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Wednesday, 27 May 1987
Page: 3465

(Question No. 5255)

Mr MacKellar asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 30 March 1987:

(1) Does the Crimes Act make it unlawful to use a silencer on a firearm.

(2) Is the Minister able to say whether it is unlawful (a) to sell, purchase or possess a silencer, (b) for an Australian person or company to manufacture silencers on behalf of either local or overseas clients and (c) to either import or export silencers.

(3) Is the Minister able to say whether Australian police authorities have expressed concern at what they regard as inadequate legislative controls over the manufacture, sale, ownership and use of silencers.

Mr Young —The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) No such offence exists under the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914.

(2) (a) and (b) The sale, purchase, possession or manufacture of a silencer does not constitute an offence under Commonwealth legislation. The control of silencers within Australia is the responsibility of each State and Territory whose laws and offences covering silencers vary between jurisdictions. In the Australian Capital Territory, it is only the use of a silencer which is an offence under the Gun Licence Ordinance 1937.

(c) The importation of silencers is prohibited under provisions of the Customs Act 1901. There is no Commonwealth legislation prohibiting the exportation of silencers.

(3) I am advised by the Australian Federal Police that the matter has not been officially raised in the forums provided by the Australasian and South West Pacific Region Police Commissioners' Conference or the Australian Police Ministers' Council.