Shooter Union Queensland was present in the public gallery at parliament house to watch the vote on the Weapons Amendment Bill last Tuesday. We had earlier been in touch with one of the Independents and several other politicians. Both the Katter’s Australian Party representatives in parliament came up to have a chat on a couple of occasions. All of those we were in contact with on the issue were asked about calling for a division when it came time for a vote and all agreed.
To explain, as a general rule, when a vote is taken in Parliament, it’s by show of hands and it’s so quick that nobody knows who voted for what. When a division is called, the vote is taken much more graphically. If the bill is presented by the government, those who wish to vote FOR the bill cross the floor to the government’s side of the House. Those who wish to vote AGAINST the bill cross the floor to the opposition’s side of the House. If there are 5 or more to vote against the bill, the names are recorded in Handsard. This is the process that occurred when the Weapons Act was originally voted in and when registration was voted for as well. On that occasion (1996), the only one who voted against the bill was Liz Cunningham.
Last Tuesday, there were six who voted against the bill: the Independents Liz Cunningham, Dorothy Pratt, Rob Messenger and Chris Foley and the two Katter’s Australian Party members Aiden McLindon and Shane Knuth.
Whilst some of the opposition spoke during the debate, ALL of them crossed the floor to vote with the government – again! Only those six stood up for shooters.
Of the debate on the individual clauses that followed in the evening, there was only one item where a division was called again. This was on the penalty for theatrical ordance suppliers without a licence. Your local high school production could very well be in breach of this clause, if they use “replica” firearms in their production and they don’t have a theatrical ordnance supplier with a licence to supply the replicas. Yes, really!
Remember the names of those who voted against this atrocious piece of legislation. They are the only ones we as shooters, can rely on to stand up for us. The rest of the parliament let us down. You can read the whole transcript of the debate in Handsard. Follow the link below and access the record for Tuesday 15th November.