23 October 2018
Gun control laws in Tasmania, with respect to trauma and
emergency management will be high on the agenda at the annual RACS
Tasmanian Annual Scientific Meeting, which has combined this year
with the RACS Trauma Symposium.
Mr Bryan Walpol, an emergency physician and who at the time of
the Port Arthur massacre, was a staff specialist in the Emergency
Department at the Royal Hobart Hospital, will be presenting Port
Arthur..what a difference a day makes, at this year's event.
Mr Walpol will review the events of that horrific day on 28
April 1996, indicating how the trauma system in place and disaster
plan were executed, making for a first class response. Martin
Bryant took the lives of 35 tourists and locals, some children, and
injured another 23. However, there were no deaths in those who
Gun violence prior to Port Arthur, and the role of automatic and
semi-automatic firearms, are a picture of a lack of proper laws
around registration, licensing and safe storage according to Mr
"Then all of that changed,
with uniform gun laws - what a difference that day made. There are
probably more than 3,000 people alive now, who would have been shot
if it had not been for the introduction of uniform gun laws," he
At a special summit convened by former Prime Minister Mr John
Howard on 10 May of that year, federal, state and territory police
ministers signed an agreement to introduce new uniform gun laws,
including bans on types of semi-automatic and self-loading rifles
and shotguns, and a stricter licensing regime.
Then on 15 August, Tasmania passed new federally aligned gun
laws, and on 15 October the first 1,000 surrendered guns were
melted down and destroyed under new state laws.
Mr Walpol will be joined by local and national trauma
specialists and medical professionals who will provide
presentations on paediatric trauma, chest and abdominal models of
care and advances in resuscitation along with a host of other
topics aimed to stimulate and inspire delegates to think more
broadly about trauma management.
The meeting, to be held at the University of Tasmania in Hobart
on 9-10 November themed Regional Trauma in Australasia: What is
possible and how far can we reach? will attract medical
professionals, traumatologists and emergency services personnel,
all eager to weigh in on the discussion of effective trauma and
emergency management processes.
This event is hosted by the Tasmanian branch of RACS, and is
supported by Bongiorno Group and the Tasmanian government.
the official program
Download full media release (PDF 167KB)