Tasmanian Liberals deny being 'sneaky' with relaxed gun law policy

Liberal Premier Will Hodgman is on track to win next weekend's Tasmanian election, a new poll shows. Source: AAP

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman is adamant his party is simply trying to help farmers in the state in seeking to water down gun laws, denying he’s breaching national rules on gun restrictions.

The Tasmanian Liberals deny claims they’ve been “sneaky” in promising to relax gun laws to the gun lobby, while not making its policy public.

The state Liberals have promised a range of changes, including extending licence periods to up to 10 years in order to “remove red tape”; allowing contractors or agents of farmers to hold licences; and redeveloping a regulatory body to allow gun owners to manage their own licence and registration requirements online.

It would also seek to a new category for “prohibited firearms” to be used by “specialists”, and to allow a new body to review and develop a “useful and safe protocol” to allow firearms to be carried “in public places in vehicles to deal with all practical circumstances”.

Mr Hodgman said the idea behind the policy was to support the state’s farmers.

He said he’d received advice it was not in breach of the National Firearms Agreement, and the party was not relaxing laws that could pose a risk to the community.

“We are aware of sensitives around these issues,” he told ABC radio on Friday.

“We are sure we can get the balance right.”

Mr Hodgman denied the party had been “sneaky” in releasing the election policy to the gun lobby rather than the public on its website.

“I don’t believe it to be so,” Mr Hodgman said.

The premier said the party had over 170 policies that were of certain interest to sections of the community, in explaining why it hadn't been made public.

“Key stakeholders have been advised.

“We stand by our policy commitments.”

Tasmanians will go to the polls on Saturday.

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