19 March 2000.
Editorial opinion expressed on this site is unbiassed by any advertising dollar.



The "Saturday Australian" (18 March 2000) had an article about guns by a New York correspondent Stephen Romei.  Like most anti gun literature, the article is long on polemic, short on research.  A text search with Alta Vista did not (unsurprisingly) return any other articles by Stephen Romei.

One of the facts in the article is that in the USA "one person dies of gunshot wounds every 18 minutes".  From that it can be calculated (60/18*24*365) that there are 29,200 gunshot fatalities each year.  The total count of murders in the USA for 1998 was 18,210.  Rebecca Celotto, a gun control advocate has stated that there were 17,000 gun fatalities in the USA in 1998.  There does seem to be a degree of confusion in those numbers.

Decontrol advocates argue that the national suicide rate increases as a result of the smothering of independence by nanny state legislation.  Japan with a nanny society has a high suicide rate. The data shows that the Australian suicide rate rose strongly when gun control was enacted.

NRA spokesman Charlton Heston said:

"Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Amin, Castro, Pol Pot.  All began by confiscating private arms"

Control advocates look pityingly on such arguments.  They believe that such mass murderers could never take power in Australia.  We are a civilized country. Like Germany & Italy were in the nineteen-twenties.


The Australian constitution regulates sharing of power between the Federal government and the states.

Broadly speaking, the Federal Government has power over customs & excise, the military & foreign affairs.  The states have control of hospitals, schools, police forces and public works within a state.  States can (and have) taken property from an individuals.

The Federal government has attempted to interfere in state matters for decades.  "Tied grants" was an instance.  Tied grants is federal money given for specific purposes, such as building a school, which infringes state responsibilities.

A recent infringment initiative was the use of the "external affairs" power.   This is how it works:

  1. A treaty is made with a foreign power (Such as the UN)
  2. The federal Government then legislates on State affairs to enforce compliance with the treaty.
That is what happened in the island state of Tasmania, where Federal legislation prevented the building of the Franklin Dam after it was hurriedly declared a "World Heritage" park.

The most recent demand is to use the "External Affairs" power to curtail the state of Western Australia's criminal code on mandatory sentencing. Advocates of intervention maintain that the law is discriminatory because a disproportionate number of aboriginals are arrested for transgressing.  The prime minister is resisting pressure to interfere, and reportedly Foreign minister Downer is pressuring the UN to state that there is no discrimination.

SPIN believes that intervention advocates are drawing too fine a distinction when they look only at the results of legislation.  The test for discrimination in legislation should be based on a literal interpretation of the legislation.  If legislation is not framed along the lines of "It is a crime to have dark skin", or "Illiteracy is a crime" then the law is not discriminatory.



The Chinese government has suffered a huge loss of face by failing to influence the Taiwan elections.

One can appreciate that the ruling cadre were between a rock and a hard place.  Taiwan is rapidly overtaking Hong Kong in per capita product, and on current trends will surpass China by 2020 as a cash cow for taxation to keep rulers in luxury.  The Taiwanese people would not wish their taxes to support Beijing Mandarins.  Their own home grown mandarins are sufficient drain on the economy.

This page published during the week starting 19 March 2000.