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LNP finally goes over the edge. Gel blasters today, NERF tomorrow?

Letter from Shooters Union President, Graham Park

In the midst of a terrible drought across Queensland affecting their core support base as well as the massive social and business issues facing every Queenslander, Liberal National Party Queensland leader Deb Frecklington found a REALLY big issue for the state. She wants to BAN toy guns, yes you got it right, the Queensland Opposition leader has actually called for a ban on some “gell blaster” toy guns because they “look very real”. I nearly fell off my couch when I saw this on TV. Click here.

Over the past 20 years I have seen the LNP do some strange things, first they brought in the NFA we now live with, then they have repeatedly supported Labor (recently with lever action shotguns) and now they want to worry about banning toys that “look real”. I think it’s concerning that the Queensland LNP do not seem to think that there are much bigger problems to fix in our state. I also think it’s important to note that in Queensland it is already an offence to cause fear or alarm by being armed in public, and that applies to any item (including toys).

So if someone was out and brought a toy and waved it around they run two key risks:

  1. Being arrested and charged
  2. Being shot by police if they point it at them.

Any of us can walk into a toy shop and buy a toy gun and it take three minutes to slap some black paint on it and nearly any of them will look pretty “real”.

I can only imagine that Dangerous Deb and the LNP will soon be protesting outside any and every toy store across the state for immediate action. Perhaps a “buy back” of kiddies toys is overdue?

When a supposedly conservative party like the LNP goes this far off the rails, it is time for a couple of things to happen:

  1. Look for alternatives to vote for among the minor parties OR
  2. For those who are LNP supporters or party members already, get involved and REFORM your party before these people destroy it altogether. Write to your local member and see if they are willing to follow this useless tangent. Go to a party meeting and complain to head office – do anything in your power to be heard. These politicians work for us and are employed by us. We sign their pay checks, so if we don’t like their work then it’s up to us to make sure they know it.

I am fully aware this is a tempest in a teacup and whether or not they ban toys is not our core mission, but when we see supposedly sensible politicians and parties behave this stupidly you begin to understand why so many Queenslanders and others around the country have had enough and are placing their votes elsewhere. The federal LNP is already in a tough bind with the recent leadership spill, so their state branches can’t afford to lose supporters.

Note if you do wish to contact the LNP leader or deputy leader directly their emails are below:

  • Deb Frecklington – https://www.debfrecklington.com.au/ Phone: 07 4190 7100 Email: nanango@parliament.qld.gov.au
  • Tim Mander – https://timmander.com.au/ Phone: 07 3535 1100 Email: everton@parliament.qld.gov.au

Our Farmers Need You!

We are recruiting volunteers to form flying squads to operate in the St George Dirrinbandi Thallon Nindygully Bollon areas for eight/nine weeks from the 24th of September.

We are asking that you volunteer one or two weeks of your time during the period 24th September to the end of November.

These times will be rostered so we can have a full compliment on each Flying Squad at all times.

We have planned to have 3 squads on the ground with a compliment of 12-15 personnel.

We would like to recruit the following for each squad.

  1. Doctor in General Practice
  2. Chiropractor
  3. Masseuse
  4. Physio
  5. Nurse
  6. Solicitor
  7. Accountant/Consultant
  8. Cook
  9. Carpenter
  10. Electrician
  11. Plumber
  12. Painter
  13. General Dogs Body
  14. General Dogs Body
  15. General Dogs Body
  16. General Dogs Body

This drought relief operation is aimed at those people who fall through the net of the general drought aid and in particular the personal hygiene and wellbeing of our FARMERS.

Are you interested?

Experience our drought first hand. For more information contact 07 5466 5840 or 0491336694
Email: johnpfei.rural@spin.net.au

Another CAT H win in QLD. WLB overturned once again

Shooters Union notes in Section 7 that in an occupational setting it can be argued that personal protection may be a genuine reason for a weapon of this type.

See highlight below.

https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/qld/QCAT/2018/225.html

“This is of some significance given that the Respondent contended that personal protection cannot, in point of law, constitute an occupational requirement pursuant to s 11 of the Act (and relied upon the decisions of Osborne v Commissioner of Police, New South Wales Police Service (Osborne)[6] and Bergmann v Commissioner of Police (Bergmann)[7]. In light of the Applicant’s stated position, it is unnecessary to decide this point. Nevertheless, I consider it arguable that, if it is a genuine requirement of an applicant’s occupation that he or she have use of a weapon for personal protection, s 11(c) may be satisfied. First, each of Osborne and Bergmann were based on the weapons legislation in the respective states of New South Wales and Western Australia which expressly provided that an applicant does not have a genuine reason for possessing or using a firearm if the applicant intends to possess or use the firearm for, amongst other things, “personal protection”. No corresponding provision appears in the Act.
Secondly, in my view, it is at least arguable that personal protection as part of occupational health and safety is not mutually exclusive with possession of a weapon being an occupational requirement (including an occupational requirement for rural purposes). However, a decision on this issue should await a subsequent case where the issue is squarely raised for determination.”

Lever v Queensland Police Service (Weapons Licensing Branch) [2018] QCAT 225 (10 July 2018)

Last Updated: 26 July 2018

QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND 

ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL

 

CITATION:
Lever v Queensland Police Service (Weapons Licensing Branch) [2018] QCAT 225
PARTIES:

JOHN CAMPBELL LEVER

(applicant)

v
QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE (WEAPONS LICENSING BRANCH)
(respondent)
APPLICATION NO/S:
GAR327-17
MATTER TYPE:
General administrative review matters
DELIVERED ON:
10 July 2018
HEARING DATE:
29 June 2018
HEARD AT:
Brisbane
DECISION OF:
Member Lumb
ORDERS:
      1. The Respondent’s decision to reject the Applicant’s application under the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) to renew his Concealable Firearms Licence is set aside.
      2. The Applicant’s application to renew his Concealable Firearms Licence is approved.
      3. The Applicant’s Concealable Firearms Licence is renewed by cancelling the existing licence and issuing a fresh Concealable Firearms Licence endorsed with the following conditions:

        (a) the licence is limited to a .357 calibre Smith and Wesson revolver and a .357 calibre Sturm Ruger revolver;

(b) the licence authorises the licensee to possess and use the licensed registered weapons for the control or destruction of crocodiles in the course of the licensee’s business activities or occupation involving crocodile egg harvesting, crocodile capture or handling, training of others in the handling of crocodiles or crocodile egg harvesting and the protection of visitors or invitees at the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Central Queensland;

(c) the weapons the subject of the licence are to remain in secure storage at all times save when being possessed or used in accordance with the licence, unless otherwise authorised, justified or excused by law.

CATCHWORDS:

FIRE, EXPLOSIVES AND FIREARMS – FIREARMS – LICENSING AND REGISTRATION – LICENCE OR PERMIT – RENEWAL AND OTHER MATTERS – review of decision to reject application to renew concealable firearms licence under Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) – whether occupational requirement for possession of a handgun

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 9, s 20, s 24

Weapons Act 1990 (Qld), s 10, s 11, s 18, s 142

Bergmann v Commissioner of Police (Bergmann[2009] WASAT 233

Cseke v Queensland Police Service (Weapons Licensing Branch) & Anor [2005] QCA 466

Factory Direct Pools Pty Ltd v Queensland Building Services Authority [2013] QCAT 34

Osborne v Commissioner of Police, New South Wales Police Service [2000] NSWADTAP 10

Shaxson v Queensland Police Service, Weapons Licensing Branch [2014] QCAT 309

APPEARANCES & REPRESENTATION:
Applicant:
Self-represented
Respondent:
Senior Constable Paz Landim

REASONS FOR DECISION

  1. The Applicant has applied[1] to review a decision of the Respondent made on 3 October 2017 (the Decision) rejecting the Applicant’s application to renew a Concealable Firearms Licence dated 17 April 2017 and lodged on 5 July 2017 (the Firearms Application). The Applicant had been the holder of a Concealable Firearms Licence under the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) (the Act) between 17 February 1992 and 2 October 2017.[2]
[2] The Firearms Application related to two weapons being a Sturm Ruger .357 calibre handgun (revolver action) and a .357 calibre Smith and Wesson handgun (revolver action). The stated “Genuine Reason” for the licence was “Occupational Use”.
The basis for reviewing the Decision
[3] The Decision is a “reviewable decision” pursuant to s 142(1)(aa) of the Act being a decision refusing to renew a licence under the Act.

[4] The Tribunal has jurisdiction to review the Decision by virtue of s 142(2) of the Act and s 9(1) and s 9(2)(b) of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (the QCAT Act).

  1. The legal framework for the conduct of a review by the Tribunal in its review jurisdiction has been succinctly summarised by Member Howard[3] in Factory Direct Pools Pty Ltd v Queensland Building Services Authority:[4]The purpose of a review conducted by the tribunal in its review jurisdiction is to produce the correct and preferable decision following a fresh hearing on the merits. The Tribunal must make its decision according to the applicable law, and based on the evidence presented to it. In effect, the Tribunal stands in the shoes of the original decision-maker, in this case the QBSA, and makes the decision anew. The relevant facts must be established to the reasonable satisfaction of the Tribunal. (footnotes omitted)

The Respondent’s position

  1. The Respondent did not contest that the requirements of s 10 of the Act had been satisfied by the Applicant other than the requirement set out in s 10(2)(f). The Respondent contended that the Applicant did not have a reason mentioned in s 11 of the Act to possess a concealable firearm namely, a .357 calibre handgun. The Respondent accepted that the Applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a licence under the Act. I find this to be the case not only on the basis of the Respondent’s concession but also having regard to the Applicant’s employment history, “Community Contributions” and his “Firearm Familiarity” as set out in the Applicant’s statement dated 14 March 2018.[5]
[7] Section 11 of the Act sets out the specified reasons for possession of a weapon. The particular reason relied upon by the Applicant was that contained in s 11(c) namely “an occupational requirement, including an occupational requirement for rural purposes”.

[8] As I understood the Respondent’s case, it was not disputed that the Applicant had an occupational requirement for possession of a weapon but that such requirement would be satisfied by possession of a rifle rather than a handgun.
The occupational requirement for possession of a firearm
[9] The Applicant and his wife operate the Koorana Crocodile Farm (the Crocodile Farm) in Central Queensland. The Crocodile Farm was established in 1981 and there are over 5,000 crocodiles on the farm today.

[10] The basis upon which the Applicant sought to establish that a handgun is required as an occupational requirement was the protection of other persons in relatively close proximity to crocodiles in the following circumstances:

(a) the training of persons in crocodile handling training courses which have been conducted at the Crocodile Farm for over two decades. The course takes place at the farm over a five day period and involves the capture and handling technique of eggs, hatchlings, growers, sub-adult and adult crocodiles. By the end of a five day course, the trainees are required to catch a large crocodile with the help of two assistants and most of the adult crocodiles chosen for capture are females defending their nests;
(b) the protection of tourists to the Crocodile Farm. Approximately 30,000 tourists visit the Crocodile Farm each year which is open every day except Christmas Day;
(c) the protection of University researchers from Latrobe University, University of Queensland and University of Central Queensland for research purposes including artificial insemination of crocodiles;
(d) egg harvesting. The Applicant and his staff collect eggs from 50 nests during a three month period. The nests are protected by the female crocodile and there is a prospect that the male crocodile may come to protect the female crocodile;
(e) the handling of crocodiles other than in a training course.

  1. The Applicant expressly disavowed any reliance on his own personal protection as founding an occupational requirement to possess a handgun. This is of some significance given that the Respondent contended that personal protection cannot, in point of law, constitute an occupational requirement pursuant to s 11 of the Act (and relied upon the decisions of Osborne v Commissioner of Police, New South Wales Police Service (Osborne)[6] and Bergmann v Commissioner of Police (Bergmann)[7]. In light of the Applicant’s stated position, it is unnecessary to decide this point. Nevertheless, I consider it arguable that, if it is a genuine requirement of an applicant’s occupation that he or she have use of a weapon for personal protection, s 11(c) may be satisfied. First, each of Osborne and Bergmann were based on the weapons legislation in the respective states of New South Wales and Western Australia which expressly provided that an applicant does not have a genuine reason for possessing or using a firearm if the applicant intends to possess or use the firearm for, amongst other things, “personal protection”. No corresponding provision appears in the Act. Secondly, in my view, it is at least arguable that personal protection as part of occupational health and safety is not mutually exclusive with possession of a weapon being an occupational requirement (including an occupational requirement for rural purposes). However, a decision on this issue should await a subsequent case where the issue is squarely raised for determination.
  2. Pursuant to s 11(c) of the Act, an applicant must establish that it is a genuine requirement of the applicant’s occupation that he or she have and be able to use a weapon of the type sought to be licensed (in this case, a .357 calibre handgun being a concealable firearm).[8] The occupational requirement must be an existing one not a potential one (being one fact upon which the applicant’s case in Cseke foundered).[9]
  3. Under s 13(5) of the Act, in an application for a licence which relies upon an occupational requirement, the applicant must state why possession of a weapon is necessary in the conduct of the applicant’s business or employment. The meaning of the word “necessary” in this context was considered by the Member Howard in Shaxson v Queensland Police Service, Weapons Licensing Branch.[10] Member Howard made the following observations which, in my respectful view, reflect the correct meaning of “necessary” in this context:The word, ‘necessary’ as used in s 13(5), is not defined. Its meaning must properly be interpreted in the context of not only the provision in which it sits, but the Weapons Act and its purpose. ‘Necessary,’ according to common usage, connotes something which is required, rather than something which is merely convenient or a matter of preference. In the context, it reasonably connotes that the requirement can not be met in some other way, and can not currently be appropriately met. (footnote omitted)
[14] As noted above, the Respondent did not contest that the Applicant was engaged in dangerous occupational activities involving crocodiles or that use of a rifle could be considered to be an occupational requirement in the course of those activities. The thrust of the Respondent’s case was that such a requirement could be met by the use of a rifle rather than a handgun. In my view, having regard to the evidence which will be discussed below, the Applicant’s activities do provide a reason for possession of a firearm as an occupational requirement. The critical issue is whether the occupational requirement is satisfied by use of a rifle rather than a handgun.

[15] The Respondent raised two matters in support of the opposition to the application:

(a) the use of a .357 calibre handgun is insufficient or inadequate to kill a crocodile in circumstances in which protection of persons in company with the Applicant requires the crocodile to be killed;
(b) in any event, even if it were “impractical” to use a rifle in such circumstances it was not “impossible” and the occupational requirement to possess a weapon could be met by use of a rifle.
Sufficiency of a .357 calibre handgun

  1. The Respondent relied upon the decision in Bergmann to contend that a .357 calibre revolver was not suited for killing a crocodile. In that case, it was found that the handgun was not so suited and that a .308 rifle was a minimum calibre required for the killing of a crocodile.[11] However, that was a factual finding based upon the evidence before the Tribunal. In the present case, it is a factual question to be decided having regard to the evidence before this Tribunal.
[17] The Respondent did not call any evidence in relation in relation to this issue.

[18] The Applicant gave evidence that he had killed a crocodile with a .357 Sturm Ruger handgun on two occasions. In each case, the crocodile was put down as it was ailing rather than in an attack scenario.

  1. The Applicant also relied upon a statement of Matthew Kelman of Carmor Plains Station dated 14 March 2018.[12] Two unsuccessful attempts were made at the hearing to contact Mr Kelman by telephone to permit cross-examination of him by the Respondent. In those circumstances, the Respondent indicated that the statement could be admitted without cross-examination. In his statement, Mr Kelman stated, relevantly:

My work and experiences with long and short arms on my station, Carmor Plains and throughout Arnhemland in the Northern Territory has been extensive. I have been heavily involved in hunting safaris for 27 years and crocodile harvesting and egg collecting for 17 years. Whilst a long arm is used a lot in the safari industry with big bovines like wild cattle and buffalo, the most practical and safe firearm when working or handling crocs is a handgun … this is not my opinion, it is a fact.

I cannot imagine using a long arm in any safe or professional manner when relocating or harvesting crocodiles. Same applies to collecting croc eggs from a nest defended by one or both parent crocodiles. You need 2 hands to safely hold and use a long arm. You also need 2 hands to do this type of difficult work. And where might the long arm be when you need it? Probably left on the ground, or in the mud, (or in the water … not ideal!) or in the bottom of the boat. So when (not if) a dangerous situation arises, where is your firearm …well out of arms reach, god know where exactly … especially if working at night.

Without exception the only firearm I use for safety when working around crocodiles in the NT, is a handgun, revolver or pistol, preferably in a stopping calibre of over .38 calibre. The handgun is safely stored in a holster on your hip, ready for use if required.

Following calibres are adequate in my opinion. 357 magnum, 38 super, 40SW, 44 mag, 45 colt or bigger. A 9mm is too light of a calibre for stopping a large male crocodile with intent.

… (underlining added)

[20] In my view, Mr Kelman’s evidence that a .357 magnum is adequate to stop a large male crocodile corroborates the Applicant’s evidence that he used a .357 calibre handgun to kill a crocodile on two occasions. In the absence of any contrary evidence, I find that a .357 calibre handgun is sufficient to kill a crocodile if required.

[21] The remaining issue is whether it is an occupational requirement of the Applicant that he possess and use a .357 calibre handgun.
Rifle versus handgun
[22] In his statement, the Applicant stated, amongst other things:
It has been suggested that I could use a rifle instead of a handgun however there are several reasons why a rifle was not selected as the weapon of choice.

  • Rifles projectile will go for a long distance and a handgun a lot less
  • Location for use is Koorana Crocodile Farm, a lowset island of 113Ha only
  • The island is surrounded by tidal creeks frequented by recreational fishermen/families
  • Handgun will only be used when imminent and immediate death and/or serious injury is likely
  • Any need to use the firearm will be at close quarters only
  • Rifle will occupy both hands leaving no alternative action possible.

There is an increasing emphasis placed on duty of care to those you employ, the people you train and the general public.

I see police and security guards wearing side arms and not carrying rifles and would argue that the same factors apply – a rifle is an inappropriate firearm to carry around in public, it restricts the operator to a 2 handed operation leaving no other physical alternative other than to point and shoot.

The handgun however permits alternative use with the free hand.[23] In cross-examination, the Applicant said that it was now his current practice to carry the handgun on his hip (in a holster) although when in a 12 foot boat (a “Tinny”) his practice was to keep the handgun in a bucket at the front of the boat (which would avoid issues such as harpoon lines being caught on it). The Applicant said that having a rifle in a boat was not practical as there was no space in the boat for a long arm rifle and it could get caught up in lines when the crocodile thrashes around.

  1. The Applicant also relied upon a statement by Professor Grahame Webb dated 18 May 2018.[13] Professor Webb stated, among other things:

I was approached by [the Applicant] to explain independently, and from my personal experience, the reasons why a handgun is essential for meeting OH&S obligations to himself and staff, when working with Saltwater Crocodiles, in both farm and wild contexts. I fully support [the Applicant]’s application to retain his license for a .375 revolver. I do this from the view point of having worked with Saltwater Crocodiles for 45 years, in both captive and wild contexts, and of being Chairman of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, with 612 members in 64 countries, who all work with crocodiles.

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are the largest and arguably the most dangerous crocodile in the world. Within Australia large males can exceed 5+ m long and 750 kg, and research has shown that attacks on people by crocodiles 4+ m long are almost always fatal. Survivors from attacks of large crocodiles, often due to the actions of other people, have consistently indicated that had they had a handgun present they could have used it to dispatch the crocodile that had caught them.

Despite procedures developed over the years for minimizing risk, by people such as [the Applicant], the fact remains that crocodiles can shift from completely immobile to 100% activity instantly, because they rely on anaerobic metabolism. Hence, people working with crocs need to always be prepared for a situation to shift from no danger, to absolute danger with injury and potential death, within a second. Having a rifle of shotgun available is totally impractical with the need to use both hands when manipulating ropes, ties and other procedures.

During egg collection, a percentage of adult females defend their nest and can do so with rapid charges from the water. In wild situations nests are surrounded by tall reeds, are often on floating rafts of vegetation, and once again a rifle is simply impractical to use. We have all tried it and it just does not work. Having the rifle in the hands of nearby people inexperienced with crocodiles is equally dangerous, because in the explosive activity that takes place, inexperienced people are just as likely to shoot the person rather than the crocodile (as has happened).

[The Applicant] has many years experience with handling crocodiles, and capturing rogue crocodiles, and is often in situations where he has a duty of care to staff, visiting researchers and students. Some of his research (eg artificial insemination) requires the capture and restraint of large male crocodiles (4m+) regularly during the mating season.
[25] In cross-examination of Professor Webb (by telephone) by the Respondent, it was suggested that an additional person may be employed to hold the rifle. Professor Webb said that such a proposal was “completely impracticable”. He suggested this could not work if descending from a helicopter or in a group situation where there was no room to manoeuvre a rifle. He maintained that the use of a revolver was needed in a case of emergency. I accept Professor Webb’s evidence, particularly in the absence of any evidence to suggest that use of a rifle would be a practical alternative to a handgun.

[26] I also refer to the evidence of Mr Kelman set out in paragraph [19] above and, in particular, the need to use two hands in dealing with crocodiles and the need to use two hands to fire a long arm weapon.

[27] The Applicant was also asked in cross-examination whether a fold-down rifle would work as an alternative to a handgun. The Applicant said that it was not practical. The Respondent did not lead evidence in relation to this issue (for example, what fold-down guns were available, how they could be folded down, how quickly they could be set up and how practical they would be in confined spaces). I cannot be satisfied that a fold-down rifle is a suitable alternative to a handgun in the context of the activities undertaken by the Applicant.

[28] Having regard to the above evidence, I am satisfied that it is a genuine existing requirement of the Applicant’s occupation that he have and be able to use a .357 calibre handgun in the course of his occupational activities and that use of a handgun rather than a rifle is not merely a matter of convenience or preference but is a matter of necessity. The requirement is one of protection of persons comprising members of the general public and also trainees and researchers in the circumstances identified in paragraph [10] above. Saltwater crocodiles are highly dangerous animals, protective of their eggs and able to shift from a resting state to an attack state within a second. The activities identified by the Applicant are sometimes carried out at night and sometimes on boats in a confined space with the use of harpoons and ropes and other apparatus. I find that both hands are often needed carrying out such activities and that it is infeasible to do so and have ready access to a rifle in the event of a sudden attack by a crocodile. I also find that the use of a rifle carries with it greater risk of accidental injury over and above a handgun in group situations and confined spaces. In short, in the course of the Applicant’s occupational activities, a rifle is not an appropriate, suitable or adequate alternative to a handgun, specifically a .357 calibre handgun.

[29] I consider the correct and preferable decision to be that the Respondent’s decision to reject the Applicant’s application to renew his Concealable Firearms Licence under the Weapons Act 1990 (Qld) should be set aside and that the Applicant’s application for a renewal of a Concealable Firearms Licence should be approved. I also consider that, pursuant to s 18(8) of the Act, the licence should be renewed by the cancellation of the previous licence and the issue of a fresh Concealable Firearms Licence to the Applicant. In the circumstances of this case, I consider it appropriate that the fresh licence should be endorsed with the following conditions:

(a) the licence is limited to a .357 calibre Smith and Wesson revolver and a .357 calibre Sturm Ruger revolver;
(b) the licence authorises the licensee (the Applicant) to possess and use the licensed registered weapons for the control or destruction of crocodiles in the course of the licensee’s business activities or occupation involving crocodile egg harvesting, crocodile capture or handling, training of others in the handling of crocodiles or crocodile egg harvesting and the protection of visitors or invitees at the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Central Queensland;
(c) the weapons, the subject of the licence, are to remain in secure storage at all times save when being possessed or used in accordance with the licence, unless otherwise authorised, justified or excused by law.
The Orders
[30] In accordance with the above reasons, I make the following formal orders:
(a) The Respondent’s decision to reject the Applicant’s application under the Weapons Act  1990 (Qld) to renew his Concealable Firearms Licence is set aside.

(b) The Applicant’s application to renew his Concealable Firearms Licence is approved.

(c) The Applicant’s Concealable Firearms Licence is renewed by cancelling the existing licence and issuing a fresh Concealable Firearms Licence endorsed with the following conditions:
(i) the licence is limited to a .357 calibre Smith and Wesson revolver and a .357 calibre Sturm Ruger revolver;
(ii) the licence authorises the licensee to possess and use the licensed registered weapons for the control or destruction of crocodiles in the course of the licensee’s business activities or occupation involving crocodile egg harvesting, crocodile capture or handling, training of others in the handling of crocodiles or crocodile egg harvesting and the protection of visitors or invitees at the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Central Queensland;
(iii) the weapons the subject of the licence are to remain in secure storage at all times save when being possessed or used in accordance with the licence, unless otherwise authorised, justified or excused by law.

[31] As to the question of costs, given that the Applicant was self-represented; that he was not required to arrange for witnesses to give evidence in person; that the Applicant was afforded natural justice by the Respondent in relation to the decision; and that the Respondent genuinely attempted to enable the Tribunal to make a decision on the merits, I consider it is appropriate that, consistently with s 100 of the QCAT Act, each party to the proceeding must bear the party’s own costs of the proceeding.


  1. [1] The Application to review was filed on 1 November 2017.
  2. [2] Certificate under s 163 of the Act signed on 3 January 2018 under the hand of Acting Sergeant C C Moore.
  3. [3] Now Senior Member.
  4. [4] [2013] QCAT 34, [7].
  5. [5] Exhibit 3.
  6. [6] [2000] NSWADTAP 10.
  7. [7] [2009] WASAT 233.
  8. [8] Cseke v Queensland Police Service (Weapons Licensing Branch) & Anor (“Cseke”) [2005] QCA 466, [12], [25] (Chesterman J, with McPherson JA and Mackenzie J agreeing).
  9. [9] Cseke, [25].
  10. [10] [2014] QCAT 309, [21].
  11. [11] At [40].
  12. [12] Exhibit 4.
  13. [13] Exhibit 1.

Firearm regulations around mental health challenging practitioners in rural areas

SHOOTERS UNION RESPONSE: Shooters Union agrees with Federal Member David Littleproud and others quoted in this excellent Queensland Country Life Article, in that losing a weapons licence should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and not with wide reaching, one-size fits all, cookie-cutter approaches which may well discourage the people who need it the most, from seeking help.

A regulation that requires people wishing to receive psychological counselling to relinquish their weapons licence and firearms is proving to be a harmful barrier to rural people seeking help, according to agencies working in western Queensland.

The concern was raised with federal ministers, Matt Canavan and David Littleproud, at a public forum in Longreach recently.

Peter Whip, the chairman of Outback Futures, a not-for-profit organisation providing professional and consistent allied health services to rural and remote Queenslanders, described it as a serious deterrent.

“Most mental health funding is linked to having a mental health plan,” he said.

“If you’re a grazier that means you’ve got to give up your guns, and life insurances are affected.

“We know blokes particularly – it’s hard to get them to see a doctor even if their leg’s hanging off – for mental health it’s a real struggle to get people to see professionals. Having funding that’s linked to the necessity to have a mental health plan is a real disincentive to people seeking help.”

As well as the obstacle the requirement was placing on people requiring treatment, Mr Whip was concerned that it was affecting usage statistics and giving governments a false picture of the need, which could impact future funding decisions.

“Outback Futures doesn’t have that requirement – we’re all funded by private donors – so when we go to say, Blackall, we had 90 people come to us.

“You go and talk to whoever has got that mental health plan restriction, they might see two or three.

“The government is getting this data and going, we don’t really need that, there’s only two or three people accessing the service, there mustn’t be a real problem.

“They put in millions to run these services but have set it up in such a way that no-one really accesses it.”

Mr Whip’s comments were confirmed by mental health clinician, Tim Driscoll, who is with the RFDS Drought Wellbeing Service at Longreach.

“I’ve only been in the central west since February but it’s certainly an issue that’s been brought up, by both clinicians and the public,” he said.

”We’ve seen a reduction in the service utilisation in Longreach, quite clearly, as a result of extra restrictions on accessing.

“The more steps between needing support and getting support – any barrier is potentially damaging.”

Mr Driscoll emphasised that he wasn’t advocating for removing the need to see a GP from the program.

He said there was sound reasoning behind having a GP at the centre of writing a mental health plan, saying “that’s not a bad model to have”.

Mr Whip asked if there was anything the Northern Resources and Agriculture Ministers could do to alleviate that barrier.

Mr Canavan responded that he hadn’t heard that specific problem but gave a commitment to follow it up and “come back to you on exactly what those plans require and whether they can be more flexible”.

He was not as accommodating of Mr Whip’s request to change from a short term funding approach to mental health services in rural Australia.

Mr Whip told the forum the many mental health groups accumulated after extended years of drought suffered from only being able to keep professionals on the ground for six months at a time because program funding cut out.

Mr Canavan said the funding, particularly for rural financial counsellors, was temporary because everyone hoped the drought would not be permanent.

“We ended up with a drought that went a lot longer than we all thought so the funding has had to be renewed at different times,” he said. “I don’t know if we can work around that completely.”

Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, described it as a cookie cutter approach that he said wasn’t working.

“We get it wrong.

“Matt and I have got to stand up to the Health Minister and say, you can’t have a cookie cutter approach because if we lose the human capital, we lose the resource and we lose the trust that you people have built up.”

Article written by Sally Cripps for Queensland Country Life. Link to original article: https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/5437256/is-red-tape-stopping-people-from-seeking-help

Weapons Licensing – Information Sheet for Cat H Occupational or Primary Producers Licence

Good afternoon,

For your information and the information of your customers and clients,  Weapons Licensing has released an Information Sheet to for applicants to consider, when applying for, or to renew a concealable Occupational or Primary Producers Licence (Cat H).

The Information Sheet can be found on the front page of our website at the following link:

https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/weaponslicensing/

If you could distribute this amongst your networks it would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
cid:image002.png@01D0C458.09586AE0

Adam Guild

 

 

Inspector
Manager Weapons Licensing
Specialist Services Group
Operations Support Command (OSC)
Queensland Police Service

Important Information when applying for or to renew a concealable firearms Occupational or Primary Producers Licence (Cat H)

Please read thisCat H Information Sheet.pdf to assist you in understanding how an Authorised Officer assesses the information you provide in your application. (This information should not be construed as legal advice)

Customer Telephone Enquiries Hours from Monday, 16th April 2018

Weapons Licensing will be available for telephone enquiries on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between the hours of 9am and 4pm.
Contact 07 3015 7777

On Wednesdays, our priority will be the actioning of our clients’ requests to enhance customer service.

The following information was copied from https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/weaponslicensing/ and is current as at 25/5/18

Barrel Lengths Gone

Shooters Union play a pivotal role as weapons licensing revoke barrel length requirements for Cat H Club Letters.

Shooters Union have again proved their ever growing ability to effect change over the last few months as discussions over barrel length requirements for Cat H Club Letters have taken place. Queensland Weapons licensing (QWL) have revoked the recently applied requirements for shooting clubs to supply a barrel length when supplying a club letter for category H weapons. The change was a result of lengthy discussions between QWL and Shooters Union Queensland. The fundamental argument being that such information is actually not required according to the legislation and would be pointless to QWL as Cat H barrel lengths are already known during initial registration. Such practices only make the task risky for clubs in terms of liability if something was in error.

Shooters Union applaud the change carried out. However, after small wins like this SU believes it is of the utmost importance that we do not become complacent in our pursuit for common sense gun laws in Australia, there is still a long way to go. Either way it is a lesson for us all in knowing that with the numbers and whilst utilising the political presence of SU we can all make change here in Australia.

Applicants for CAT H PTA’s should note however the online form has a mandatory field for barrel length, errors here will delay issue of the PTA.

Do we feel lucky, George? No, but we feel plastic outrage

Yesterday we lost our minds when George Christensen uploaded a questionable image to Facebook. While it was a silly thing to do, our reaction didn’t fit.

You have to hand it to “colourful” Queensland MPs. They have a remarkable knack for self-promotion by manipulating the Twitterati into manufactured outrage, as the outcry over George Christensen’s gun-toting Facebook photos proves.

Christensen has been accused, firstly, of inciting violence towards anti-mining protesters. Despite the political dimensions of this accusation, it should still be considered seriously. Regardless of people’s opinions about a certain classic Clint Eastwood line and Christensen’s taste in using it, a rather unoriginally-captioned photo of him with a gun does not necessarily equate to encouraging violence. Legally, “inciting violence” essentially rests on whether a person has urged others to commit a crime with the intent that they should do so. At face value, it seems a stretch to make out that George Christensen has done this.

Nor should we assume he “gives licence” to violence. Even if the imagery is construed as “violent”, relationships between what people see and how that may affect their own behaviours are extremely complex. These questions have been studied for years in relation to violent movies and video games, with the answers varying substantially depending on the group being studied, the intensity of exposure, and a wide range of other situational and personal characteristics.

Viewed rationally, the situation boils down to transparent posturing. A Nationals MP baits greenies to boost his anti-political-correctness credentials, a political aspirant protester recycles a tried and true tactic to generate attention and sympathy for his cause, the Greens hijack the victim card to score free publicity, and assorted pundits piggyback off the whole thing.

This begs the question: why has slow-news-day fodder escalated into hysteria? To understand this, we need to look at the second thing Christensen is accused of. Apparently, he has committed a social transgression: acting insensitively by posting photos of himself holding firearms, in the wake of the latest school shooting in the US. Cue po-faced tut-tutting.

George Christensen is not the first to run afoul of this censorious attitude. It has become standard.

Yes, this in part reflects the all too common occurrence of firearm violence in the US. But the clichéd script also reveals much about Australia’s reactive political discourse and the lazy journalism that sustains it.

Rather than intelligent, proportional and considered responses that reflect individual circumstances, Australians instantly link anything to do with guns here with acts of horrific violence in a completely different country. This is a very specific reaction. We only do it with guns and the US.

It is true that we have some things in common with the US when it comes to firearms. Most firearm-related deaths in both countries are suicides, mainly by older white males. Homicides committed using a firearm tend to occur between younger men who know each other, often come from socially disadvantaged and/or minority backgrounds, and typically have a range of risk factors for both perpetrating, and being a victim of, violence – such as involvement with other criminal activities. Along with many other developed nations, both countries have experienced long-term declines in firearm homicides over the past few decades. After this, the resemblance ends.

So whenever guns come up, why do Australian commentators refer instantly to mass shootings in the US, regardless of context, relevance, or logic? Most likely, we do it simply because we have been conditioned that this is how we should react. Just as Pavlov’s dog eventually salivated at the sound of a ringing bell, we now see a photo of a gun and obediently recite “US gun laws bad. Australian gun laws good.”

This may seem harmless enough, but our determination to cling to these trite scripts and conditioned responses, in fact, reveals a longstanding cultural insecurity. We are utterly desperate to see ourselves as international leaders rather than a bunch of convicts whose opinions are of little interest to the wider world. Grasping at anything we think makes us better or more virtuous than a superpower helps bolster our own sense of importance.

Yet even though politicians like to insist our firearm laws are the “envy of the world,” the reality is that no other country has seen a need to follow our approach despite having more than two decades to do so. Hardly a glowing endorsement.

We might be able to blame the NRA for the US situation, but this does not explain why nobody else is in a hurry to copy us. Instead, a number of countries have turned their efforts to developing and implementing a broad-reaching range of evidence-based measures to reduce violence and address its underlying contributors. Maybe they know something that we cannot hear over the ringing bell.

Seen in this light, our elected representatives’ rote recitals about US mass shootings start to look like nothing more than a platform for their own desire to achieve relevance on the international stage. And at a time when traditional political brands are struggling to recapture increasingly fragmented voting blocs whose identities are based not on what they stand for but by who they rally against as their “enemies”, it also helps to have a “go-to” villain up your sleeve to disguise your lack of real ideas.

So by all means, let us criticise George Christensen for poor taste or insensitivity or just plain stupidity. Let us call out behaviours that legitimately encourage violence. But let us do it with critical thought and reflection, rather than behaving like salivating dogs.

Article written by Dr Samara McPhedran for The Big Smoke Australia Website. Full link here: https://thebigsmoke.com.au/2018/02/20/do-feel-lucky-george-no-feel-plastic-outrage/

Guns drawn over ammunition limits as police warn of ‘negative publicity’

QUEENSLAND police have warned the State Government that imposing limits on ammunition sales could lead to “negative publicity” – a claim that has frustrated anti-gun advocates, who say police have allowed economics to drive gun-control policy.

The State Government is yet to introduce limits on the sale of ammunition, despite agreeing to do so in the latest National Firearms Agreement signed with the other states and territories in February last year.

The measures would mean ammunition could only be sold to a person in accordance with the guns they are licensed to carry, and limits would be imposed on the amount they could buy in a given period.

But in a ministerial briefing written towards the end of last year, police warned that such a move could lead to negative publicity.

“Additionally, due to the tyranny of distance, economic circumstances and weather extremes in outback Queensland, a primary producer or feral-animal controller may only make a trip to buy ammunition once or twice a year,” an assistant commissioner wrote.

“Imposing a limit on the amount of ammunition that does not take into account these contingencies could result in negative publicity.”

The assistant commissioner also suggested there was no evidence that the limits would enhance public safety or reduce criminal activity.

The briefing was released under Right to Information laws, and a Queensland police spokesman confirmed it was sent to the relevant minister.

But Samantha Lee, who chairs Gun Control Australia, said it was a “sad state of affairs” that the assistant commissioner was allowing inconvenience and economics to drive gun regulation.

“The regulation of ammunition has been a gaping hole in Australia’s gun laws for many years now,” she said.

“Last year, Gun Control Australia (commissioned) an independent report into the state of Australian gun laws.

“The report found that our gun laws are in big trouble of ongoing erosion, (with Queensland) helping to lead the way.”

Police Minister Mark Ryan said there had always been “historic variations” to the National Firearms Agreement among the states and territories.

“Buying ammunition is not like buying milk at the corner store,” he said.

“It is strictly regulated by a robust system, and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines and QPS are able to track all sales and buyers.

“As QPS has advised, the Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group is still considering ammunition regulation, and we look forward to the outcome.”

Article written by Jack McKay, The Sunday Mail (Qld), February 4, 2018 12:00am https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/gun-laws-victoria-amendments-in-limbo-as-politicians-bicker

Response to: Police Minister Mark Ryan

Recently Police Minister Mark Ryan uploaded onto his Facebook page, a heavily edited version of a video that I moderated in March last year. The edited video is a clear attempt at scare-mongering and playing politics with Tim Mander. In his comments that accompany the video, he manages to denigrate all Queensland licensed shooters, as well as a decent politician whose only mistake in the ALP’s eyes seems to be listening to the public.

From our perspective, it is refreshing to hear that Tim Mander has an “open mind” and is “all about good rational argument.” He is open to a discussion based on facts and evidence rather than what Minister Ryan is doing with emotional vitriol. Tim even admits there are issues he is not fully across, and providing there is “no increase in safety risks or some other risk to the community” why should a simple discussion not occur.

As an ALP politician, true to form, Ryan then twists Mander’s statements into “he wants to weaken gun laws.” As Tim Mander rightly replied, “absolute rubbish!” Weaken gun laws! How about we discuss all the weak laws that are letting criminals walk away from serving serious time for violence-related offenses?

And why does Ryan insist on comparing us with the United States, why not New Zealand, Switzerland, or Canada. Not enough sensationalism there. The problem in America is the same one
on which he and his troops should be concentrating; getting firearms out of the hands of criminals.

Law abiding licensed gun owners are not the problem in the US and they are not the problem here.

The criminals are. Get it right Mr Ryan.

Times have changed since Howard’s Gun laws. All licensed gun owners now have to pass stringent police checks and safety courses. They also have to have their firearms stored and temporarily
inoperable in safes which are inspected by the police. Police have to assess a shooter’s reason to have a firearm and have placed restrictions on their use. There is no open slather.

Mr. Ryan would be far better employed getting guns off criminals, rather than trying to criminalise law-abiding citizens, and as for Jackie Trad getting involved in the Facebook discussion, she would do much better concentrating on her own shambolic portfolio instead of trying to placate her electorate’s Greens with rubbish like this.

Finally we would like to thank all the Law Abiding Shooters who have flooded the Facebook pages of both Mr Ryan and Mrs Trad with comments. Please keep it up and let your voice be heard.

Let them know you expect them to focus on issues that affect us here in Queensland and that we will no longer tolerate emotional fear-mongering.

David Brown & Graham Park
Shooters Union Queensland

One Nation to allow shooters access to public lands

One Nation has announced their intentions to push for a NSW style (R-Licence) for QLD. The proposed arrangements would allow shooters in Queensland the ability to hunt game and feral animals on public lands. This news is welcomed by the Shooters Union and by all firearms and hunting enthusiasts alike.

The policy has been developed and promoted by Jim Savage, a One Nation candidate standing in the Lockyer electorate. The changes would greatly assist those with limited options or who need to travel long distances in order to enjoy their hobby.

This option has been available in NSW for many years. The implementation of such a licencing arrangement would mean that accreditation could be sought through the DPI and would facilitate access to public land. It has had great success in NSW by giving shooters the opportunity to assist in feral animal eradication, which in turn maintains the natural ecosystem of these environments.

Shooters Union applauds the initiative shown in the promotion of this policy and urge those of like mind to support the proposed changes.

See full policy announcement below.

R LICENCE –  PUBLIC LAND HUNTING              4/11/17

 

ONE NATION WILL ALLOW LAW ABIDING HUNTERS TO HUNT FERAL PESTS ON PUBLIC LAND

We will legislate to allow public land hunting with a licencing system to ensure safe public access and use of state forests.

One Nation supports a Queensland version of the successful NSW “R” licence, which regulates hunting in state forests. We recognise as a matter of principal that Queensland public land is a shared resource, for all Queenslanders. NSW, Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania allow the hunting of feral pests in state forests, as in most other countries. This saves the taxpayer an enormous amount of money which otherwise the government would have to spend controlling feral pests, as is their legal obligation as a “landowner”.

A cost benefit analysis conducted by the NSW government in 2017 showed a net benefit to NSW of $119 million a year and 860 jobs supported from public land hunting. In Victoria the figure is $439 million and 2,380 jobs supported. A significant proportion of this money comes from Queensland hunters who at present cannot hunt in Queensland. The NSW government makes money and at the same time saves taxpayers money by having someone else do their work for them. Win win!

One Nation believes that the NSW R Licence system is the best system to ensure safe hunting, with no safety incidents reported in over 16 years of operation. Hunters are required to undertake training in ethics, education and animal welfare, and hunter numbers are limited to one per 400 hectares (1000 acres) with hunting at night and from vehicles banned.

One Nation does not believe Qld. should miss out by not having legalised public land hunting.

Hunters from Qld regularly travel interstate to hunt deer and other pest animals in state forests, while taxpayers in Qld pay the government to shoot feral pests in our state forests. This is just plain silly.

One Nation supports introducing R Licences in Qld and finally join the rest of the country. It is time we managed our resources properly and controlled feral pests which results in better outcomes for native Australian animals. Money raised from R Licences can be funnelled back into environmental projects. Currently an R Licence in NSW costs $75.

One Nation suggests that hunters could voluntarily provide those in genuine need and financial hardship with free meat (ie. venison) if possible and practical to do so. Food banks could be established, as has been done in the United States and Canada, with hunters sharing game meat as a community service. Of course this would be purely voluntary and self administered. This would reduce the complete waste of meat which currently occurs as a result of aerial culling operations on Qld public land by state government agencies. Currently hundreds of animals such as deer being wastefully left to rot. Rather than hunters in Brisbane heading south to hunt in NSW and Victoria (and paying for the privilege) wouldn’t it be better if they headed north and spent their money in Qld? Hunters who currently do not have access to hunting on private property would have access to hunting land (state forests) and provide cash to regional areas.

R Licences will provide an economic and environmental benefit to regional Qld and give recreational hunters an opportunity to hunt in their own state.