Organised crime syndicates, outlaw motorcycle gangs and other criminals who traffick firearms face tougher penalties under new national gun laws secured by the Morrison Government this week, following a backflip from Labor five years after they objected to them.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the laws would deter and disrupt organised crime groups who continue to traffic firearms in Australia, by introducing a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years’ imprisonment for firearms trafficking.
“Trafficking firearms is a deadly crime – it puts weapons in the hands of criminals, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and terrorists, threatening the safety of citizens, police and other emergency first responders,” Minister Andrews said.
“These laws send a clear message to firearms traffickers that the Morrison Government will not tolerate gun-related crime and violence.
“It’s a tragedy that it look Labor five years to join the Government in cracking down on gun crime; sadly, we’ll never know how much gun violence could have been prevented had Labor backed this important law when we first proposed it.”
Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood said the new laws also ensure that offenders cannot use loopholes, such as breaking up trafficking shipments, to avoid aggravated offences and tougher penalties.
“The Morrison Government will continue to do everything we can to keep Australians safe from illegal firearms,” Assistant Minister Wood said.
“For five years Labor has claimed they couldn’t support this law because of their opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing. Now – on the eve of an election – we see Anthony Albanese suddenly abandon this long-held policy. Which other policies will Anthony Albanese backflip on?”
The Criminal Code Amendment (Firearms Trafficking) Bill 2022, passed by the Parliament this week, increases the maximum penalty for firearms trafficking from 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment and, under a separate aggravated offence for the most serious of traffickers, offenders will face up to life imprisonment. Offenders also face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Existing offences also contain protections to ensure that they do not capture firearm owners who inadvertently breach existing laws, without seeking to do so. These protections remain unchanged by the new laws.