OUR SAY: Greens FOI ‘stunt’ has gun owners seeing red
LEGAL gun owners have the right to responsibly hold firearms; just as the public has the right to access ownership statistics.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) 1982 provides a legally enforceable right of access to government documents. In 1979 a Senate committee report outlined several reasons why FOI is important, including "a community that is better informed can participate more effectively in the nation's democratic processes".
Do we need to know the geographical quantitative statistics of legal gun ownership throughout New South Wales? Does it make us more informed?
Many rural people who realise there are multiple practical purposes for firearms use think not - as we discovered from the reaction we received when we published the statistics relevant to the Clarence Valley.
But some people do and, whatever the political motive that drove Greens MP David Shoebridge to pursue the information and the timeliness of its release, I would be more concerned had the media been forced to, or chose to, withhold this information.
Australia proudly boasts a free press, which is a symbol of a free people.
According to the Australian Press Council, "the people of Australia have a right to freedom of information and access to differing opinions".
The information has been made accessible for the public to digest.
People can draw their own conclusions on its significance.