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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 13121


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 May 2003:

(1) What, if any, steps has the Australian Government taken since July 2001 to implement the United Nations program of action on small arms agreed to at the `United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects', held in July 2001.

(2) Why is the latest information on the department's website on this issue dated October 2001.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The following answer has been provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the honourable senator's question:

(1) I refer you to the attached Australian National Small Arms Report which details Australia's implementation of the United Nations Program of Action on Small Arms for 2002/2003.

(2) The Department's website on this issue was updated in May 2003 and, before that, in October 2002.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS PROGRAM OF ACTION TO PREVENT, COMBAT AND ERADICATE THE ILLICIT TRADE IN SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS IN ALL ITS APECTS

NATIONAL SMALL ARMS STATEMENT

AUSTRALIA

Australia has been an active player in international small arms control efforts reflecting the importance it attaches to domestic gun control. In the past year, the Australian Government has been actively promoting international cooperation to deal with small arms related problems, with a particular focus on our region.

Australia is committed to working with regional partners and civil society to address the challenge of small arms proliferation in the Pacific. It is our view that enhanced regional action is the building block for a broader international effort.

The following is an overview of measures taken at the national, regional and international level to address the challenge of the proliferation, misuse and destabilising accumulations of small arms.

NATIONAL MEASURES

National coordination agencies or bodies and institutional infrastructure responsible for policy guidance, research and monitoring of efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW (PoA - Section II, para 4)

The Point of Contact on international policy is the Chemical, Biological and Conventional Weapons Section, Arms Control Branch of the International Security Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Australasian Police Ministers' Council (APMC) is the principal forum for national firearms policy development and implementation activities. The APMC includes the Minister for Justice and Customs of the Commonwealth, and Police Ministers responsible for firearms legislation and policy within each State and Territory. The Firearms Unit of the Attorney General's Department is responsible for providing the Government with a national and international perspective on firearms policy and for coordinating the development of national legislation on firearms within Australia's federal constitutional arrangements. It takes a leading role in co-ordinating consistent policy and legislation by the States and Territories who have direct responsibility for domestic firearms control legislation.

Officers of the Australian and State and Territory governments meet regularly under the APMC's auspices to address firearms issues. Leading national law enforcement bodies including the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police, inform the development of policy on firearms and provide information on trends in illicit firearms trafficking.

Following a national planning conference in January 2003 involving senior representatives of all Australian criminal law enforcement and other relevant organisations, it was agreed that the Australian Crime Commission would coordinate strategic intelligence and operational activity relating to illegal firearms trafficking on a national basis. It has developed a national framework for the collection of intelligence relating to illegal firearms trafficking and is in the process of preparing a strategic assessment of the nature and scope of the trafficking problem within Australia. It is targeting illegal handgun trafficking as a matter of priority and is currently supporting several multi-agency operations involving targets whose activities cross two or more State/Territory boundaries.

Laws, regulations and administrative procedures on the possession, production, export, import, transit or retransfer of such weapons (POA - Section II, para 2, 3, 6)

Australia has in place some of the most stringent firearms laws in the world. Since 1996, firearms reform measures have occupied the attention of the highest levels of the Australian Government.

The possession and manufacture of guns and all other types of small arms are subject to strict national controls and strong law enforcement. In Australia's federal system of government, the six State and two Territory jurisdictions have direct legislative responsibility for firearms control measures. The Federal Government is responsible for controlling the import and export of firearms.

Following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which a person armed with high powered rifles murdered 35 persons at a historic tourist site, Australian governments tightened the regulation of ownership and licensing of firearms through the historic National Firearms Agreement (NFA). This agreement is the foundation of Australia's domestic firearms legislation. It reflected agreement by all governments in Australia's federal system to improve firearms legislation and introduced:

· prohibitions on a range of automatic and semi-automatic or “military style” longarms, 660,000 of which were surrendered under a “buyback” and compensation scheme funded by the Australian Government;

· registration systems maintained by each jurisdiction and linked across Australia;

· requirement for genuine reasons for owning, possessing or using a firearm;

· registration of all firearms;

· licensing of all firearms owners;

· strict health, character and safety criteria for firearms licence applicants;

· minimum firearms safety and storage requirements.

The Federal Government has continued to work with the governments of Australia's States and Territories to develop new legislative and policy initiatives in support of the aims of the NFA, to refine the regulation of lawful firearms owners and users and to improve community safety.

Most recently, following a tragic shooting at an Australian University, the Federal, State and Territory Governments of Australia agreed on further measures to reduce the circulation of small concealable handguns such as “pocket pistols” and to strengthen significantly controls on access to handguns by sporting shooters. The reforms do not affect access to handguns by official agencies such as Police or private security firms; however, a review of the allocation of handguns and storage practices in the private security industry will be conducted.

Australian political leaders have given their unanimous support to the following strengthened control measures:

Prohibited handguns:

Reforms will in effect restrict the classes of legal handguns to those meeting recognised sporting shooter classifications in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and other accredited events.

Sporting shooters will no longer have access to small and other easily concealable handguns and to those above .38” calibre. An exception to this limit will apply to sporting shooters who participate in a limited number of events which governments will jointly accredit where handguns of up to .45”calibre will be permitted.

Semi-automatic handguns with a barrel length of less that 120mm, and revolvers and single shot handguns with a barrel length of less than 100mm will be prohibited. Some specialized target pistols of a barrel length below 120mm will still be permitted because of their unique characteristics and lack of concealability. Shot capacity will also be limited to a maximum of ten.

Stricter Controls on Access to Handguns

To ensure only genuine and committed sporting shooters gain access to handguns, the reform measures establish a system of “graduated access” to handguns by sporting shooters who wish to enter the sport. Sporting shooters will also be required to participate in a minimum number of shooting matches each year to demonstrate their commitment to the sport and their need for handguns. Failure to meet the minimum participation level will result in loss of the handgun licence. The access regime includes:

· stricter character requirements;

· limited access to handguns for the first six months of a person's licence;

· progress to full access after 12 months upon establishing a genuine need for a handgun; adherance to safe storage requirements; and specification of the particular sports shooting discipline in which the handgun is required; and

· a requirement that sporting shooter clubs endorse a member's application to acquire a handgun.

Buyback of prohibited handguns

The prohibition on certain handguns will be accompanied by a surrender and “buyback” of handguns and certains parts and accessories. This will commence in July 2003 and continue for six months. The Federal Government will fund two-thirds of the cost of acquiring prohibited handguns and the States and Territories one third. An amnesty will be conducted concurrently during which handgun owners can surrender illegally held handguns without penalty. The Government is ensuring that handgun owners including handgun dealers will receive fair compensation for handguns by developing valuations based on experts' opinions and a formal resolution process for disputed valuations.

Export/import controls

Australia also has in place strict and comprehensive controls and licence procedures to regulate the import and export of small arms. These controls regulate the legal trade in small arms, which in turn helps to prevent illicit trafficking.

All proposed exports from Australia of defence and related goods, including small arms, are subject to comprehensive, case-by-case government review and licence procedures. Licence approvals are issued only where export is consistent with Australia's international obligations and broader interests, including security and human rights considerations.

Australia's strict policy on illegal arms transfers is illustrated by the various conditions under which exports of military small arms and military goods are expressly prohibited, including:

· to countries against which the United Nations Security Council has imposed a mandatory arms embargo

· to governments that seriously violate their citizens' rights, unless there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against those citizens

· where foreign and strategic policy interests outweigh export benefits.

Australia has also decided that in certain circumstances it may be necessary to prevent the export of non-military lethal goods (including certain types of small arms, such as hunting or sporting weapons) to particular destinations on foreign policy, defence or other national interest grounds. As with military goods, the export of non-military lethal goods also requires an export licence or permit.

Australia fully complies with third party transfer undertakings and obligations provided to the original exporting State. The discharge of these obligations includes notification of the original exporting State of the intention to retransfer. Australia also requires end-use and end-user certification for small arms and light weapons from designated recipient states. Military firearms are only exported to a foreign government or its authorised representative.

Customs inspections are thorough and include use of sophisticated technologies and targetted inspections based on intelligence information.

In March 2000, Australia increased penalties for illegal firearms trafficking, including some types of small arms. Through amendments to the Customs Act 1901, criminal offences relating to smuggling or importing firearms were made punishable on conviction by a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.

On 20 December 2002, the Australian Government banned the import of all prohibited handguns by sporting shooters (that is, all handguns other than those which meet the prescribed physical characteristics, including barrel length, calibre and shot capacity) by amendment to its Customs legislation. States and Territories will have their own legislation in place by July 2003.

Tight controls are applied to all other firearms imports. For lawful handguns (such as for the private security industry), importers now require permission from State and Territory police prior to the importation and sale occurring, and limits are placed on the stocks of newly imported handguns that importers/dealers can hold (handguns stocks over and above the set limits must be held by the Australian Customs Service). The amendments will also extend controls to handgun frames/receivers in the same fashion as complete handguns. This is to prevent the possibility of handgun frames/receivers being legally imported as parts and subsequently assembled as an operative firearm or used to convert a permitted handgun into a prohibited handgun.

Other changes to national controls

Recent significant developments in Australian firearms policy and legislation include:

National Firearm Trafficking Policy Agreement - 2002 (NFTPA)

The NFPTA reflects Australia's focus on effective control of the illegal trade in firearms by strengthening domestic legislation and increasing efforts to detect and prosecute those engaged in firearms trafficking. The NFTPA, an administrative and legislative action plan was endorsed by Australasian Police Minister's Council (APMC) in July 2002 and provides for:

· increased efforts to detect illegally imported handguns through improved Customs controls

· The government has committed significant resources to prevent the illegal importation of handguns including increasing border activity and commissioning state-of-the-art x-ray equipment at Australian ports;

· substantial legislative penalties for illegal possession or selling of a firearm and an extended and comprehensive legislative definition of “possession”;

· consistent provisions to regulate the manufacture of firearms;

· stricter monitoring of licensed firearms dealers including power to refuse or cancel licences where the dealer is associated with or employs persons of bad character;

· tighter recording and reporting of transactions involving major component firearm parts to ensure firearms cannot be assembled from unregistered parts;

· national legislation to complement State and Territory laws against firearms trafficking.

In support of its commitment to the NFPTA the Federal Government introduced the Crimes Legislation Amendment (People Smuggling, Firearms Trafficking and Other Measures) Act 2002. This legislation prohibits inter alia interstate trafficking in firearms and provides for a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine for those convicted of firearms trafficking. The penalty is in general more substantial than that provided under State and Territory legislation for the illegal sale or possession of a firearm. The legislation provides law enforcement authorities with additional power and flexibility in the detection and prosecution of firearms trafficking within Australia.

National system of export and import licensing or authorization systems, measures on international transit for the transfer of all small arms and light weapons (PoA - Section II, para 11)

Australia has comprehensive legislation regulating imports and exports administered by the Australian Customs Service responsible to the Minister for Justice and Customs.

Australia fully complies with third party transfer undertakings and obligations provided to the original exporting state. The discharge of these obligations includes notification of the original exporting state. Customs inspections are thorough and include use of sophisticated technologies and targeted inspections based on intelligence information.

Specific measures taken to ensure an appropriate and reliable marking on each SALW and to prevent the manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and possession of any unmarked or inadequately marked SALW (PoA - Section II, para 7 and 8)

Australia manufactures very few firearms. All States and Territories maintain registers of firearms including the make and model and serial number and owners' details. Under the National Firearm Trafficking Policy Agreement, Australia's States and Territories have undertaken to strengthen their firearms legislation including those provisions which regulate the manufacture of firearms.

Firearms manufactured after 1900 must bear a unique marking (i.e. serial number). Australian Customs Service monitors compliance with this requirement as a part of import/export procedures.

The Federal Government introduced national firearms trafficking legislation in 2002 which imposes substantial penalties for interstate trafficking in firearms. The new legislation ensures Australia has a comprehensive legal regime to deter illegal possession and transfer of all firearms.

Australia's Federal and State governments are considering the introduction of computerised ballistic imaging on a national level. Currently, NSW has an Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS), which is an automated computer system that enables police to easily identity and effectively solve complex firearm related crimes. While some other states are using a different system (FIREBALL) which enables police to search suspect firearms against images of cartridge cases and projectiles held on the database.

Measures taken to ensure comprehensive and accurate records on the manufacture, holding and transfer of SALW? (PoA - Section II, para 9)

Australia has a comprehensive system for compulsory registration of firearms and licensing of firearms owners. Police authorities have access to firearms registration and licensing details. Export and import procedures require full details of the firearms to be provided to the Australian Customs Service. Development of a National Firearms Licensing and Registration system is proceeding.

Accountability processes (PoA - Section II, para 10). Management and security of its own stocks of weapons (PoA - Section II, para 17 and 18). Safe Storage of small arms in the community.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) maintains strict accountability processes for its weapons. Police forces maintain tight controls on the issue of firearms. Firearms storage and armoury security remains a key issue for the Government.

Strict control measures apply to military weapons, munitions and explosives. Weapons are individually numbered and tracked, and are stored securely in defence establishments. All weapons are registered and subject to strict accounting procedures, including an annual census under the supervision and direction of the Defence Inspector General's Office. The aim of each census is to account for 100 percent of weapons. Thorough investigation procedures are in place for investigations into the loss, theft or attempted theft of weapons, ammunition and explosives. Control measures on the employment of military small arms are enforced on operations through Rules of Engagement and Orders for Opening Fire.

Defence operates an inventory management system which details the exact number and location of its small arms by type. All Australian Defence Force official stocks are audited on an annual basis. Defence regularly reviews operational stock levels against capability requirements. This analysis provides the basis for ongoing provisioning and determination of any potential surplus.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) imports official police issue firearms directly from the manufacturers, bypassing product importers and agents. The AFP clears all their firearms through Customs directly into the AFP Central Armoury. Those firearms are then inspected, and registered before being issued personally to sworn members. Regular audits, inspections and servicing are conducted. The transport of firearms is controlled through secure couriers on special contract conditions. All security conduct is controlled by the AFP Protective Security Manual.

Under recent firearm/handgun reforms, firearm authorities are required to review the adequacy of safe storage compliance and audit arrangements and to give additional emphasis in information and publicity material of the need to safely store firearms.

Firearms storage and allocation practices within the private security industry will also be examined and a report prepared for Police Ministers.

Destruction of surplus SALW as well as those confiscated, seized or collected (PoA - Section II, para 16, 18 and 19)

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and other national and State and Territory agencies closely monitor their firearms requirements and stocks. Surplus ADF weapons are destroyed or occasionally on-sold to a third country.

If a particular ADF weapon is declared out of service, disposal action will be commenced. Weapons are destroyed (usually by smelting), or occasionally they may be on-sold to a third country. The same process occurs for weapons declared surplus to requirement. However, surplus weapons may be held in long-term storage as War Reserve Stocks. In the event of a sale, the transfer of the weapon is effected according to the aforementioned procedures governing weapon exports. This ensures that the sale complies with relevant Australian Government policy and that arms or weapons are sold only to approved purchasers, using the mechanism of end-user certification. In both the case of disposal by sale to another country and/or destruction, official stocks are strictly controlled by the Defence Materiel Organisation using extant procedural requirements, including the recording of all serial numbers.

Firearms surrendered under the 1996 buyback of long arms were destroyed. Those proposed to be surrendered under the 2003 buyback of handguns will be destroyed under strict supervision.

National legislation on Brokering (PoA - Section II, para 14)

Australia manufactures very few firearms. Australia is a signatory to the UN Firearms Protocol and is currently considering firearms brokering issues within the context of its obligations under the Protocol. Currently, the Crimes (Foreign Incursion and Recruitment) Act 1978 has provisions which criminalise activities including certain forms of brokering.

Public awareness and confidence-building programmes on the problems and consequences of the illicit trade in SALW (PoA - Section II, para 20)

The Australian Government appreciates the importance of informing and educating the community on the problems and consequences of the illicit trade in SALW. The Government has funded a number of initiatives to raise public awareness. For instance, Australia part-funded a study of Small Arms in the Pacific (a publication of the Small Arms Survey).

The Government will implement a targeted information and awareness campaign for those affected by recent handgun reform measures and for the general community. The handgun buyback and tighter controls on access to handguns will be accompanied by the development of a national firearms safety training program and a broad educational program for sporting shooters, historical fireams collectors and medical professionals on their obligations and responsibilites in relation to firearms.

A key part of information provision during the handgun buyback will be publication on the Internet of a list of all affected handguns and compensation payable. Handgun owners will be able to identify quickly if their handgun is prohibited and the value ascribed to it.

The “buyback” of automatic and semi-automatic long arms instituted in 1996, which recovered approximately 660,000 firearms from private individuals, was accompanied by firearms amnesties and other publicity measures to encourage firearms owners to surrender unregistered firearms.

The Australian Government funded Australian Institute of Criminology has undertaken extensive research on firearms issues. Its recent report on firearms theft has served as the basis for developing improved controls on firearms storage and its findings have demonstrated to dealers and owners the need to properly secure and store their weapons.

The Australian Government maintains internet web sites in relevant agencies describing firearms measures it is taking at the domestic and international level.

The Australian Government also conducts an Outreach Program that seeks to increase public awareness of export requirements.

Examples of cooperation with civil society and non-governmental organizations with a view to eradicating the illicit trade in SALW. (PoA - Section II, para 20)

The Point of Contact meets formally with Australian NGO representatives once a year, in the context of the National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament. The Committee was established by the Minister for Foreign Affairs as a channel for the exchange of information and views on disarmament and arms control issues between the Government and the community. The Committee considers and reports to the Minister on the execution of Government policies on arms control and disarmament and maintains contact with individuals and groups interested in peace, arms control and disarmament issues.

The point of contact has consulted and worked with civil society in the hosting of regional workshops on the illicit trade in small arms (see regional initiatives). The point of contact and other coordinating agencies (such as Attorney-General's Department) are also responsible for liaising with interested NGOs and members of the public on an ad-hoc basis.

The Government has also established a Sporting Shooters Advisory Council comprising representatives of sporting shooter groups and firearms dealers to advise it during the development and implementation of the reforms. The council has ensured effective communication between Government and the firearms community and will continue to remain a key source of advice to Government.

REGIONAL MEASURES

Australia makes an important contribution to international efforts to address small arms through its regional capacity building and disarmament activities

Regional Cooperation and Capacity Building

Australia is committed to working with regional partners and civil society to address the challenge of small arms proliferation in the Asia-Pacific.

Most recently, Australia provided USD 20,000 for a Pacific wide Small Arms Survey, launched in Suva on 2 April, 2003.

Australia participated in a sub-committee of the South Pacific Forum (South Pacific Chiefs of Police Conference) which developed a common regional approach to weapons control, focusing on the illicit manufacture of, and trafficking in, firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials. This common approach has been encapsulated in a document called the Nadi Framework.

Following on from this, Australia has taken an active part in efforts to develop model legislation on weapons control in the Pacific, including by providing financial support for the drafting of the model legislation and hosting regional meetings to consider and review the model legislation and other practical initiatives.

Japan and Australia co-hosted a seminar in January 2003 which examined the problems of small arms in the South Pacific This built on discussions at a similar workshop in Brisbane in May 2001. The workshop drew on Japan and Australia's own legislative, judicial and penal experiences covering the control of small arms, and police and defence practices. At this meeting, Pacific Island countries agreed to move forward with the development of model legislation. The model Weapons Control Bill has now been finalised by the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and will be circulated to Pacific Island States, an initiative that we were able to contribute to through our aid program. It is expected that the draft bill will be reviewed at the Pacific Forum Regional Security meeting in June this year in Fiji.

If the legislation is adopted by Pacific Island states, it will significantly improve the existing firearm laws. The thorough analysis of Pacific legislation in the Small Arms Survey Pacific Report will no doubt help in the implementation of this model legislation.

As part of the follow up to the May 2001 Brisbane workshop personnel from the Australian Defence Force have been assisting Pacific Island Countries to strengthen armoury security-a key area of concern. Training has been conducted to encourage Pacific countries to implement better stockpile management practices and advice has been provided on how to improve the physical security of a number or armouries. The Defence Cooperation program has also funded the construction of three new PNGDF armouries (at a cost of A$1.2 million) in an effort to improve small arms security in the lead up to the PNG elections. Another three armouries are due to be completed in PNG later this year.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, including the effective collection, control, storage and destruction of SALW in post-conflict situation? (PoA - Section II, para 23)

Through AusAID (the Australian Agency for International Development), Australia funds many projects which address the humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities, particularly in our region. These have included demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants - including child soldiers - into productive civilian life at the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka and Bougainville; assistance with demobilisation of special constables in the Solomon Islands; contributions to reconstruction in East Timor; and support for region-wide efforts to combat Small Arms proliferation, promotion and assistance with post-conflict reconstruction (Cambodia, Bougainville, Solomon Islands); reform and capacity-building of police, judicial and penal systems in conflict-affected areas (East Timor, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Papua New Guine); and assistance to promote respect for international humanitarian law regarding the use of small arms (Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Burundi).

Bougainville: Australia continues to make a substantial contribution to the ongoing peace process on the island. Since the 1997 cease-fire, the Bougainville Peace Agreement has been signed and legislated and a substantial number of small arms (currently 1753) have been contained.

In addition, the AUD 5 million Bougainville Ex-combatants Trust Account (BETA) has been established to assist ex-combatants to reintegrate into civilian society. It provides ex-combatants with skills and opportunities to engage in productive activities through micro-enterprise development. To date, over 2500 applications have been received by the BETA office and awareness sessions have been conducted in all districts on Bougainville, with almost half of all applications approved so far.

Solomon Islands: Law and justice and support to the peace process and communities are two key objectives for Australia's aid program in the Solomon Islands. Australia is assisting to rebuild police services, reform the judiciary and prison system, and improve police-community relations.

· Australia is providing funding (AUD 1.9 million) for a UNDP project to demobilise disruptive Special Constables from the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP) and reintegrate them into the community.

· Australia played an important role in bringing to an end the conflict in Solomon Islands, including the destruction of some 2000 weapons, through our leadership of the International Peace Monitoring Team (which concluded in June 2002).

· Australian support of the indigenous Solomon Islands Peace Monitoring Council (PMC) (now the National Peace Council (NPC) has been important to the peace process. The PMC worked with the IPMT on weapons collection. The NPC continues to play the primary role in weapons collection and disposal, as part of their role in supporting the peace process and a return to the rule of law in the Solomon Islands. Australia provided significant financial support to the PMC and is continuing support for NPC.

East Timor: Australia is also making a concerted contribution to reconstruction and infrastructure development in East Timor, including through a small grant and financial consultant to the newly established Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

As part of INTERFET's operations, the Australian Defence Force seized weapons which were then stored securely. When INTERFET operations ceased and UNTAET assumed responsibility for the administration of East Timor, the seized weapons were handed over to UNTAET for destruction.

Regional mechanism in promoting trans-border customs cooperation and networks for information sharing among law enforcement, border and customs control agencies in your region (PoA - Section II, para 27)

The Australian Customs Service, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Defence Force co-operate closely with their counterparts within the region on these issues.

GLOBAL LEVEL

The Australian Government places a high priority on preventing the illicit trade in small arms. Its strong domestic polices and legislation complement Australia's support for regional and international initiatives such as the Programme of Action.

International instruments

Australia is a signatory to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

Specific problems encountered in the implementation of the Programme of Action/ Lessons Learnt

Australia has not yet ratified the UN Firearms Protocol. The Australian Federal Government is currently consulting with States and Territories about Australia's obligations under the Protocol and necessary legislative reforms/amendments to bring Australia into line with obligations under the Protocol.

Australia is currently reviewing national arms export reporting with a view to enhancing the transparency of small arms exports. Export reports in future will include a specific category outlining the value and quantity of small arms exports.

A lesson derived in the process of reforming firearms laws in Australia's complex federal system was the need for a strong consultative and coordination mechanism with policy strength to promote, elicit support and assist with the implementation of reform measures. Also important was the establishment of an advisory council comprising community representatives as part of a broad consultation process.

Australia's regional endeavours, for example encouraging the development of model legislation for the Pacific, have demonstrated the need to provide assistance to Governments in the establishment of or reinforcement of international cooperation mechanisms and to strengthen enforcement capacity.

Information sharing

Effective legislation and enforcement measures are a priority of the Australian Government's firearms reforms. The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to share information on its current legislation and policy developments with other countries considering similar control measures.

Further Information:

http://www.law.gov.au/handguns

NSW Firearms legislation:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/fa1996102/

Victoria Firearms Act (1996)

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/fa1996102/

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/fa1998182/

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ffa1996279/

New Firearms/Trafficking and handgun controls 2003:

http://www.dms.dpc.vic.gov.au/pdocs/bills/B01368/index.html

For the Western Australian Firearms Act:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/fa1973102/