The Facts About Guns In Australia

It's funny the kinds of bullshit you hear from people when they are trying to justify their ideology.

I got into a Facebook discussion today with Rob McNealy, my guest on a recent podcast about gun control in the USA. Rob posted comparing gun laws in Mexico to America, suggesting that tighter gun laws in Mexico haven't made it safer. I pointed out that Mexico's GDP is about one fifth that of the United States and he should really compare the USA to a country with similar economics – like Australia.

Rob replied “You are trying to deny the fact that gun control don't stop murder from happening. You are a typical anti-liberty liberal that wants to create MORE murder victims.”

I explained that in the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% — and stayed there, quoting an article from CNN.

He then replied with this post, claiming that “the percent of murders committed with a firearm (in Australia) was the highest it had ever been in 2006″. His source even claimed this data was from “Australian Bureau of Criminology”.

Oh really? I googled “Australian Bureau of Criminology” and I came up blank. There is an “Australian INSTITUTE of Criminology” but Rob's source doesn't reference any particular report or website, so I don't know where they got their data from. In fact, it is likely they pulled it out of their asses.

This information about the high rate of 2006 gun murders is totally at odds with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows that in 2006, gun homicides in Australia were at an all time LOW.

Here is a graph from UTS. See that huge drop after 1996? That's when Johnny Howard introduced the National Firearm Agreement and the buy-back scheme that aimed to eliminate semi-automatic firearms in Australia. It appears that our gun homicide rate fell by 50% immediately and has continued to drop.

gun homicides australia

Tell me again how “gun control don't stop murder from happening”?

This second graph is from the ABS and shows the falling rates of guns homicides as a percentage of all homicides. Again – a big drop off after 1996. Although this chart stops at 2003, the ABS site for 2006 confirms that the percentage of homicides from firearms in 2006 was an all-time low.


homicides australia as percentage

Unfortunately, Rob's source was the “National Center For Policy Analysis” which, according to SourceWatch, is funded by conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers. You can tell people are desperate when they resort to making up bullshit to support their arguments. Of course, most of their readers are not likely to do their own research, much like Fox News viewers, and will just regurgitate the NCPA's claims.

The real question is whether or not the NFA had much of an impact on overall homicides or if they were already dropping due to other factors. What we *do* know for certain is that there hasn't been another mass shooting in Australia since 1996. However homicides have only demonstrated a slight decrease since then. The rise in sexual assault is thought to be an increase in reporting of sexual assault, not an actual increase in incidents.

By the way, here is a chart of America's gun homicides since 1998:

gun homicides USA

So, the next time you hear someone tell you that gun control didn't work in Australia, you can just send them to this post and facepalm.





NO ILLUSIONS 28 – Virginia Balmain, UNAA

My guest today is Virginia Balmain who is the President of the United Nations Association of Australia (QLD) and the Vice-President of the UNAA in Australia. We chat about Australia’s role in the UN, our obligations as a Member Nation, and some of the contentious issues surrounding the UN – the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council, the rise of the “Islamic Bloc”, how it is funded and whether or not it is a “toothless tiger”.

No Illusions 21 – News Roundup

Nine Afghan Boys Killed by NATO Helicopters –

The Greens up two to 15 per cent

British UFO reports

Rudd condemns air strike on Afghan boys

UFOs over Sydney – the intergalactic neighbours drop by

The Capitalist’s Paradox

Bank of England governor blames spending cuts on bank bailouts

Four time bombs that will blow up Wall Street

Manning faces new charges, possible death penalty


No Illusions #12 – Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance #AusVotes

Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance’s Brisbane candidate in the upcoming federal election. I caught up with him recently to talk about socialism, climate change, indigenous communities, and the Socialist Alliance’s policies on subjects like Iraq, Afghanistan and immigration.

As I mention during the show, if you’re interested in hearing more about “participatory democracy”, then listen to my 2008 interview with Richard Moore.

Australia: The Unlucky Country?

While waiting in the Apple Store Chermside today (waiting, that is, for them to replace the hard drive on my 5 month old 17″ Macbook Pro for the second time in a week), I started reading the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report. The report was recently released by Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit group based in Melbourne. Their report details how Australia can become a zero carbon-emitting country by 2020. In their introduction, they remind us that Australia has the highest carbon emission per capita ranking in the entire world.

I had forgotten that fact, so I tweeted:

Let’s remember during this election that Australia has the highest emissions per capita IN THE WORLD. We are a disgrace.

A few hours later I saw this tweet in response:

I wish to express my utter disdain for what @Vzzzbx just retweeted from some twat called @cameronreilly (see next tweet)

I don’t know who this Ches Trulson guy is, but it always amuses me when someone just slags me off and doesn’t try to debate the facts. It’s usually the sign of a limited intelligence. But I popped over to read more of his Twitter feed, just in case he was someone to take seriously.

Here’s a sample of his Twitter feed, following on from the ‘disdain’ post:

We live in a first world country, this means our emissions are worse than much of the world. Bad? Sure.

France is also a first world country, but their emissions are one-third of Australia’s. And France’s emissions per capita have reduced by 40% since 1979, while Australia’s have grown by 40%.

It’s also really fucking big, and our population is spread across a large area. Again, bad. We also have a varied and harsh climate. Bad.

Russia is a pretty big country as well and their climate is pretty harsh. Their emissions have dropped by 30% since 1992, while Australia’s have grown.

Except of course, that none of that is practical to change, or any of our fault. Yet I should feel ashamed? Get fucked.

This is what amuses me the most. “None of that is practical to change or any of our fault.” That kind of lazy, defeatist attitude is precisely WHY we are the worst emitters in the world. Huge brains like Ches just throwing up his hands and saying “not my fault”. Of course it’s not your fault, Ches. Meanwhile, the ZCA2020 report says it *is* practical to change – in fact, we could be a zero carbon emission country within ten years – if we can get people like Ches to pull their heads out of their asses.

I’m all for living sustainably, but Aus is not a significant problem IMO, and making us feel bad about it is helpful in no way whatsoever.

Aw, diddums. Did Bad Cameron make you cwy? Grow up, dude. It’s precisely because we are a first world country that we are a significant problem. The rest of the world (read: the developing countries who are still trying to pull themselves out of poverty) are looking towards the first world countries as guidance. If we don’t seem to be taking this stuff seriously, then why should they? Australia should (IMHO) be leading the world on this issue. We have the wealth. We have the political stability. We have the intelligence (well…. some of us). Perhaps most importantly, we have huge sources of renewable energy. Let’s lead the world for once in something other than sport and racist actors.

Hard to argue convincingly over twitter, but whatever, rage subsiding.

Well here’s you chance, Ches. Argue convincingly here. If you can.

Oh, and this from a guy who does marketing for cigars and pergolas? Hilarious.

Yeah I see what those things have to do with each other. No, wait…. I don’t. Please enlighten me. Of course, this is all coming from a self-confessed “car nerd”. I guess when you’re a “car nerd”, the whole idea of reducing carbon emissions is likely to induce cognitive dissonance.

On other Twitter fronts….

My mate Ben Wilks took umbrage to my retweet about how stupid Gillard’s “small Australia” policy is.

@cameronreilly umm, ok. Population has doubled in the last 15 years. Property prices and traffic ARE QUALITY OF LIFE. Seriously, WT?

Actually, Ben – no. Property prices and traffic are NOT quality of life. At all.

This whole “small Australia” policy is seriously dysfunctional. Here’s why:

According to the IMF, Australia ranks #10 in GDP per capita.

On top of that, we have one of the lowest population densities in the world.

If we can’t have quality of life while we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world with one of the lowest population densities – then we are seriously messed up.

This all reminds me of a story Clive Hamilton (he of the internet filter) wrote about in one of his earlier books, Affluenza.

I don’t have the book in front of me, so I’ll paraphrase it. He wrote that the average net household income in Australia has increased by something like 300% since 1950. And yet when you survey the Australian population and ask them “do you have enough to get by”, something like 75% of people say “no”.

We’re messed up, dysfunctional.

When you have an individual who has everything going for them and yet they feel oppressed, it’s often a sign of a psychosis or mental illness.

When you have an entire population who has everything going for them and yet they feel like they don’t have enough to get by, what does that say about the general psyche of the country?

(pic via suburbanbloke’s flickr)

No Illusions 11 – Police Corruption in Melbourne

My guest today is Adam Shand, investigative journalist / author from Melbourne. He was a guest on #293 discussing his book “Big Shots” which focused on the Melbourne “Gangland Wars” and Carl Williams. On this episode, Adam discusses Carl’s recent murder and his allegations of police corruption in Victoria. We also chat about Adam’s new book “King Of Thieves“, about the “Kangaroo Gangs” from Australia that stole their way across England in the 60s.

GDay World 394 – Rebecca from @GayMarriageAus

I was an early follower of @GayMarriageAus because I’m a big supporter of gay marriage rights. I was delightfully surprised, though, to find out that the person behind it is a 17 year old high school student, Rebecca. I chatted with her recently about why she’s supporting gay rights.

We also talked about The Australian Sex Party (who will be guests on the show in coming weeks) and the current legislation in Australia pertaining to gay rights.

If you want to support independent media and this show, please click on the link below to learn how you can become part of the TPN500!
TPN 500

The Podcast Network is supported by: – a social network with a purpose – to transform the world by enabling people to transform themselves


our first TPN Patron – Tony Kynaston.

Debating Americans About Healthcare

Here’s a transcript of a chat I’ve been having on a Facebook thread belonging to an American conservative. I think it’s a demonstration of a) how little some Americans have actually thought through this issue and b) how little some Americans are able/willing to hold an intelligent debate about the subject. They would prefer to rant, bully and abuse. It’s the typical response I’m used to when discussing religion with similar people. When they can’t put forward an intelligent argument, they just attack like rabid dogs.

Original post:

The Battle for your health care Tuesday, 10/13 ~ Everett Wilkinson ~~ Contact Senate Finance Committee
By Everett Wilkinson October 13, 2009, 1:19am

The battle for your health care is going to be fought on Tuesday. We need to melt the phone lines and stop the takeover of our health care.

1. Please contact every member of the Senate Finance Committee
2. Send 2 free faxes at:
3. Send emails to your representatives:

No, Mandates For Insurance-
No, Penalties For Not Buying Insurance-
No, Government Option-
Yes, Tort Reform-
Yes, Take Care of Abuse-
Yes, Free Markets

Pass this on to your friends. I cannot stress the importance of action. We need everyone to make calls, emails and faxes. If you are near a Senate office, please visit it today!


Cameron Reilly

you don’t HAVE any health care yet to “take over”. Catch up to the rest of the civilised world and stop being so backwards.
Yesterday at 11:58pm · Delete
Richard Yadon

Richard Yadon

This is a bad bill all the way around. It will not improve health care quality and will actually raise the cost of health care.
13 hours ago
Art Collins

Art Collins

We have a very GOOD healthcare system. There are some areas that need to be improved, but not replaced by Socialized Medicine. Anyone who thinks otherwise, needs to pack up and move out.
13 hours ago
Christine Steele Gates

Christine Steele Gates

We have a mostly free market system that could use MORE free market, not less. Gov’t over-involvement will limit competition and limit innovation. NO THANKS!!!

3 cheap reforms needed to the current system:
1) Tort reform (loser-pays)
2) Legalize interstate medical insurance salesRead More
3) End employment-base group insurance

These 3 ideas are no-cost to the taxpayer. We can’t afford $900 billion with 10% unemployment and a seriously declining dollar. We can’t trust this government either.

12 hours ago
Damon Dean

Damon Dean

This is likely the decisive moment for action. Today will tell if we become a socialist state, or remain a republic!
10 hours ago
Cameron Reilly

Cameron Reilly

Art, according to WHICH metric does the USA have a “good healthcare system”? Which country are you comparing the USA to? Zimbabwe?

Damon, what a load of nonsense. Is Australia a “socialist state”? No. Yet we have far superior healthcare to the USA. And nobody in Australia would swap our system for your system. You folks need to pull your heads out.

6 hours ago · Delete
Joanne Davis

Joanne Davis

Australian population update: According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report in early June 2009, the Australian population had hit 21.6 million by the end of 2008.

U.S. Population 304,059,724 – Jul 2008 — 304,059,724 vs 21,600,000

Cameron – there is a “slight” difference in total population; Australia does not have “land borders’ with illegals flowing into your country.Read More

This health care insurance/care bill that they are trying to RAM through against the majority of American’s wishes, will reduce care, cost more and they absolutely, in “their own words” are trying to force the US into a “single payer system” run by the Federal Gov’t. Single payer is filled with corruption, cost over-runs (Medicare and Medicaid). Our Gov’t states if this bill passes they will fix the corruption? If that is true, then they should have fixed the corruption long ago.


4 hours ago
Cameron Reilly

Cameron Reilly

Joanne, what does population size have to do with it?

What data do you have that says the majority of Americans are against it? Wasn’t Obama voted in BY the majority of Americans on a platform for change?

And single payer is NONE of those things you are suggesting. In Australia we have had a single payer system for 35 years and nobody complains about it. It works. Read More

While I’ll agree that the US govt is corrupt, that’s got nothing to do with single payer healthcare. On the contrary – it’s the corruption in your system that’s trying to spin single payer healthcare as bad.

I would love to see those Americans who are against improving healthcare to compare the US system with Australia and tell me what’s so wrong with our system.

2 hours ago · Delete
Marcus McConkey

Marcus McConkey

Delete/block the troll Obama operative Cameron.
2 hours ago
Penny Baird Mercer

Penny Baird Mercer

It ain’t over till it’s over! We lost this battle, but we knew we would. Remember the ALAMO! Keep fighting!
about an hour ago
Cameron Reilly

Cameron Reilly

Marcus’ comment basically sums up the lack of intelligent debate some people can put up for this topic. If I put forward a different argument, I’m a “troll” or an “operative” (which is amusing considering I’m a) an Aussie and b) a vociferous Obama critic) and should be blocked.
about an hour ago · Delete
Marcus McConkey

Marcus McConkey

Cameron, it really comes down to (IMO) no one cares or should care what a non-voting, non-U.S. citizen THINKS, let alone ignorantly articulates here. It’s called “civilizational confidence”. Look into it, Australia will benefit.

WHO cares what you think of Obama, or the latest rounds of still unreleased healthcare legislation? Stick to what you know and can quantify with some actual experience. You’ve probably never set foot in a U.S. hospital, but again, NO ONE CARES IF YOU HAVE.

Joanne has gone to great lengths to share the ramifications of the last published healthcare legislation (which most of us here actually read and now understand) and you jump in here like an imbecile looking for attention. That’s what TROLLS do. Read More

We don’t have the time or the inclination to educate you.

24 minutes ago
Cameron Reilly

Cameron Reilly

Marcus, again, your venomous attacks don’t do you any favours. Are you completely unable to engage is intelligent dialogue?

Perhaps if some Americans, such as yourself, took the time to actually educate yourself about what citizens of other countries, who already HAVE a single payer healthcare system, think about such systems, you might cure Read Moreyourself of your delusional attitudes towards the Obama legislation. Despite Joanne’s analysis of the theoretical ramifactions, there are 100 million people living in democratic, capitalist countries, such as Australia, Canada and the UK, who actually live quite happily under a single payer healthcare system and have for decades. If American’s current approach is to superior to a single payer system, you might ask why the people of these other countries aren’t demanding changes to THEIR healthcare system.

Rudd’s A Dud

Two years in and what are the major accomplishments of the Kevin Rudd government?

According to Leon Bertrand‘s article “Rudd’s second year” – nothing. I’d be a little bit more complimentary and add the following:

1. His government has taken steps to curb Telstra’s power. That’s goodness… IF they follow through. And that’s a big IF.

2. They signed Kyoto – sure, since then they’ve done their best to make sure the earth burns to a crisp, but they at least signed it.

3. They said SORRY – sure, since then, they’ve done nothing to improve the living conditions of our indigenous population, but they at least said sorry.

Of course, I disagree with Leon that dumping Fuelwatch, Grocerywatch and delaying the ETS have been positive things the government has done – as far as I’m concerned, that just demonstrates their inability to deliver on anything they say they are going to do – but I do agree with him that:

Nevertheless, the Rudd government is unlikely to take bold reforms in the next year. In modern politics, the last year of a term in office involves focusing on winning the election and not upsetting sections of the electorate.

So, please remember this lesson come the next Federal election, my friends – voting for a major party is a WASTE OF TIME. Whether you live in Australia, the USA or the UK, voting for one of the major parties just delivers MORE OF THE SAME.

We need to start strengthening the minor parties or, even better, START A NEW PARTY – one that actually gives a shit and doesn’t exist to pacify the elite.

Oh and as a general rule, DON’T VOTE FOR A MILLIONAIRE. Do you really think a millionaire is going to do anything to upset the applecart? He or she is just going to try to maintain the status quo.Why would they do anything but?

This Isn’t Terrorism

Reports today about the AFP arresting 4 men in Melbourne who were allegedly planning to attack a military base in Victoria is being called "terrorism" by the Prime Minister and the mainstream media. For example, claims the attack, if it had gone ahead, would have been "the worst terror attack on Australian soil".  However, if they were attacking a military target, does that qualify as terrorism? Wikipedia states that there isn’t an internationally agreed definition of terrorism, but I normally associate it with attacks on civilian targets outside of wartime. A small group of Somali and Lebanese labourers and taxi drivers attacking a military base doesn’t sound like the definition of terrorism to me. It sounds more like the definition of "stupid".

(UPDATE: in discussion with @napper, I said I think an attack by citizens of a country on its own army and inside the country’s own borders is more accurately defined as “revolution” or “insurrection”.)

So – why is it being referred to as terrorism by the Govt and the media? Are we back to the days where The Great Corporation feels the need to frighten the masses? What should we be watching out for? Is there a new law coming soon that will disappear more of our civil rights? Will Rudd use this to help push through his Internet censorship?

UPDATE: I also meant to add – as Terry did in the comments – that I hope the AFP have actually done their job this time, unlike in the Haneef debacle.