Following months of campaigning, daily policy announcements and regular updates from our SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department, the Federal Election is finally coming to an end with the Coalition claiming a close victory. At time of writing, a number of Senate seats still remain undeclared and the new ministry and cabinet are yet to be announced.
Regardless of the end result, the SSAA is willing and able to work with most of our elected officials as we continue to protect firearm owners’ interests and make representation to the new government about issues affecting our chosen recreation. The fallout from the election results thus far features on our Politics News. For the latest updates, I implore members to regularly visit our website, subscribe to our emails and follow our Facebook page.
In the dying days of the long campaign, we could not let a cynical attempt from Gun Control Australia (GCA) to make legitimate firearms ownership an election issue go unchallenged. Relying on its usual emotional attacks, the GCA questioned the need for the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun in a series of print and social media advertisements. We issued a factual statement of response to all media nationwide on behalf of one million licensed firearm owners, with many shooters taking to social media to share our accompanying graphic.
However, an arrogant response from an ABC producer labelling our statement as “propaganda” and requesting we cease sending him our press releases demonstrates the challenges we face in attracting unbiased media coverage, even from our public broadcaster. The hypocrisy worsens, with the same broadcaster under fire for breaching its editorial standards on its Catalyst science program, seeing a reporter suspended and a review of the program in its entirety. But it is clear that producers more often than not call the shots regarding editorial direction, as we found out first-hand. Keep checking our website, emails and Facebook page for any updates about our official complaint.
In positive news, the Sydney SSAA SHOT Expo proved an enormous success with record-breaking crowd numbers. The Expo always provides a fantastic opportunity for keen shooters, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to see the latest products and ask questions directly to industry representatives, but it also gives the SSAA the opportunity to build relationships with many supportive politicians who attend. It was pleasing to host the president of our New Zealand counterparts, the Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO) as we continue to strengthen our ties with our neighbours.
With a view to forming a relationship between our two associations, I had a very cordial meeting with the CEO of the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association who visited our shores last month. Ongoing dialogue with this like-minded group will take place at the Conservation through Sustainable Use of Wildlife Conference to be held in my home state of Queensland at the end of the month, of which the SSAA is a major supporter. The SSAA has also committed to send a team to compete in target shooting in the African nation later this year.
Finally, like many keen shooters, I will be cheering for our finest shooters as they head to Rio to represent our country in the Olympic Games this month and Paralympics next month. With medal-winning chances, the Games are a great opportunity to showcase the shooting sports and it is pleasing to see the public and media embrace our recreation, if albeit fleetingly. We still have much work to do in breaking down misconceptions about our sport, but rest assured your SSAA is fully committed and will continue to play an integral role.