Here we are at the end of another year frantically looking back wondering where the time went, attempting to catalogue what has happened throughout that period and at the same instance trying to plan and peer forward to the year ahead.
The tragedy of the Christchurch murders has weighed heavily on us all and we are still working closely with our New Zealand cousins in trying to bring some sense to the debate. We can see much of the same political, self-serving rhetoric and ineffective firearms legislation strategies we have experienced over the past 20-odd years here in Australia, only serving to unfairly restrict and alienate legitimate firearms owners who should be respected as being among the most upstanding community members in the country.
We have expanded our international relationships with an agreement between SSAA, COLFO (Council of Licenced Firearms Owners, New Zealand) and SAGHCA (South African Game Hunters and Conservation Association) to have a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in cooperation wherever possible. To build on our common interests and explore new opportunities we are looking forward to a face-to-face meeting in the New Year that will be an exciting time for the three Associations.
More recently, the SSAA SHOT Expo in Melbourne was another outstanding success. Thanks must go to host SSAA Victoria staff and volunteers, SSAA National staff and volunteers, our major partners Winchester Australia, Swarovski Optik, Polaris and Outdoor Sporting Agencies and our Expo organiser Michael Allendorf and his team from Level Up Events. For those who missed the Expo this year, you will have a chance to share the excitement in Sydney in June 2020.
It was pleasing to welcome a number of visiting politicians who took the time and showed a genuine interest to come and chat and find out first-hand what a great fun, family sport we enjoy. Of course, the unbelievably energetic Senator Bridget McKenzie was there for the whole weekend interacting and offering her unparalleled support as always. The various SSAA websites and Facebook pages have reports, interviews and updates for an array of interests.
Following straight on from the Melbourne Expo was the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group of Federal Parliamentarians. An initiative driven again by Senator McKenzie, this event was held in Parliament House in Canberra and is co-chaired by Senator McKenzie and the Hon Rob Mitchell MP. Of course, the SSAA PR and lobbying teams attended and it was a great opportunity to catch up again with World Cup shotgun shooters Penny Smith and James Willett who were guests of honour, again presenting the shooting sports in the best possible light.
Just these few highlights do not really do justice to the breadth of issues covered over the past year and looking forward there are several initiatives already being considered for implementation and improvement in the New Year, so watch this space.
SSAA’s lobbying efforts never cease and our integrity and strength of numbers ensure we gain the ear of authorities and legislators and are taken seriously when we do speak. To maintain our collective influence we need you to help us to help you so renew your membership promptly, encourage a mate to join and look to see if you can sponsor a junior. There is no better value for money membership on offer.
I trust everyone has a great Christmas or end of year break however you see it and enjoy a prosperous New Year in 2020. Enjoy your shooting.