No sooner did Labor turn its attention to law and order, promising to crackdown on weapons such as knives and knuckledusters if it wins the next federal election, than Tony Abbott was doing his “I can be tough on crime too” imitation.
Perhaps Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor was really just reacting to a Coalition promise earlier in the week to finance a new array of security cameras in marginal electorates. Whatever the reason, the government planned on toughening weapons controls across the country in a bid to quell crime. “Under the new approach, stricter controls will be imposed on a range of weapons with no legitimate domestic or commercial use in Australia,” he promised. “For example, knuckledusters, certain items adapted for warfare, electronic shock devices and flick knives.”
Don’t you worry about that, responded Opposition leader Tony Abbott this morning. Not only would the Coalition extend the list of banned knives but it would introduce “tougher” uniform penalties for people who carry knives.
But wait. There’s more.
Extra funding for metal detectors would be made available, and — if the Coalition wins the election — there will be a national violent gangs database to track the activities of malicious groups around the country with a similarly named squad, set up under the auspices of the Australian Crime Commission, would be created to lead the fight against violent gangs.