Tag - Western Australia

Western Australia

Shooters Union Question Democracy Status in Western Australia

Western Australia is hurtling towards a democratic crisis following revelations the Western Australia Police (WAPOL) are enforcing laws that do not legally exist and the State Parliament has ignored the largest e-petition in Western Australia’s history, according to one of the country’s largest firearm user representative organisations.

Shooters Union Australia members are among those reeling after suddenly receiving e-mails from WAPOL earlier this week rejecting gun licence applications for additional firearms based on the Firearms Bill 2024.

Under the controversial Firearms Bill 2024, shooters in Western Australia will be limited to five guns for hunting, target shooting or recreational shooting use.

This week, Western Australia Police have been contacting gun licence holders wishing to acquire additional firearms and informing them they will have ‘too many guns’ under the new legislation and essentially telling them to either withdraw their new firearm application or apply for a different type of licence.

The new laws have not yet passed the State’s Legislative Council (Upper House), much less been given the Royal Assent or published in the Government Gazette.

Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said his jaw dropped when he saw the official e-mails being forwarded by members.

“I couldn’t believe what I was reading – WAPOL were apparently making administrative and policy decisions based on laws that do not currently exist,” he said.

“The e-mail is worded like it’s being sent out of concern for the applicant, but it’s also making it clear the decision-making process for licence additions is now based on what is in the Firearms Bill rather than the current legislation.

 “Even setting aside the issue with the new legislation not having been passed yet, the Regulations covering how the licensing system will work have not been developed or made public yet.”

The entire process surrounding the new gun laws has been marked by a lack of genuine consultation with the Western Australia law-abiding firearms user community, and what has been described as a “shocking” arrogance from WA Premier Roger Cook and Police Minister Paul Papalia over the issue.

A recent Parliamentary e-petition in the state calling for the Bill to be subjected to a full public inquiry received a record-breaking 32,234 signatures – the largest ever recorded – and was promptly tossed in the bin by the Cook Government, who reiterated their intention to pass the draconian laws, and individual shooters as well as shooting representative organisations at both State and National level have reported a lack of consultation or genuine engagement from the Government over the new laws.

 “I don’t think it’s a gross exaggeration to say Western Australia has dropped the pretence of being a democracy and is becoming a police state,” Mr Park said.

“The Premier and Police Minister have engaged in shocking arrogance and made it very clear they hold licensed, law-abiding shooters in contempt – and WAPOL are now using laws which haven’t been passed by parliament as part of their operational procedures.

 “I honestly think we’re past the point where WA Governor Chris Dawson or the Commonwealth Government should be stepping in to restore functional democracy in Western Australia, before this situation deteriorates into a full-blown constitutional crisis.”

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