2013 030318 Documents Released.pdf
FOI Document #1
Summary of main points:
These Instructions & Guidelines will document current policy surrounding the following
Identification and classification of weapons (non firearms)
These Instructions & Guidelines are intended to be used internally by any officers who may
be required to assess imported goods, or goods intended to be imported.
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) list goods that are
either prohibited entirely, or restricted without the appropriate permission or fulfilling certain
requirements or conditions.
Weapons, being non firearms, are listed within Schedule 3 and 13 of the Regulations and
policy responsibility for goods of this nature lies with the Firearms & Weapons section within
Trade Policy Branch in Central Office.
Non firearm weapons can be imported if the import complies with the relevant test,
requirements and/or conditions subject to the weapon type.
For items subject to test specified in Schedule 13 of the Regulations, the National Manager
of Trade Policy Branch is the main permit issuing officer within the Australian Customs and
Border Protection Service (Customs and Border Protection) authorised to approve such
importation by the Minister for Home Affairs under Regulation 4H of the Regulations.
Background to Schedule 13 Weapons Controls
The first control on weapons was introduced by proclamation in 1923.
In 1935 weapons were included in Item 18 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations, at the request
of Police authorities. Item 18 controlled dangerous concealable weapons such as
swordsticks, knuckle dusters, sling shots, bludgeons etc.
In 1946, the control was extended to cover dangerous goods, specifically those goods that in
the opinion of the Minister were of a dangerous character and a menace to the community.
Daggers, flick knives, concealed knives and star knives and blowpipe darts tipped with
poison were also controlled under Item 18.
In 1970, the dangerous and concealed weapons of 1935 were placed into their own items,
as difficulty had been encountered in the bringing of prosecutions in connection with unlawful
importations under Item 18. It was considered that such weapons had no apparent lawful
utilitarian purpose but seemed to have been designed as dangerous concealable weapons.
Items of warfare became a concern after the Vietnam War when servicemen began bringing
war souvenirs back to Australia. As a result, these goods were included within Item 18.
The prohibition on body armour falling to Item 29A was gazetted on 16 September 1977. It
arose out of representations from the NSW government over concerns that such apparel
could be readily available for use in criminal activities.
BCS CLASSIFICATION: Trade Facilitation and Compliance – Goods Control
FILE NUMBER: C2008/04014-01