22nd April 2004

Former Attorney General Daryl Williams has announced that he will be retiring from politics. More than a million Australians will surely wish him "Good Riddance". Williams treated people as potential criminals, because they legally owned guns! Williams, as the Nations top Lawmaker, will go down in history as the Attorney General who, after the Mass Murders at Port Arthur in 1996, refused to hold any inquiry, even though many of the survivors and relatives of victims, demanded a full investigation. A full Judicial/Independent Inquiry might have led to a review of the treatment of people with Mental Health problems. An investigation might have exposed the lack of action on the part of Tasmanian Police, who should have locked up Martin Bryant, (for other Firearms Offences), well before that tragedy occurred. A thorough inquiry might have led to a crack down on violent videos, of which Martin Bryant had a large collection.

Instead, Williams trotted out some hastily prepared "Gun Control” laws, which appear to have been based on the alcohol prohibition laws of USA in the 1920’s! Without even consulting the million or more Australians who would be adversely affected by those laws, the Hunters, Farmers, Sporting Shooters and Firearms Collectors, Williams, fully supported by John "I hate Guns" Howard, reacted with such haste that we are now all suffering the consequences, 8 years on.

Murders have continued to make the headlines; criminals still have guns, or chose to use knives, broken bottles or fists. The increasing number of suicides has the experts baffled. (Even though John Howard claimed that access to guns caused suicide) We have even more mass murders, including the Childers Fire (15 Murdered), the Snowtown "Bodies in the Barrels" (12 Dead). We note as well, the increasing number of cases where Parents killed their Children and themselves, by such methods as pillows, car exhaust, knives and bathwater.

Everyone now accepts that the "Buy Back" of legally owned Firearms, which was part of the Williams Gun Prohibition program, was a complete waste of taxpayer’s money. In most cases law-abiding gun owners who handed in prohibited firearms simply bought new ones. There were also many reports of those collected firearms having been recycled back into the black market, or kept by Police themselves.

Meanwhile we have been left with a Williams legacy of a Firearms Registration system, which is at best about 60% accurate. Similarly, a vast amount of valuable Police Resources has been squandered in harassing Law Abiding Gun Owners, who had never been a problem in the Community.

Those with mental health disabilities continue to be ignored by Governments. Hospitals suffer through lack of staff and funding. Hundreds die each year on roads that should have been upgraded.

The REAL causes of crime, such as Drugs, Poverty, Ethnic Gangs, poor education, family breakdowns etc. remain. How many hundreds of lives could have been saved if the money, time and effort wasted on Gun Control had been put into more productive use?