THE PREMIER OF TASMANIA, PETER GUTWEIN, thinks that competitive clay target shooting is too dangerous for school kids to get involved in.

It’s an insulting view that puts Tasmania at odds with other states which have off-campus school shooting activities. It also puts him at odds with history.

In this article we:

  • Explain the background to the off-campus shooting ban;
  • Provide full copies and excerpts of correspondence from the Tasmanian Premier and two ministers;
  • Ask you to send an email to the Premier using the link below to let him know why he should change his view

On the wrong side of history

School shooting activities go back a long way.  It’s therefore disappointing to see the Tasmanian Premier ignore this.

In preparing this story, we found this article on Field and Game’s website which show that its school based clay target shooting activities date back to the 1960s. 

Many schools used to run their own events, with institutes such as Sydney High School having its won rifle club as far back as 1883.  

 In fact this article explains how the school sent teams overseas to contest international events. 

Sydney High School Rifle Club Committee c1889

Sir Henry Bolte,
former Premier of Victoria

Shooting has a history where Governor-Generals, Prime Ministers and State Premiers have not only managed to undertake shooting without incident, but been patrons of shooting organisations.

It’s a history enjoyed by many other famous people such as Suzie Quatro, Dame Nellie Melba, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jackie Stewart, Anthony Andrews, Sean Connery, Barry Gibb and the Queen. 

It’s the history lesson Mr Gutwein must have missed at school.

The lesson Mr GutWein missed

We thought we’d make this clearer with a video involving many of the above people at a shotgun event organised by racing legend, Jackie Stewart.

They are undertaking shooting in exactly the same setting that Mr Gutwein thinks is too dangerous for his students. 

Disclaimer: No entertainers or sports stars were injured during the making of this video.

The education department takes an inflammatory position

Prior to this year’s Tasmanian State election, the local Minister for Sport, Jane Howlett (pictured below), was approached by a local club about the Department of Education’s opposition to off-campus shooting activities up with the Minister for Education.

In its appeal, the club noted the significant benefits of shooting, and hoped for a change in attitude among the bureaucrats.

The club received a response which explains that the Tasmanian Government considers shooting too dangerous for Tasmanian school kids to participate in.

Minister Howlett says she was just the messenger. That’s correct, but she is also part of the executive arm of government who must be prepared to stand and fight on matters that affect her portfolio. 

For that reason, we made the story public, urging Minister Howlett to have the position changed through whatever means were available to her.  As this occurred shortly before a state election, we encouraged shooters to change their vote away from the Liberals while this policy persisted.  You can see the article we published by clicking here.

This was followed by a series of exchanges with Minister Howlett and the Minister for Education, Sarah Courtney. Minister Howlett described our position as a “deliberate misrepresentation” of the government’s position.  However the words “must not be undertaken” are pretty clear in their meaning.

There were other reasons why we took a position against the Liberals, but this was by far, the main one.

To her credit, Minister Howlett later tried to keep the peace by taking this matter up with Minister Courtney.   Her office even offered to broker a meeting with us after the election which at least would have enabled us to have a rational discussion with the government about the matter.

Sports Minister, Jane Howlett, MP

Tasmania's education minister says the shooting sports are risky

Following the election, we wrote to several ministers including Minister’s Howlett and Courtney.

The response from Minister Courtney now offers a slightly different explanation.

In her response, she noted the long history of clay target shooting in the community and pride at the performance of our overseas teams. 

The response says the Department of Education does not consider target shooting to be linked to violence. It was a great start ….  BUT …. went onto to say off-campus shooting is not suitable because of the risk involved and drew parallels with bungee jumping, hang gliding, parachuting and caving.

At the core of her letter was this statement: there is considered to be a foreseeable risk of serious injury” associated with clay target shooting.

This is a fiction.  There are no incidents because of the way safety is managed.

The risk of any injury is so negligible, insurance claims are rarely, if ever, made.  In fact we’ve never heard of an insurance claim being made which is why the insurance industry loves shooting clubs.

It means the risk of serious injury is not reasonably foreseeable.  That’s something even the Queen (pictured right) would agree with.

The Queen

Yet the Minister sees fit to say otherwise even though she has no basis for making her statement.

Click here to see Minister Courtney’s letter in full. 

Tasmanian premier gambles on a complete ban

Unimpressed, we wrote to the Premier, Peter Gutwein. We copied Minister’s Howlett and Courtney in, and offered him an opportunity to provide an alternative reply.

We also made it clear we were prepared to let every gun club in Tasmanian know about the policy and take this matter to the ballot box, starting with the next upper house election next year (Tasmania’s upper house has partial elections every year).

Here is his response (click here for the full version). In it, he says:

If the language seems very familiar, it’s because it was taken from Minister Courtney’s response. 

Time to take action

We’ve started the process of writing to every gun club in Tasmania.

We’ve also started moves to get involved in next year’s upper house elections and are currently discussing what can be done with a pro-shooting party in the state.

Mr Gutwein calls it a threat: we call it the cost of making bad political decisions.

We want Mr Gutwein to change his tune – and to do it quickly.

Peter Gutwein promoting the more injury prone sport of football to Tasmanian kids


Help us get change

Help us convince Mr Gutwein to reverse his policy.
Click the orange box to send him an email today!

22 thoughts on “PARANOID: Tasmanian Premier goes for broke on off-campus target shooting

  1. David says:

    Ah we all know the education system of this country is a joke anyway. Although it’s sad but not unexpected to see the govt taking this attitude we can certainly circumvent their policies by shooters taking their kids and kids friends camping and shooting outside the school system on week ends or where ever possible. It’s up to the patents now to show our kids the system is letting us down.

  2. Ray Murphy says:

    I have been shooting and teaching shooting for 60 years. i taught my children and grandchildren to shoot. I see injured carry off football fields every week. I have never seen anyone injured in shooting. Shooting is statistically provable to be if not ghe sagest then certainly one if the safest past times/sports /hobbies there is..

  3. Terry Sinclair says:

    We have no education system and haven’t had for at least two decades. It’s an indoctrination scheme where parents get threatened with fines for not sending our kids to these places.
    Now what regime does that sound like…?
    Gutwhine is well aware of the history, he is no better than the Khmer Rouge, Marx, Mao and the rest of the reds because their goal is to rewrite history and erase a nations heritage.
    Yes we lost millions in both world wars but if it wasn’t for the fact that the majority of those men were capable of safely handling firearms whether through being in Cadets or stockmen, we’d have lost a lot more. How many trained, competent and legal firearms owners have been violent at home Mister Gutwhine? Show me the stats. I’ll wait.

  4. Lawrence Lyons says:

    Tell him the Olympics are on at the moment and to back off on shooting. It is a National Sport as well as an International sport and children above the age of 12 years (air) 14 year (rim-fire) that wish to shoot accompanied by an adult are more of a priority to Australians than his political career.

  5. Len Salter says:

    I am guessing that the stats. would show more kids are injured Skiing, Biking and Bush walking than controlled Shotgun events. Market the sport to Private schools, which most Pollies. kids would attend anyway.

  6. kevin oates says:

    So shooting firearms is potentially dangerous, but football is allowed where there are injuries in almost every game. Oh but thats OK because football is a national game, cant ban that can we.

  7. Mike Woods says:

    Good on ya NSC. Unfortunately the current mob of treasonous bastards in government throughout Australia are all feeding on the same public nipple. Thank you for ‘shining the light on them’ and keeping issues like this in the public arena, exposing these politicians for as the liars and deceivers they are.

  8. Mark says:

    As for risk, or perceived risk, ANY other form of sport would potentially be more dangerous than any shooting discipline,. How many documented injuries are there from all other sports, and how do they compare to shooting? How often are there violent actions during contact sports, as opposed to shooting disciplines? Using the Tasmanian government’s own tests one should ban all forms of competition within the State System.

  9. Philip Walter says:

    Dear Sir
    With Respect
    Sbooting in schools has been conducted for over 100 years my father participated in school shoots in 1927
    Along with thousands of others Which prepared them for WW11 without the AUSTRALIANS knowledge and recognised shooting abilities you would be unable to talk the way you do
    I have coached thousands of school students in and outside school hours
    NOT ONE accident or injury
    Shooting is the safest and regulated sports available for students who cannot partake in the DANGEROUS sport of footbal which you promote
    Many children have promicing futures crushed by on field activities and injuries broken bones etc
    Your attitude towards the shooting sports as a teaching aide for RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP AND SAFETY is recognised WORLD WIDE
    Your attitude is making TASMANIA a laughing stock across the map
    I suppose ypu will want our OLYMPIC shooters to stop winning medals. These shooters started whilst at school .
    Shooting is safer than any ball sport including netball your sport i assume

  10. Frank Grimaldi says:

    I can’t believe the Tasmanian premier could be so narrow-minded, he has the opportunity to start the students on the right path on the use and safety of firearms and teaching them an international sport and he and the liberal part are still blinded by one incident in the history of Tasmania to deny students the joys an Olympic sport and the possibilities of representing Australia. by banning the sport it could well let champions slip through the cracks and never realize their potential.

  11. cohenite says:

    How many times do we see allegedly conservative politicians turn out to be even more left-wing/green then the lefties. This is another example. The demise of conservatism including such things as personal freedoms about such things as gun ownership is not due to the left, it’s due to so-called conservatives capitulating.

  12. Anthony Little says:

    Ge bans clay shooting, but no doubt supports Football (all codes, full contact) which contribute to more deaths and wheelchair outcomes per annum than all the histiry of sports shooting.

  13. Nicholas Berwick says:

    Premier Gutwien, in Tasmania 36 people died in auto accidents in 2020. No one died from from gunshot wounds whilst engaging in recreational clay target shooting.
    This proves driving a motor vehicle is a far more dangerous pastime than clay target shooting. Therefore by your logic all driver education programs run at schools should be discontinued immediately as it puts all students in dire peril of death or serious injury.

  14. Laurence Hare says:

    Email to premier will not download ??? I wonder why ???. I agree with all of above peoples comments , obviously the pollies have never seen the way shooters at sport .22 rimefire safety is enforced at the ranges . People with some physical dissabilities can shoot competitively at bench rest , after occurring injuries at so called safe sports .Am I to be discriminated and have to give up my sport , because it is deemed to be dangerous by misinformed beuraucrats and left wing utopians

    • Neil Jenkins says:

      Thanks laurence. There was an unrelated problem with the webhost at our end that happened to occur at the wrong time for us. However it’s been fixed so pls try again. Regards
      Neil Jenkins – NSC

  15. Noel Cook says:

    Back in 1952 Adelaide Technical High School had its own smallbore rifle team, as did most other schools.. In five years on that team not one of us ever got injured, which is more than I can say about the cricket, football and netball teams who all had walking wounded every Monday. I was 12 then, I’m 80 now and still a competitive shooter. Still haven’t been hurt either.

    • David M says:

      Congratulations. May I suggest you may have also done something with your life?

      r/Socialism on Reddit just did a survey:
      – 48% unemployed,
      – 61% live with parents, and
      – 14% support free speech.

      And that’s one group who are accusing you.

  16. Malcombe Ambrose says:

    Tell this bloke Australia’s first gold medal was won by an Australian in shooting back in the early 1900’s.
    Juan Samaranch presented this gold to Australia when he came to the Sydney Olympics.

  17. peter daniel bowman says:

    is this the start of disarming the people , i started shooting at 12 years old , my 3 children all still shoot clay targets ,even while still in school

  18. nathan dunning says:

    Great work, Peter Gutwein is a spineless Politicians who takes his Marching orders from Canberra who in turn take theirs from the UN and unelected Billionaire Globalist’s. One thing the So called pandemic has exposed is they are completely subject to faceless Oligarchs & sacrificing our Rights & Freedoms is nothing to them.

  19. Ms Jasper Jabbari says:

    Dear Mr Gutwein,
    I agree with everyone’s comments on this public forum. I want you to please back up your reasoning with statistical evidence of injuries / harm or death caused by incidents in the licensed shooting sports. Put up the evidence or reverse your stance or get out of politics.

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