PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has hit back at claims by the Liberal Party that her government has failed at protecting Australia’s borders from illegal gun imports, saying that only 1 per cent of guns in Australia come from overseas.
Speaking to Fairfax Media on Friday morning, Ms Gillard said that her government had ”more than doubled” the number of interceptions of illegal packages – that includes drugs and firearms – since 2007.
This followed criticism this week from the Coalition and the NSW government that Ms Gillard had asked Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare to investigate ways to reduce suburban violence. Ms Gillard told Mr Clare to explore the limits of the federal government’s legal and constitutional responsibilities in combating crime, in the wake of shootings in Sydney’s west and south-west and unrest in Logan, south of Brisbane.
The NSW Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, accused Ms Gillard of ”gross hypocrisy” over the announcement, which was made at the launch of the federal government’s new cyber-safety program on Wednesday. He said the federal government was failing ”dismally” to protect Australia’s borders from illegal gun imports.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott suggested the bid to reduce crime in the Sydney area was ”an election stunt”, with half of Labor’s 10 most marginal seats being in western Sydney or on the central coast.
Mr Clare is the federal member for Blaxland, which is based in the area and is considered under threat in this year’s election. On Friday Ms Gillard said that while Australia did not have a gun problem as bad as the US, there was still a problem that needed to be tackled.
”People live in communities, they just go about their business, they do the right thing every day.
”And I don’t think that it’s right or fair or can be tolerated that they sit there wondering whether that’s the night that a bullet’s going to come somewhere in their street,” she said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.