2013 030318 Documents Released.pdf


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FOI Document #1
3

On 14 September 1990 the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia unanimously held (in
its decision in Robert Alfred Turnery and Barry Owen Jones vs Ronald Owen, No. G12 of
1990) that Item 18 was invalid, as it was an unauthorised delegation to the Minister of the
Governor-General’s power to prohibit the importation of goods. The Court held such a
delegation was not permitted by the empowering sections in the Customs Act 1901.
As a result of the Court’s decision, dangerous goods, which were previously prohibited under
Item 18, lost their status as, prohibited imports, and therefore could no longer be controlled
or seized at the Customs and Border Protection barrier.
On 12 October 1990, at the request of the Australian Police Ministers’ Council (APMC),
legislation was amended and concealed guns, knives or blades and star knives or similar
devices were listed separately under their own items, Item 21 and 23 of Schedule 2. It was
felt that these concealed guns, knives or blades were offensive weapons and had no
legitimate use. Star knives were prohibited to limit the availability of such dangerous
weapons to martial arts clubs, which could demonstrate a legitimate use for the goods.
Gloves incorporating protrusions and hunting slings, catapults and sling shots were listed
separately under their own items, Items 20 and 22 of Schedule 2.
It was felt that these goods were dangerous and had no legitimate civilian use, and in the
case of the hunting slings, were capable of propelling missiles at high speed causing serious
injury.
Items of warfare were listed separately under their own item, Item 8 of Schedule 2. It was
felt that these goods had no legitimate civilian use and their prohibition was imposed to limit
their availability to the defence forces.
Anti-personnel devices (hand held electric shock devices, acoustic anti-personnel devices
and devices for discharging a gas or liquid) were listed separately under their own items,
Items 12, 13 and 14 of Schedule 2. It was felt that these goods had no legitimate civilian use
and such devices could cause great injury to victims.
Blowpipe darts tipped with poison were listed separately under their own item, Item 18A of
Schedule 2. It was felt that these goods had no legitimate civilian use and could cause fatal
injury.
On 22 November 1990 the APMC resolved to support the “positive generic statement” on
permitted imports. This led to the adoption of Form B709B as a mechanism for State and
Territory Police to advise Customs and Border Protection if a person attempting to import a
prohibited weapon was licensed in the relevant State/Territory to possess the item or was
not required to be authorised to possess the item.
In 1993, the APMC requested the insertion of ballistic knives which were inserted as a new
item, item 18D.
Also on APMC request, blowpipe darts tipped with poison were replaced by blowpipe and
blowgun darts, now falling to Item 18A. Blowpipes and blowguns were inserted as a new
item, Item18. Nunchakus were inserted as a new item, Item 18B. Crossbows, crossbow
darts and crossbow bolts were inserted as a new item, Item 18C.
In 1995, at the request of the Government and endorsed by the APMC, the Regulations
were amended to include only pistol crossbows. This removed previous restrictions on (nonpistol) crossbows, crossbow darts and crossbow bolts. The relevant explanatory Statement
explains that the substitution “now exempts from the control the more traditional crossbow
which is most commonly used by sporting associations and is not now regarded as a
sufficient threat to the community to warrant a prohibited import control”.
BCS CLASSIFICATION: Trade Facilitation and Compliance – Goods Control
FILE NUMBER: C2008/04014-01