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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1829

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

What progress has been made in the preparation of uniform firearms legislation?

Mr Chipp - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

In August 1970 I attended a meeting of State and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for firearms controls.

The meeting was concerned primarily with the desirability of introducing uniform legislation concerning the sale and licensing of firearms; this is a matter for State Governments. The Commonwealth's roles is limited to the control of the importation of firearms, at the request of those governments, by means of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.

However, one matter on the agenda which was of particular interest to my department and which has been the subject of continuing attention since the meeting, is the question of safety testing of imported firearms. Safety standards were first imposed in 1960 at the request of the State Police forces. They have recently been the subject of representations to me and numerous discussions between members of the firearms trade, shooting organisations, firearms experts, the police and my department. At my instigation a formal meeting will be held this week to consider a draft set of revised standards.

I understand that a sub-committee of Slate officers is at present examining State firearms legislation with a view to achieving uniformity in the other matters which were discussed at the meeting. The examination at this stage is concentrated on controls applicable to hand-guns. The submittee's report to State Ministers has not yet been finalised.

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