Press release from the Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice
The Coalition Government has this week closed a loophole that allowed criminals to avoid prosecution for trafficking firearm parts into Australia.
The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Psychoactive Substances and Other Measures) Bill 2014, passed through the Senate this week, has extended the existing trafficking offences to now include firearm parts as well as whole firearms.
Without these amendments, criminals could evade trafficking offences and penalties simply by breaking down the firearms and then trafficking the parts separately.
Firearms trafficking is a deadly crime and even a small number of illegal firearms coming into Australia is a huge threat to the safety of our communities.
That is why the Coalition Government committed to tougher penalties for gun-related crime which included the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences of five years’ imprisonment for offenders charged with trafficking firearms or firearm parts.
But this week, when the Coalition put those penalties to the Senate - the Labor Party opposed them.
The Labor Party voted down tough laws to remove dangerous criminals with illegal firearms from our streets.
Illegal firearms coming into Australia causes great concern for all Australians and mandatory minimum sentences of five years’ imprisonment is a key part of the Australian Government’s commitment to pursue a strong and nationally consistent approach to gun crime.
Member for Batman told the Parliament: “…it is laid out in the Australian Labor Party’s national platform that it is the strongly-held view of my party that mandatory minimum sentencing is often discriminatory in practice…So we oppose mandatory sentencing.”
However he is contradicted by the ALP’s own 2010 election policy document A secure and fair Australia, which says: “In May 2010, Federal Labor introduced tough new people smuggling offences. They included penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and mandatory minimum terms of up to eight years.”
While Labor goes soft on gun crime, the Coalition Government is getting on with delivering what it promised the Australian people - a safer and more secure nation.
Mandatory minimum sentences send a strong message that gun-related crime and violence is a serious threat to the safety of all Australians.
We are committed to tough laws on gun crime, and we will continue to pursue our legislative agenda to keep our communities safe.