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Customs bungle reveals Vanstone's failure of leadersship on knives.

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The Hon Duncan Kerr MP

Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs

Shadow Minister for the Arts

22nd February 1999




“As Senator Vanstone hides behind departmental rhetoric, the reality is that Customs officers are now allowing banned weapons such as crossbows and knives into the country,” Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs, Duncan Kerr said today.


“Amanda Vanstone loves to crow about the importance of federal-state co-operation in stopping crime. She has the power to ensure Customs officers inform the NSW authorities should banned weapons be on their way into that State.


“But instead of acting promptly to help the Carr Government get these dangerous weapons off our streets, Senator Vanstone has handballed this issue to the Australasian Police Ministers Council.


“Why won’t the Minister insist that this information is passed on to the NSW authorities to the fullest extent allowed by law?


“The Carr Government has taken the bold move to ban these weapons, only to have the whole thing under-minded by Senator Vanstone.


“The Minister still has an opportunity to show some leadership on the issue and join with NSW on their tough stand. A few glib lines are not enough.


“And the people of New South Wales are entitled to ask where the NSW Opposition Leader, Mrs Chikarovski, is? Why hasn’t she called up Senator Vanstone and demanded she support NSW’s initiatives.


“The whole affair only serves to highlight the need for uniform national knife laws similar to the Carr Government’s model and to urgently review the Customs regulations to stop these dangerous weapons coming into Australia,” Mr Kerr said.



For further information contact: Becher Townshend 0418 370 661