Graham: Good evening. Graham Park from Shooters’ Union here, speaking to you live from Queensland Parliament House with a Member of Parliament, Steve Dickson. He’s the single One Nation member of parliament at present.
Steve: I’m the member for Buderim, the Sunshine Coast, and also a leader of One Nation in Queensland. Exciting place to be.
Graham: Yes, it is that. We’re going to have a bit of an interview and we’re going to answer some of your questions. We have literally pages of questions from you guys already. We’re going to start moving into those in a minute, but I just want to have a chat with Steve first. Steve is a parliamentarian and has been for some time. When he was formerly a member of the LMP, was a State Minister for National Parks.
Steve: Recreation, sport, and racing.
Graham: Recreation, sport, and racing, which covered National Parks.
Steve: It did.
Graham: Under the previous government. So he is really experienced in government, but apart from his time in government he’s actually had some productive activities. He’s a very keen pistol shooter. He’s wearing his…
Steve: North Arm Pistol Club, just in case anybody missed that.
Graham: We don’t do advertising, but he just got one in.
Speaker: Second only to Ipswich Pistol Club, I’d say.
Graham: Our Vice President, David Brown in the background voicing his opinion on Ipswich Pistol Club being better. Apart from their debate on who has the best club, we can hopefully move forward to being a bit more productive.
There’s been a lot going on as far as firearms, and it is becoming a bigger and bigger issue as we lead into the next Queensland election within the next 8 or 10 months or so. It should get very interesting, and I know a lot of you have questions. A lot of questions have been raised recently by the revised National Firearms’ Agreement that has been so badly written that even the Minister involved, Minister Keenan is backing away and saying: “Oh, actually it’s just optional. It’s just this. It’s just that.” We can’t understand why he doesn’t just come out and say: “We screwed it up. Why don’t we fix it?” but that’s obviously not in his language. I will comment that I was very pleased to see in the One Nation Queensland Policy Handbook, is that the best description?
Steve: Absolutely, a flash policy handbook put out by One Nation. We have “No Asset Sales,” but we have a great big page here relating to firearms.
Graham: Firearms. I’ll read just the opening of that. One Nation is very concerned about the contents of the recently released National Firearms’ Agreement. The new agreement would have huge impacts on sporting, shooting clubs and their members, primary producers, as well as other law-abiding Queensland as a user-owned firearm. One Nation seems to me, as they’ve become more and more aware of this in the State of Queensland just to be seeing its things. I know, Steve, I was voicing to you before we went live that one of the concerns we have is if this was implemented as it was signed by the current government, it would absolutely eliminate the ability for us to train minors in safety. Our concern, especially in regional rural areas, kids that are around firearms on a daily/weekly basis on farms and in regional areas where there’s a lot of firearms used as tools of trade, potentially there could be injuries or even deaths in coming years because those kids aren’t being trained properly. I don’t know. Have you given any thought to that about minors and training?
Steve: Graham, I grew up on a farm and we didn’t have all these rules and regulations in place when I was a kid. It was all about common sense and your parents taught you how to handle weapons, in other words, get up above the door, believe it or not, on farm houses, and that’s the way that it was. But we have to do everything we humanly can to make sure that children learn about firearms.
This is a great sport. Think about the Olympics. How are we going to get people going to the Olympics if we don’t have children trained when they’re very, very young to understand how to use a weapon safely, how to store them safely, what you’re allowed and know what you’re not allowed to do? It’s all good common sense. We’ve made the transition. It’s probably not that much difference going from feet and inches to metres. When I was a kid at school, there we were learning feet and inches, and the next thing we had centimetres and metres. Rules change all the time and we want our kids to be progressive. As far as firearms are concerned, we want our kids to be comfortable. They’re not doing anything illegal. Let’s just make it nice and comfortable, relaxed, they learn how to use weapons safely, and that’s just what should happen. This document, it’s a pretty stupid document.
Graham: I know that we’ve had a number of discussions, and Steve has been a big supporter of the right of primary producers in Queensland to be able to safely keep their category H and category C and D type firearms that they use for pest control and for euthanizing animals and things like that. I know a lot of people in regional areas really appreciate that support.
People are calling in in the background over here. We have a slight audience behind the camera there, hiding out. What I want to do, we’ve had some of your questions come in before the show and there’s some coming in right now, but here’s one from David Kope, he says: “Post 1996 there was a significant increase of up to 35% in violent crime, i.e. home invasion, burglaries, and assault. Do you believe implementing castle doctrine and the legal right to own and use firearms for self-defence would curb the current rising trend in these crimes and reduce criminal activity?” I just want to clarify for everyone listening: Castle doctrine is a legal doctrine, it basically says your home is your castle so therefore you have a right to defend it and not retreat out of your home under attack.
Steve: Graham, it’s very straightforward. We’re not going to introduce a policy saying you need to pull the gun out of the home, but the reality is under law, under existing law at the moment you can use the force required to save your life. If it just happens to be that you need to use a gun, so be it. If somebody comes into your house and they’re waving a gun around, shooting it, you’re going to get your gun and shoot him because you are allowed to use force to resist somebody killing you, killing your family, or doing stupid things. I hate to say to people: We are seeing this happening in this country today. You go to Sydney, you go to Melbourne, there are people coming in, carjacking your car from your house with baseball bats, saying: “If you don’t give me your car we’re going to kill you.” That’s pretty lethal sort of force, and you have to be able to protect yourself, you have to be able to protect your family. If you use lethal force to repel against lethal force, you’re not going to go to jail.
Graham: This is the thing that we find a lot of people don’t understand is that whilst we don’t like it, we at Shooters’ Union don’t like it, but currently you cannot legally obtain a firearm for the specific purpose of self-defence; however, self-defence laws in every state of this country, as Steve just said, clearly allow and just about every jurisdiction in the world clearly allow the basic human right to defend yourself to the level needed to eliminate that.
David: Could I extend the question?
Graham: This is David Brown in the background.
David: Down in the background here, folks. People are going to ask, though: How do you exercise? You do have the right. How do you exercise that right when you have such stringent storage requirements? In other words, ammo separated, etc. You really are faced with a: “Hang on a minute, Mr. Criminal. I need five minutes to go find my keys.”
Steve: It is a very valid point that you put forward, but hopefully people aren’t going to come into your house with a weapon, that’s what we all hope and pray for. We have a great police force in this state and in this country. They do the best they can to look after us. The point you’re making is very straightforward. The beauty of the One Nation Policy, and it’s very, very clear in here. It’s a 21-point plan. We’re sitting up a committee that are going to represent all of the shooting bodies in Queensland; the Queensland Police Union we’ll also involve and also Queensland representatives. I’ll probably repeat this a couple of times throughout the night. We want to continue to progress this legislation. We want to make sure that people out there that are interested, who really want to make a significant difference get involved in the process. We come up with the ideas that we believe have met what I call a middle ground; we’ve probably upset people on the far right, we’ve probably upset people on the far left. We’ve delivered a policy that I think has landed pretty well square in the middle, but if you want to progress and make better legislation and better opportunities for all the shooters in the state, get involved because we’re here to make a difference and putting the power back into your hands is what we’re all about.
Graham: Thank you, Steve. Here’s one from Julian Hopes: Why did One Nation go with this new firearms’ policy for Queensland, and not go back to their old policy that they had from years ago when they started?
Steve: It’s very similar. Things have moved on since 1990. We’re now in 2017. There’s so many things that will be accepted in this world and there’ll be so many things that are not accepted in this world. We are not going back to what a lot of people will call the bad old days, but we do is progressively and continually move forward. We know rural landholders are getting done over as far as category H weapons are concerned. Should they have them? Absolutely. They’re a tool of the trade. Should we progress things so that people can compete the same as they do in other states for different sorts of shooting sports? Absolutely. We want to be progressive. We don’t want to be regressive. It’s about always moving forward, better ideas, better suggestions. It takes me back again to that committee that we want to establish to empower the shooting industry, work in conjunction with the Police Union and the government to get the best legislation, but it will never stop because there will always be somebody coming up with a better idea, something that’s more progressive. You always have to have ears, and you have to listen and change legislation as necessary, as it has to be changed.
Graham: Thank you. Here’s one from Aaron Carson: Would One Nation push for public land hunting like New South Wales and Victorias do?
Steve: Again, I’ll refer back to that…
Graham: Especially because you’re a former minister for that, so that is a very relevant question.
Steve: Just we have to look at the statistics that are coming out of New South Wales. I understand very clearly they have gone down this path and it has proven to be successful. That is not part of our legislation at the moment, but what I propose is make it part of the legislation of the future, referring back to that committee we wish to establish. If it’s proven to be effective, it’s proven to be efficient… I know that there’s 2 million feral cats in Queensland that eats five native species of animal every night of the week. Basically we’re all conservationists. We want to make sure that we protect Australian wildlife. By working with the government, working with the police union and coming up with policies that have already worked in other states it’s going to be a good change. So absolutely want to look at that. If we can eradicate the feral animals that are destroying all of our native wildlife in this country, sure as hell we have to do it.
Graham: It’s interesting to note that in the years since 1996 there’s been an incredible increase in feral animal damage to agriculture around Australia. It’s now in the billions of dollars’ a year estimated damage. No one can scientifically say it’s because of, but it is interesting to see how much it greatly increased by that time when you had less sporting shooters going out because of Howard it became less socially acceptable, plus much more difficult regulatory-wise. Certainly I know that a lot of the agricultural bodies are very keen to see this because a lot of the feral animals come out of primary lands and then on to… I’m a primary producer, so I get it with a national park nearby me. I know where they come from because we can’t poison them in the national park, we can’t shoot them in the national park. But with proper policies, I think you could reduce the number of feral animals in this state.
Steve: Graham, you touched on a really important point there. How many people really want us using 1080 around the outside of national parks? Would it not be a better way, as a conservationist, to eradicate these feral animals in a humane way that doesn’t kill these other animals? They will be affected. I can tell you right now: If you lay 1080 around…
Graham: You do kill other things.
Steve: You’re going to lose some native species. We don’t want to do that. We want to make sure we come up with the best possible way of moving forward. We all are conservationists. We want to make sure we protect our native wildlife. Shooters, just like myself and like Graham, we don’t want to go out there and see our endangered species more endangered. We want to make sure that we see these feral animals really endangered. We want to get rid of them. There’s cats, there’s pigs, wild dogs, and don’t forget about the deer. Deer are now running out in front of people’s cars. It could be your wife, your family, a child in the back of the vehicle, run into a deer – what happens then? Seriously, we have seven of these things donated by Queen Victoria, now there’s 30,000 running around. It’s a real problem.
Graham: True. Here’s one from Henry Lever: If One Nation were to form government or at least become a significant presence in the next government of Queensland, how long would we have to wait for changes on firearms’ laws? Are you able to give some sort of a timeframe or commitment? Secondly, will One Nation support the qualified return of some semi-automatic long arms with appropriate licensing and controls?
Steve: We have our legislation in place, and if you want to look at that policy, please look at www.OneNation.com.au. It has our 21-point plan in there. Absolutely, we want to make sure that we’ve given everybody a fair crack out there. As far as automatic weapons, that is never happening. As far as semi-automatic weapons are concerned, they are for rural landowners and if the need be, as far as competition in the future of some kind where that can be utilized, that’s the sort of stuff we have to look at. Again, I take you back to the committee that we want to establish. You’re going to get sick of me saying this tonight, but this will happen in our first year of government. The changes will be there, they will be made happen, and we will deliver on those outcomes.
David: Can I add another one? We have a couple of questions doubling up here, Steve. Extending on that, one of these questions that’s just come in now is: What about for larger calibres? You and I shoot IPSC. I can see the faces already. You know the answer… You know the rest of the question is going to be bigger holes.
Graham: IPSC is very action-oriented pistol shooting for those of you who aren’t aware, where they shoot on the move and they draw from holsters. It’s a very exciting sport. It’s a very popular sport internationally, but it’s restricted in many states in Australia as to calibres that can be used making it virtually impossible for people from Queensland, say, to compete with some in Victoria, West Australia.
Steve: It is a very simple answer: We should have unilateral legislation across the country. I’m talking about progressive legislation, not regressive legislation. So I would love to see Queensland up there with the best legislation in this country where we have filings in this particular area, we have filings because we can only go up to a certain level. We have to go bigger. It’s just so we can compete. Think about it: A Queensland wanting to compete on the world stage, they can’t practice.
David: Mag limits.
Steve: It’s pretty straightforward. It all gets down to the safe use of firearms, but again I go back to committee, smart people involved from every different firearms’ group in the state with the police union, with the government we will get the best legislation, but it’s up to you to get involved. It’s up to you, if you want to make a difference, get involved, become part of the solution, otherwise you’re part of the problem.
Graham: We have a number of questions that keep coming in about this public lands and pests and everything. We had one from Bullet Points Podcast: Would you consider opening access? Honestly, I think you answered that. You would consider it, opening access on public lands to help control (under, obviously, regulated conditions and safe conditions) to control feral animals.
Steve: Graham, just to qualify that and clarify it: If it’s working in New South Wales and we are minimizing the amount of feral animals that can take out our native species: Are you a conservationist? Do you not want to save our native species? I do. I think we have to look at it.
Graham: I think Steve has answered that one pretty clearly, so for the four, five, or six people who have asked similar questions around that, take it as a yes. Here’s one from Marty Richter. “Fairly happy with the release policy from One Nation, but would like to know if 22 rim fires are considered high-powered, and would we be able to get some access back to those in semi-automatics?”
Steve: I think there may be a need for this in the future. I don’t see a 22 as a high-powered weapon, to be brutally honest. I think we have to be logical, we have to be sensible, but there are different uses for different weapons. Hypothetically, you’re out in the country, you’re eradicating feral cats, close-range sort of stuff, yeah a semi-automatic .22 would probably be the right weapon to use. I’ll touch on something that will be controversial and will probably get asked a bit later on as far as suppressors are concerned: No, I’m not going to see them in everyday use.
Graham: I have that one.
Steve: Sorry I’m jumping ahead of the game, but in that particular area I think, again, back to the committee, we should be looking at utilizing suppressors by hunting of feral cats because once you put a shot away they’re all gone. I want to see the eradication of feral cats. I prefer to see them all gone.
David: You could probably extend that to the range. You, I, and others spend a lot of time on a range and we don’t want to go deaf.
Steve: There is a bit of an issue with that as far as competition is concerned, putting a dampener on the end of my CZ Orange, it gets outside of the box then and it doesn’t fulfil a requirement. I understand where you’re coming from, but I think for people to have dampeners or suppressors I don’t think it’s for everyday use to be brutally honest. I’m willing to listen to an argument, and I think that’s what we have to do if there’s a convincing argument. I can see that argument very straightforward as far as eradicating feral pests are concerned because we need to get rid of them. Once you fired a shot and it goes, “Bang!” everything is gone.
Graham: It would be far more effective, and I think every pest controller in the state and most knowledgeable primary producers have done any significant amount of feral animal control would totally agree with how relevant that is, and that’s why they are popular for feral animal control in places like New Zealand, and even in some other states in Australia where they’re allowed in limited aspects.
Here’s one from Paul Motor: “Will One Nation work towards dismantling the arbitrary power of the police commissioner to determine firearm importation, legality, ownership, and usage? And will they push toward genuine reason to own C and D?” Paul, I actually think Steve’s probably answered that a fair bit about the committee, because what he’s saying is, if I get it right, is that there’s going to be a committee that will be representative of different shooting groups, both industry and sporting, agricultural, sporting, and also police union so there’s all different voices in there. They’re going to look at pretty much every aspect?
Steve: Graham, if we don’t look at everything we’re not being progressive. I think we have to look at every opportunity to make it better, safer, more progressive. We do not want to do anything, and I’ll make this point clear tonight, too: If you are caught with an illegal firearm and you are going to commit a crime with that, you’re going to go to jail. That’s also part of our policy here under law and order. So we are not going after people who legally own firearms. If anything, we want to make life easier, we want to make life better. We want you better trained and we want to be progressive with that committee that I’ve spoken about. So help me god, let me make this point clear, too: If you’re a criminal and you’re caught with an illegal firearm, you’re going to go to jail. I don’t care how long you’ll stay in there for, to be brutally honest, because you’ve only got that weapon for one reason, and that’s to commit a crime.
Graham: I think Shooter’s Union is very supportive of that position. What we’ve been battling for for years at all states and at the federal level with no success as yet is that we’re horrified that in this state and pretty much all the others, if you steal a television set in a burglary or you steal a firearm, you’re effectively going to get the same penalty. It seems insane because the only reason you would be stealing a firearm would be to sell it into the criminal market where it is going to become a danger or could potentially become a danger, and yet there’s no penalty. We call for steal a gun, go to jail. I just don’t get why there’s such resistance to that. What’s your thoughts on it?
Steve: I have a very strong opinion on this. Look at what happened with that young boy I think it was down in Sydney that had that pistol. It was a 15-year-old boy who went up behind a gentleman who worked for the police service down there and killed him. That was an illegally-obtained weapon. How did that ever happen? They’re the people we have to go after, people who are supplying these weapons, the people importing these weapons, the people who are stealing these weapons. That’s why I make the point very, very clear: You have a license to get a gun and your children can grow up and do the right thing. That’s what we spoke about earlier. Learn all the dos and don’ts about what you have to do to store your weapons and make sure they’re safe. They’re probably not going to get stolen. For those people who want to break the law, who know they’re going to do these terrible things and sell these on into the drug trade or sell them to people who want to commit crimes in this country, you’re going to go to jail and we have no sympathy for you whatsoever.
Graham: Because it does seem ridiculous that if you or I have a firearm stolen, if someone comes in and breaks into our safe, cuts it open with a grinder or whatever they do, we will be generally speaking to people who are interviewed and attacked as if we were a perpetrator, whereas any other crime it’s considered really bad form to blame the victim. Yet, if a firearm is stolen, in fact in this, what masquerades as a document, it actually says anyone that has a firearm stolen must lose their license. That’s ridiculous. It’s not saying if it was your fault.
Steve: That’s the sort of thing… To be honest, that’s a [unintelligible 00:23:42] law. How can you blame the victim for anything? If it was a woman who was attacked in the street, I can see this happening in Middle Eastern countries, but here in Queensland and here in Australia…
Graham: We wouldn’t do it.
Steve: We believe in the right of those people who are the victims. You have to look after them. To be honest, I think law and order is going to be a big issue leading into the next election and I think what we have to do, those people who commit crimes are criminals. These are people, they go to jail and they get an air conditioner, they get three square meals a day, they get good healthcare. I have kids going to school who don’t have air conditioners. It’s ridiculous. Sorry for jumping topics, but I have a pretty broad mind of knowledge
Graham: It does seem ridiculous to blame the victim. An example I will give actually happened to one of your candidates. This candidate is a firearms owner, is running in the next election, and he had a couple of years ago some firearms stolen from a safe, they took the whole safe, stole firearms – 12 months, two years later those firearms were recovered in another state along with the people who stole them. The people who stole them were caught in a drug raid. Those people said: “We sold those guns to our drug dealer.” They then went there and found the guns. So the guns were recovered, the people were caught, and so were the people who they’d sold them to. He said: “When do I get the guns back?” They said: “We’ll send them back. It’ll take a few months.” He was going to get them back. He said: “When do you want me to testify against the people who stole them?” They said: “We’re not prosecuting. A minor crime like that, we’re not going to extradite them back to Queensland.” Hello, a minor crime? Breaking into his house, stealing his safe, selling the drugs to a known drug dealer, but it’s not serious enough to extradite. But when that happened they threatened to take your candidate’s gun license away.
Steve: You’ve articulated some of the big problems we’re facing in this country.
Graham: It’s bigger than guns.
Steve: It is bigger than guns, and it’s the reason why we want the police service now called the police force because I want people to know they’re a force to be reckoned with, I want them to know that these people are here to protect the betterment of all of our lives. Seriously, how can you not charge somebody who steals a gun? They’re only going to do a few things with it: They’re going to commit a crime, they could potentially kill somebody, or they’re going to sell it to somebody who’s going to do one of those two things. There’s no other reason.
Graham: There’s no excuse for it. We’re in total agreement on that. The area of PTAs is always a big issue, that’s Permit To Acquires. Sometimes they’re very quick, sometimes they take a long time, but they’re expensive at $37, especially for an inexpensive used gun or something. But I think what frosts most shooters is you’ve gone through 3 to 6 months of paperwork, background checks, safety training before you get a firearm, let alone a pistol like your pistol shooters, that’s probably like 6 to 9 months and then you can have one for a while, and then you have to go and put in an application for permission to have something that you just went through to get. I know you have some ideas on this and it’s in your policy, but many people wouldn’t know. What’s your feeling about permit to acquires and what we should do moving forward to be more progressive?
Steve: I think once you’ve done it once we know that you’re a law-abiding citizen, you’ve got your ticket, you’ve gone through that process so it should absolutely be made easier. This should be done online. It is a very simple policy. The police can just check online immediately if you’ve done anything wrong in the interim to when you’re looking to purchase another weapon or when you’re looking to acquire something else. Really, really simple stuff. A lot of our policy is just common sense, just simple common sense. It’s like our licenses, you have an A/B license, you have an 8 license, you have a collectors’ license.
Graham: I have three in my wallet right now.
Steve: We’re only going to have one, because it’s like a driver’s license. You can have an articulated vehicle, a motorcycle license, an automatic and a manual license, they happen to all be on one. Why can’t we do that for a shooter’s license? Also, keeping it the 10 years. Licenses are going to be simple, easy to acquire. It’s something, and I believe it’s a very good policy and I don’t know why someone else hasn’t come up with. It’s not rocket science.
Graham: So it’ll be simple. From our discussions earlier, it’d be a simple validation check. Let’s say I’ve got my firearms’ license, it’s current, I come into a firearm store, I see a .22 rifle I want to buy. I say: “I want to buy that one.” They say: “Are you licensed?” I hand them my license. They do, much like a credit card check where they check it’s valid, that there are no as of real-time check to not something that was out of date months ago, like he current paper-based system, but a real-time check, and then I would be able to instantly or relatively so be able to purchase that firearm. Is that fairly accurate to your understanding?
Steve: It is right on the money. It’s exactly what we’re looking to do because it’s live. If you have a paper document and in the interim you’ve had it sitting there for 30 days, what happens if you get a domestic violence order against you?
Graham: You still have that piece of paper.
Steve: You still have the bit of paper so you can go, put it in there, and go and grab yourself a gun. Under this rule they’ll just look it up, there’ll be a red flag against your name, and if there is: “Sorry, you’re not getting anything.” But if you’re clear, bang, there you go, you just keep moving forward. That’s simple logic.
Graham: Exactly. That’s what we’ve always felt: Give people a good safety training, good background checks. Once they’re licensed pretty much leave them alone and respect that they have done all those steps.
One thing that is raised constantly and it’s a position of Shooter’s Union, has been for a long time, but it’s also raised constantly by our members and we’ve had a number of questions on is this: Canada recently, within the last two years, after spending some 5 billion dollars decided to abolish its long arms registry. Not on hand guns, but on common… 90% of firearms out there that we would consider probably A&B type firearms, they’ve dumped the whole thing because they say it’s inaccurate, it’s ineffective. New Zealand did exactly that in the late 80s after having had it for 40 years, they got rid of the registry because they said: “It doesn’t work because it’s inaccurate. It costs an inordinate amount of money that could be going to effective law enforcement rather than that.” In both those countries, even with different governments since, there’s never been a real move to bring them back because of when they took an analytical look it didn’t make sense. Here in Australia since 1996 they’ve spent billions of dollars on them in various states. In Queensland alone I think it’s in the tens of millions a year. They’re not necessarily very accurate. Do you have any thoughts on it, or would it go back to this committee idea?
Steve: I have lots of thoughts as far as firearm ownership is concerned. I wish we were back in the days that I grew up in, but unfortunately we’re not.
Graham: We’re not.
Steve: We’ve gone through certain incidents that have happened around the world, you’ve got those far lefties out there, they wish we didn’t have guns. Don’t ever rest on your laws thinking that they’re going to stop doing what they’re doing. They do not want us to have guns, end of story. That’s it. We need to all recognize that because if we are not united and we’re not sensible about how we move forward, they will get their way and that cannot be allowed to happen. I want my kids and grandkids to grow up with the same rights and responsibilities that I had, and we have to just make it better. That’s why I continue to go back to this committee. This is our opportunity to continue to move forward. One Nation policy, I think it’s a pretty good document, I think it’s a great step in the right direction. You have to ask yourself: What’s Labour’s policy? I can tell you what it is. They’ll probably come along and give you a few bits of carrots and a bit of bird seed to try to make you feel good…
Graham: I think it’s pretty clear what their policy is, they’ve signed off on the National Firearms’ Agreement, the new one, which we could take through what it says.
Steve: I think it’s a bit worse than that. they will probably give you a bit of bird seed leading into the next election, trying to make you feel good about yourself and let you know: “We can be nice people,” but just wait for the trap because the cage is going to come down once you’ve eaten that bit of birdseed and you’re going to have no guns. I can tell you that’s their mantra, they don’t want people to own guns in this state. We do. Some of the other parties do in Queensland, but I can tell you now that One Nation is leading the way. I think the Katter’s is pretty close to us. The other two parties, I can’t see the difference between the two. I can’t even see daylight.
Graham: Fair enough. David, do we have any other questions coming in?
David: You’re getting a lot of thumbs up and amens to that. There is one here about magistrates. I think probably it gets back to law and order. I’ll simplify the question. Weak penalties, even though there’s legislated penalties, but weak ones being handed out, slaps on the wrist when really it should be a smack on the ear, if that was the phrase to generalize it…
Graham: Very legal term.
Steve: It is a broad-ranging question, David, that doesn’t just impact on firearm owners. This is right across the whole country, and particularly here in Queensland. As I said earlier in this interview, law and order is going to be a big issue leading into the next election. Let’s be brutally honest, we have kids up in Townsville who go and steal cars, drive to the local police station, hang their ass out the window of the car, give the finger to the cop as they drive off at high speed – you know what? Coppers can’t pursuit. No pursuit policy. Not because the coppers don’t want to do it, it’s because of the stupid policies we have in place. There are ways to get around this. You could have a helicopter area, say you took them up to North Queensland for what, they can trap these vehicles. Get the little buggers. They’re going to have to spend some time understanding there are certain things you can get away with in life and there are certain things you can’t. That point that I made just a moment ago, you shouldn’t be able to get away with it. It couldn’t happen in my day and it shouldn’t be happening today. That’s just a brief understanding of law and order in this state. It’s gone off the Richter scale and the lefties are letting it happen, they’re going before the court, and the judges are not giving these people appropriate sentences. The authority is there for them to do it, but as you said David, they get a slap on the wrist with a lettuce and off they go, and they do it again. You couldn’t do it to your own kids. If you don’t tell your children something is wrong, they’ll probably go and do the wrong thing. If the judges don’t tell these people who go before the court that you’ve done the wrong thing or give them a penalty of some kind, guess what? They’re going to go do it again. It’s the old analogy in life: If you continue to do the same thing and you expect a different result, you’re an idiot.
Graham: Exactly. There does seem that there’s a severe lack of respect for property because if you have a respect for personal property then there would be a more severe repercussion for stealing it, damaging it, otherwise abusing it. As we ignore that right of personal property, it affects firearm owners, but it also affects every other aspect. You have a government right now that’s preparing to implement under this a regulation change that will change the ownership rules for lever-action shotguns which have been in this country forever, a hundred and whatever years, 120 years, and with that in mind some of those won’t be greatly affected because they’ll just move to another category, but some of them will be greatly affected and potentially lose them. Now what we know is going to likely happen is they’ll grandfather them in, as you said they’ll try to make shooters feel good because there’s an election coming up, but the reality is… And I think some of the other shooting groups who are perhaps a little bit more vocal or strong-willed than us, like LAFO, Law-Abiding Firearm Owners, they have a campaign in North Queensland in some Labour seats where they’re putting up billboards around Townsville and I understand some other seats shortly, Labour-held rural seats that’s a very simple message. I saw one the other day, it just says: “Labour is anti-gun.” Yet, I know people within the Labour Party I’ve talked to aren’t, but it does seem there’s this strange disconnect that they don’t seem to understand that it could really cost them a lot of votes in regional areas, or don’t care, I don’t know.
Steve: Graham, I think you’ve touched on a really salient point in this country. I don’t care if you’re LNP, I don’t care if you’re Labour – if you want to be a conservationist and look after our native species by eradicating feral animals, we’re the party to vote for. If you want to have decent gun ownership and laws that make you out to be legal gun owners and not criminals as the Labour Party portrays you to be, because that’s what they really believe about people like us that own guns. They think we must be criminals I would suggest. I think we are the party to vote for. The opportunities that will present themselves in the future, I think we are the friends of gun owners in this state. I am a gun owner and I am very, very proud to be a pistol owner and a long arms owner because I abide by the laws just like all of you do who own weapons in this state. If you want to do the wrong thing, as I said earlier, you’ll go to jail. There are a whole lot of issues that need to be fixed, and it’s up to you guys to make a difference because if you don’t step up you’re going to get what you deserve. At the end of the day, if you’re happy with what the governments are doing to you now, just keep doing what you’re doing and suck it up. We’re offering you a great opportunity so that we can progress, so we can continue to move forward, and so that people who want to own firearms in this country and in this state can have that opportunity. It’s pretty straightforward and it’s black and white.
Graham: Really, what Shooters’ Union keeps saying to firearm owners whether they’re members of ours or not is very simple: In your local electorate look at who’s running for election, find out what their firearms’ policies are. You guys have been very open with yours. Katter’s are open with theirs, others are working on theirs, but find out what they are and then support the appropriate candidate. As Steve said, if you want more of the same, have a look at this. You’re not going to have more of the same. You’re going to get worse than the same if you don’t stand up and really start doing this.
I have one question, it’s a bit detailed but it’s a very good question from Lee Num: Currently if a person has a farm, works on that farm but does not live there, they are not regarded as a primary producer by Queensland Weapons’ Licensing branch. Even if they do live there but do not spend 51% or more of their time in the act of primary production, they are not considered a primary producer. I guess that leaves out most of your LNP colleagues.
Steve: I think we’re all in big trouble.
Graham: You could plant your field and then work another job to bring in some cash while you wait for it to grow, and you are not, by Weapons’ Licensing standards, a primary producer. If you’re an apiarist, a beekeeper, it is not even considered a primary production activity, which seems bizarre. I didn’t know that until just now. So even though you may do other primary production activities, if you exclude beekeeping you may fall below 51%. I told you it was detailed, but it’s good. Thankfully Weapons’ Licensing does not consider income to be a factor, otherwise we’d lose most primary producers as far as having a firearms’ license. Being a primary producer, I get that one because mostly we lose a lot more money than we make doing of any farming or agricultural activity. Does One Nation support amendment to the act or clarity to the act to take the common parliament’s meaning of primary producer the same definition used by, say, the ATO for tax purposes, customs and border security, and use it for weapons’ licensing?
Steve: What you’re putting forward is common sense, or what that person is putting forward is a common sense question. If it’s good enough for the ATO to classify you, I think it’s good enough for the rest. To be brutally honest, the only people I’m scared of in this world are the ATO. Pay your taxes otherwise they’re going to lock you up. I’m going to give myself up. I keep bees, too, I really like them. The ones I have don’t bite you, they’re Australian black bees. You need some, Men’s Shed, get some at Buderim.
Graham: All right.
Steve: That’s another advertisement.
Graham: Nothing wrong with advertising the Men’s Shed, they do a great job.
Steve: Fantastic people.
Graham: Yeah, it is interesting that the ATO, for those who are not primary producers, the ATO actually has a separate classification for primary producers, and you have to actually give them some proof that you are honestly involved in primary production, not just have 5 acres. For that not to be just taken at face value does seem very strange. Customs and border security actually also use the ATO selection, but here in Queensland apparently there’s moving goals on what is or isn’t a primary producer.
Steve: Graham, again, it’s basic common sense. If the ATO can make a ruling that you’re an agricultural producer, why isn’t it good enough for everybody else?
Graham: Supplementary question also from Lee: Currently the act in regulations only support category H for primary producers with handguns, assuming One Nation’s policy reinstates the support of use of handguns for primary producers, would One Nation also extend that to vertebrate pest controllers, who must under the act carry concealed, which isn’t at times practical? Sorry, Lee, I misunderstood the question a little bit. Primary producers, when we’re working if we have a category H license do not have to have it concealed, so it can be…
Steve: That’s correct.
Graham: Which if you’re working and obviously there’s practical reasons why that’s pretty handy. But vertebrate pest controllers can also under the current act get a license for a category H, similar to a primary producer, but for some reason it must be carried concealed, which I can understand if they’re out in public. But if they’re working on my farm and I have a license and they have a license, I don’t understand it.
Steve: Graham, again, it sounds very common sense on the face of it, but we need to look at both sides of that argument. You touched on it, you have to be careful that somebody didn’t go into the pub and, you know…
Graham: It just causes problems.
Steve: That could end badly if a whole lot of people had a whole lot of beers and there’s handguns involved. That just shouldn’t happen. But if you’re out on the land, I think that matter has got to be looked at. We’ve already made the commitment. If we get elected to government we will re-establish the use of category H handguns for rural landholders because they need them. This is just a tool of the trade. It’s like a carpenter with a hammer or a nail gun, or it’s like a doctor with a scalpel and a knife. You can do dangerous things with those weapons, too, but just because we happen to be legal gun owners, again, we are victimized by the government of the day and it’s wrong.
Graham: Yeah. One thing I know that we’ve called for in the past is a change when the current act does get reviewed is that it stops being called a Weapons’ Act because weapon denotes potentially violent use, whereas firearm denotes the actual mechanical thing. We’d like to see it named something like the Firearms’ and Other Items’ Act or something, as opposed to a Weapons’ Act because I can use a hammer as a weapon. It’s interesting, it’s a really big issue for a lot of firearm owners. They hate the terminology of weapon. Military people are used to that terminology, but I do understand it because a hammer is a tool, but I could be arrested for using a hammer as a weapon. So I guess that’s where it comes from. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Steve: I’m no different than you. Most firearm owners in this country that own them legally, I mean, we’ve seen instruments all over the world. Get yourself in the back of a Volvo truck and drive along a boardwalk. Many, many people have been maimed, killed, and injured by terrorists.
Graham: A Volvo truck is a weapon.
Steve: Seriously, there are so many things that can be utilized as weapons. I grew up on a farm. My dad used to blow tree stumps, and I’d go with him all the time doing that. Fertilizer, mix it with a bit of diesel and a pack of jelly, it’s a pretty big weapon. There are many, many things that can be utilized as weapons. A pen can be a weapon. Lots of things can be weapons, but gun owners just use these as a tool. Let’s never, ever forget how many people compete in the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics who do us proud, they are our sporting heroes, and they use shotguns, they use handguns, they use long arms, and we’re so proud when they come back with gold medals. Let’s never forget that. They’re our sporting heroes, and they’re just part of the sporting fraternity that we think ourselves proud; footballers, you know, they get out there and they knock people around and I’m proud of them, they play a good game of sport. Nothing different to people who are legal firearm owners who shoot on our behalf to make our country proud. Let’s not forget that. They’re just normal people like everybody else.
Graham: David has another question that’s just come in.
David: Yeah. This is a good one: Weapons’ Licensing not that long ago withdrew their basic standing, and it was a longstanding amnesty, so in other words, they turned a blind eye to the fact people would come in and find granddad’s old rifle. No questions asked for firearms handed in that were not known to be involved in crimes, so granddad’s old World War II rifle. Now dealers have been required to record details of anyone that hands in a category C or higher firearm, and in particular category R. I wasn’t aware of this, but clearly one of our viewers is. After the next election when presumably you have some control of the police and the weapons’ licensing, will that be reinstated to be a formal, continual, 100%-of-the-time amnesty for anybody legitimately bringing in something they’ve discovered?
Steve: Absolutely. It happens regularly. As you said, it could be somebody’s uncle, grandfather, and they stumble across an SLR.
Graham: It’s actually in your policy.
Steve: I know it is, that’s why I’m pretty coherent with it. It’s a very, very simple piece of legislation. When I was with the previous Newman Government, it happened with Police Minister Jack Dempsey. It should happen all the time every day of the week where people can come in and hand in a weapon that they find. It’d probably be a good idea if you ring the police station before you’re coming in.
Graham: That would be a very sensible… We’d agree with that piece of advice. Or if you’re taking it to a dealer, exactly the same: Ring them and tell them that way. If something happens and you broke down and for some reason someone saw it you’re not causing alarm, and people know that you’re doing things legitimately. In Queensland as of July 1st the current government as part of a national push will have a 12-week amnesty for unregistered firearms, and so some will obviously be handed in. This they’re doing at the same time, I believe, as they want to introduce the regulations to change lever-action shotguns. I would wonder if you’re telling shooters on one hand that something they legally own is going to become either illegal or harder to own without any compensation, at the same time you’re saying to them: “Bring in everything, put it into the system. Trust us, it’ll be okay.” I don’t know that it won’t actually lower the response rate that they may get to this.
Steve: It’s a great concern. As you said earlier on about if they are taking away the ability for people to go and hand guns in, you know what people are going to do, they’re not going to hand them in. They’re going to sit on them at home, and that’s the last thing we want to see people doing. Again, it’s forcing people into a situation.
I touched on it earlier, another document we do have in our policy here, it’s a Citizens’ Based Referendum. Think about how you can use this if you’re in the gun industry and you decide that you want to change the rules to something a little bit different than what’s out there, you need to get 5% of the people of Queensland to sign a petition. It will then go to the next election or a state or council election, and it will become law if the majority of the people in the state say they want that change. I think that’s a really good step in the right direction, and probably something you guys might want to take on, too.
Graham: I know that most of the members of our board are very much in support of that idea. We’d like it because we believe it puts power back in the hands of people where it should be in a democracy. Certainly the world’s oldest democracy, Switzerland, and probably one of the most stable democracies in the world has that and has had that for literally hundreds of years. The United States, many states within the United States have that. I think it’s a common sense thing. In a digital age it’s actually gotten easier to communicate complexities and different things so the people, voters, and electors are much better educated.
One favourite part I found of your renewed firearm policy was the idea of volunteer pest controllers because pest control, whilst there are professional pest controllers, it’s not something that a lot of people can make a full-time income out of. They make maybe part time and things, but there’s a lot of people out there, and our position has always been that if they’re properly trained and accredited, why can’t they, along with a primary producer, be involved in pest control management and have access to the same sort of tools? I know your policy supports that. It seems like you guys must have given a bit of thought about this whole feral animal and pest problem.
Steve: Graham, I did because it’s something I hold dear to my heart. You might not be aware of this, we saved a species called the Green Turtle when we re-instigated Green Islands. It’s an island 640 kilometres off the coast. I won’t get into all the detail of that, but it gets down to what we do. Believe it or not, as I said earlier, we’re all conservationists. We want to make sure this country is what it is now in 10, 50, and 100 years’ time in the future and we still have all those animals, but if we don’t do what it takes to eradicate those feral animals, I can tell you now we won’t. If you think about it, cats alone are eating five native species every single night of the week. When you get out of bed every week, know there’s going to be one cat eats 35 native species, multiply that by 2 million, that’s just a rabbied machine out there that is destroying our country and it’s taking away native species. For the Greens, for the Labour, for all of those people out there, how could you be anti-gun people? Because they are the solution to what is a major, major problem in this country. I think, again, getting back to the committee that we want to establish, I think it’s the perfect vehicle to move forward. Collaboration is always the best way to move forward, making people aware of what the needs and responsibilities are, and then coming up with a solution. I think that’s what we’re all capable of doing.
As I said earlier in this program tonight, I’m a proud gun owner. I’m proud of the people I shoot with, they come from many, many different varieties of life. All good people who get together, a bit of comradery. Nobody gets hurt, they all follow the rules. We have idiots out there who own illegal weapons, but we know where the problems are, let’s work together and solve them. Long, drawn-out answer, but I want to eradicate those 2 million feral cats. I want to get rid of the wild dogs. We have to minimize the number of feral pigs. This issue is a big issue that’s not going away. We can all turn a blind eye, the problem is still going to be there tomorrow. When I was the Minister for the National Parks, we had 12.5 million hectares of land, 1,400 staff. We can’t eradicate these. We need all the help we can get. Together, let’s fix the problem.
Graham: Another question that’s arisen, we’ve had a big increase in the number of Queensland police officers who are members of Shooters’ Union, and a common question that we’ve had asked and I was called today by an officer who’s a member and asked this again, and he asked me to raise it and that is this: Currently Queensland police, whilst they carry a firearm on duty, the moment they are off duty they are not allowed to keep that firearm with them, they leave it in a safe or locker or whatever at their station. There’s a number of people, including the Queensland Police Union that for several years have lobbied that qualified police officers should be able to keep their firearm when they’re at home, carry that firearm concealed when they’re off duty. But because we live in a different age with these lone wolf type terrorism acts or potential things, as the Police Union said, I think they put an extra… I’m trying to remember here, but I think they told me put an extra 5,000 armed police out there over a course of time. Have you had any thoughts on this?
Steve: Graham, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the police service, which hopefully if we get elected to government, will be the police force sooner rather than later. We’ve got to do whatever it takes. Police officers, I understand mandatory they have to go for practice once a year.
Graham: You have to do six or eight shoots a year to keep your pistol.
Steve: Six. Six. I know the rule.
Graham: For one class. But if you had more than one class, you have to do more.
Steve: The truth of the matter is we have to do what it takes to make sure our police services armed well, they have all the right machinery and equipment. If, as you said, we have an extra 5,000 police out there that can take their weapons home at night or take their guns home at night, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I trust the police force. Most governments, if you don’t trust them, you should. They’re good people. They put their lives on the line for us every day, and really think about that. When you see a cop on the street, say, “Good day,” to them and say thank you for what he does, because they are like our military, they are like our emergency services person.
That’s another one of our policies in this document. If you attack and harm an emergency service personnel, such as police, firies, and ambos, you’re going to do mandatory time because these people go out there to look after us. If your house is burning down, the fire is put out; if there’s a criminal offence happening, the coppers turn up to potentially save your life; and our nurses and doctors, we all know what they do – without them we’re all buggered. They’re out there stitching us back together, picking us up in our times in need. So the least we can do is look after them. They deserve nothing less.
Graham: It seems to me that the Police Union has a very strong point when they say: “If you trust the police officer to carry a firearm the 8 or 10 hours they’re on duty, what happens when suddenly you go off duty?” As you say, we should trust them. If they’re not worthy of trust they shouldn’t have the job in the first place. Of course those that are and have the job, they should be supported by the community. If we can do anything to potentially prevent horrifying incidents like we’ve seen in Sydney and other places, we think we should.
Any other last question, David, before we wrap up? Because I think we’ve covered pretty much every…
Steve: Actually there was one thing I remembered seeing a question on the net, and I don’t know if you asked it earlier in the night relating to storing gun powder and storing bullets. I think people are concerned that they’re looking to bring a policy forward…
Graham: Ah, that’s from this. In the Revised National Firearms’ Agreement it says that states must bring in legislation to: A) limit the amounts of ammunition you can buy, and B) the types of ammunition you can buy and store. That would probably include reloading-type equipment as well.
Steve: It’s a stupid law because I go out to the range and I want to become a better shot… It’s like golf. You hit the ball, you’re trying to get closer to the hole every time. I’m trying to get closer to that little dot right in the middle, and I’m not fantastic at it. Some people beat me, even one of my staff beats me. She keeps telling me all the time.
David: Shoot like a girl if you can.
Steve: I’m not going to comment any further on that, I’ll get into trouble. The truth of the matter is you can go through a thousand rounds in a day. Seriously.
Graham: If you were practicing… To give people out there who haven’t shot competitively, if you were practicing for an upcoming state-level competition that was a month or two away, how many rounds a week would you likely be practicing leading up in the weeks leading up to that match?
Steve: As many as you can put away. Seriously, the only way you get better at anything is the more you do it… It’s like martial arts, the more you do martial arts you react better. The more you shoot, the better shot.
Graham: A thousand rounds a week of someone leading up to one of these tournaments is not an uncommon figure. You go from that side, and then go to another side and that is the feral animal control. You’re on a cattle station in North Queensland. What they currently, what most of them will do now is buy ammunition once or twice a year in lots of several thousand and they will go through that. Why do they buy it in big lots? One, it’s convenient, you have it there. But the bigger reason is far more than that, the same reason these competitive shooters would not buy in the one box, it’s cheaper. It’s less than half the cost of buying in box, just like most other commodities we buy, if you buy more of it, it gets cheaper. If this was implemented as it’s written, you would see the cost of ammunition for the average person as much as double almost overnight. There’s also a requirement in there that the transportation of firearms and ammunition from dealer wholesalers to your local dealer would have to be separated. Currently it’s separated but it’s within the same truck. Would have to be in separate vehicles. We call the dozen rural firearms’ dealers, they estimate a minimum 30% increase in ammunition price across the county. You start putting that into feral animal control, it’ll do the opposite, we’ll have more kitty cats out there, and more pigs, and more everything else. You put it in the competition and it’s going to make it harder for the average person to be able to afford to be in competition.
Steve: Graham, I totally disagree with that document. Shouldn’t happen just for sporting shooters alone, but all of the other reasons you’ve demonstrated. Ladies and gentlemen, if you look at our website again, as I said earlier: www.OneNation.com.au, you can have a look at our 21-point plan. We are going to look after the shooters’ industry, be they sporters or be they rural landholders. We want to work with you so that we can have a bright future, and make sure our kids and grandkids can do what we’ve grown up doing. Very, very straightforward to you: You need to think about the future of our sport, the future of this industry because if you get it wrong it’s going to affect all of us. I’m going to do the best I can do, but I’m calling on you out there in Queensland: Please make a difference. We need your help and we need it now.
Graham: Thank you very much, Steve.
Steve: Good to talk to you.
Graham: Parliament sits again tomorrow, so do the best you can in there. We look forward to hearing more from you. We really appreciate you taking the time the night before parliament comes back to sit with us and take an hour to just honestly and openly talk about questions as they come in. Much appreciated. Thank you guys for sending in the questions, the thought you put in, and for taking the time to watch it, and for sharing it on your Facebook, please feel free to share it with your friends.
Steve: Support the Shooters’ Union.
Graham: If you’re not a member, $30 a year, you get 5 million dollars’ worth of liability insurance, you get a genuine reason to own a firearm, a whole lot of other benefits. That’s our little plug for the evening. Thank you all for watching and participating, and thank you, Steve, for joining us.
Steve: Queensland, have a good one. The rest of you out there, too.
Graham: Good night.
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