On 27 March 2020, the Australian Defence Force’s East Coast Tactical Assault Group and Queensland Police Special Emergency Response Team were forbidden from buying weapons, ammunition and other equipment to train and respond to a terrorist incident.
This wasn’t an accident. It was a regulation design by Queensland’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and implemented by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer. It was done under a brand new power to respond to Covid-19.
Why? In recent years, Australia had dealt with a rash of terrorist incidents in its capital cities. Two out of a dozen examples: Trolley Man foiled a Melbourne Islamist, limiting the death toll to one, while the Martin Place Siege in Sydney resulted in further tragic consequences thanks to an Islamist armed with an unregistered shotgun.
Queensland Labor gives a doctor the power to shut business
On 27 March 2020, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) made directions closing all firearms dealers under the Public Health Act. Queensland’s Parliament had only amended that Act a few days before to add Part 7A, conferring a range of extraordinary powers on the CHO.
Section 362B of the Act gave the CHO the power to make directions restricting the movement of people and to effectively shut businesses. Dr Young, the CHO, could only exercise these powers in certain circumstances:
- This section applies if the chief health officer reasonably believes it is necessary to give a direction under this section (a public health direction) to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
Failure to comply with directions is an offence with maximum penalties exceeding $10,000 and six month’s imprisonment. Offending is not for the faint-hearted.
On 23 March Dr Young, the CHO, made her first set of business directions under Part 7A. They were amended on 26 March to shut swimming pools and nightclubs. The next day all firearms dealers were ordered not to trade further (Directions No. 3).
Would closing firearms dealers slow Covid-19 when JB HIFI is still open?
You might ask how the spread of Covid-19 was slowed by closing firearms dealers while general retail stores were left open. This question is difficult to answer.
Documents we accessed under Queensland’s Right To Information Act reveal the dramatic effects of the dealer closure and put in question whether the dealer closures were even motivated by slowing the spread of Covid-19.
Both Queensland Health and the Premier’s Department refused access to hundreds of documents. LAFO is appealing that refusal. However, even the documents they’ve released raise the most serious questions about the Queensland Labor Government and the Premier’s handling of Covid-19.
Defence and police were banned from accessing ammunition and equipment
Queensland Government documents reveal that Queensland Police’s Tactical Unit and Australian Defence Force anti-terrorist response teams were banned from purchasing ammunition and equipment. These are required for training and response to threats secondary to a pandemic and civil disorder. Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaschuk’s department was the principal architect of the closure of firearms dealers that could supply these items. They were prepared to imperil Australia’s anti-terrorist capability. Let’s see their documents.
No State of Australia with a non-Labor government has closed firearms dealers. The seriousness of this can’t be overstated. The Queensland Premier’s Department laid the groundwork for terrorists to mount a successful attack on the Australian public. If a politician or official develops a regulation that forbids the anti-terrorist capability of the police and defence from accessing ammunition and equipment to respond to terrorist threats, then that action on it’s face looks very much like enabling terrorism.
There are very real questions to be answered by the Queensland Premier and by Queensland’s CHO. Why would they make a regulation forbidding the police and the Australian Defence Force from accessing supplies that are critical to Australia’s anti-terror capability?
Domestic violence from more ammo?
Senior government officials reveal their bizarre thinking that domestic violence would be reduced if licensed, vetted firearms owners could not purchase more firearms and ammunition. This seems strange given that there are significant waiting periods for licenses and permits being issued, and the fact that most licensed shooters already have a meaningful amount of ammunition stored at home.
Questions for Queensland Premier and CHO
- In a time of national crisis, why did you stop the ADF tactical assault groups and police from accessing equipment critical to our anti-terrorist capability?
- What is being hidden in the non-released documents? Did elements of Queensland Police or the ADF protest that they could not access necessary equipment?
- Do the CHO and the Queensland Labour government want to see a reduced anti-terrorist capability for some other reason, for example in response to an serious event at an coal-mining protest?