Time seems to fly by ever quicker these days. Suddenly it’s that time of year when we savour a look back over the past 12 months, take stock and perhaps allow ourselves a glimpse at what the future may hold.
For the SSAA, the span of 2018 has been a resounding success with us making our presence felt even more widely on the domestic and international scenes. The pace of events appears to be constantly increasing and with the magical figure of 200,000 SSAA members drawing ever closer, it’s a true sign our influence really is alive and well.
For instance, there has been an intensified involvement of the SSAA across the media landscape with new initiatives on social media and groundbreaking promotions such as the SSAA television advertisements on regional 7Mate and WIN channels.
A further expanse of SSAA ambitions has been the arrival of the Australian Women’s Shooter under the expert tutelage of editor Gemma Dunn, a lauded professional shooter and coach. We are indeed fortunate to have someone as talented and aware as Gemma coming on board. The landmark launch has set the scene for greater recognition, inclusion and participation of women in our activities. And let’s not forget the heightened influx of juniors at branches up and down the country. This is another positive aspect to the future of our sport.
There has been a raft of enterprising programs delving into expanded wildlife and conservation activities as well as research projects. And international relations and affiliations have also taken on a heartening impetus.
The year has afforded an opportunity to look back in time with this magazine re-running articles from the first issue of the Sporting Shooters’ Journal from April 1963. It’s fascinating how some of the topics discussed seem as relevant now as they were all those decades ago. As the old saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. I recommend those articles to everyone as I, for one, never fail to be humbled and inspired by the wisdom and foresight of our SSAA forebears. It’s up to us to keep carrying their vision forward.
The success of our increased lobbying on the political front is evidenced by the burgeoning numbers of politicians eager to know more about shooting matters. At the most recent get-together of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group in Canberra, there seemed to be more politicians than ever before who wanted the chance to step up and try their hand with a firearm. And why not? As we constantly stress, our sport is non-exclusive and open to all ages, genders and skill levels.
Senator Bridget McKenzie, as Sport Minister, is one of our most high-profile supporters but at the SSAA SHOT Expo in Perth a couple of months ago there were no less than nine state and federal politicians in attendance. One of those was another prominent figure, Pauline Hanson, who travelled from the other side of the country to take in the west coast showpiece. It’s all a sign that legitimate shooters are being taken seriously.
But we must not rest on our laurels - with your support we can look forward to the challenges of 2019. But for now here’s wishing all our members the very best for a fulfilling and safe Christmas and New Year season.