Gun laws will be Tim Fischer's legacy
TIGHTENING Australia's gun laws will be a lasting legacy of the late Tim Fischer.
The former deputy prime minister died at the age of 73 after a decade-long battle with cancer.
Ex-Nationals leader Mark Vaile said his colleague had taught the Nationals that the national interest must come first "above party politics and personal views".
"The epitome of that sense was when we introduced the gun laws in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre," he told AAP on Thursday.
"As the senior person representing regional Australia, Tim took on a great challenge to support the government's position and that has turned out to be correct.
"Twenty years on from the gun laws it is something he will be remembered for."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also singled out the gun laws as Mr Fischer's "finest moment".
"He was an all-in conviction politician," Mr Morrison said in a statement.
"This integrity and resolve were underlined when he stood firm with Prime Minister Howard on tough new gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. They are Tim Fischer's gun laws too.
"Gun laws were not popular in regional Australia in 1996 and Tim Fischer took to the highways and byways to persuade and convince regional Australians about the need for change."
Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said the laws continued to save about 200 lives a year.
He noted Mr Fischer had attended the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control in 2018.
Mr Howard had only been prime minister for 57 days when, the day after the massacre, he announced sweeping changes to gun laws.
The main reforms included a buyback scheme and a ban on the importation, ownership, sale, possession and use of a range of self-loading firearms, as well as a licensing system which required a "genuine reason" for owning a firearm.