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Wednesday, 26 March 1941

Senator AYLETT (Tasmania) . - I desire to discuss the regulation of the use of firearms in Australia. On the 12th December last I asked a question in the Senate on the subject. From the information that I have gathered I consider that in time of war there is insufficient control in the States to govern effectively the use of firearms allowed for the protection of employees engaged in establishments where firearms are registered as protective weapons. I consider that the regulations should be tightened. All firearms must be registered and the Commonwealth Government plays an important part in that respect but it does not deal with the use of firearms after registration. I have been approached by scores of people in Launceston and I have received a large number of letters asking me to assist in bringing about the tightening of the regulations governing the use of firearms in the interests of the protection of employees in business houses. Some of the States have regulations governing the use of firearms but I consider that all regulations in operation now should be overhauled by the Commonwealth authorities. 1 shall cite a specific case to support my representations. A young man, Allan Green, was at work ait his desk in a Launceston bank when one of his colleagues, a junior, walked behind him. Green heard the command " Put them up " and then a revolver was discharged and he was shot, the bullet passing through his chest. A large number of the letters I have received refer to this accident and I shall read only six or seven of the shortest of them. They are as follows: -

I have been in close touch with a case over here in Launceston where a young fellow by the name of Allan Green was accidentally shot while on duty in a certain bank, by a junior of the bank staff.

Since the affair, it has seemed strange to me that such a thing could happen. Would the law allow a weapon to be in the possession of a junior? If not, should it have been about where an irresponsible person could easily pick it up?

Being in close touch with the young fellow Green all through his many months of hospital treatment, and knowing what a desperate fight he and the doctors had for his life, and the very heavy expense to the father, I feel that if the law does not provide for a stricter supervision of firearms, it would be a distinct service to the community if you or someone could take the matter up in the House and secure greater security for those who, like young Green, might be future victims of the indiscretions of others.

I tender this suggestion in what I feel to be the best interests of employees who have to work in places where firearms are a necessary part of the business equipment.

In view of the serious shooting accident which occurred in the Bank of Australasia in this city some months ago, and considering the suffering and agony the victim, Allan Green, has gone through, I am of the opinion the law in respect to the use of firearms should be reviewed with the object of safeguarding the lives and persons of those employees engaged in establishments where firearms are registered ns protective weapons.

Can I be informed please, what steps the Government arc taking to fully protect employees in respect to the use of firearms? My reason for desiring this information is that, although I have watched the newspapers since the occurrence, I have not yet seen any reference as to what action has been taken relative to the case of a youth named Allan Green being wounded in a Launceston bank some months ago through the indiscriminate use of firearms.

I am strongly of the opinion that adequate steps should be taken to more fully protect employees as far as the use of firearms is concerned.

I.   am writing to you as a representative of the people. A friend of mine, Allan Green by name, was shot and badly wounded by a youth in the bank in which he was employed and very seriously injured, after over four months he recovered, the expense of which his parents had to bear.- I understand, they have not yet received compensation of any kind which he is entitled to as a worker under the laws of the country, also it is almost twelve months since it happened, yet the police themselves do not seem to be doing anything about holding an inquiry into it but just letting your laws slide. It is bad enough for his parents to have to bear the strain of their loved one's sickness without having to bear the expense which he is supposed to be covered from.

Hoping you can do something for this family.

I have noticed in your Tasmanian paper the Examiner of 19th December, 1940, where you have brought before the notice of the Trades Hall, a serious shooting affair which happened in a Launceston bank, and I am lead to understand by the way it is printed that the parents of the victim have not only had the anxiety of such a serious illness brought upon them by indiscriminate people, but have had to meet a tremendous financial strain. These circumstances seem to me to be grossly unjust, and if the injuries were received on the bank's premises, I do not think the bank concerned is acting with the principals we are fighting for at the present time. I therefore consider asking you as a Senator to bring this bank to ite senses in respect to justice.

I have been trying to contact you for some time but unfortunately failed, hence my letter now.

It is in reference to an occurrence in the Bank of Australasia where a youth named Allan Green was seriously wounded by a revolver, while on duty, by another employee.

I do not know the law in respect to registration of revolvers, but I do think this case warrants a tightening up of the act so as to prevent firearms being used by irresponsible persons.

Green was eight months in hospital and for four months no hope was held out for his recovery. The medical, hospital and other expenses cost his parents £3S0 and until I took action they could not obtain compensation from the bank. Eventually the bank made an offer of £298.

Senator Herbert Hays - Was he insured ?

Senator AYLETT - I understand that he was covered by insurance. He made a statement which did not suit the bank manager, who thereupon deleted a portion and substituted another paragraph which he told the boy he must sign otherwise he would not get any compensation. I understand that the bank manager said that he would get £25 compensation from the insurance company.

Senator E, B Johnston - Was it an accident?

Senator AYLETT - There has been no public inquiry into the occurrence, and therefore the boy who did the shooting may be under the shadow of suspicion. I believe that it was an accident.

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