Nauru, the Adler shotgun and liberty.
The caring Malcolm Turnbull. We all know he’s in there, somewhere. Labelled a Fizzer, some of us have given up hope. Yet some of us still hold out for the return of the old Malcolm. The one that believes in fairness, marriage equality and a dedication to appearing on ABC Q&A in a leather jacket.
Paralysed into inaction by the far right of the Coalition, Turnbull is desperately seeking liberation. Today he missed another opportunity.
All he could muster was a Peter Dutton suite of answers. It was Labor’s fault, less children were in detention, drownings at sea, he couldn’t comment on specific cases and the government was investigating third country options for the refugees.
The day went downhill from there. Rumours circulated that he had done a deal with Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm to pass government legislation such as the Australian Building and Construction Commission in exchange for the lifting of a federal government ban imposed by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the importation of the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun.
Labor exploited the rumours and pushed a motion in parliament that Turnbull was about to water down the strong 1996 gun laws of his Liberal Party predecessor, Prime Minister John Howard. In an uncharacteristically hostile rebuttal, Turnbull responded that there was no such plan.
Disturbing to see reports of horse-trading on gun laws. ABCC should be supported on its merits.
— Tony Abbott (@HonTonyAbbott) October 18, 2016
It was then that a shotgun Tweet rang out from the backbench from none other than former PM Tony Abbott seemingly confirming Labor’s fears on gun law trading. Using this, leader of opposition business, Tony Burke, took to the floor and hammered home Labor’s point.
Shortly following the debacle, Senator David Leyonhjelm emerged from the delicately balanced crossbench to make available to the media a government email promising that the lifting of the ban on the Adler shotgun would occur in exchange for his support of government legislation.