Firearms Amendment Act 2018

Liberty Victoria

Last week, the Victorian Parliament passed the Firearms Amendment Bill 2017 which contained a series of significant amendments to the Firearms Act 1986.

The aspect of the Bill of most concern to civil liberties and human rights is the introduction of Firearm Prohibition Orders.

Did you know:

  • The Victorian Government just passed laws that allow for police to order that persons be made subject to Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs).
  • The Government has itself acknowledged that the laws breach the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities because there were less restrictive alternatives.
  • FPOs allow police to search people (including children) and property without warrant, and even in circumstances where there is no reasonable suspicion that the person has committed an offence.
  • The person subject to a FPO does not have to have ever acquired, possessed, carried or used a firearm or a firearm.
  • FPOs can be made because of the "behaviour" (undefined) of the person. or because of the people the people they associate with.
  • FPOs can be made over children as young as 14.

When the opposition suggested limited amendments, the Government suggested that was because the coalition is in the pockets of organised crime.

Both major parties no doubt want to appear “tough on crime” this election year, but all sides of politics have a heavy responsibility to ensure that only appropriate and
proportionate legislation is enacted, where limitations to human rights are justifiable.

Liberty Victoria is deeply concerned that this signals the start of a lengthy election campaign where all political parties will be judging proposed legislation, not on its merits, but on its ability to wedge the opposing party for short term political gain. That is a true race to the bottom.

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