#AceSecurityDesk says Tasmania has been hit by a “major statewide outage” affecting internet and phone services across the state and wreaking havoc on retail and banking services according to ABC News The network fault began about 1pm and affected Telstra, Optus and Aussie Broadband customers, along with those of other providers.
The disruptions were blamed on to two separate cuts to two of the three cables connecting Tasmania to the mainland.
One of the cuts was on the Victorian end, and the other on the Tasmanian side.
Telstra said “third parties” were the cause of both instances of cable damage.
Telstra said the Victorian cut to the cable appeared to be due to civil works earlier today in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston.
It said there had been “massive damage” caused by the civil works.
The damage to the cable’s Tasmanian end was caused by road workers, Telstra confirmed late on Tuesday.
As of 6pm, some services had been restored.
Michael Patterson from Telstra said multiple crews were assigned to fix the cables.
“We’ve got people on site now and we’re working to repair cables, we expect to have it back on air early this evening,” he said about 4:30pm.
“We’re trying to do it as soon as we can, as fast as possible.”
Mr Patterson said the Frankston issue was a “dial before you dig” issue.
“We encourage everyone to dial before you dig,” he said.
“In some circumstances unfortunate events occur, and this is what’s happened at least in terms of one of the outages. The other one we’re still investigating.”
#AceNewsReport – Dec.29: Coastal dwellers in Queensland can expect a rainy welcome to 2022, with two months of rain expected to hit far north areas in eight days: Parts of Northern parts of Queensland could see up to 300mm on the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and parts of the Herbert and Lower Burdekin.
#AceWeatherDesk says according to News AU Report: New Years Eve should expect heavy rain for Qld, severe heatwave for Vic, Tas and heat relief for WA by Jessica Wang
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However, the good news is that the tropical low responsible for the wet whether is likely to “move out to sea and stay out to sea,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said on Tuesday.
While minor-to-moderate flooding can be expected in tropical Queensland, rainfalls of 50mm could occur from along Queensland’s mid-north coast on Friday, with the showers shifting along the south coast on Saturday onwards.
“Those falls are quite questionable, it might be lighter than that if the system is further way from the coast line,” said Mr Sharpe.
Elsewhere in the state, a southerly running up the coast will bring cooler temperatures and potential showers from Friday to Sunday. In Brisbane, temperatures are predicted to reach a high of 27C on New Year’s Eve and 26C on New Year’s Day, with a low of 20C on Friday and Saturday. The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit on January 1.
Heatwave predicted for Vic and Tas
After the country’s west coast has been lashed by soaring temperatures, by New Year’s Eve a heatwave could develop in southeastern parts of Australia
“We’ve got a heatwave developing there from about Thursday to Sunday,” said Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe on Tuesday.
“We’ll be watching a severe heatwave particularly for Northern Victoria, into the Murray and the far south of NSW and a small pocket of Tasmania.”
However, temperatures will be less extreme in Melbourne. Weather reports in the capital city predict the mercury will climb throughout the week, with a potential high of 34C on December 31 and 36C on January 1. The night will offer some reprieve with lows of 18C and 19C.
New Year revellers in Adelaide will enjoy a week of sun-filled weather, with the potential for overcast skies from Saturday onwards. Despite this, chances for rain remain very slim.
A high of 36C and 37C is predicted for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with both days expected to hit a low of 21C.
Tropical cyclone predictions wither
While Australia’s Top End will continue to be lashed by heavy rains, damaging winds and possible storms, initial fears of a tropical cyclone has diminished.
A tropical low currently brewing on Northern Territory’s top end will cross over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday and Wednesday and then the Coral Sea along the northeast coast on Wednesday, bringing with it heavy rainfall, warnings for damaging winds and flooding rain.
While chances of a tropical cyclone developing are low, should one originate, it would be given the name Cyclone Seth.
For Darwin, New Year’s Eve is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high of 34C and low of 27C. New Year’s Day however could bring a possible thunderstorm, the temperature to range from 26C to 33C.
Reprieve for Perth heatwave
After Perth broke a 53-year record for the hottest Christmas ever with a recording of 42.9C at 4pm, the weather is set to continue to remain hot until Thursday. After a spate of highs of 39C and 38C on Tuesday and Wednesday, the mercury will drop to highs of 32C and 33C and lows of 19C and 20C on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Similar temperatures are set for the rest of the week.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology has continued to forecast fire warnings in other parts of the state. As of Tuesday, there continues to be an extreme fire danger warning for the Gascoyne and Coastal Central West – North and a severe fire danger warning for the Central Wheat Belt, Inland Central West, Lower West (including Perth), Pilbara, North Interior and southern areas of the Coastal Central West areas.
Mild weather for the east coast
New Year’s Eve is predicted to be the sunniest day for Sydney-siders this week, with the weather looking overcast on either side of Friday. Highs of 29C are expected for December 31 and January 1 for the CBD, with moderate lows of 18C and 20C.
Western Sydney will experience slightly warmer temperatures. The mercury could hit a high of 33C on Friday in Penrith, with New Year’s Day dropping to 31C, the lows will be 15C and 17C respectively.
Residents in Australia’s capital can expect a week of dry weather. Sunny skies are predicted from Wednesday to Saturday, with potential overcast weather and a slight chance of showers on the cards from Sunday to Monday. Temperatures will hit between 12C to 31C on New Year’s Eve and 13C to 32C on New Year’s Day.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.22: Jemina Stuart-Smith, a research fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania said the recent endangered listing of the pink handfish in Tasmania brought it in line with recently updated international endangered classifications.
#AceDailyNews says that the pink handfish — from the order of anglerfishes — has only been sighted in the wild five times, and is thought to live in southern Tasmanian waters near the Tasman Peninsula and D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
“Last year we updated the listings for all of the handfish species for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species,” Dr Stuart-Smith said.
“Now we’re just slowly going through and updating all of the local listings on the Threatened Species Act as well so that they align, and the pink handfish is one of those,” she said.
The IUCN’s justification for the pink handfish’s endangered listing cites “other better-known shallow handfish species that are endemic to this same area are highly restricted in range and have experienced serious declines”.
The union noted that the impacts from historical scallop dredging likely took the pink handfish as bycatch and destroyed its habitat, and is thought to have reduced numbers given the “well-documented declines” in the red, Ziebell’s and spotted handfish.
The pink handfish was last seen on the Tasman Peninsula by a diver in 1999.
But despite not being sighted in the wild since, Dr Stuart-Smith said the species was not considered critically endangered or extinct because of how little there is known about it.
“It is difficult to list these species with very little information … we think we have a range of depths that we think that it occurs in and they’re all within a very small area, all the records came from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and around the Tasman Peninsula,” she said.
“It ranges from somewhere around 15 metres to almost 40 metres [deep], so it’s outside the depths that most people dive within,” she said.
“It initially was pulled up in fishing pots and found that way … it’s a little bit deeper and without more resources and more funding it’s difficult to study them, so it’s difficult to know [whether it’s extinct].
“But we’re hoping that creating an awareness around this species is one of the ways that we’re going to find out more about it, because it highlights that they’re out there for fishers and those people out in those deeper waters.”
Pink bigger than red
There are only 14 species of handfish that are found in Australian waters, and the majority of species are found in Tasmania, with the spotted handfish, red handfish and Ziebell’s handfish listed as critically endangered.
Although the pink handfish is closely related to the red, spotted and Ziebell’s handfish, Dr Stuart-Smith said it had a distinct look compared to its cousins.
“It has the same modified pectoral fins that it uses to walk on the seafloor rather than swimming, and it has a lure on top of its head that it uses to attract prey,” she said.
“So it looks quite similar to the other handfish that people are familiar with, and it’s actually slightly bigger than what the red handfish are.
“Instead of the rough skin that the spotted and the red handfish have, it actually has smoother looking skin …it has multiple pink colourations along its body and a light pink lure, a light pink body, and belly as well.”
Dr Stuart-Smith said although the listing of a species as endangered has typically negative connotations, listing the pink handfish as endangered was ultimately beneficial to the scientific community.
“It allows us to promote it in that light, and allows us to leverage more support because of that listing,” she said.
“These animals haven’t been often seen and really we have little information on them, and there’s a real risk that we could lose them before we’ve even had the chance to study them.”
#AceNewsReport – June.22: In its submission, the group criticised the Aboriginal heritage assessment used by the Mount Wellington Cableway Company in its application to the council as “perpetuating the racist myth of terra nullius”.
TASMANIA: The report, conducted by South Australian group Frontier Heritage Consulting, concluded the development “does not involve an Aboriginal heritage site” and “impacts on Aboriginal heritage sites have been reasonably avoided”.
They’ve brought in an archaeologist not even from Tasmania, but from another state, and this individual hasn’t even bothered to step outside of his own process and talk to Aboriginal people in Tasmania about what our values are,” Ms Read told ABC Radio Hobart.
Sharnie Read, an Aboriginal heritage officer with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and a signatory of the joint submission, said the author of the report did not engage with any Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
“Yet he’s put forward a report that supposedly gives an understanding of what the Aboriginal values and significance of kunanyi is.”
Aboriginal Heritage Officer Aaron Everett said none of the Aboriginal people he had spoken with supported the cable car proposal, and they were frustrated by the “shallow” heritage assessment.
“It’s not looking at it from an Aboriginal perspective, and how we look at our own country, and how we determine how we look at areas such as kunanyi,” Mr Everett said.
“It doesn’t always need to be a physical site in the sense of ‘stones and bones’. We have more of a connection to our country than just those physical sides of things.”
The Mount Wellington Cableway Company said it tried to engage local Aboriginal heritage officers to conduct its assessment, but they all refused.
The company said it then looked to Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania’s website to find an alternative, which recommended Frontier Heritage Consulting.
Ms Read said the local Aboriginal heritage officers refused to do the assessment because they had already made it clear they would not support any development on the mountain.
“There was no point being paid when you’re going to give them the same response you can right now,” she said.
“We felt that our position was stronger when we represented our community first and foremost, as opposed to a developer via being paid under a contract.”
As of 11:00am on Monday, the Hobart City Council had received 7,340 submissions on the cable car proposal — a record for the most submissions received by a council in Tasmania.
The previous record was set in 2019, when 1,456 submissions were received in response to Fragrance Group’s proposal to build a high-rise hotel in Hobart’s CBD.
Submissions close at midnight on Tuesday, and will then be handed over to an external assessment panel to prepare a report for the council.
The issue is then expected to be voted on by the council’s Planning Committee on July 27.
Regardless of the committee’s decision next month, Ms Read said she expected the issue would end up with the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT), and it could go all the way to Tasmania’s Supreme Court.
“If that’s the case, we’ll fight it all the way,” she said.
WARNING: This story contains images and descriptions which may cause distress
The documents also show the number of seals that are killed and injured due to the approved and legislated use of deterrents is likely to be much higher than reported.
The documents were released following a Right to Information (RTI) request on the use of seal deterrents used by salmon farm giants Tassal, Huon Aquaculture and Petuna.
They show a number of investigations were made by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) into the deaths of seals in and around salmon leases across the state.
Call for investigation after seal death
The investigation started in 2018 after a seal was found dead on a Tassal fish containment pen at Nubeena, alleged to be caused by a scare cap dart that was found within the abdominal cavity and intestines of the animal.
DPIPWE wildlife biologist Sam Thalmann, who performed a necropsy on the seal, indicated to his colleagues via email that, “the dart had penetrated the skin and torn through the small intestines of the seal” and was located and clearly identified in the “small intestines”.
“The Tassal staff who were present during the necropsy showed no signs of disturbance nor any indication that anything out of the ordinary had occurred to result in the injury and subsequent death,” he wrote
“It is certainly my understanding that they were strongly of the impression that this death occurred through “normal” mitigation activities and deployment of deterrent devices.
“Given the outcome of this incident, the current culture and attitude of the staff, in association with an unknown number of seal deaths and subsequent identification into cause of death, I believe that some form of investigation into the procedures, adherence to a minimum requirements (ie minimum distance) and identification of the type of firearm (and available pressures) for deploying these darts is required. “
The documents show that a condition of the permit for fish farmers to use seal deterrent devices states that seal scare caps should not be discharged when a seal is within 5 metres of the permit holder.
Blunt force trauma factor in half of deaths
The documents show that in the 2018 calendar year up to October, Mr Thalmann recorded 34 dead marine mammal reports from the aquaculture industry.
“Necropsies could only be performed on 12 of the seals retrieved, with 50 per cent of these showing blunt force trauma contributing to their death,” Mr Thalmann said.
It is documented that Mr Thalmann believes the findings are likely “a large underestimate of the proportion of seals that die due to approved and legislated deterrent use”.
“This is also likely a large underestimate as many seals with injury/penetrating wounds resulting from deterrents would leave the area and die outside of the lease area,” he wrote.
“I can personally testify that this appears to be the case as having performed recent survey work around seal haul-outs adjacent to marine farming zones, I have noted a proportion of injured and debilitated seals in significant higher densities than would be expected to occur at a wild haul-out.”
The documents also show the government department issued 789 seal deterrent permits over a three-year period.
Over this period, aquaculture giant Tassal used 55,798 seal crackers and 3,647 rounds of bean bags against seals, Huon Aquaculture used 16,008 crackers and 315 rounds of bean bags to deter the seals and Petuna used 3,533 seal crackers and no bean bags.
Following the findings from the necropsies, Mr Thalmann had email correspondence with his colleagues at DPIPWE to recommend the department implement a number of actions, including the banning of “scare-cap devices from firearms with multiple power settings” and further investigations to determine what tissue damage may result from scare-caps and bean bags on seals.
Seal euthanased after shooting injury
The documents also showed in September 2019, a seal was reported to be injured but alive at a Tassal marine farming lease at Tinderbox.
An investigation into the incident indicated the seal was trying to access a fish pen when a DPIPWE wildlife ranger attempted to contain the seal in an empty fish pen and then trap or sedate the seal to remove it from the pen and transfer it to a holding cage.
The documents indicate the seal was successfully trapped and transferred to Tassal’s onshore facility at Electrona before it was examined the following morning.
Overnight, the seal had vomited a significant amount of partly digested farmed salmon and on further examination, the seal had the tail of a beanbag hanging from between the eyelids of the closed left eye.
Wildlife officers said during email correspondence that, “there was obvious swelling of the soft tissues of the left eye, however, there was discharge weeping from the eye.”
It is documented that the beanbag projectile lodged in its eye caused permanent ocular damage and the animal was euthanased the following day.
Beanbags are lead-filled projectiles encased in a Kevlar bag that are fired to deter seals from marine farm staff and associated infrastructure.
In email correspondence, DPIPWE staff noted a conversation with Tassal about the incident, in which it was alleged the Tassal staff member said he was aware of the incident and indicated that there had been an internal investigation into the matter.
But it was found to be unintentional as it is “hard, as they are fast” and no internal disciplinary action was to be undertaken.
The documents show DPIPWE staff indicated this incident to be a compliance issue on two fronts. Firstly, they said: “Beanbags should never be discharged towards the head of a seal.”
And secondly, they claimed it is a permit requirement that injuries caused to seals are reported to a DPIPWE contact officer within one hour of the event, but it is alleged this particular injury was not called in within the time frame.
The wildlife offer said, “we believe it is highly unlikely that the shooter wouldn’t have realised the animal had been struck in the head at the time.”
Seals ‘swim off and die slowly’
Environment Tasmania said the new documents showed there needs to be an investigation by the integrity commission around the salmon industry’s treatment of seals.
“We’ve got people working in open water, shooting weapons and exploding underwater crackers at seals, that can then swim off and die slowly and inhumanly,” Environment Tasmania’s lead marine campaigner Jilly Middleton said.
“Members of the public were finding the seals. Some had eye wounds, some had gashes to their skin, some of them were too old to tell what was going on.”
She said while government representatives continue to remind the industry of their obligations, there need to be changes to practices.
“One of the issues we’re really worried about is the misuse of the weaponry that the salmon farmers are using on the seals,” Ms Middleton said.
“One of the concerns raised in the RTI papers is there was an attitude and culture amongst the staff at the time [of one of the seal deaths] that indicated that this was normal, this was an expected outcome, this was par for the course and none of them were surprised.”
Industry committed to compliance, says Tassal
A spokesperson for Tassal said the company’s primary effort is exclusion and that they do not seek to engage with wildlife except when necessary.
“However, we do operate in wild environments, and occasional wildlife interactions do occur.”
“We publicly report on our interactions with wildlife through our online sustainability reporting dashboard.”
The aquaculture giant said they dedicate resources to animal welfare and farm practices, including a $90 million rollout of sanctuary pens to strengthen the exclusion of wildlife.
“The welfare of both our fish and the marine mammals and birds that interact with our farms is of critical importance to us.”
The Minister for Primary Industries and Resources Guy Barnett said he was unaware of the findings found in the RTI documents about seal deaths and deterrents.
“We have a seal management plan and a framework that operates across the salmon and fishing industry, it’s an important framework and it should be abided by,” Mr Barnett said.
“Animal welfare is a top priority for our government, it’s a very serious matter.”
#AceNewsReport – May.29: The man was bailed to appear on 11 August 2021 in the Launceston Magistrates Court:
TASMANIA: Man Charged with Possession of Child Exploitation Material: Detective Inspector Craig Joel said the man was also charged with one count of possess a prohibited firearm to which a firearms licence may not be issued (a gel blaster which was identical in appearance to a Glock 17 pistol)
Thursday, 27 May 2021 – 4:50 pm.
Detective Inspector Joel said: “Conversations about on-line safety with children from an early age is important because studies show that once a child is harmed by an online predator, they will be impacted for life.” ………Some on-line predators in Tasmania target children through social networking, image or video sharing apps or instant messaging and will befriend them with compliments or even gifts and money. Most on-line predators will groom children to produce sexual exploitation material. They might ask children to model clothing or provide naked pictures of themselves for money.”
More people are using computers due to COVID19 than before. “A general shift in a child’s mood or behaviour or computer usage – perhaps later in the evening – may be a sign an on-line predator is encouraging a child to keep a secret, or making them feel ashamed.”
If you believe a child is in imminent danger, contact Tasmania Police on 000 or visit your local police station.
#AceNewsReport – May.16: Robert Benjamin is one of three commissioners appointed to examine the Tasmanian government’s responses to child sexual abuse in institutional settings:
TASMANIA: Commission of inquiry into Tasmanian government institutional abuse begins Normally when one of the commissioners Robert Benjamin says when I’m writing a judgement I’ll [stick] a photograph of the children on my computer so that I never forget how important they are,” he said’
Kindness & LoveX❤️ says…Blessed Little Children Come Unto Me ..God Bless Amen
updated Yesterday at 11:44pm
“I’ve spent the whole of my professional career undertaking family law work. For the last 15 or 16 years I’ve worked primarily in Tasmania undertaking family court hearings, and children are at the centre of what we do,” Commissioner Benjamin said.
“That’s been the focus of my career so far and it’s clearly going to be the focus of my career in working with my fellow commissioners to try and make sure that what we’ve seen happen just won’t happen again.”
In November, Premier Peter Gutwein — under increasing pressure as allegations of child sexual abuse relating to the health and education departments and the Ashley Youth Detention Centre came to light — announced the commission of inquiry, which is Tasmania’s version of a royal commission.
Commission president Marcia Neave, a retired Victorian judge, said she and her two colleagues would concentrate on areas where there were current problems.
She said that would include:
The role and responsibilities of the Tasmanian government, its institutions and officials in protecting children from sexual abuse, and responding appropriately to reports of abuse
Current responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse, including the examination of historic allegations where they throw light on current issues of concern
Systemic issues and options for reform
“I have worked on law reform and public policy reform relevant to children for many, many years, and this [child sexual abuse] is a dreadful blight on the Australian community, and on the Tasmanian community,” Commissioner Neave said.
“We should be working hard to make sure that this does not happen in our society, and to make sure that children are protected, and loved and nurtured.”
Commissioner Leah Bromfield is an internationally recognised academic in the field of child abuse and neglect, whose early life was spent in Tasmania.
“I didn’t leave for the mainland with my family until I was in high school, so I always will feel Tasmanian, so this [inquiry] is really important to me,” she said.
“I think that Tasmanian families have got a right when they send their kids off to school, to hospital, to know that everything that should have been done has been done to know that their kids are safe there.”
Government agencies ‘on notice’
Commissioner Neave said government organisations “have already been put on notice that they must retain all records relevant to our inquiry”.
Asked if she was concerned records would be lost if agencies were not “put on notice”, Commissioner Neave said they did not know the “answer to that question”.
“But we certainly wanted to operate in a way that made sure that all of the records that are relevant to events that have occurred in the past, or are currently occurring, are saved so that we can access them,” she said.
Commissioner Neave said she and her fellow commissioners wanted to hear from victim-survivors and supporters of children who have been affected by current issues in responding to child sexual abuse in institutional settings.
They also want to hear from other individuals, groups and organisations whose insights, experiences and ideas will inform the commission’s understanding of gaps in the Tasmanian government’s responses to child sexual abuse.
“The commission will, as far as possible, adopt an informal and non-adversarial approach,” Commissioner Neave said.
“Our consultations and other processes will be guided by trauma-informed care principles and we will provide specialist support and referrals for victim-survivors participating in our processes.
“We are committed to hearing directly from children.”
She said people who give information to the commission would have the same protections as those who speak to royal commissions.
Submissions are open until July 2.
Public and private hearings will be held later in the year.
“The commission will also be undertaking more detailed inquiries through site visits, research, investigations and data gathering activities,” Commissioner Neave said.
“Together we’re going to travel across the state to hear from Tasmanians about their experiences, and their ideas about how best to ensure that government institutions are safe for children.”
The final report and recommendations are due in August next year.
TRIBUTE: The Port Arthur Massacre changed Tasmania, and the nation, forever: At the memorial in Port Arthur today, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority visitor services manager and deputy mayor of the Tasman Council, Maria Stacey said today was a day to reflect on what happened 25 years ago
“Thirthy-five people killed, many physically injured, and countless people who were mentally scarred — 25 years and the pain is still palpable.
“Our lives changed forever that day due to a despicable act of unimaginable violence.
“We commemorate those who died and those who were injured. Today is a day for us to reflect on what happened.”
From the harrowing loss came sweeping political change.
Michael Field, who was the leader of the state opposition at the time of the shooting, said the massacre was a catalyst for change in Australian gun laws.
“We should remember the courage of the then-prime minister John Howard, as well as the political leaders of all political parties that ensured the changes in gun laws passed through the federal Parliament and authorised the gun buy-back scheme,” he said.
In just 12 days after the massacre, the Australian states and territories came together to establish a National Firearms Agreement (NFA), under the pressure of then prime minister John Howard, who had just won the federal election.
“We had an enormous amount of authority as a result,” he said.
“And it was a terrible disaster; it was the largest single death toll from such an event at the hands of an individual ever… and understandably the public wanted something done,” he said.
The NFA restricted ownership of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and made it harder to obtain a gun licence.
It resulted in the destruction of over a million guns.
To this day, the impact of Australia’s gun reform is still evident.
In 1997, Australia had 6.52 licensed firearm owners per 100 people, but by last year that proportion had almost halved, to 3.41.
The number of registered guns in the community has risen only slightly, despite the importation of modern firearms and population growth.
“[The public] do see the laws as having made Australians a safer country,” Mr Howard said.
“They are seen around the world as having been a very strong, effective, adequate response to what was a terrible tragedy, and I think that’s something Australians can derive a great deal of pride in.”
Are gun controls being rolled back?
Hobart lawyer and vice-president of Gun Control Australia Roland Browne led the push for gun control back in the 1990s.
He said “the essence” of the NFA was still intact, but some of the states had rolled back controls.
He cited the fact that silencers are now allowed in New South Wales with a permit, and that the 28-day cooling-off period for gun purchases had been relaxed in some states.
“It’s mindless — gun laws are there to protect the safety of Australian citizens. People want to live in a society where guns are not normalised,” he said.
“I regret that for the foreseeable future, Australians are going to have to fight … to keep our gun laws intact,” he said.
John Howard said the public wouldn’t be silent if the states and territories began making more drastic changes.
“I think the public is very aware that this is something that Australia has done well and they don’t want it disturbed,” Mr Howard said.
“The governments that have followed mine have kept the faith, as far as these laws are concerned, and it’s important that that continue,” he said.
More needs to happen: Browne
Mr Browne said not only did current gun laws need to be maintained, but they also needed to be tightened.
“One of the big issues for my organisation is the availability of semi-automatic handguns that can have magazines of up to 10 bullets,” Mr Browne said.
“These are military weapons — they’re used for target shooting but they’re military weapons, and we’ve seen them misused in Australia in recent years,” he said.
He was also critical of the lack of a National Firearms Register, which the states and territories agreed to establish in 1996.
“There’s no reason that the Commonwealth can’t utilise its various powers over corporations to introduce a national register like that. It has the power to do it and it also has the power to push the states a whole lot harder than it has,” he said.
Mr Browne also wants tighter storage requirements for gun owners, including alarms on storage, to prevent theft.
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia said it was open to supporting amendments to any laws designed to keep the public safe, but the public benefit needed to be clear before change was implemented.
“Perhaps to reduce any issues around public safety and firearms in Australia we need to look at where the actual source of firearms used in crime come from,” media officer Rachael Oxborrow said.
She denied gun laws had been watered down.
“This was a firearms agreement that was made 25 years ago … and I think it’s about adapting to make sure we realise things change,” she said.
Federal MP supports national register
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Jason Wood said he was “personally supportive” of a national firearms registry.
But, he added, “it is a state and territory responsibility and we obviously need their support.”
“When it comes to these reforms I can tell you now, the Prime Minister, or whether it be Karen Andrews (Minister for Home Affairs), all of us are very keen to see a national firearms register,” Mr Wood said.
He said on a personal level, claims that some states had relaxed certain controls concerned him and that when it came to semi-automatic handguns he’d be open to more control if that were necessary.
“If the department and law enforcement came to me and said they had concerns about importation I’d definitely have a look at that,” he said.
Victims remembered in small ceremony
The 25th anniversary of the massacre will be marked with a small commemoration at the historic site.
In a statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to the victims and the emergency service workers who responded to the massacre.
“Today we remember and send our love to all those who still bear the scars of that terrible day,” he said.
“The families and friends of those who died; the injured, the survivors, the first responders and all those who witnessed and were impacted by the unspeakable horror of that day.
“We remember the incredible bravery and selflessness as well — the family members who sought to shield and protect others.”
Mr Morrison also praised John Howard and others for “some of the strongest gun laws in the world today, that have served to keep Australians safe”.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.17: Police will allege that upon reviewing the electronic devices, detectives found the man had been engaging in conversations on the social media platform ‘Kik’ with another user living outside of Australia, encouraging them to commit sexual offences against a child.
‘Detectives this morning (Friday, 16 April, 2021) executed a search warrant at the man’s home and arrested him after allegedly finding explicit material on electronic devices & reports indicated a user located in New Norfolk, Tasmania was uploading child abuse material to multiple social media platforms’
The 25-year-old Tasmanian man faced the Hobart Magistrates Court today (Friday 16 April, 2021).
AFP Detective Sergeant Nick Gibson said the investigation highlighted that the AFP and its international counterparts continue to work closely to tackle the rising global issue of child exploitation.
“No one country can combat this borderless crime alone. This is why our international partnerships are crucial for law enforcement to not only identify the individuals and groups producing and sharing this abhorrent material, but to remove vulnerable children from harm,” he said: