One of the advantages of being the biggest collective group of shooters in the country is our capacity to promote the benefits of sports shooting and hunting to a broad audience, including politicians, the media and the general public. I am pleased to announce that as part of our role in educating others about our recreation, the SSAA is running a series of national television advertisements to coincide with the launch of a new show, Hunting the Menu.
Some members may recall our popular Field to Fork: Hunting the Menu series that aired on our SSAA TV YouTube channel. The success of this mini-series and slick work of the Hunting the Menu crew has secured them a spot on Aurora TV and community stations. It was only natural that the SSAA came on board as major sponsors of the series, which first aired on Monday, January 23.
If you have not yet seen it, our television ad invites non-members and likeminded people to ‘Join Us’. We also issued a nationwide press release, along with a targeted social media campaign directed at non-shooters, to raise further awareness about the SSAA. To view the ad, visit ssaa.org.au/ssaa-tv and make sure you share this with your networks as we continue to grow our Association.
In other positive news for our recreation, our biggest shooting, hunting and outdoors event, the SSAA SHOT Expo, has attracted the support of two new major sponsors for 2017. I am pleased to welcome Blaser Australia (Mialls Gun Shop) and Joker Knife Store, who will join ATN, Swarovski Optik and Winchester Australia as proud sponsors of our stellar occasion.
The SSAA SHOT Expos held in Sydney and Perth last year attracted record-breaking crowds as we showcased the positive aspects of sports shooting to the whole community. The event has proved to be a broad-based, family-orientated attraction that brings together the leading brands and top new products. The 2017 Expos will head to Melbourne on May 20 and 21, along with Brisbane in my home state on August 26 and 27.
While it has been a positive start to the year, the usual attack on our sport and freedoms arose during the holiday period. Disappointingly, the latest affront came from the doctors’ group, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), which chose the quiet news time to release an ill-informed firearms policy document.
With many key policy recommendations already law and its endorsement of the lever-action shotgun recategorisation plans nothing more than uneducated political grandstanding, the AMA showed just how unqualified it is to speak on firearms issues. We blasted the misguided calls to tighten already onerous restrictions on firearms ownership and I conducted a series of media interviews about the group’s unwelcome foray into firearms policy.
The commonsense response from Nationals Senator Fiona Nash, along with independent MP Bob Katter and Senator David Leyonhjelm, is to be applauded, as they all publically rejected the AMA’s proposals. Since then, we have written to the AMA offering to be a resource on firearms-related issues and to explain why some of its proposals are an insult to the nation’s one million law-abiding firearms owners.
As our federal politicians return to Canberra this month, our state SSAA branches are preparing for the Western Australia State Election and are on the front foot in the event of a snap election in Queensland. With the support of SSAA National, which continues to remain a presence on the national and international stage, 2017 looks set to be another big year for our sport. The SSAA is ready.