Don't Miss
Home - State News - Victoria

Victoria

Victorian Police Minister called upon to resign in wake of ‘disgusting’ domestic violence comments

ONE of Australia’s most prominent pro-firearms organisations has called for Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville to resign in the wake of disgusting, offensive and baseless comments implying licensed firearms owners were domestic violence offenders.

Speaking at a televised press conference yesterday morning, Ms Neville openly declared the Victorian Government’s decision to halt the sale of ammunition and firearms parts to recreational hunters and target shooters was due to concerns over the potential for domestic violence incidents as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park slammed the comments, calling them “quite possibly the most offensive, disgusting, ignorant and dangerous thing I have ever heard from a Government Minister”.

“I am simply flabbergasted by the Minister’s delusional and appalling comments, and I cannot believe she was allowed to air them unchecked.”

 “Many law-abiding firearms owners are themselves victims of domestic violence, so Ms Neville has succeeded only in re-victimising and traumatising a vulnerable group for her own political ends,” he said.

“It is clear that someone with such clear disgust and disdain for the most law-abiding parts of the Victorian community is not fit to be the Police Minister, and she should apologise and resign immediately.”

Obtaining a firearms licence is a time-consuming process with many background checks undertaken – including checks related to domestic violence.

“Anyone who has a firearms licence has proven themselves to be an upstanding, fit and proper person in the community. They are the group least likely to be perpetrating domestic violence,” Mr Park said.

“I cannot reiterate strongly enough just how utterly disgusted we are with the Police Minister’s insinuations. They are shameful and she should be ashamed of herself for uttering them.”

Mr Park said the fact gun stores were the only general retail outlet ordered to stop trading with a particular group of customers was further proof the declarations had nothing to do with public safety or domestic violence concerns.

“If Ms Neville is so worried about domestic violence, why is Bunnings still open? They sell axes, chainsaws, poison, and all manner of other dangerous items,” he said.

“What about places selling kitchen knives? Camping stores selling knives? Sports stores selling baseball bats? They’re still open and trading.

“Why are bottle shops still trading? Everyone knows alcohol is a massive factor in domestic violence incidents.”

Mr Park said the Government’s statements proved the sales restrictions had nothing to do with ‘public safety’ or domestic violence and everything to do with blatant, hateful and damaging discrimination.

“Substitute ‘hunters and recreational shooters’ for ‘the LGBTQI community’ or ‘black people’ and see if the rationale Ms Neville provided is OK. And the answer is no, because it’s not OK,” he said.

“We have said it before and we will say it again: There is no public health risk involved in letting licensed gun shops sell ammunition and parts to all licensed shooters, not just primary producers.”

“Yes, there’s a pandemic on, but that’s not an excuse to start pushing a discriminatory agenda under the blatantly false cover of ‘public safety’.”

Mr Park said there was also the very concerning fact the Victorian Government had apparently just admitted it has no faith in the integrity of its own firearms licensing system,  despite having spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the registry over the years.

“If they’ve admitted they can’t get that right, what other serious public health and safety matters are they dropping the ball on?,” he asked.

Mr Park said there was a strange idea among the public that guns were readily available to anyone, when that could not be further from the truth.

“I cannot make this any clearer: No-one, even with a gun licence, can walk into a gun shop in Victoria, pick out a firearm, and walk out the door with it right away,” he said.

“Buying a gun requires a licence – which requires numerous police and background checks and takes several months to get – as well as a police-issued permit for every additional gun the licence-holder wants to get.

“There are already checks and balances in the system to ensure unsuitable people do not legally acquire firearms.

“We fully support licensing and background checks to make sure only upstanding, law-abiding people can buy firearms – but we will not tolerate those upstanding, law-abiding people then being slandered by the same Government responsible for issuing them a gun licence in the first place,” he said.

CONTACT DETAILS:

President Graham Park: president@shootersunion.com.au or 0418 700 320

Media director Royce Wilson: media@shootersunion.com.au or 0410 645 035

Victorian Police don’t need 800 AR-15s

Victoria Police are tooling up in a big way to fight a largely imaginary enemy, it seems, following news they are acquiring 800 .223 calibre AR-15s, ostensibly to “combat terrorism.” And also this segment on 3AW.

We believe Victoria Police have failed the genuine need test in this case. What, exactly, do they need 800 AR-15s for? And “Combating Terrorism” isn’t a valid answer.

Australia is a safe country and while we must never be complacent, there simply has never been a large scale terrorist attack in the country since the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, and AR-15s would be completely useless in that sort of scenario anyway.

There is no doubt specialist units and armed offender response teams require specialist equipment including semi-auto longarms, and we are not for a moment suggesting they should not have access to them.

But your average police officer, however, simply doesn’t need an AR-15. They don’t need one in the boot of their patrol car, they don’t need a gun cabinet full of them at their local station, and the Victorian Police force certainly doesn’t need 800 of them.

Just to put that number in perspective: 800 AR-15s are enough to equip literally an entire battalion of soldiers and still have plenty left over.

Is Victoria planning to secede from Australia? Are they expecting a military invasion? No? Then what on Earth justifies having 800 AR-15s In police station gun racks across the state?

There’s certainly a case for police needing access to repeating centrefire rifles, and we would suggest that the Remington 7615P or the CZ 527 Carbine – both .223 calibre Category B firearms which are also available to licensed shooters – are better choices. They fire the same round, fill the
same “more versatile than a handgun” niche, and don’t require arming the police with military-style rifles.

It’s worth noting there are almost certainly nowhere near 800 functioning Category D firearms registered in Victoria. Simply, if licensed, law-abiding firearms owners – large numbers of whom are accomplished shooters – are denied access to these guns because they can’t be trusted with them, what makes it appropriate for frontline police to have them?

Surely the Victorian government isn’t acknowledging that Australia’s NFA-based gun laws simply don’t work, because criminals have access to banned semi-auto centrefire guns anyway?

Regardless – if Victoria is about to acquire 800 AR-15s, then it’s time for a serious discussion about letting properly licensed shooters own them as well – after all, two decades of experience has shown they are among the most trustworthy and law-abiding people in the community and there’s no
factual basis for prohibiting the guns anymore.

Is your professional/trade union funding gun haters?

In the wake of revelations the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) donated $200,000 to the Victorian branch of the Greens last year, shooters across Australia should pay close attention to where their professional or trade organisations choose to contribute politically.

Recently released filings with the Australian Electoral Commission confirm the donation was made in the 2017/2018 financial year. Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park described the news as mind-boggling.
“I was shocked to learn that the ETU is actively spending member’s money to support a party who openly attacks the interests of so many union members,” he said. “At first I could not believe a union was donating to the Greens, a party who is aggressively working to undermine the interests of thousands of its members who are law abiding firearm owners – never mind the fact that the Greens seem to be against most of the work electrical
workers are doing in general.” 

AEC disclosures also reveal that in the same financial year, the Victorian Greens branch provided $618,631 to the Australian Greens in “other receipts” – by far and away the largest contribution of any Greens branch to the Federal organisation – and we leave our members to draw their own conclusions as to whether the ETU donation made such a significant contribution possible.

While we at SUA support the right of individuals, businesses and organisations to donate to the political party of their choice, it is well-known the Greens are no friends to shooters.

Between frequent appearances in the media spouting gun-hating nonsense, policies which keep the wilderness away from hunters, and a worldview that doesn’t seem to extend further than its members can see from their local trendy inner-city cafe, The Greens have established themselves as avowedly anti-firearm and determined to do away with our sport entirely.

They are not the only anti-gun party out there, either – the Animal Justice Party, unsurprisingly, have a policy of “strengthen(ing) the NFA by removing access to guns for the purpose of the lethal control of animals or the recreational shooting of animals.”

If you are a member of a professional or trade organisation, we urge you to find out which political parties (if any) they are donating to – and if they are donating to anti-gun parties, we encourage you to reconsider your membership or make your views formally known to the organisation’s executive.

The 2017/2018 financial disclosures for all political parties are available at
https://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/Party.aspx

Victoria Police Refuses to Right Wrong

He served our country and did nothing wrong.

Then Victoria Police laid 8 firearm and weapon charges on him, all of which were beaten because they proved to be unfounded.

Now the red-faced regulator is trying to drive him out of business -and silence anyone wanting to help him.

This is a story about an abuse of power, a culture that ignores accountability and the need for Victoria’s public service watchdog to start asking some hard questions.

Let’s help Peter get his life back – and bring our rogue regulator back into line.
Peter (Zelko) Zabrdac is a former Australian Army soldier and leading figure in the Victorian security industry.

Over the years, Peter has advocated for the industry and shooters with some effect.  In more recent times he assisted one female security worker who received unsolicited and explicit pictures and text messages from a senior figure from Victoria Police’s Licensing & Regulation Division (LRD – the regulator for firearms and the security industry).  His efforts resulted in this story appearing about the LRD in The Age (click here to see the story) – and the officer’s resignation.   

If you read further down in the article, you will see that Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, has written to IBAC, Victoria’s Police Minister and the AFP requesting they investigate elements of the LRD’ s conduct – and the role Peter played in this.

Peter’s efforts did not please the LRD which has set out to make his life as difficult as possible.  In January 2017, Victoria Police officers working in conjunction with the LRD raided Peter’s house, as part of “Operation Baffler”. 

While Victoria Police have denied this, Operation Baffler was aimed at the security industry and appears to be ongoing. 

VicPol refuses to right a wrong

As a result of the raid, Peter was charged with 8 offences relating to failure to secure ammo and restricted weapons properly.   Peter went to trial in December.  The informing LRD officer did not want to front up to court, and had to be ordered to appear by the Judge.

Of the 8 charges, 6 were withdrawn and the remaining 2 struck out by the magistrate on just the second day.  VicPol/ LRD lost on all 8 counts and was clearly embarrassed. 

Peter then asked LRD to return his licence.  However the LRD is refusing to do so on the basis he is not a “fit and proper person” to hold them, and that doing so was “not in the interest of the public”.

Peter’s problem is that this is his livelihood.  His only recourse is through legal channels – starting at VCAT (his appeal was lodged on December 28th). 

So, we’re helping Peter with this fundraising campaign, to help him get justice.

The effect this is having on Peter

The LRD knows that the decisions it makes can drive people out of business.  If they had done something wrong, then maybe that’s a good thing.

However it is a power which can also be abused, as we are seeing here.  It certainly should not be an objective of a regulator to drive anyone out of business – especially where Peter hasn’t done anything wrong.   As a result of this, Peter is facing severe financial hardship and pressure from not being able to work.

The significance of a win

The LRD is the regulator entrusted by Parliament to do a job; one which will sometimes be a difficult one to perform.  However, we know from your numerous stories and complaints about the LRD that it is conducting itself poorly.

If Peter can win this case, it will help demonstrate to our law makers why they need to have a closer look at whether Victoria Police is the right agency to engage with the security and firearms industries given the conflict of interest it has by also being an investigative body (refer OECD Best Practice Principles on the Governance of Regulators).

Censorship

In January, Victoria Police tried to shut this effort to help Peter down, with a letter to another shooting organisation from the Victorian Government Solicitor. 

The problem?  The VGS claim that the Victoria Police logo used in the original version of the image to this story is trademarked, and that any unauthorised use of the logo is contrary to the Trade Marks Act.  We think that’s wrong, because trademarks are for goods and services, with which we do not compete.  Further, the Copyright Act authorises the use of copyrighted material where it is used for criticism or review.

We’ve removed it because we intend to have bit of fun with the claim later on.  However, it goes to show just how desperate Victoria Police are to sink Peter – and why we need to help him bring this rogue regulator to account.

How to help

This campaign has been set up to help Peter fight back.  Every donation received will go to helping Peter cover his legal costs, and hopefully explore what, if any, grounds he might have to seek damages.

To donate to Peter’s fight, just go to PayPal.Me/FightLRDinjustice

Later on, we’ll ask the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner to consider if Victoria Police are adhering the values expected of all public sector agencies – but not just yet.  Our priority is to help Peter.

Public Land Access Discussion

The Victorian Hound Hunters (Inc.) invites you to an evening of Q&A on Public Land Access…

The Victorian Hound Hunters Inc. would like to invite your political party to attend and evening of Q & A, the main topic being Public Land Access.

All relevant user groups will be invited to attend the evening. We look forward to your attendance.

MEET THE MEMBERS

Date: 31st October
Time: 6.30 pm
Venue: Healesville Football & Netball Club, 245 Don Road Healesville

RSVP – 15th October to huhnter01@gmail.com
(For catering purposes)

Regards Julie Couper
Secretary Victorian Hound Hunters Inc.

 

IBAC raid uncovers ‘illegal firearms’ at high-ranking cop’s home

Information is light but we will be following closely. Along with our friends at Combined Firearms Council of Victoria we hope to provide more updates as provided.

EXCLUSIVE

Neil Mitchell believes a high-ranking police officer has been suspended for allegedly possessing illegal firearms.

Sources told 3AW Mornings the superintendent’s house was raided, and that a pistol and rifle were found.

“I am told neither was registered,” Neil Mitchell said. “And I’m told the superintendent does not have a gun licence.”

3AW Mornings believes the raid was organised by the state’s anti-corruption body, IBAC, regarding an unrelated matter.

If the allegations are proven, it does not tarnish the whole force. But, at a time police command are chasing illegal firearms down every second borrow, it would be immensely embarrassing.
Victoria Police are not having a good run at the moment.
-Neil Mitchell

Victoria Police later confirmed a superintendent “from a corporate support area has been suspended with pay in relation to allegations of firearm and weapons offences on 5 June 2018”.

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell reveal more exclusive detail

Game licence statistics: Hunting booms in Victoria

ALLAN THOMPSON, The Weekly Times

HUNTING in Victoria continues to boom, driven mainly by a surge in the number of deer hunters, the latest Game Licence Statistics reveal.

Victoria now has more than 50,000 registered game licenced hunters, up from 24,000 a little more than 20 years ago, with deer hunter numbers soaring 365 per cent, from less than 9000 to more than 34,000, in the same period.

It is estimated that hunting now contributes more than $500 million to the Victorian economy and is vital to the economic health of many regional communities and towns.

“A 2013 Game Management Authority study showed hunting to be worth $439 million to Victoria,” Australian Deer Association spokesman Barry Howlett said.

“There were 44,000 registered hunters in 2013, so add another six thousand since then and the economic gains to Victoria each year must now be worth more than half a billion.

“The economic, social and environmental benefits of hunting in Victoria are difficult to overstate.”

Mr Howlett said surging deer populations had partly sparked the interest in the hunting boom, but that wasn’t the only reason why numbers were rising.

“Many people find there is something missing from urban society and hunting provides that reconnection to the bush and nature that is so powerful,” he said.

The surge in hunters is not without its challenges, Mr Howlett said, with compliance problems needing to be addressed.

“This data highlights, more than ever, the need for a strong, well resourced and empowered Game Management Authority in Victoria,” Mr Howlett said.

“Currently GMA is hamstrung from doing its job, GMA officers can’t go out without police escorts and given how few police there are in some of these areas there is very little compliance work going on.

“There’s more and more of us out there and society needs hunting to be well regulated.”

Shooters Union Tasmania and Victoria ramp up.

Shooters Union are pleased to announce that firearm owners will soon have a Tasmanian and Victorian branch. Such a move has been a lengthy and time consuming one but SU believes their expansion into the south eastern states will herald more positive gun law changes in the near future for all firearms owners. Shooters Union’s Senior Media Manager met with the Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman over the weekend to discuss the presence of the new branches. SU hopes this will reinforce a positive working relationship with the premiers of both states
and will put us back on track to common sense gun laws once again.