Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Firearms licensing


Firearms licensing

Mr QUILTY (Northern Victoria) (11:55): My question is for the minister representing the Minister for Police. Minister, I have some more wild allegations for you. I have been informed of an altercation at a pistol event at the Melbourne International Shooting Club in 2018. It was verbal until one individual threw a punch. Luckily other shooters intervened and the fight was broken up. Physical violence at a shooting range between armed individuals is dangerous and reckless. The individual who threw the punch apparently holds a firearms dealer licence and is well connected at the club. The licensing and regulation division was informed about the incident but took no action. Charges were filed, but LRD still took no action. Even when the individual pleaded guilty to the assault, LRD took no action. This is unusual. Generally LRD will enthusiastically cancel firearms licences even when they have no reason to do so. Minister, why don’t LRD believe committing a physical assault while armed disqualifies a firearms licence holder under their fit and proper person test?

Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:56): I do thank Mr Quilty for his question, which does actually resemble more of a members statement than anything else. Regardless of that, I will refer the matter to the Minister for Police.

Mr QUILTY (Northern Victoria) (11:56): Thank you, Minister. Following inquiries from the assault victim’s legal representation, the victim received correspondence from Senior Sergeant Andrew Armstrong. I have received a copy of that correspondence. You may remember Sergeant Armstrong from the questions we asked a few weeks ago. He is the LRD officer who had his subordinate Sergeant Paul Connor witness an affidavit justifying firearms going missing. We are told Sergeant Paul Connor has free use of the Melbourne International Shooting Club facilities. To connect some dots: the perpetrator of the assault is influential at the club; he gets favourable treatment from LRD; key decision-makers in the LRD get favourable treatment from the club. Minister, who is responsible for reviewing the probity of decisions like this one made by senior LRD officers? It should be clear from my recent turn of questions that I think there is something wrong in the LRD. In the best case we have senior police who have been in the same position for years who believe they are above the rules and can pursue their own interests with impunity.

Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:57): I thank Mr Quilty for his supplementary question. That will be referred to the Minister for Police, as will the substantive question.