It took more than a month to finalise results. Now the 45th Parliament will sit for the first time, with a diverse group of elected officials promising interesting political times ahead. On behalf of the SSAA, I have congratulated our political supporters on their successful re-election and offered commiserations to those supporters who fell short at the July 2 poll.
While there are many who quietly support and defend our recreation, we welcomed the re-election of our public supporters: Bob Katter MP, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Senator David Leyonhjelm, Ian Goodenough MP and Senator Bob Day. I also extended our gratitude to Victorian Senator Ricky Muir and Tasmanian MP Eric Hutchinson, who were not re-elected.
Going forward, we have already sent newly elected parliamentarians a copy of our award-winning cookbook, Field to Fork - The Australian Game Cookbook, which illustrates a key motivation for why we hunt: to put fresh, free-range food on the table. I look forward to representing the SSAA and working productively with most of our newly elected officials and, as always, we will bring members the latest updates through the political arm of the SSAA, the SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department. Make sure you subscribe to our E-newsletters, follow the SSAA National Facebook page and check our website for regular updates.
The Coalition has certainly hit the ground running, announcing funding to combat the real threat of illegal firearm imports, rather than the tired old approach of further policing law-abiding firearm owners who pose no threat to public safety. Reappointed Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced $3 million for the Victorian arm of the National Anti-Gang Squad (NAGS), $6.2 million for the Western Australian NAGS and around $25.4 million for the Australian Federal Police to increase firearms intelligence and forensic capabilities. Our SSAA-LA department answered media calls about our views on illegal imports - another welcome change from the usual media requests wrongly linking licensed firearms to crime.
While we applaud moves by the government to target illicit imports, members can rest assured that we will be querying the decision to extend the import ban on lever-action shotguns of more than five shots, including the Adler A110, as the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) review ramps up. The SSAA has a seat at the table with Minister Keenan as part of the Firearms Industry Reference Group, which is set to reconvene in the coming months.
The anti-gun movement is becoming more vocal as the NFA returns to the agenda. Gun Control Australia (GCA) once again insulted law-abiding shooters, with Samantha Lee telling media that criminals are not illegally importing firearms; instead, they are apparently stealing “rapid fire” lever-action shotguns based on century-old technology from sporting shooters. We contacted the media outlet to offer evidence-based comments about the reality of the black market, while authoring our own story pointing out how irresponsible it is to downplay the real threat of illegal imports.
By the beginning of September, a major conservation gathering, hosted by The University of Queensland and proudly supported by the SSAA, will have just been held in my home state of Queensland. The SSAA is a key player in conservation and wildlife management, which is why we publically supported the Conservation through Sustainable Use of Wildlife Conference. A full story will feature in a coming Australian Shooter magazine.
While the nation celebrated a gold medal for shooting at the Rio Olympic Games, we look forward to hailing the successes of our Paralympic shooters this month. These games showcase just how compatible sports such as shooting can be for competitors of all abilities, and together with the fact that the SSAA’s membership has now surpassed the 180,000 mark, that is something we should all celebrate.