A shootout that leaves both damaged, Abbott perhaps more than Turnbull. That’s largely because none of the scribes and commentators have taken account fully of Peta Credlin’s account of the events (paywalled, but Google ‘Peta Credlin IT IS ironic that after a whole week talking about the Adler shotgun’).
I think most people now think that Tony Abbott was lying when he said there was no secret deal between him and David Leyonhjelm in mid-August last year to put a sunset clause on the temporary ban on importing the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun. The sunset clause was said to have been inserted in exchange for votes on migration legislation in a deal Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Not so, says Credlin, because the extension, with sunset clause, had been done weeks earlier, and the fact communicated in the national press.
- In July last year, the Abbott government became aware that a new type of shotgun was on its way to Australia. More than 7000 pre-orders had been placed with the first guns due to clear customs in late August. To put this into perspective, if Tony Abbott hadn’t acted, these new Adler guns would have almost doubled the number of shotguns in Australia in one fell swoop.
The Adler A110 has one in the barrel, seven in the magazine, so can easily get eight shots away in eight seconds. After the Lindt Cafe siege Abbott did not want to see so many lethal guns in the community. So:
on Thursday July 23, 2015, Prime Minister Abbott agreed to put a temporary ban on the importation of the Adler 7 gun with the Justice minister to implement it via regulation.
She says that the reason for the sunset clause was to gel with the government’s overarching review of the National Firearms Agreement due to report in early 2016.
Gun laws are a state matter, the Commonwealth controls importation. Abbott wanted to see the Adler put in Class D, essentially limiting it to law enforcement agencies and professional shooters. The laws in each state are similar. Go here for the Queensland categories of weapons. Categories A and B are for recreational shooters. Category C for farmers, firearm dealers, firearm safety officers, collectors and clay target shooters.
Phillip Coorey in the AFR seems to be saying that the current argument is whether the gun should be Class A or B. Credlin insists Abbott was gunning for Class D. It sounds as though he was prepared to make a take-it-or-leave-it offer to the states – it’s Class D or it’s banned completely.
Samantha Maiden broke the news of the ban on Sunday, July 26 in the Murdoch press. So, says Credlin:
Claims last week of a secret deal between Tony Abbott with David Leyonhjelm to slip these guns into Australia as the price for a vote in the Senate are therefore rubbish.
The matter had been dealt with weeks earlier and splashed across every Sunday paper in the country.
None of the scribes and commentators have come to terms with this part of the narrative. Joe Aston in the AFR thinks he had a gotcha in Gun law misdirection by Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin doesn’t stack up. He points to a letter bearing Abbott’s signature to Leyonhjelm about the establishment of an Industry Reference Group composed of shooters nominated by the Senator, dated the day after the passage of amendments to the Migration Act.
It seems that Leyonhjelm regarded this as the second part of the one deal, and may have been encouraged to think so by Keenan and Dutton, with them either not knowing or not telling how Abbott saw the gun being classified. Abbott would have seen the reference group as a separate matter.
I believe that the above narrative explains why Abbott was genuinely angry and aggrieved when it was assumed that he had done a deal over the guns.
Turnbull is now claiming credit for extending the ban indefinitely. However, that is only a holding position until the states agree, I understand with NSW wanting a looser classification than some other states will wear.
Credlin points out that Turnbull started the whole issue last week by canvassing the possibility of doing a deal for votes over guns.
The truth is, I think, that Abbott could have taken a strong position to COAG, whereas at present Turnbull has to accept whatever the states come up with. And his position has to pass muster with Barnaby Joyce, One Nation and the lunar right of his own party.
On related matters, Turnbull has lambasted Labor for not agreeing to mandatory sentencing of gun smugglers. Labor has a principled position against mandatory sentencing of any kind. Moreover Max Chalmers at New Matilda says Turnbull is wrong to suggest most criminals get their guns from smuggling. Turnbull is unfit to lead a discussion on gun laws, he says.
I never thought I’d write a post supporting Peta Credlin and Tony Abbott!
Update: Turnbull’s approval rating continued to sink in the latest Newspoll. He’s now at net -28 per cent, as against +38 per cent last November. That’s a fall of 66 points.
Labor continues to lead 52-48 TPP.
That was from Dennis Atkins in the CM.