Change vetoed

By Country News

The Victorian Government has announced it will not weaken the Firearm Prohibition Order Scheme and will not accept any of the Liberal Party’s amendments to the Firearms Amendment Bill.

Police Minister Lisa Neville accused the Opposition’s amendments of disgracefully seeking to support organised crime figures over victims.

‘‘We won’t be accepting any amendments to the bill or tolerating any attempts by the Liberals to water down this crucial piece of legislation,’’ Ms Neville said.

‘‘If Matthew Guy’s not eating lobsters with alleged mobsters, he’s watering down laws that target organised crime.’’

The new laws, which are supported and required by Victoria Police, are designed to step up the fight against criminals who use illegal firearms to destroy the lives of innocent people.

Victoria Police had said the laws were a game changer when it came to disrupting organised crime — and they want the laws passed because they will give officers the power to search the premises or vehicles of anyone subject to a Firearm Prohibition Order, as well as anyone in the company of someone with such an order, without a warrant.

According to the government, the Liberal party amendments do nothing except weaken the ability of Victoria Police to target organised crime gangs who use firearms.

Shadow Police Minister Edward O’Donohue accused the government of not having these laws passed already.

‘‘Buried in the bill is the default start date of September 30, 2018,’’ he said.

‘‘This bill should already be law if Daniel Andrews had put it to a vote months ago instead of prioritising other bills.

‘‘We flagged some reasonable amendments like changing the avenue of appeal to the Magistrates’ Court and the operation period of the order.

‘‘We also made it clear that if these amendments do not pass, the Liberal Nationals will vote for the government’s bill.’’