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I Went After Guns. Obama Can, Too (Australian former prime minister confiscated 700,000 guns)
The New York Times ^ | 1/16/2013 | John Howard

Posted on 01/18/2013 6:46:02 AM PST by darrellmaurina

SYDNEY, Australia -- It is for Americans and their elected representatives to determine the right response to President Obama’s proposals on gun control. I wouldn’t presume to lecture Americans on the subject. I can, however, describe what I, as prime minister of Australia, did to curb gun violence following a horrific massacre 17 years ago in the hope that it will contribute constructively to the debate in the United States.

I was elected prime minister in early 1996, leading a center-right coalition. Virtually every nonurban electoral district in the country — where gun ownership was higher than elsewhere — sent a member of my coalition to Parliament.

Six weeks later, on April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant, a psychologically disturbed man, used a semiautomatic Armalite rifle and a semiautomatic SKS assault weapon to kill 35 people in a murderous rampage in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

After this wanton slaughter, I knew that I had to use the authority of my office to curb the possession and use of the type of weapons that killed 35 innocent people. I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Our challenges were different from America’s. Australia is an even more intensely urban society, with close to 60 percent of our people living in large cities. Our gun lobby isn’t as powerful or well-financed as the National Rifle Association in the United States. Australia, correctly in my view, does not have a Bill of Rights, so our legislatures have more say than America’s over many issues of individual rights, and our courts have less control. Also, we have no constitutional right to bear arms. (After all, the British granted us nationhood peacefully; the United States had to fight for it.)

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: aussieguncontrol; australia; australiaguncontrol; banglist; guncontrol; johnhoward; rkba; secondamendment
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America

Same infrastructure.


101 posted on 01/18/2013 5:26:35 PM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: darrellmaurina
(John Howard)
"Australia, correctly in my view, does not have a Bill of Rights,..."



"Australia, correctly in my view, does not have... "RIGHTS"..."


There, Fixed it.

Shut up, John and pay your taxes, SERF

102 posted on 01/18/2013 5:48:11 PM PST by RedMonqey ("Gun-free zones" equal "Target-rich environment.")
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To: zagger

One of the reasons that the Australians, Canadians, and others, did not have to fight a war for Independence is because Americans convinced the Empire that the cost of fighting if they decided to leave would be too high.


103 posted on 01/18/2013 5:49:50 PM PST by FredZarguna (Keep digging. It just gets funnier.)
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To: Washi
Another moron who thinks he understands more about the principles of limited government than James Madison.

Madison's view of government has been vindicated repeatedly throughout history. One of the reasons that Europe is in the mess that it's in is because of Parliamentary Supremacy.

No thanks. The rights of the majority to rule are important, but the rights of minorities -- especially the rights of the smallest and most defenseless minority there is, a single individual -- have to be protected as well. They have no such protections in parliamentary systems.

104 posted on 01/18/2013 5:54:55 PM PST by FredZarguna (Keep digging. It just gets funnier.)
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To: Chickensoup

His birth cert says ‘Obama’.


105 posted on 01/18/2013 6:06:44 PM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (IMPEACH OBAMA)
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To: alloysteel

“Most powerful deterrent to this improper use of sidearms? Mandatory sentencing”

Uhm, no.

Sure, that idea sounds great on paper but in reality it hasn’t worked. Look at the states with mandatory sentencing and you’ll see this.


106 posted on 01/18/2013 6:37:25 PM PST by webstersII
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To: KC_Lion

A nail, a gun shot, what’s the difference? You’re in the bush and things happen.


107 posted on 01/18/2013 6:46:15 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: SkyDancer

(shudder) Nails, that send chills down my spin for some reason.


108 posted on 01/18/2013 7:20:07 PM PST by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
Hawaiian door mat?;)
109 posted on 01/18/2013 7:51:17 PM PST by 444Flyer (We are experiencing the perfect storm.)
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To: KC_Lion

Had a couple of nail gun episodes .... on was with the bloke still nailed to the beam. Another where the safety was bypassed and the nail flew into another’s bottom.


110 posted on 01/18/2013 7:53:56 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: Paladin2
The Aussies are apparently darn proud of having no Bill of Rights.

Sad isn't it. They've abolished freedom of the press, too.

111 posted on 01/18/2013 8:30:49 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America

This must have been the timeframe where Satan tempted young Obama - his soul for a kingdom.


112 posted on 01/18/2013 9:54:33 PM PST by scott7278 ("...I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked..." - BHO)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Mr Howard seems to lack a deep understanding of our Constitution,those who originally enacted it and at least one of our Supreme Court's recent decisions.If I'm correct it's certainly understandable,just as our politicians being unfamiliar with theirs.I'm pinging a couple of Aussies with whom I'm familiar to see what,if anything,they have to say on the issue.However,they're having a nasty summer heat wave right now so they might be otherwise occupied.

I'll respond here as the other thread was locked.

I'm not, at the moment, going to talk about the gun issue, I'm just going to explain why Mr Howard most probably does not support the idea of a Bill of Rights in Australia, and why, I actually agree with him. What people need to get their head around is the very different constitutional situation in Australia, from the US.

The United States needs a Bill of Rights for one overriding reason - it rebelled against the British Crown, and therefore rebelled against English law. If the United States had not established a Bill of Rights, it could have lead to a situation where a future tyrannical government could have argued that none of the common law rights had persisted beyond America's War of Independence. It needed to be restated in a binding document that those rights had survived, and, indeed, expanded (the Second Amendment goes considerably beyond the right to bear arms that did exist under English common law (and which still does, but it's subordinate to statute law, unlike the situation in the United States).

Australia never rebelled against Britain, and so never rebelled against English Common Law, and so all our common law rights persisted into an independent Australia. Those rights are protected under common law, which is part of the Australian constitution and they are (mostly) very well protected. The Australian Constitution did need to state freedom of religion as a new right (and does so in language very close to that of the First Amendment to the US Constitution) because that was the one area where we didn't have a common law, because Britain has a state religion, and laws that limit freedom of religion (very few of these, now, but they do exist).

The one right we do miss out on is the right to bear arms - that is not stated in any document except in the very limited form of the Bill of Rights of 1689 (which does still have relevance to Australian law). Is that a major issue? Yes. Is it a large enough issue that we would want a Bill of Rights for Australia? No.

Why? Because if a government in Australia tried to introduce a Bill of Rights today, it would probably not include a right to bear arms. Any Bill of Rights created in Australia today would be a profoundly left wing document. How do we know this?

Because certain states of Australia (including my own) have already created their own 'Charters of Rights' and they are all very similar.

The movement to establish a Bill of Rights in Australia is overwhelmingly a left wing movement. We'd end up with a left wing Bill of Rights. We would not get anything like the United States Bill of Rights.

What we've wound up with in my state when it comes to our Charter of Rights is a document that prevents capital punishment but guarantees the right to abortion. That means any law that is deemed to discriminate against gays is unlawful (fortunately marriage is defined in Federal, not state law), makes it more difficult than ever before to put illegal immigrants in detention or deport them, creates a right to privacy that allows school teachers to take girls to get abortions without any requirement to inform parents, allows journalists to be prosecuted for offending aboriginals (quite seriously, the right to not be offended trumps the freedom of the press under this charter)... this is what Australia would end up with if we got a Bill of Rights, and that's why most conservatives in Australia do not want one and most progressives do. We would not get anything like that which the US has.

113 posted on 01/18/2013 11:42:00 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: darrellmaurina

Wow, what a traitorous scumbag this guy Howard was.


114 posted on 01/18/2013 11:52:15 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: naturalman1975
The United States needs a Bill of Rights for one overriding reason - it rebelled against the British Crown, and therefore rebelled against English law

Uh, no. Taxation without representation, secret trials, and other indignities visited upon the colonists by the British colonial government, were violations of BRITISH law.

The American Revolution was not a "rebellion" in the normal sense of the word, it was a LAW ENFORCEMENT action directed against a government which broke its own law.

115 posted on 01/18/2013 11:57:10 PM PST by Rytwyng (I'm still fond of the United States. I just can't find it. -- Fred Reed)
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To: Rytwyng
Uh, no. Taxation without representation, secret trials, and other indignities visited upon the colonists by the British colonial government, were violations of BRITISH law.

I know. But that doesn't mean that the revolution didn't wind up being against the British crown, and therefore could have been argued legally to be a rejection of everything that derived from the British crown, which included large sections of English common law.

The alternative would be to argue that all English law remained intact in the United States following the War of Independence, which simply wasn't true. The United States certainly kept some common law but precisely what that was was very unclear in the 1780s because there was no real precedent for what had happened.

America needed to restate rights like freedom of the press, freedom of speech, double jeopardy, etc, otherwise arguments would have been made that they'd been extinguished. New rights that had not existed under common law - like freedom of religion - were also attested to.

Double jeopardy is probably the clearest example of where the problem came from. This is one of the oldest rights under common law - it was introduced in English law under the doctrine of autrefois acquit in 1066. During the Articles of Confederation period, some states said that it applied and some states didn't. The states that didn't, basically argued that the right had been extinguished. The Supreme Court upheld that position on numerous occasions until 1969.

The American Revolution was not a "rebellion" in the normal sense of the word, it was a LAW ENFORCEMENT action directed against a government which broke its own law.

For the most part that's true (one big exception is the Intolerable Acts - though totally unreasonable, they were legal acts of the British Parliament), but it doesn't change the argument.

In England (not yet Britain) in 1689, following the 'Glorious Revolution', Parliament had to restate the continuance of common law for the same basic reason (it had rebelled against a Crown that had acted outside the law) and it also did so in a document termed a 'Bill of Rights'. In a legal sense, it doesn't matter if the rebellion or revolution is justified.

Regardless of all that, though, I'm explaining the Australian perspective as I was asked to do so. Australia has never rejected common law, and so has never felt a need to pass any law stating the principles of common law including all common law rights still apply. They simply do apply as they have since 'time immemorial'. That's one reason why Australian conservatives don't generally want a Bill of Rights, because it's redundant when it comes to common law rights. The other reason is a belief that, in the modern world, it would be used to entrench 'rights' that are designed to push a left wing agenda.

116 posted on 01/19/2013 1:07:35 AM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: darrellmaurina
...most of the high-profile anti-gun Republicans (Bloomburg, for example) have been driven out of the GOP...

Bloomburg was a nominal member of the GOP for only four years -- his first term in office.

Bloomy wa s a lifelong Democrat who changed his registration simply to run in the Republican primary for mayor -- he calculated that he couldn't win the Democrat primary. After winning the general election, he was never active in Republican affairs and changed his registration to Independent before running for re-election.

117 posted on 01/19/2013 1:28:26 AM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: naturalman1975

Mr Howard is also a politician, and he fails to disclose that in the years since the 700,000 guns were handed in, a new 700,000 guns have been imported and purchased..

He may not understand that Americans don’t want to hand their guns over because a)The government works for them, not the other way around b) they don’t trust the government at all, because the government constantly lies, cheats, subverts the law, acts against the constitution, works around the checks and balances, and the politicians make themselves rich at the expense of the people, and exempt themselves and their friends from the laws they enact.

Australians appear to have become complacent, and the government runs rough-shod over them. All they can do is complain, but mostly, it falls on deaf ears.


118 posted on 01/19/2013 2:29:17 AM PST by looping
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To: looping
...Americans don’t want to hand their guns over because a)The government works for them, not the other way around b) they don’t trust the government at all, because the government constantly lies, cheats, subverts the law, acts against the constitution, works around the checks and balances, and the politicians make themselves rich at the expense of the people, and exempt themselves and their friends from the laws they enact.

AMERICANS appear to have become complacent, and the government runs rough-shod over them. All they can do is complain, but mostly, it falls on deaf ears.

119 posted on 01/19/2013 3:08:35 AM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: looping
Mr Howard is also a politician, and he fails to disclose that in the years since the 700,000 guns were handed in, a new 700,000 guns have been imported and purchased..

Yes, he is, and yes, he does.

He may not understand that Americans don’t want to hand their guns over because a)The government works for them, not the other way around b) they don’t trust the government at all, because the government constantly lies, cheats, subverts the law, acts against the constitution, works around the checks and balances, and the politicians make themselves rich at the expense of the people, and exempt themselves and their friends from the laws they enact.

I suspect he does understand a lot of that, but if he's asked to give an opinion on an issue, he will do so, and I honestly think he's entitled. While I do not agree with Mr Howard on guns, he is one of the most significant conservative statesmen of the last two decades, and he was a very good friend to America at a time when America was finding it difficult to find good friends overseas.

I agree with 95% of Mr Howard's policies. I've never found a politician I agreed with 100% and I doubt I ever will.

He doesn't like guns. He doesn't understand them. He didn't understand Australian gun owners and he certainly doesn't understand American gun owners.

Australians appear to have become complacent, and the government runs rough-shod over them. All they can do is complain, but mostly, it falls on deaf ears.

I don't believe we're complacent. We just rely on very different things, because of our different history, and our different constitution, for our protections. For American conservatives, the ultimate protection against the tyranny of a despotic government seems to be guns. For Australian conservatives, the ultimate protection of a despotic government is the Crown and common law.

When we had a Prime Minister who couldn't get a budget passed and he tried to act unilaterally outside of the conventions and practices of good government, he was removed from office by the Governor General. It's unlikely an Australian Prime Minister would dare to try and exceed the authority of his office in the way your President seems intent on doing - but if he or she did, they'd be gone in a day. It's a different system with different checks and balances.

120 posted on 01/19/2013 3:10:23 AM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: NFHale

Agreed. But, at least we have it in writing. For now.

We’ll see how big the turn-out is today. Hopefully it is fairly decent size with so little time to put it together.


121 posted on 01/19/2013 5:07:04 AM PST by rktman (Live the oath you took or get out of office!)
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To: B4Ranch

“I wouldn’t expect that there’s currently more than 1% who would fight to their death for freedom today.””

And there’s about 1% of federal fascist bureaucrats who would fight to the death to confiscate arms.


122 posted on 01/19/2013 7:32:16 AM PST by sergeantdave (The FBI has declared war on the Marine Corps)
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To: sergeantdave

Then we’ve got them outnumbered. Let’s do it and put an end to this foolishness.


123 posted on 01/20/2013 12:05:11 PM PST by B4Ranch (When democracy turns to tyranny, we still get to vote. We just won't use voting booths to do it.)
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