** Advice on this page will be updated as the election approaches.   Please check this page for updates before voting. **

THE NATIONAL SHOOTING COUNCIL is Australia’s leading political umbrella for shooters everywhere. We lobby, take legal actions and provide voting advice for shooters to improve the environment we’re in.  With your support, we can do a lot, lot more.

Our How-To-Vote recommendations

VICTORIANS GO TO THE POLLS on 26 November, but can vote early if they want to.

This page carries information for shooters who need to vote explaining:

  • what to watch out for in the voting system;
  • our voting recommendations, and
  • links to useful information such as how and where you can vote.

In a hurry?

If you just want to get straight to our voting advice, click the red button below.

Click here for our voting advice

Frustrated with how shooters get treated? Here's your chance to change that

IF YOU’RE FRUSTRATED with the laws we have, the way they are administered, and how politicians talk about them, this is your opportunity to change that by how you vote.

Don’t think your vote doesn’t matter: a few votes in the right place could make the difference between better gun laws, or ‘more of the same’.

When you do vote, it’s important to make sure that if your candidate doesn’t get up, that your preferences don’t end up going to candidates who want to take shooting away from us.

Preference deals done between the parties are complex and can result in your vote going to the wrong person. 

The reason these deals are cut is because for some, there is a $200k job in parliament, an office and a car in it for those behind them – even if it means selling out on their values.

Below are some answers to some questions you might have – and our voting recommendations appear below that.

Get the most out of this election

Get your family to vote the same way as you do.
It’s your best way of ensuring you get to keep shooting.

Your questions answered

Actually, voting is not complicated. Filling in ballot papers will take you barely two minutes. However, understanding what can happen with your vote – and what can go wrong with it -takes longer.

Ignore this and your vote could go to someone you would never vote for. That could mean voting for someone who wants to ban what you do, so don’t ignore it.

Voting means we can support the candidates who will help us and remove politicians who won’t.

Let’s say we want to support Joe – because he’s pro-gun, and not Mary – because she wants hunting banned.

Voting in the lower house

Voting in the lower house (Legislative Assembly – your local area) is  easy. You number your ballot paper according to how many candidates there are. So if there are 5 candidates in your area, you number Joe 1, and the rest from 2-5 – with Mary at 5.

Preference harvesting – the danger of simply voting 1 in the upper house

The upper house (or senate or legislative council – covering much wider areas of the state) is more complicated because there can be dozens of parties and nearly 100 candidates to choose from.

Rather than number all 100 candidates, the ballot paper allows you to vote “1” above the black line that runs across the ballot paper. It’s called “above the line” voting and its what 95% of voters do.

The problem is, just because you voted for Joe, the ‘preference deals’ that are struck can mean your vote ends up going straight to Mary – even though she’s the last person you would want to support. It’s called preference harvesting and is the number 1 problems shooters face when voting.

Let’s be clear about this: the preference deals are how crackpots like Rod Barton (Transport Matters Party), Fiona Patten (Reason Party) and Andy Meddick (Animal Justice Party) got elected.  Ignore it, and you’ll see these same people elected again.

For shooters, voting is not just an inconvenience. It’s a very real choice between whether or not you want better gun laws. 

It’s about whether you want keep hunting or not, and about whether you want the government to take more care when it comes to how they treat shooters.  It’s about whether you want more gun laws, or for the ones we have to focus on the criminals while leaving us alone.

Shooters have no choice: we need to be involved in the process to avoid more damage.

However on the upside, if we vote properly, we can change all of this for the better.

If you know any shooters who don’t want to take the time to understand this, offer to help them complete their ballot papers. 

It’s quite legal to help a mate complete the form, provided they cast their vote.

The main complaint that shooters have is not that we need licences or sensible rules, but that the government never engages with us properly.  This leads to rules that either don’t work or don’t target the right people, underinvestment in the sector, higher & unnecessary red tape and costs, and distrust in how those laws are framed and administered.

Our concerns could be very easily managed with better engagement. This won’t happen unless the government makes an effort to understand our sector. 

It is like having the wrong people in charge of aviation safety. If you put the wrong people in charge, you will end up with the wrong results. That’s what we’re seeing here, and what needs to change.

Not sure what seat you're in?

If you’re not sure what lower and upper house electorates you are in, click here to find out (on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website).

Put your details in to find out what seats you are in. It’s an easy and handy tool to use.

If your search does not show up a result, try adding your middle name in the first field.

The seats you are in will appear under “Your Victorian electorates”.

Party policies

Below is a table setting out our ratings of the main parties we wanted to assess (out of five stars) by the policies they have. This is based on:

  • what they are offering shooters;
  • their responses to our questionnaires; and
  • their track records to date.

On one hand, Labor continues to fund ranges, which is great.

On the other hand, Labor continues to shorten hunting seasons, ignore the problems of bad gun laws (appearance and storage) and turning a blind eye to  several gun clubs that are at risk of closing.

Many of you are concerned that Labor willl cut deals with extremists on hunting.  Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but their track record is why we don’t trust them.

It’s hard to trust the Coalition after 1996.

They initially adopted new positions we put forward to them on firearms that made them a better option for shooters than Labor.

They failed to follow through with written commitments, with the result we dropped them from three stars to one, level pegging with Labor.

It seems the trust element remains.

Hah!  Forget them. 

The Greens not only want hunting banned immediately, but to ban pistol shooting as well.

They say firearm owners want to avoid licensing and have never, ever done anything good for us.

That’s why they score a zero.

 

 

The Transport Matters Party is run by Rod Barton, who is anti-gun and has voted for more gun laws. 

He has also supported a ban on duck hunting, spoken out against shooting organisations, and is not to be trusted.  His party has recruited a former SFFP staffer to run in Northern Victoria, who will not be able to speak up for shooters if he gets elected.

They also score a zero.

SFFP is consistently pro-Labor and has voted for laws which do us harm.

They have tried to put pro-gun changes up in Parliament but failed every time due to incompetence. That won’t change.

However they are a better option when you have no other pro-gun candidates to choose from.

 

Originally built around individual choice, the Freedom Party has a strong firearms policy which aims to get to the heart of the problems shooters have, which is the registry.

They are not after anything radical, only things that are achievable which we think is a sensible approach.

They are also contesting seats we have a strong interest in, such as Melton and Mulgrave.

On paper, the LDP is as good an option as the Freedom Party.

However they have the advantage of having two MPs.

The main reason they score five stars is the unwavering focus on firearms by Tim Quilty

If it wasn’t for him, there would be no voice for shooters in Parliament.

We need more people like Tim.

When it started in 1997, One Nation was a great option for shooters still ropable about the 1996 gun laws. 

Pauline Hanson has made ‘high level’ statements supporting shooters, but never actually did anything for us.

What laws will she push for – and why hasn’t she already done it?

Very disappointing.  Two stars.

 

... and the rest ...

There are several other minor parties who we have also assessed based on the same criteria, and listed here.  In many cases, low ratings can reflect either a position that is either ant-gun, or simply unknown.  We do not wish to take risks with unknown parties.

No stars

Animal Justice Party

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Reason Party

United Australia Party

 

One star

Companions and Pets Party

Health Party

Legalise Cannabis Victoria

New Democrats

Sustainable Australia Party

Two stars

Angry Victorians Party

Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews

 

 

Three stars

Democratic Labor Party

Family First Party

 

 

 

Our voting recommendations

The lower house (Legislative Assembly – the small ballot paper)

For the lower house, which is your local area, we recommend you:

  • Vote 1 for the LDP, Freedom Party, Angry Victorians Party or whoever else is your first preference.
  • Vote 2, 3, 4 etc for everyone else but …
  • Put the Animal Justice Party and Greens last & second last on your ballot paper.

Shooters in the seat of Mornington, are encouraged to Vote 1 for the Liberals Chris Crowther. The NSC has worked with Chris before and we know him well as being pro-shooting. 

You can see the list of candidates in your area by clicking here. You can also download a spreadsheet with all the details by clicking here.

The upper house (Legislative Council – the bigger ballot paper)

For every upper house region, we recommend shooters vote for the Freedom Party or the Liberal Democrats. Both are pro-gun and have preferenced other pro-gun parties first. over Labor, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party.

** AVOID THE PREFERENCE DEALS ** 

Control your preferences by voting “below the line”. 

DON’T LET THE GUN BANNERS STEAL YOUR VOTE.

ONLY VOTE BELOW-THE-LINE. DO NOT VOTE ABOVE IT.

If you vote “above-the-line” in the upper house (the large ballot paper – see example below), it means you are simply putting a “1” in the box against the name of your party of choice above the thick black line running across the paper. 

It’s quick, and easy to do. That’s why most people do it, and don’t give it a second thought.   After all, if you Vote 1 for a pro-gun party, that’s all that happens, right?

No.  Voting above the line means your preferences (if your preferred candidate doesn’t get up)  get allocated by the party as part of a ‘preference’ deal.  It can mean your vote ends up with someone else who you would never vote for. 

This is especially the case in Northern Victoria where strong preference flows will see at least 1 more Animal Justice Party candidate get elected – and possibly even a second one!

DO NOT vote “above the line”. It’s way too dangerous.

Voting below the line” means you control where your preferences go.  To do that, you must number at least 5 boxes below the line but you can continue numbering the boxes for as long as you like. 

See the example to the right to see what to do

Here is the risk that Rick Brown from CPI Strategic in blindly ‘voting above the line’  explained to readers of “Field & Game”:

There is not a lot to be gained by supporting the election of a party which is sympathetic to hunters and shooters if the preferences of that party are responsible for the election of another party which has opposite views.”

The main risk with not numbering enough boxes is that your vote gets “exhausted”.  This means if none of your preferred candidates don’t get up, your vote ends up in the bin.

While you only need to mark 5 boxes, we recommend you number at least 12 boxes, across at least 4 or 5 different parties.
It’ll take you barely 30 seconds to do this but will help save the future of hunting and firearms generally. 

Or you can simply follow our voting recommendations above. Remember to get your family members to do the same as well.

Where to find information on when and where to vote

Key dates and other information on how and when to vote, can be seen on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website by clicking here. You can find what electorate you are in by clicking here

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