Ms Patten (Northern Metropolitan):
I rise today to echo some of the words of my colleagues from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party on the incredibly worrying recent spate of gun-related crimes, particularly in the electorate of Northern Metropolitan Region. It seems that every other day when I watch the news there is a drive-by shooting or another gun haul, as I said, particularly in the northern suburbs and in my electorate.
Although these are largely gang and particularly drug related they are not always, and they are linked to domestic violence and other personal disputes, so I feel like we need to get a hold on these firearms, particularly these illegal firearms, and get them off the street. An 11 per cent rise in violent crimes has to be tackled by this government, and I note that Minister Neville has announced the fast-tracking of 400 new police — and I am sure we will talk about that later today — in a $26 million effort to put a dent in these alarming new crime stats. It is a good start, but I am not sure it is the right one. Sometimes money just is not the answer.
We recently had a debate in this chamber about legalising and taxing cannabis, and I reiterate: this would cut off the financial legs of criminals who traffic cannabis and prop up their illegal syndicates with cash, and they buy the firearms with that cash. This is the type of thinking we need. And whilst I applaud the police minister for putting more resources into policing, it needs to be complemented with other policy ideas to tackle this. I urge the government to find a pathway that sees both our police supported in their efforts to get guns of the street and progressive policies enacted.