I was there in 1996 when Prime Minister John Howard spoke before a bunch of ****** off farmers and gun owners on the subject of banning pump shotguns and semi-auto rifles. He basically said "I don't care if this isn't what you want, this is the way it is going to be." End of discussion.
Now, what people from the US might not understand is that Australia is only 21 million people. Not a lot of people considering how big that continent is. Next, you must realize that a majority of those people live along the coast and once you get inland 40-50 miles, there isn't a lot out there. Think western Nebraska sand hills (most sparsely populated county in the entire US -- Cherry County) and then you will have a good idea.
So basically 95% of the continent is a place you would want and should have a REAL gun. There's nothing out there but you and the wildlife.
This is knee-jerk mob rule at its best. Just because some guy shot up a bunch of people at a tourist location and some bikers blew each other away doesn't mean the rights of the other 99.992% of the population should be infringed upon.
Frankly, I was surprised by the number of stabbings in the news while I was staying in Melbourne --- the quote about the stabbings in Britain isn't too far from reality.