“The Nats need to think beyond donations, committees, paper plans and dodgy studies – and get serious with fixing the real problems shooters have.”
why the nats dropped key commitments
IN THIS ARTICLE, we explain why the Nationals were set to make some of the most important commitments seen by Victorian shooters prior to the Victorian State Election, when it got sabotaged by a political donation from our own side.
We’ll also explain why we need shooters to get on the phone to the offices of two National Party MPs – and what to say.
Gone, to the highest bidder
THE VICTORIAN NATIONALS have sold out on shooters again, in one of the most insulting ways imaginable.
We recently explained how the Nationals decided not to proceed with policy commitments that would have helped the broader shooting community, and instead agreed to commitments that were only going to benefit the SSAA Vic, FGA and ADA.
This happened around the same time the SSAA made a $3,800 donation to the Nats in two instalments last August. It’s a move that the SSAA still refuses to explain to its members.
What did shooters get – and what did they miss out on?
The commitment from the Nationals was addressed to the SSAA, which was the only shooting organisation that had donated to them.
What the nats gave
The commitments are in relation to matters, most of which are of no interest to the broader shooting community.
They were in relation to two specific reserves, a hunting plan, funding for facilities and the continuation of a committee.
These commitments are of interest to the SSAA, FGA and ADA, but ignore the needs of over 30 other shooting organisations in Victoria.
It also overlooks the needs of the 200,000+ other shooters who aren’t members of any organisation.
Simply put, the Nats had an opportunity to help the Victorian shooting community, but ended up following the money.
The Nats reneged on earlier commitments
Through the NSC and in the lead up to the November election, the Nationals agreed in to a suite of other commitments which we believe were good for shooters, which the major parties would run with.
They were for:
- badly needed changes to the Firearms Act to expand appeal rights and clarify when gun bans can be issued;
- the development of a better narrative to support the shooting sports in legislation, policy and administration; and
- legislated protections to keep Victoria’s duck hunting season.
Mr Walsh withdrew these after the SSAA made its donation, and in November, put a watered-down set of commitments to the SSAA.
If Walsh had stuck with his earlier commitment, it would have been a great win for Victorian shooters. It would have set the tone for our discussions with Labor, and pave the way for more at future elections. Instead they got dumped – for a paltry $3,800.
What also disappoints us is that Walsh made no effort to explain why the Nats dropped their earlier commitments.
We need shooters to send Walsh a message – read on to find out how…
The National's Bridget McKenzie also needs to pick her game for shooters
Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie is another Nat who we believe is too close to the SSAA.
Some time ago McKenzie commissioned a report into the benefits of shooting.
For a report to do this, it would need to acknowledge the significant economic benefits of the shooting sports from the nearly 1m licensed shooters, and the role that Australia’s 90 plus shooting organisations play.
Even the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA), which previously estimated the economic benefits of shooting at around the $2bn mark nationally, knows this.
The Combined Firearms Council of Victoria (CFCV), of which the SSAA Vic is a a member, also arrived at a similar figure in its own study around the same time.
Yet the report commissioned by McKenzie only acknowledged the existence of three shooting organisations – coincidently the same three that Walsh made his commitment to (plus, strangely, the bowhunters).
There are over 90 other shooting organisations Australia wide. They include Shooting Australia, Australian Clay Target Association, Pistol Australia, gun collectors, deer stalkers and so on.
Yet none of these rated a mention. Not only that, but the majority of shooters don’t belong to a shooting organisation, but make up the majority of the economic value of shooting. McKenzie’s report makes no mention of them.
The report which she commissioned was also disrespectful in the way it was written.
It was meant to be about the benefits of recreational shooting. However target shooting, which many of the country’s shooting organisations specialise in, gets just one short section, accounting for 157 of the 17,000 words in the report.
Those 157 words didn’t even mention the benefits of target shooting, which means it simply wasn’t included.
Click here to join now
More information on this can be seen in this story.
We have no doubt McKenzie is pro-shooting and we are appreciative of that. However we believe that like Walsh, McKenzie is rusted on SSAA.
This is despite the fact they are just one of several shooting organisations and who lack the reach that many of those other organisations have on the national and world stages.
That’s not a criticism of what the SSAA does (it arguably serves its membership well). However it is an important perspective that the Nationals need to understand.
Another black mark against McKenzie’s name is that prior to the Victorian State Election, she accused the ultra gun-friendly LDP of sending its preferences to Labor.
That was false. The LDP sent its preferences to pro-gun parties first, and to the coalition before Labor.
That’s why we also need you to send the same message to McKenzie.
The nationals need to broaden their focus - and they need to do it Urgently!
Whether you are an individual shooter, or represent a shooting organisation, we need to put an end to this poor treatment of shooters by the Nationals.
The Nats were given a golden opportunity to do the right thing, but they didn’t. Instead they gravitated to a noisy part of the community, to the exclusion of everyone else.
The Nationals need to show they care about shooters, take a broader look at the shooting industry and adopt a wider policy platform. Consulting the industry through us or directly would be a good start.
One final plea
On 29 November, we wrote to Walsh and McKenzie asking them to consider their position and speak with us.
The only response we received was from Mr Walsh.
While we are grateful for the fact he did reply, his response didn’t address the issue and went on about how Labor is.
He may be right, but that does not excuse the dumping of good policy by his side of politics.
You can read his letter by clicking on the image to the right or clicking here
TIME FOR ACTION:
GET ON THE PHONE!
WALSH AND MCKENZIE need to get the message that if they are going to say they are pro-shooting, then the Nats need to think beyond donations, committees, paper plans and dodgy studies – and get serious with fixing the real problems shooters have.
Walsh and McKenzie need to understand that the world of shooting is more complex than they have painted it out to be. They also need to show more respect to the industry than they have done.
Leader of the National Party Vic.
Electorate office (03) 5482 2039
National Party Senator for Victoria
Electorate office (02) 6024 2560
McKenzie’s office often uses an answering machine. Pls feel free to leave a message to the effect below.
PLEASE DON’T leave the phone calls “to someone else”.
The more calls politicians like Walsh and McKenzie get, the more they will realise how wrong they are. It’ll take you just five minutes to do, and it’ll be five minutes of their time that will be noticed.
Then, please email us to let us know when you’ve finished. Simply click here to do that.
Be firm but polite. There is simply no benefit in being angry, demanding or irrational – but make sure don’t accept weak excuses.
Our message to Walsh and McKenzie is don’t ignore shooters. You won’t impress anyone by pandering up to just a couple of shooting organisations while ignoring the rest. Please also understand that some of those you are dealing with are using you to be devisive for their own gain. All for a paltry $3,800…
You have our number: call us today.