It was the summer of 2012 and the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, was under pressure over the issue of gun crime.
Sydney was in the grip of a spate of drive-by shootings, predominantly in western Sydney, one of O'Farrell's areas of ministerial responsibility.
The media was painting a picture of a city out of control, egged on by the Labor opposition, which was running a tally of the number of drive-by shootings since the O'Farrell government had come to office.
O'Farrell searched for a solution for weeks but the shootings continued. So in March, when an opportunity arose to turn the focus on the federal Labor government, he leapt on it.
NSW police made arrests in what they alleged was an international gun smuggling racket that had sent 150 Glock pistols through the post from Germany, bound for the streets of western and south-western Sydney.
During question time the Premier declared that this showed the plague of drive-by shootings was clearly a border control issue.
O'Farrell thundered that the Opposition Leader, John Robertson, ''could get his federal colleagues to effectively police and enforce the borders of our state and nation''.
O'Farrell received enthusiastic support from the federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who said the escalating cost of processing asylum seekers meant less was being spent on screening cargo.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was therefore contributing to ''a reign of terror'' across Sydney, Abbott declared.
Gillard accused Abbott of a ''cheap political stunt'', but she appears to have learnt from the experience.
On Wednesday, news of another shooting in western Sydney prompted Gillard to announce she would ask her Home Affairs Minister, Jason Clare, to examine what the federal government could do about it.
The dog whistle in all of this, of course, is the NSW government has failed. There is no surprise it comes as Gillard enters an election year in which western Sydney will be a crucial battleground.
So far, details from Clare, who happens to be the member for the western Sydney seat of Blaxland, are hazy. He says he wants more police and fewer criminals on the streets and hopes for better intelligence sharing between state and federal law enforcement bodies.
He will need to do a lot better than that, as the ongoing rhetoric from both sides is of little comfort to the families who continue to be terrorised by gun crime.