This speech was delivered on 22 May 2013 in the NSW Upper House. You can read the full debate online here.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Given today’s report of a landowner outside Orange being bailed up at gunpoint by hunters who were illegally hunting kangaroos on his property, ordered to drop his mobile telephone when he was attempting to take a photograph of the offender’s number plate and then fired at by the hunters, will the Minister explain to the House what actions he is taking as the police Minister to crack down on firearms offences in regional and rural New South Wales? Will the Minister also explain to the House what is being done to combat the sense of entitlement that some shooters have developed since the announcement of hunting in national parks?
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I think the member has made an incorrect assumption by calling those people hunters. They are criminals. And I am completely confident that the incident will be investigated in that light by police. I would encourage anyone with information in relation to the identity of—
Mr David Shoebridge: You let them off the leash with your announcement of hunting in national parks.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Let them off the leash? The fact is that if these people have committed a criminal offence—and I do not have the information first-hand, nor should I be expected to have it—then they will be investigated.
The Hon. Greg Donnelly: It is operational.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Because it is an operational matter, yes. I thank the member for his ongoing support. The fact is that the incident will be investigated by police. I would hate to think—and surely this would not happen—that The Greens would go out and try to scare people. Surely not.
The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham: Try getting shot at, that will scare you.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: It is great to hear from Jeremy Humphreys.
Mr David Shoebridge: Point of order—
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: He is a funny old fellow is Humphreys. He is up in Armidale and they do not even know his name.
The Hon. Duncan Gay: He is there with Dora the Explorer.
The Hon. Sophie Cotsis: Leave Dora alone.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: The member knows who Dora is.
Mr David Shoebridge: My point of order is relevance. The Minister may think it is amusing that someone has been shot at on his own property by illegal hunters but the question is what is the Minister doing in response to this growing spate of illegal shootings by hunters who feel they have an entitlement to do so?
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Growing spate? One can hear the scaremongering: things out of control; people are shooting at people.
Mr David Shoebridge: You just don’t care; you have your eyes shut.
The PRESIDENT: Order!
The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner: Some people are shooting themselves in the foot.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Yes, another self-inflicted injury by The Greens. At this stage—
Mr David Shoebridge: Nothing—that is the answer.
The PRESIDENT: Order! The member has asked his question and he should listen to the answer in silence.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: Before the member starts to makes assumptions based on, I would suspect, some fairly early media reports of these events, he should have the decency to allow the investigation to take place so that a clearer picture of what actually occurred materialises instead of starting to point the finger at groups of people within the community and assume, therefore, that everybody is tarred with the same brush. These people, as this incident has been reported in the media reports thus far, are criminals first and foremost. I do not care whether they are shooters or Greens or members of any other political party—or anyone at all for that matter—if they have fired illegally upon any person, they have committed a criminal offence and they will be investigated appropriately.