The Australian Greens may have undergone an image shift by opting for the more moderate Victorian farmer Richard Di Natale when former leader Christine Milne retired suddenly last year, but don’t be fooled by the trendy GQ magazine spread and toned-down rhetoric from the new leader. The Greens still apparently harbours an ideological hatred for civilian firearms ownership and recreational hunting.
Ignoring the invitation and several attempts by the SSAA to share its policies on firearms, hunting and the shooting sports with the entire firearms community, public comments by Greens politicians in Canberra and other states, along with the party’s political record, paints a sad picture for fellow hunters and proud conservationists whose values were once more closely aligned with the original environmental party.
Following the unsuccessful Senate Inquiry into gun-related violence led by the now-retired anti-gun Senator Penny Wright, the Greens tried a different tact and used the anniversary of the Port Arthur murders to emotionally call for further restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners. Although the flashy Greens website is quick to point out that its ‘Handguns off the streets’ policy is from the 2013 election, there is no evidence to show that the party does not and will not campaign for the same onerous and outrageous restrictions on shooters, which would see self-loading handguns banned for all users except police and defence personnel. “We know that banning semi-automatic handguns is an important step in reducing firearm-related deaths and violent crime...Australia must take steps to limit the number of guns available to reduce the number of guns falling into the hands of criminals,” the party’s offensive policy states.
The Greens also uses its small political presence to represent a number of other anti-shooting policies, including preventing those under 18 years of age from taking up shooting as a valid sport; banning hunting in national parks and state forests; calling for centralised storage; trying to introduce animal liberation ideologies; and pledging to make it near impossible to purchase multiple firearms by changing genuine reason requirements.
This year has seen current firearms spokesman Tasmanian Senator Nick McKim, who is a vocal 1080 bait opponent but is unclear on what pest control method he actually supports, jump on the anti-Adler shotgun bandwagon and follow the off-key tune of his predecessor Ms Wright, telling the media that: “The Australian Greens are extremely concerned about the number of lever-action shotguns pouring into the country, which can only increase the risk to our community and make Australia a less safe place to live and work.” He has also been reported as saying that the importation of the Adler “could necessitate another costly buy-back funded by taxpayers if these weapons are controlled under the NFA, as they should be.”
In a further display of hypocrisy the federal branch of the Greens have not supported the Coalition’s attempts to introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for illegal firearms trafficking, whereas their Victorian counterparts publicly supported the passage of similar laws just last year. Therefore the Greens remain undeserving of the trust of Australia’s one million legal firearm users and supporters. The bottom line is, don’t vote for the Greens, make sure you know where preferences will flow and be vigilant of any preference deals done come election-day.
UPDATE: The Australian Greens has waited until the last minute to release its firearms policy. Intertwined with its justice policy, the party reveals what the SSAA-LA already knew: the Greens wants to ban all self-loading handguns on the grounds that it will somehow reduce firearm-related deaths and violent crime; recategorise lever-action shotguns to Category C or D based on magazine size and apparent threat to public safety; and continue its campaign against legitimate firearm owners by painting us as contributors to the threat of terrorism. The Greens policy proves the party remains untrustworthy and undeserving of shooters’ votes.