MEDIA REPORTS suggest a Victorian Parliamentary Committee appears set to recommend a total ban on duck hunting from as early as next year.
The report will be handed down at the end of August.
The report is one thing, but what the government does may be another.
IF THE RECOMMENDATION comes out as has been suggested, it does not automatically mean duck hunting will be banned.
It’ll be up to the Victorian Andrews Labor Government to decide what it does with the recommendation.
If Labor gets the decision wrong, it could not only spark a political backlash from the shooting community, but potentially unwelcome industrial action by key unions.
The parliamentary committee
The committee is chaired by Labor MP, Ryan Batchelor – son of former Labor MP, Peter Batchelor. As such, his upbringing seems to have been in politics rather than “on the land”.
The committee’s membership include a mix of MPs from both sides of parliament.
This includes the Animal Justice Party’s Georgie Purcell. Purcell’s main focus has been to push for a ban on duck hunting. The only reason she got elected was because of ‘preference harvesting’ which we have previously commented on as being bad for shooters. Now you know why.
What will Labor do?
ON ONE HAND, the majority of Labor MPs have said they support a ban on duck hunting.
These include Melton’s Steve McGhie, who we gave attention to on this matter at last year’s Victorian State Election. Plus upper house MP, Lizzie Blandthorne, is also very much against duck hunting.
On the other hand, the party’s administration knows that shooting – duck hunting in particular – carries a lot of votes, and that shooters don’t forget.
Without wishing to jinx the issue – the issue of duck hunting has come up several times under Victorian Labor Governments because of the internal issues, only to be left alone.
It has come up at State Labor Conferences, even spurring the creation of a breakaway group of MPs who went public on their position – but they didn’t get their way. Part of the reason they didn’t, might be because Victorian shooting organisations did their work to ensure that Labor got the message about the political fallout.
In our view, Labor is a smarter political animal that the coalition. They know that they need to tread the thin line that separates what some party members might want, and what might happen at the ballot box.
That’s why shooters MUST keep the pressure up. If we don’t, the balance tips in the favour of a ban.
What would a ban mean?
If you go to any duck opening briefing (Duck Fever night), you will see just how popular duck hunting is. In some parts of Melbourne, the popularity among some ethnic groups is particularly strong.
What this means is that a ban would not only be devastating for hunters, but it would hit some segments of the community particularly hard.
It would also take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Victorian economy, as gun shops, motels and other service providers lose important income for struggling communities.
Places like Donald, in the state’s north, would suffer, while metropolitan Melbourne would not.
A ban on duck hunting could then flow to other forms of hunting, with deer hunting probably next cab off the rank.
Tradies may yet fire up
As every shooter knows, shooting is popular among tradies.
The Herald Sun reports that Electrical Trades Union state secretary Troy Gray has vowed to run a multimillion dollar campaign in support of duck hunting.
The paper says the same union had, earlier this year, walked from the Metro Tunnel project, with 800 workers storming off the job to protest potential restrictions on duck hunting, and other outdoor activities.
While there are other internal issues that the unions are fighting, the fact the ETU is taking this issue on is definitely not lost on Labor.
What can you do?
Obviously backing the NSC is a great way of bringing attention to this matter and helping shooters understand what is happening that affects them.
However if you live in Victoria, you need to find and write to your local MP now! Go to https://new.parliament.vic.gov.au/contacting-members/
That page will help you find your local MP and then write to them. Tell them that you love duck hunting, why it matters to you, and that you will vote against any MP who backs a ban.