Many of us are take for granted Australia’s strong gun laws.
The father of Alannah and Madeline Mikac, the young sisters killed in the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, last night made an impassioned plea to the nation to keep our gun legislation strong on Channel 9’s new political show, The Verdict.
Appearing in a rare interview Walter Mikac told Karl Stefanovic he had decided to come on the show because the watering down of our gun laws was disturbing.
“We should be incredibly proud, Australia as a nation, that we stood up … and made change happen that is the envy of the world.”
Walter read a beautiful letter his daughter Alannah had written when she was five years old to the panellists and audience that left them in tears.
Watch the video here:
Unfortunately the issue of gun laws is being discussed again in Australia because the federal government has agreed to allow the importation of the Adler lever-action shotgun in a year’s time, pending a review.
The Adler gun can fire multiple rounds and as MWN Editor in Chief Jamila Rizvi said on the show last night, it is a gun purely designed to “get around” Australia’s tough gun laws.
The import decision was made following a “deal” struck with NSW Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm on an unrelated migration vote…
Sometimes it is not until you leave your country you realise how incredible something about it really is.
When it comes to saying no to gun violence, we are leading the globe.
Later today I will attend a special assembly to represent “UN Day” at my children’s international school here in central London.
My family is Australian. We are so proud of our country and about representing it among our loving global school community. As a family we’ve discussed all the great things about Australia so the kids can explain it to their school mates – its beauty, wildlife, freedom, weather. They are taking vegemite sandwiches to share and wearing Wallabies scarves.
But one of the greatest things about our country I will not tell them – because I know their little ears are not ready to hear it.
Our gun laws.
My children, and yours, have been able to grow up in a country where gun violence is not something that crosses their minds when they enter the school yard.
A country where we are able to attend university without the fear of a campus shooting – ever – crossing our minds.
Where we are able to go shopping, or catch a movie, without the paranoia of wondering what someone behind you is carrying in their backpack.
We live in a beautiful, safe, bliss and a complete bubble compared to most of the rest of the world on this issue – especially of course the United States of America.
There is one man to thank for this – former Prime Minister John Howard. After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 he made the controversial decision at the time to ban all semi-automatic weapons and introduced a mandatory buyback scheme.
Anyone who doubts the power of this decision need only look at the numerical facts.
There has not been a mass shooting in Australia, not one, since the Port Arthur massacre – that is almost 20 years ago.
The US is averaging more than one mass shooting per day in 2015. The shootings this year have resulted in the deaths of 380 people. I discovered this through their Mass Shooting Tracker. It tracks every instance in the US in which a gun is used to kill or injure four or more people at a time. Seriously disturbing.
Walter Mikac is right. Many of us are taking for granted Australia’s strong gun laws and the impact it has had on our generation. A whole generation now that has been free of gun violence.
And he is right that we all should be proud of what we have created in Australia. It must not change. It is deep within our culture that we are anti-gun.
So like vegemite, our green and gold scarves and our beautiful beaches I will one day tell my children that in Australia we also have something that is amazing – something that is the envy of the rest of the world – something we are the very best at.
Keeping kids safe from guns.
And I hope very much that will still be the truth.