You may recall back in March The West Australian newspaper published maps showing the identifiable location of firearms owners in the Greater Perth area, including, in one case, a street map with specific addresses identified on it. This information was provided to the media by Police Minister Paul Papalia, who obtained it from West Australia Police (WAPOL), who were fully aware of what he was doing with it.

We lodged formal complaints with (among others) the West Australian newspaper (who effectively told us we were out of line), ABC Media Watch (who ignored us completely), and WAPOL’s Police Conduct Unit, who sent us the expected ‘We investigated ourselves and found no wrongdoing’ response. 

We are taking the issue further but are hamstrung in what we can say as a result of due process requirements. We can confirm we have been actively seeking legal advice on what other options are available, but it has been slow going. We gather this is a new area of law (ie, it’s not something anyone in WA has encountered before) and the lawyers we initially contacted for a consultation wanted a substantial sum of money for preliminary research.

They were unwilling to provide even an informal, off-the-record indication of whether this research might find something actionable, and the Executive has decided to search for a different lawyer to assist us. Rest assured we are not letting this issue go just yet, – we’re just in the “Hurry up and wait” part of the process.

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