Sydney siege is Tony Abbott’s ‘Port Arthur’ moment, say Greens

19 Dec

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the Greens have labelled the horrific hostage situation Tony Abbott’s Port Arthur moment.

“In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre John Howard did the right thing,” said acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt.

“He said, ‘this is a tragedy and shows what happens when someone who is unstable gets access to a gun’.

“Tony Abbott needs to take a leaf out of John Howard’s book.”

The Greens want the joint NSW and federal inquiry into the siege to focus largely on the question of how Man Haron Monis was able to obtain a weapon.

“How did someone who had mental health issues, who is charged with being accessory to murder, get a gun?” Mr Bandt said.

“If the inquiry focuses on that it has the potential to make this country safer and we might see some positive reform arise out of this tragedy.

“The idea that we will make Australia safer by becoming more like the United States … and giving more people access to guns just beggars belief.”

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer backed tough gun control laws in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.

He said it was “seductive nonsense” to suggest American-style firearm policies would be appropriate in Australia.

“Debate will always go on in a good democracy but where it is built on a pack of lies from the NRA (National Rifle Association) it should be dealt with swiftly,” he said.

“It is seductive nonsense to say concealed gun laws would somehow work here in Australia.”

US president Barack Obama reiterated that Washington stood ready to provide assistance following the siege.

In a phone conversation with Mr Abbott, Mr Obama expressed condolences to the families who lost loved ones.

Mr Obama also praised Australia’s rejection of any violence taken in the name of religion.