PAUL EDBROOKE is the Victorian Labor Member for Frankston.
He’s the Chair of the Victorian Firearms Consultative Committee that, according to him, “rubber stamped” new laws currently going through the Victorian State Parliament.
We can reveal that Mr Edbrooke:
- claims that all the shooting organisations on the committee ‘unanimously’ supported the new gun laws currently before parliament – when the evidence suggests they did not;
- listed those organisations – including one that tells us it isn’t the committee and knows nothing about the legislation;
- says he is a shooter that used to be a member of some of those organisations that approved the laws – but appears to have never declared membership of any of them on the Parliamentary members’ register.
The legislation currently in the Victorian state Parliament does several things.
Among them, it increases storage requirements for shooters with cat A & B firearms to have safes with walls at least 1.6mm steel. It also extends the operation of the 10 year gun bans that we reported on a few days ago and makes other changes affecting firearm dealers.
In his address to Parliament, Mr Edbrooke spoke about how shooting organisations helped to write the new laws.
Here’s what he said:
I can in a concrete sense talk about the stakeholders who were involved in actually making this legislation, and when I say ‘making this legislation’, there are members of this committee who formed the subcommittee that basically wrote the requirements for the new storage amendments that will come in today, which I will go into a little bit soon.
That Victorian Firearms Consultative Committee includes academics from Victorian universities— we have had the University of Melbourne and we have got another professor from another university now—the Australian Security Industry Association, the Australian Deer Association, Field and Game Australia, the Firearms Safety Foundation (Victoria), the Firearm Traders Association of Victoria, the Law Institute of Victoria, the Police Association Victoria, the Shooting Sports Council of Victoria, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia, Target Rifle Victoria, the Victorian Amateur Pistol Association, the Victorian Clay Target Association, the Victorian Farmers Federation and Victoria Police
Mr Edbrooke says those he deliberately named – were involved in “actually making this legislation”. He then talks about the storage requirements which is one part of the ‘legislation’.
However, as you will see later, he makes other suggestions that shooting organisations were consulted on everything in the bill.
For now we’ll focus on the claims relating to storage requirements.
Mr Edbrooke says that a subcommittee developed the new requirements for safes to be 1.6mm steel.
However, our sources say the subcommittee supported other options that would accommodate other arrangements, not just impose a blanket requirement for 1.6mm steel.
Given this discrepancy, we have suggested to some MPs who will be debating these laws in the next few days, that they ask for the relevant FCC documents to be tabled in Parliament. That way everyone can see what was or wasn’t agreed upon.
To do otherwise risks blame for the new storage requirements being unfairly put on the shooting organistions, when perhaps it needs to be put on someone else.
One of the organisations Mr Edbrooke named as being on the committee told us that they withdrew from it several years ago. They also said they were unaware of the legislation until contacted by the NSC.
We advised that organisation to contact the Labor Member for Frankston – but the fact their name was used in Parliament under these circumstances raises serious questions about the accuracy of what Parliament was told.
All the more reason why Parliament needs to see the documents – and why we need to be assured that Parliament hasn’t been misled.
As noted above, Mr Edbrooke says the legislation – and proposed storage requirements – had the unanimous support of those on the FCC.
“… and all these firearms amendments were passed by a resolution, unanimously I might add, on 15 June 2021.”
However, as you can see here, FGA disagrees. They point to at least one key change that they were not consulted on. This is consistent with what we’ve been told by other sources.
Another claim Mr Edbrooke made was:
“I would say that this bill is fairly common sense. It has been put through all the stakeholders that we on that committee could think of and all the opinions.”
There are 33 shooting organisations in Victoria, most of whom are approved by the Victoria Police. VicPol is on the FCC, so all they had to do to reach out to other stakeholders was send an email to their long list of clubs and associations. However they didn’t.
Edbrooke also said:
“As a shooter myself I have been a member of some of those organisations,”
In Victoria, MPs are required to declare memberships with organisations in the Register of Members Interests so that their interests are open and transparent for the public to see.
However, we examined the register back to when Mr Edbrooke was first elected to Parliament (in 2014) and cannot see anything that supports that claim. It is possible that he was a member of some of those organisations before entering Parliament but an explanation regarding the inconsistency would be helpful. If he would like to elaborate on how he is authorised to hold a licence, we’d be happy to publish it.
If Mr Edbrooke holds a current shooters licence, which he seems to suggest, then he needs to have a genuine reason. If that isn’t as a member of a shooting organisation, then it must be as a farmer or perhaps through access to private land to hunt on.
In his speech, Mr Edbrooke said:
“As has been said, I think we have had some misinformation campaigns from other associations, I guess you could call them, purporting to represent different factions in the firearms community.”
We’re pretty comfortable in saying that he’s talking about us.
It might have something to do with our last letter to him October last year where we suggested he appeared to be ignoring evidence for the FCC and we suspected he was losing interest his role with the FCC. Not surprisingly, Mr Edbrooke didn’t reply to us.
However, let’s pause for a moment to see how we stack up against him on the question of representation for shooters on Google reviews
We think that’s enough said …