 West Australians signed our petition calling for the consultation process to be significantly extended – a request which the Government arrogantly brushed off.”

“We have not seen a genuine consultation process and we have not seen any commitment from the Government or Police Minister that feedback raised through this process has been considered at all by the Government prior to the introduction of legislation today.”

Mr Love called on the Police Minister to table a community consultation summary report in Parliament.

“On other major legislation, including local government reform and abortion reform, these reports have been made public, allowing the Opposition to clearly understand the feedback received by Government and how this has been incorporated into the new legislation.

“The Minister has not been at all transparent around their public consultation, which should send alarm bells ringing for anyone who remembers their botched consultation process for the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and the shambolic implementation of those laws.”

Mr Love also hit out at the Government’s controversial firearms buyback scheme, which opened today, ahead of the legislation being introduced or passed by Parliament.

“Last year, the Government repeatedly claimed their new laws would remove up to 13,000 guns from the WA community – yet they have set their budget for the buyback scheme at $64.3 million, enough to remove up to 100,000 firearms.

“When I asked the Police Minister to explain his rationale, he failed to articulate how that number had been determined, and warned that those who did not surrender their firearms would ‘have their firearms taken from them.

Mr Love said The Opposition was yet to receive a briefing on the new legislation and had not had an opportunity to review the new legislation in detail.