Wednesday 13 October 2004
Mr FINCH (Question) - Mr President, is the Leader aware of the concern over the effect of legislation to regulate crossbows in Tasmania? The legislation affects not only the ownership of modern crossbows which might be used for criminal purposes, but also antique and medieval collectors' items. One of my constituents has suggested the bill might be amended so that it does not apply to any crossbow made before 1949. Would the Government consider that amendment?
Mr AIRD - I thank the honourable member for his question. Actually, as I recall the debate, there was some argument about the dates that applied to the various weapons in terms of their antiquity or otherwise, but the advice that I have is that the legislation, in the Police Offences Act 1935, which regulates the possession, use and carriage of crossbows in Tasmania came into force on 23 September 2004 and is the result of a resolution from the Australasian Police Ministers Council. This resolution resulted from two female students being seriously injured when shot with a crossbow, the bolt striking both the intended victim and then the girl standing immediately behind her.
The legislation provides for a fit and proper person test, not unlike that for a firearms licence. The Commissioner of Police may issue a permit to an applicant where the person has a legitimate reason for using, carrying or possessing a crossbow, including for the purpose of conducting research, hunting vermin or another purpose the commissioner considers appropriate. Since this legislation received royal assent, only one application has been received for a permit to possess antique crossbows, that being from Dr John Pickup who advised us prior to the bill being debated. The permit was issued on 1 October 2004.
The issue of possessing antique crossbows was not raised as a matter of concern during the consultation period for the legislation. The proposed legislation was advertised on the Tasmania Police Internet site. It was the subject of a ministerial media release on 13 November 2003, and articles appeared in the Mercury newspaper and the Advocate on 14 November 2003. The Government has no intention to amend the legislation.