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Gillard announces new push for national anti-gang laws

EDUCATION and health won't be the only to issues to create sparks at April's Council of Australian Governments meeting, after the Prime Minister added gun control and unexplained wealth laws to the agenda on Wednesday.

Prime Minster Julia Gillard announced the new Federal Government push for national anti-gang laws during her mini-campaign in Sydney just hours after another shooting in the western suburbs of the New South Wales capital.

The package would include national reforms targeting the illegal firearms market, unexplained wealth laws and a new national ballistics identification network to help police ingestions.

But Ms Gillard's announcement quickly garnered the ire of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who refused to hand over the state's unexplained wealth laws to the Commonwealth.

Mr Bleijie did, however, say he would cooperate with the Commonwealth on the anti-gang legislation.The new initiative comes after most states in recent years created unexplained wealth laws in order to target organised criminals, particularly those involved with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"Organised crime needs to be addressed and I am more than willing to discuss national anti-gang legislation," Mr Bleijie said.

"But as I have said previously, the Newman Government will not support any move by the Commonwealth to remove the states' unexplained wealth powers for its own financial benefit.

"The former Attorney-General tried this at the Standing Council of Law Justice in October and I made my position on this very clear - we will not be bullied by the Gillard Government."

Ms Gillard said the new national laws would prevent club members from holding liquor licenses, visiting clubhouses or holding weapons or firearms licenses, as well as help prevent gangs moving operations from state to state.

The ballistics network, which is currently used only by the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police, would be rolled out nationally, as would extra search powers for authorities on premises with a registered firearm.

Ms Gillard said the new national laws, if progressed through COAG would also help identify gaps and inconsistencies between states and territories to ensure a tighter control on organised criminals.

Topics:  education, gun control, health, jarrod bleijie, julia gillard



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