Record-breaking petition shows need for further consultation

With more than 32,000 Western Australians having signed a petition expressing concerns about provisions within the Cook Government’s Firearms Bill as well as the lack of public consultation, Shadow Police Minister Hon. Peter Collier and the petition’s Tabling Member, Hon Nick Goiran have today called on the Cook Labor Government to pause and listen to legitimate community concerns.

‘The Liberal Party supports sensible reforms to the firearms legislation. However, we have always said the changes should not have any unintended consequences,” said Shadow Police Minister Hon. Peter Collier.

“The fact that over 32,000 Western Australians signed a petition to encourage the Labor Government to refer the Bill to the Legislation Committee speaks volumes.”

The 32,000 petitioners called on the Cook Labor Government to support law-abiding firearms owners; direct resources to tackling those who possess unlicensed firearms; express their concerns about the Bill and the lack of consultation; and refer the Bill for a full public inquiry into its impact.

“This Cook Government has no mandate for this reform. There are evidently a significant number of people affected by this legislation and the most effective measure to placate their concerns rests with full scrutiny of the Bill,” said Mr Collier.

“This will allow various firearms organisations and other concerned citizens the opportunity to express their concerns and identify the aspects of the Bill requiring amendment.

“After the debacle of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill, the Labor government promised that they were going to be a more ‘humble government’ and that they were going to listen to the concerns of the community.

“Well, they now have a real opportunity to be true to this commitment.”

The petition’s Tabling Member Hon. Nick Goiran said, “Now that we have an e-petition that is biggest in WA history and the only one to exceed 30,000 signatures, the question becomes: will the Cook Labor Government humbly pause and listen?

“The request of the petitioners for a full parliamentary investigation into the Bill is both reasonable and appropriate. After all, what is the Government’s objection? Their actions have shown the Bill is not urgent and the Legislative Council has no time in its upcoming schedule to sensibly deal with this until after the parliamentary winter recess in August, because it will be focussed on scrutinising the State Budget.

“If this Bill does not get referred to the Legislation Committee it will only be because Premier Cook and Minister Papalia have prioritised their ego over and above the voice of a record number of impacted West Aussies,” said Mr Goiran.