Despite a last-ditch attempt by the anti-gun lobby and shameless media hysteria regarding proposed gun law changes, the Tasmania Liberal party was re-elected for a second term at the weekend. The result has been welcomed by SSAA Tasmania.
The SSAA made headlines the day before the March 3 poll, with many mainstream media outlets running a story saying the Tasmania Liberals made a “secret promise” to the SSAA to “water down gun laws”. News Corp even claimed they obtained the firearms policy document “exclusively”. In reality, the document was published more than two weeks before the final poll and shared directly with Tasmania’s 37,000 law-abiding firearm owners via the SSAA National website and Facebook page.
On the eve of the vote, the SSAA made it clear the policy document was provided to us as the main stakeholder affected by firearms laws. It is not unusual for special interest groups to seek specific policies relevant to each industry. SSAA Tasmania President Andrew Judd told The World Today the proposed changes were not a relaxation of current laws, making it clear the proposal to adopt 10-year licenses for category A and B firearms was already the case in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
In a refreshing change, Gun Control Australia’s Roland Browne finally acknowledged that the National Firearms Agreement is not binding on the states and territories, however, he did take another swipe at Tasmanian law-abiding firearm owners, saying we should not be granted 10-year licences as it might pave the way for another Port Arthur tragedy. It is important to note there was just one firearm homicide in Tasmania in 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In spite of the hysteria, the Tasmania Liberals policy document was categorically moderate. Establishing a new world-class shooting range, promising to form a consultative firearms advisory group and improving the Firearms Services branch was not reported by the mainstream media.
While SSAA Tasmania heralds the re-election of the Liberal party, it appears the Tasmanian Greens recorded its lowest vote in its birth state in almost three decades. With the party currently holding just one seat - down from three - a swing of almost four per cent against the party is a sign of the changing political sentiment in the state.
With the Tasmanian Election now over, firearm owners in South Australia will head to the polls on March 17. SSAA South Australia has approached the major parties requesting views on firearms, which the SSAA will share accordingly.