Interview on the Project, Channel Ten – 16 April 2012

Topic: Sydney shootings

CHARLIE PICKERING: Jason Clare is the federal Home Affairs and Justice Minister, and a resident of western Sydney. Jason, at least four of the shootings overnight were thanks to bikies, this is your patch, is it fair to say that the people of western Sydney are living in fear?

JASON CLARE: It is my patch, you’re right, I live in Western Sydney. I think there are people who are very afraid. I speak to a lot of people who are having their suburbs shot up and they’re worried because you’ve got criminals that are shooting at other criminals over drugs or over turf, and they’re worried that there’s a chance a stray bullet could end up killing somebody.

STEVE PRICE: Minister, you wrote about this this morning, you expressed your concerns, but part of your federal responsibility is customs. Is your government doing enough and spending enough on preventing these illegal weapons from coming into the country in the first place?

JASON CLARE: It’s a good question. The bad news is that we’ve already got tens of thousands of illegal firearms out there. We x-ray at the moment about 20 million packages every year, but x-ray on its own is not enough. That’s why this week I announced we’re establishing an intelligence targeting team inside customs to work with police, so we target the right packages, and target the right criminals.

STEVE PRICE: The thing I can’t understand Minister, is when did it become acceptable to discharge a firearm in public?

JASON CLARE: Well it’s never acceptable. Whether it happens in Sydney, or whether it happens in Melbourne or anywhere across the country, it’s not acceptable. The fact is we’ve got criminals, all across the country, with plenty of guns on them, and police need the support of the community to target the people with these guns, arrest them, and get these guns off them.

CHARLIE PICKERING: Well there’s definitely a lot of work to be done Jason, thanks for your thoughts tonight.

JASON CLARE: Thank you.