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Australia’s gun laws in the firing line following police deaths

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Australia’s gun laws may become even tighter as states and territories are urged to work together

It’s been described as a sick ploy to lure authorities to their untimely deaths.

Two police officers shot and killed execution-style as they arrived at a remote property, three hours west of Brisbane.

Now, in the wake of the deadly Queensland siege, there are renewed calls for Australia to tighten its gun laws even further.

Speaking to Channel 7, Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said he is open to having a rational discussion about further reforms.

“As long as we don’t get an overarching ridiculous restriction on how we utilise firearms because we utilise them for work and we do utilise them for recreation,” Joyce said.

So, what’s on the table?

Senior police officers are calling for more national consistency around firearms legislation.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb and her deputy Dave Hudson believe there needs to be a “commitment to national synergy”.

Some may be surprised to know gun laws are largely determined by individual states and territories. Meanwhile, the federal government is responsible for regulating the importation of the weapons.

“Every state has their own laws and things they need to consider, but as long as the intent is the same then we are in a better place. States can work out their own framework but come together and improve and learn from each other,” Hudson said.

Australia’s 1996 gun reforms

The Port Arthur massacre saw 35 people killed and 23 others injured when Martin Bryant entered a café at the historic site.

It was this event which prompted the Australian government’s massive overhaul and tightening of the nation’s gun laws.

But this was more than a century ago. Since then, restrictions have remained relatively untouched.

The head of QLD Police Union says if things can be done better, they should be.

Changes being floated by top authorities include further mental health checks for gun owners and a national register.

Labor MP Meryl Swanson said the government is prepared to work with jurisdictions around the country to tighten laws, if required.

“States are mainly, let’s face it, the ones responsible for the registration and control of guns. But we will work with them. Let’s just see what the inquiry brings forth from that horrendous incident,” Swanson said.

It’s likely a decision will be made following the next national cabinet meeting in 2023.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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U.S. fighters shoot down Chinese spy balloon – now what?

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U.S. military fighter aircraft shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it floated off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, drawing to a close a dramatic saga that shone a spotlight on worsening Sino-U.S. relations.

“We successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” President Joe Biden said.

Biden said he had issued an order on Wednesday to take down the balloon, but the Pentagon had recommended waiting until it could be done over open water to safeguard civilians from debris crashing down to Earth from thousands of feet (meters) above commercial air traffic.

China has mounted “the largest intelligence operation in the history of the human race” against the US and Australia, a former top US intelligence official has warned, as the US military shot down a Chinese spy balloon as it neared the Atlantic coast above the Carolinas.

Multiple fighter and refueling aircraft were involved in the mission, but only one — an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia — took the shot at 2:39 p.m. (1939 GMT), using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile, a senior U.S. military official said.

The balloon was shot down about six nautical miles off the U.S. coast, over relatively shallow water, potentially aiding efforts to recover key elements of the Chinese surveillance equipment among the debris in the coming days, officials said.

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Russia throws more troops at Ukraine front line

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the situation on the front lines in the east of the country is getting tougher and Russia was throwing more and more troops into battle.

Russian forces are slowly gaining ground in the Donbas region, encircling the city of Bakhmut north of Donetsk and battling to take control of a nearby road which is a major supply route for Ukrainian forces. They are also trying to capture Vuhledar, southwest of Donetsk.

“I’ve often had to say the situation at the front is tough, and is getting tougher, and it’s that time again. … The invader is putting more and more of his forces into breaking down our defences,” Zelenskiy said in a video address.

“It is very difficult now in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Lyman and other directions,” he continued.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar wrote on Telegram that Russian efforts to break the defences in Bakhmut and Lyman had failed.

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Balloon diplomacy blows China off course

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China claims an “airship” that is flying over the United States is for civilian meteorological and other scientific purposes and voiced regret that it strayed into U.S. airspace.

U.S. officials said on Thursday that a Chinese spy balloon has been flying over the United States for a couple of days, in what would be a brazen act just days ahead of a planned trip to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In a statement late on Friday, China’s foreign ministry also said that it would continue to maintain communications with the United States to properly handle the unexpected situation.

“The airship is from China and is civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research. Due to the influence of westerly winds and its limited control capability, the airship deviated from its intended course,” it said.

“China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States by mistake due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the U.S. side to properly handle this accident,” it said.

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