Firearm Offences


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (15:25): Very sadly, I rise again to inform the house of the ongoing epidemic of shootings that are taking place in the streets and homes of South Australia. This started on New Year's Eve just gone with a murder at Warradale and has continued up to as recently as last Saturday night with a shooting into a house at Craigmore. We have had 18 shootings in total in South Australia since New Year's Eve. Let me be very clear, these are all illegal shootings. These are not accidental shootings. This does not include, for example, the unfortunate situation where a man in the South-East was shot accidentally with a rifle. These are, very clearly, illegal shootings where somebody is shooting a South Australian or shooting at a South Australian.

This alarming trend seems to continue unabated. Every three and a half days, on average, a South Australian is shot or shot at. We have 7 per cent of the nation's population in South Australia but, unfortunately, we have had 29 per cent of the nation's shootings since New Year's Eve, so more than four times our population's share. We would all understand very clearly that if things go roughly according to plan you would expect to have approximately 7 per cent of those sorts of things (ideally less) in our state, but we have had four times that: 7 per cent of the population but 29 per cent of all shootings are taking place in South Australia.

Let me compare that to some other states: New South Wales, with a population of nearly 7.3 million people, has only had 25 shootings. If you look at the per capita basis, in South Australia you are greater than five times more likely to be shot or shot at than all of the rest of the states and territories in Australia combined. Victoria, with a population of three and a half times as much as our population, has only had eight shootings compared to 18 so far in our state. This is an exceptionally alarming trend that has to be stopped. The police are doing absolutely everything they possibly can. The government must do more. The government has to do more.

On a per capita basis, people in Adelaide are 3.2 times more likely to be shot or shot at than people in Sydney. This is not something the government can sweep under the carpet. South Australians are more likely to be shot or shot at than in any other territory or state in the nation. If we look at shootings per capita, in South Australia we have 10.9 shootings per million people, while the rest of the nation has 2.1 per million people. It is completely unacceptable.

As the Hon. Stephen Wade, shadow attorney-general, has pointed out, this government has announced firearm law reforms in 2006, 2007, 2008 and again in 2012 and yet nothing is happening. The average of shootings per year for the past five years reported is 44 per year. If we continue on at the rate that we are on at the moment we will have in excess of 100 this year. So, the government's firearm law reforms are just not working. More than 2,300 new offences have been created in the past decade. They are not working because we are on track to actually have more than twice the annual average in South Australia compared to the last five years.

I turn now to the national anti-gang taskforce that has just been set up at $64 million. It will be made up of up to 70 members from the Australian Federal Police and state police forces, but guess what, these strike teams will be established in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, not in South Australia. Strike teams will be supported by physical technical surveillance teams in Sydney and Melbourne, but not in South Australia.

I ask very sincerely: can the government please explain why this national task force is not being set up in South Australia when we clearly have the biggest problem of all the states and territories in this area? Has the government or the minister even lobbied the federal government for this issue in South Australia? We had the police commissioner, who does the very best he can with the resources he gets from the government, saying that he was only advised a few hours before the announcement. The government is not doing enough in this area.


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