Following the success of the first Parliamentary Friends of Shooting range day, the SSAA has again hosted a number of politicians and political staffers to a session of shooting, this time with a focus on the Combined Services discipline. The event drew a number of new faces to the ACT SSAA Majura Shooting Complex in Canberra in mid-May.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, along with Labor MP Anthony Byrne, initiated the day, while Liberal MP Ian Goodenough performed formal introductions. During his welcoming speech Mr Goodenough gave generous praise to the SSAA and put his full support into the occasion. It was heartening to see a number of sides of politics come together to show their backing for the shooting sports.
SSAA National CEO Tim Bannister took the opportunity to explain the various activities the SSAA initiates, including operating hundreds of ranges, promoting safety and our many conservation efforts. Volunteers Ross Bills and David Thompson, from SSAA ACT Combined Services, gave a fascinating and informative history of Combined Services discipline and SMLE rifles.
It was clear all the politicians and staffers had a great time shooting, and although they mainly stuck to .22 rounds there were a variety of calibres used. The political staffers came from the office several politicians including Labor Senator Penny Wong, Liberal MP Dan Tehan and Liberal Senator Eric Abetz. The day finished with a Field Rifle competition which had slightly modified rules. Senator Leyonhjelm assured the crowd he had beaten Senator McKenzie and all other scores were too close to call.
Senator McKenzie closed the event by thanking the SSAA and its volunteers. She also announced that the next gathering will likely be held on a weeknight so as to attract even more politicians who will be sitting during the week in Canberra. The next discipline will be clay targets at night which promises to make an impressive spectacle.
Of course, the happening was only possible because of SSAA volunteers willing to give up their time and making sure everyone had a safe and fun outing. All those who attended the day had at least used a firearm once before, so our goal for the next shoot will be to recruit more politicians and political staffers who are unfamiliar or have never held a firearm before. We will continue doing our best to ensure bigger and better political range days.