The numbers from the July 2 Federal Election are still trickling in, with close contests and possible recounts in many electorates preventing the official declaration of all results in a timely fashion. With the Coalition claiming victory as the count wraps up, the SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) department will continue to analyse the political outcome for our recreation and bring our members the latest updates.
Amid the murky election results, one fact remains clear: the Australian Greens party has so far failed in its bid to increase representation in the lower house with just one MP elected - Adam Bandt from central Melbourne - and has even lost at least one senate seat - Penny Wright’s replacement, Robert Simms in South Australia. The party’s aim to substantially increase the usual 10 per cent share of the vote has fallen short and it appears that the Greens party is on track to record its worst Senate result since the 2004 election.
With the Greens’ outrageous firearms policy released in the dying days of the election campaign, the party lost at least one million votes from sporting shooters - and counting. Intertwined with its justice policy, the party revealed what the SSAA-LA already knew: Greens politicians would work to ban all self-loading handguns on the unfounded grounds that this would reduce firearm-related deaths and violent crime. In addition to this, the party would recategorise lever-action shotguns to Category C or D based on magazine size and non-existent public safety issues, and continue to perpetuate the myth that legitimate firearm owners somehow contribute to the threat of terrorism. The Greens party once again proved that it remains untrustworthy and undeserving of shooters’ votes. The election results thus far show fair-minded Australians have turned away from the politicking of the extreme Greens in recent times, with an appetite for change seeing votes directed towards other minor parties.
The final election week also saw a cynical campaign from Gun Control Australia with the unashamed use of Port Arthur murders survivor, Walter Mikac, as its political mouthpiece. The GCA’s advertisements questioning the need for the Adler A110 lever-action shotgun in an attempt to make legal importation and firearms ownership an election issue also failed to gain much traction. The SSAA-LA quickly responded with our own clever graphic, which was shared far and wide, thanks to our proactive members and the power of social media.
Also at time of writing, speculation around which senators will serve the full six-year term versus the three-year term was rife, with many analysts indicating that most of the elected Greens senators would only serve a half-term. This is based on how many first-preference votes are recorded for each candidate, with the Greens already making noises about how this will be decided.
No matter the final results from the July 2 polls, the SSAA-LA will be making contact with many of the newly elected and returned politicians to make representation about our recreation on behalf of our 180,000 members and the wider firearms community. We have already turned our focus to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) pencilled for discussion this month. The ongoing review came to a standstill during the election campaign while the government was in caretaker mode, but we have still been active in ensuring this issue does not become left unresolved for our members.
With tumultuous and uncharted times ahead on the changing federal political landscape, the SSAA-LA will continue our endeavour to protect firearm owners’ interests and communicate our increasing political activities to our growing membership.