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Hunters Voices are too loud to ignore

IGNORE the voices of Queensland shooters and hunters at your peril come election time. That’s the message from Queensland shooting peak body
Shooters Union to the major parties following the closure of a hugely successful petition on the State Government website calling for a trial of hunting in State Forests.

More than 16,000 people signed the petition, which officially closed yesterday, and Shooters Union president Graham Park said it was a message too strong for the state government to ignore.

“This number of signatures this petition received confirms what we’ve been saying for a long time – hunting and the shooting sports have a massive amount of support in Queensland.

“The only e-petitions to receive more signatures in the past five years have related to abortion laws and daylight savings. This clearly shows that making our state forests available to licensed hunters is a massively important issue with a huge level of support – and potential votes, for a government smart enough to adopt it as an official policy.”

Hunters in Queensland can presently only shoot on privately owned land with landowner permission, and the aim of the petition is to open up some or all of the state’s 3m ha of state forests for conservation hunting of feral pests such as pigs, dogs, foxes, rabbits and deer.

Shooters Union has given its full support to the proposal to open State Forests up to conservation hunting, given the numerous economic and biosecurity benefits it offers.

New South Wales allows hunting in its State Forests, with the scheme generating $1.8b for the state in the 2017-18 financial year. Victoria also allows some hunting in its forests, with its programme bringing hundreds of millions of dollars per annum as well.

Much of the money comes from hunters and their families visiting rural areas, shopping at local businesses, and stocking up on things such as food, fuel, camping supplies and ammunition.

“What sort of government wants to leave potentially more than a billion dollars on the table? You’d have to be crazy to walk away from that sort of money,” Mr Park said.

“Given how much of Queensland has been devastated by drought or natural disaster, this is an ideal way to encourage people to visit our regional areas, boost their economies, and deal with their feral pest problems too.

“There are 200,000 licensed shooters in Queensland – not to mention tens of thousands more from interstate – who are going to be watching very closely how the government and major parties respond to this petition.”

Self-Defence is an absolute right for ALL Australians

NEWS a Sydney man has been released without charges after an intruder died in his home represents a rare win for common sense in NSW.

Johan Schwartz reportedly confronted an intruder in his family’s living room and following a scuffle, the intruder died.

While the exact circumstances of the situation are still somewhat unclear, we fully support Mr Schwartz defending himself and his family, and say that no-one in his situation should have to fear potential prosecution for stepping up to the mark to protect themselves or their family – and especially not in their own home.

Self-defence is an absolute right and it is time for Castle Doctrine to be enshrined in law throughout Australia – namely, if you find an intruder in your house, you are not required to try to escape and can use any necessary force to defend yourself or your family, without fear of prosecution.

This is not a licence to take to intruders with a cricket bat for the sheer hell of it, but a recognition that someone who has broken into a house shouldn’t be there, can be reasonably assumed to intend harm to the occupants, and has forfeited their right not to have high or even extreme force used against them if the situation is serious enough.

News of the Harrington Park incident has rattled neighbours and further proves Australia’s self-defence laws need a major overhaul. We are glad detectives released Mr Schwartz without charge, albeit pending further enquiries, following an extensive interview to ascertain the facts of the matter, and we hope the same sensible approach is used the next time someone defends themselves against an intruder who has broken into their home and represents a perceived threat.

In our opinion, it’s on the intruder’s head if the residents are armed and fight back, and we don’t think there’d be many people in the community who would feel otherwise.

It’s time for activists to be moved on…

It hasn’t taken long for the animal rights brigade to start harassing farmers in the wake of the “Aussie Farms” debacle. News reports that activists were harassing a farmer in Harvey, WA resulting in a heated confrontation was exactly the sort of thing sensible people were worried would happen.

While there is some dispute over exactly how the confrontation played out, it is abundantly clear that it would not have happened had an animal rights group not taken it upon themselves to video a farm for ideological reasons.

The farmer involved said the activists’ presence was stressing his cattle out and tormenting the local community, and says the activists were verbally abusive when he asked them to leave.

While it might be legal to video or photograph private property from a public street, the legislation and precedents were clearly laid down back in an era when people generally weren’t complete muppets and could be trusted to do the right thing, and also the internet didn’t exist.

We think it’s time the various State Governments of Australia considered introducing laws which would allow landholders and homeowners the ability to “Move On” people with anti-social intentions from outside their property, even if those people were on a public road or similar. Property owners, when faced with a situation such as an animal rights group filming their farm activities, should be able to instruct them to move elsewhere, with the authorities called if the antisocial party refuses to comply.

Farmers are hardworking, passionate people who care deeply about their stock and their crops. If people with honest intentions want to see a farm working, there are a number of agricultural peak bodies and local chambers of commerce who could potentially help organise a visit. Just showing up outside a farm with a smartphone camera, a social media account, and an activist agenda is not the way to do it, and legislation needs to reflect that reality.

Between drought and floods, our hardworking farmers simply don’t need any more stress or challenges – especially not those wrought by self-righteous city-dwelling activists who have no idea about farming.

It’s very simple – eat what you like, and don’t force your dietary-lifestyle choices onto others or use them as the basis to disrupt a vital part of the Australian economy. Perhaps some of the farming peak bodies should start protesting and filming vegan restaurants and organic markets? After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Victorian Police don’t need 800 AR-15s

Victoria Police are tooling up in a big way to fight a largely imaginary enemy, it seems, following news they are acquiring 800 .223 calibre AR-15s, ostensibly to “combat terrorism.” And also this segment on 3AW.

We believe Victoria Police have failed the genuine need test in this case. What, exactly, do they need 800 AR-15s for? And “Combating Terrorism” isn’t a valid answer.

Australia is a safe country and while we must never be complacent, there simply has never been a large scale terrorist attack in the country since the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, and AR-15s would be completely useless in that sort of scenario anyway.

There is no doubt specialist units and armed offender response teams require specialist equipment including semi-auto longarms, and we are not for a moment suggesting they should not have access to them.

But your average police officer, however, simply doesn’t need an AR-15. They don’t need one in the boot of their patrol car, they don’t need a gun cabinet full of them at their local station, and the Victorian Police force certainly doesn’t need 800 of them.

Just to put that number in perspective: 800 AR-15s are enough to equip literally an entire battalion of soldiers and still have plenty left over.

Is Victoria planning to secede from Australia? Are they expecting a military invasion? No? Then what on Earth justifies having 800 AR-15s In police station gun racks across the state?

There’s certainly a case for police needing access to repeating centrefire rifles, and we would suggest that the Remington 7615P or the CZ 527 Carbine – both .223 calibre Category B firearms which are also available to licensed shooters – are better choices. They fire the same round, fill the
same “more versatile than a handgun” niche, and don’t require arming the police with military-style rifles.

It’s worth noting there are almost certainly nowhere near 800 functioning Category D firearms registered in Victoria. Simply, if licensed, law-abiding firearms owners – large numbers of whom are accomplished shooters – are denied access to these guns because they can’t be trusted with them, what makes it appropriate for frontline police to have them?

Surely the Victorian government isn’t acknowledging that Australia’s NFA-based gun laws simply don’t work, because criminals have access to banned semi-auto centrefire guns anyway?

Regardless – if Victoria is about to acquire 800 AR-15s, then it’s time for a serious discussion about letting properly licensed shooters own them as well – after all, two decades of experience has shown they are among the most trustworthy and law-abiding people in the community and there’s no
factual basis for prohibiting the guns anymore.

NSW introduces appearance laws for knives

WE always thought Western Australia was Australia’s ‘Stupid weapons laws’ capital, but New South Wales is rapidly giving them a run for their money.
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant has announced the state is banning so-called “Zombie Knives” at the end of this month, putting them
on the Prohibited Weapons schedule and requiring owners to hand them in or potentially spend 14 years as a guest of Her Majesty in one of the state’s increasingly overcrowded correctional facilities.

What exactly is a Zombie Knife, though? Various news reports (quoting a press release we have been unable to verify at time of writing) say “Zombie knives have multi-edged blades, with images, words or markings on them suggesting they are intended to be used for violence.”

This is so clearly subjective that it can only be described as “Appearance laws for knives”, which are so ridiculous it defies logic. Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said the new laws were completely crazy.

“We now face the seemingly unbelievable situation of having our knife drawer inspected to make sure there are no ‘deadly-looking’ knives lurking within,” he said. “What planet do these politicians come from?”
There are also concerns that legitimate hunting and camping knives could be caught up in this ban, as many of them have multiple edges (including saw blades) and ‘look scary’ to the average Greens voter or Facebook Mums’ Group member.

Is a hunting knife legal if it has a wooden grip but a “Zombie Knife” if it has a fluoro green plastic one? What about if it has a fluoro green grip but there’s no words on it about Zombies?

What about if it has a fluoro green grip and Zombie-related words on it, but it only has a single edge?

NSW already has “appearance laws” for firearms – because a bolt action rifle that looks a bit like a self-loading military rifle if you squint at it is apparently more dangerous than a rifle that works the same but looks like a conventional hunting rifle, apparently.

Sensible people – which apparently doesn’t include the NSW Government – know a knife is just as capable of stabbing someone regardless of whether it’s a chef’s knife or has a fluoro green grip and the words “ZOMBIE HUNTER” on it somewhere.

We would also love to see some properly sourced and reliable statistics for Mr Grant’s claims that “there’s also a huge risk of accidents by those using them (Zombie Knives) as props or toys”, as we must have missed all the news stories and social media reports about interesting- looking knives suddenly leaping off display racks to stab passers-by, or injuring Cosplayers or causing casualties while performing plays or making video content.

We cannot help but wonder if this move is part of a “Strong on Law & Order” performance by the Berejiklian Government ahead of next month’s NSW State Election – an election in which a number of seats are under serious threat from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party as well as
One Nation and various Independent candidates.

Is your professional/trade union funding gun haters?

In the wake of revelations the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) donated $200,000 to the Victorian branch of the Greens last year, shooters across Australia should pay close attention to where their professional or trade organisations choose to contribute politically.

Recently released filings with the Australian Electoral Commission confirm the donation was made in the 2017/2018 financial year. Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park described the news as mind-boggling.
“I was shocked to learn that the ETU is actively spending member’s money to support a party who openly attacks the interests of so many union members,” he said. “At first I could not believe a union was donating to the Greens, a party who is aggressively working to undermine the interests of thousands of its members who are law abiding firearm owners – never mind the fact that the Greens seem to be against most of the work electrical
workers are doing in general.” 

AEC disclosures also reveal that in the same financial year, the Victorian Greens branch provided $618,631 to the Australian Greens in “other receipts” – by far and away the largest contribution of any Greens branch to the Federal organisation – and we leave our members to draw their own conclusions as to whether the ETU donation made such a significant contribution possible.

While we at SUA support the right of individuals, businesses and organisations to donate to the political party of their choice, it is well-known the Greens are no friends to shooters.

Between frequent appearances in the media spouting gun-hating nonsense, policies which keep the wilderness away from hunters, and a worldview that doesn’t seem to extend further than its members can see from their local trendy inner-city cafe, The Greens have established themselves as avowedly anti-firearm and determined to do away with our sport entirely.

They are not the only anti-gun party out there, either – the Animal Justice Party, unsurprisingly, have a policy of “strengthen(ing) the NFA by removing access to guns for the purpose of the lethal control of animals or the recreational shooting of animals.”

If you are a member of a professional or trade organisation, we urge you to find out which political parties (if any) they are donating to – and if they are donating to anti-gun parties, we encourage you to reconsider your membership or make your views formally known to the organisation’s executive.

The 2017/2018 financial disclosures for all political parties are available at
https://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/Party.aspx

Victoria Police Refuses to Right Wrong

He served our country and did nothing wrong.

Then Victoria Police laid 8 firearm and weapon charges on him, all of which were beaten because they proved to be unfounded.

Now the red-faced regulator is trying to drive him out of business -and silence anyone wanting to help him.

This is a story about an abuse of power, a culture that ignores accountability and the need for Victoria’s public service watchdog to start asking some hard questions.

Let’s help Peter get his life back – and bring our rogue regulator back into line.
Peter (Zelko) Zabrdac is a former Australian Army soldier and leading figure in the Victorian security industry.

Over the years, Peter has advocated for the industry and shooters with some effect.  In more recent times he assisted one female security worker who received unsolicited and explicit pictures and text messages from a senior figure from Victoria Police’s Licensing & Regulation Division (LRD – the regulator for firearms and the security industry).  His efforts resulted in this story appearing about the LRD in The Age (click here to see the story) – and the officer’s resignation.   

If you read further down in the article, you will see that Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, has written to IBAC, Victoria’s Police Minister and the AFP requesting they investigate elements of the LRD’ s conduct – and the role Peter played in this.

Peter’s efforts did not please the LRD which has set out to make his life as difficult as possible.  In January 2017, Victoria Police officers working in conjunction with the LRD raided Peter’s house, as part of “Operation Baffler”. 

While Victoria Police have denied this, Operation Baffler was aimed at the security industry and appears to be ongoing. 

VicPol refuses to right a wrong

As a result of the raid, Peter was charged with 8 offences relating to failure to secure ammo and restricted weapons properly.   Peter went to trial in December.  The informing LRD officer did not want to front up to court, and had to be ordered to appear by the Judge.

Of the 8 charges, 6 were withdrawn and the remaining 2 struck out by the magistrate on just the second day.  VicPol/ LRD lost on all 8 counts and was clearly embarrassed. 

Peter then asked LRD to return his licence.  However the LRD is refusing to do so on the basis he is not a “fit and proper person” to hold them, and that doing so was “not in the interest of the public”.

Peter’s problem is that this is his livelihood.  His only recourse is through legal channels – starting at VCAT (his appeal was lodged on December 28th). 

So, we’re helping Peter with this fundraising campaign, to help him get justice.

The effect this is having on Peter

The LRD knows that the decisions it makes can drive people out of business.  If they had done something wrong, then maybe that’s a good thing.

However it is a power which can also be abused, as we are seeing here.  It certainly should not be an objective of a regulator to drive anyone out of business – especially where Peter hasn’t done anything wrong.   As a result of this, Peter is facing severe financial hardship and pressure from not being able to work.

The significance of a win

The LRD is the regulator entrusted by Parliament to do a job; one which will sometimes be a difficult one to perform.  However, we know from your numerous stories and complaints about the LRD that it is conducting itself poorly.

If Peter can win this case, it will help demonstrate to our law makers why they need to have a closer look at whether Victoria Police is the right agency to engage with the security and firearms industries given the conflict of interest it has by also being an investigative body (refer OECD Best Practice Principles on the Governance of Regulators).

Censorship

In January, Victoria Police tried to shut this effort to help Peter down, with a letter to another shooting organisation from the Victorian Government Solicitor. 

The problem?  The VGS claim that the Victoria Police logo used in the original version of the image to this story is trademarked, and that any unauthorised use of the logo is contrary to the Trade Marks Act.  We think that’s wrong, because trademarks are for goods and services, with which we do not compete.  Further, the Copyright Act authorises the use of copyrighted material where it is used for criticism or review.

We’ve removed it because we intend to have bit of fun with the claim later on.  However, it goes to show just how desperate Victoria Police are to sink Peter – and why we need to help him bring this rogue regulator to account.

How to help

This campaign has been set up to help Peter fight back.  Every donation received will go to helping Peter cover his legal costs, and hopefully explore what, if any, grounds he might have to seek damages.

To donate to Peter’s fight, just go to PayPal.Me/FightLRDinjustice

Later on, we’ll ask the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner to consider if Victoria Police are adhering the values expected of all public sector agencies – but not just yet.  Our priority is to help Peter.

Enough is Enough – End Animal Rights Activism

THEY say you should never bite the hand that feeds you, but apparently some Australia’s animal rights activists missed that memo.

Anti-farm group “Aussie Farms” has released a map of Australia showing the location of hundreds, possibly thousands, of farms, along with implications the owners may be involved in “animal exploitation”.

The organisation describes itself as “an animal rights charity, dedicating to ending commercialised animal abuse and exploitation in Australian animal agriculture facilities by increasing industry transparency and educating the public about modern farming and slaughtering practices”.

Shooters Union Stands with the National Farmers Federation and AgForce in calling for this radical group to end their malicious and offensive campaign against our nation’s farmers. 

Our farmers do not deserve this kind of toxic, deeply offensive, unfounded and dangerous attack on their character, homes and livelihood. “Aussie Farms” should be stripped of their charity status, shut down immediately and made to face the harsh penalties for seeking to impede a farmers’ freedom to farm.

We know there are entirely too many militant animal rights activists and preachy, self-righteous vegans in Australia but this latest move crosses several lines and is well and has gone well and truly beyond ‘robust discussion’ and ‘freedom of speech.’

The implications of Aussie Farms’ actions could be far-reaching, with Commonwealth Agriculture Minister David Littleproud slamming the map as an “attack list” and “abhorrent”.

“What they actually are doing is putting in place a real risk to animal welfare through biosecurity and could actually mean that some of those animals need to be destroyed because of the stupidity of some idiot who wants to get their name in the newspaper,” Mr Littleproud told ABC News.

Vegans need food too – the last time we checked, vegetables and soy and tofu didn’t just magically appear in cupboards across the land – and this unwarranted and outrageous attack on the people who literally feed our country is not only unacceptable but revolting and un-Australian.

The people who work the land, who feed us, and are the very backbone of our nation need to be supported at every opportunity, not subjected to dangerous attacks by agenda-driven radical groups.

All Australians need to join together in taking a stand against this reprehensible behaviour and say “ENOUGH!”

In the meantime, make sure you show your support for Australian farmers by making sure you buy Australian milk, Australian-grown fruit and vegetables and Australian-raised meat or poultry – we have some of the best produce in the world, raised by some of the best farmers in the world.

It’s time to talk about Self-Defence

The important discussion about personal safety which has been reignited after tragic events in Melbourne has involved a lot of screeching and blaming, but not much in the way of practical solutions.

Virtue signalling, being ‘woke’ online and blaming a specific group for the situation might win Internet Points, but it doesn’t provide a constructive solution to a real problem – namely, innocent people being attacked, sexually assaulted or even murdered and unable to effectively defend themselves.

It’s time for pepper spray – also known as mace or capsicum spray – to be legalised throughout Australia.

As a non-lethal (except in rare cases due to respiratory issues, and frankly the attacker should have thought of that before committing a serious crime) form of defence, it will allow the user an opportunity to immobilise their attacker and escape – and will be a lifesaver, especially in situations where the attacker is physically larger, drug affected, or armed.

History has shown there will always be bad people in any group intent on doing harm to those they perceive as weaker.

The situation where people are legally denied a way to defend themselves has become untenable, and it is mind-boggling that people will wail and gnash their teeth online and attend candlelit vigils for victims one night, but the very next will shout down people suggesting they should have more effective ways of defending themselves.

A practical defence against random violence exists in the form of pepper spray and we say there is absolutely no valid reason to keep it banned.

Some of the many countries which allow pepper spray for self-defence include Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, India and Russia.

It’s time Australia joined them and said “Yes” to letting people defend themselves effectively against violence – so write to your local MP and tell them you want the option for non-lethal self-defence made available to all Australians as a matter of urgency. Lives may depend on it.

Overcoming objections to Public Hunting in Queensland State Forests

AS Queensland’s pre-eminent shooting representative body, Shooters Union is throwing its complete support behind the current petition to trial conservation hunting in state forests. Click here to sign the petition’

We know there is still some uncertainty around why people, especially those who don’t hunt, should support and sign the petition, so we have taken a moment to clarify a few matters around this extremely important proposal, which has wide-ranging benefits not only for shooters but for
all of Queensland.

WON’T THIS PROPOSAL MEAN RANDOM PEOPLE WANDERING AROUND FORESTS WITH A GUN?

State forest hunters will still require a gun licence – a vigorous process administered by the Queensland Police Service involving background checks and criminal history checks – and it is envisioned they will also need to be a member of an accredited shooting organisation such as Shooters Union, the SSAA or the Australian Deer Association.

The NSW “R-licence” system requires hunters to undertake a theory course on ethical hunting and relevant laws, and it is envisioned the Queensland proposal would have similar requirements.

Not every state forest in Queensland would be made available for hunting either – for example, forests which are too close to houses, in active use by leaseholders, or too ecologically sensitive would not be available for hunting.

I DON’T WANT PEOPLE SHOOTING GUNS IN OUR NATIONAL PARKS!

They won’t be. The petition is purely about state forests in Queensland – there is no call to open national parks in the state up for hunting; they will remain exactly as they are now.

I AM A LANDOWNER AND DON’T WANT STRANGERS FROM THE CITY ON MY
PROPERTY SHOOTING THINGS

The petition is purely about opening state forests for hunting by properly licensed and accredited people. It will NOT allow hunters access to private property without permission from the landowner, and landowners will NOT be required to let shooters on their property if they do not want them there – exactly as the situation is now.

Supporting state forest hunting means you are potentially LESS likely to have illegal hunters trespassing on your land, as there will be a legal option for shooters to hunt in state forests instead.

BUT I ALREADY HAVE A PROPERTY TO HUNT ON

Lucky you! Most Queensland shooters do not, however, and do not know a farmer – or cannot regularly make a multi-day trip to the state’s rural areas for hunting trips. Supporting state forest hunting does not take away your ability to hunt on private property with land owner’s permission as you do now – but it means more people will be able to get involved in the shooting sports and experience the natural environment of our state too.

I ONLY SHOOT TARGETS – I DON’T HUNT

We are all shooters and even if you personally don’t hunt, it benefits the shooting sports as a whole to get as many people involved as possible.

Opening state forests up for hunting won’t affect your target shooting competitions, but will make a huge difference for all gun owners across the state – and make it an option for you if you decide to give it a go in the future as well.

I DON’T ACTUALLY WANT TO GO HUNTING

Signing the petition doesn’t obligate you to go hunting or indeed actually do anything beyond signing the petition – you are just saying that you, as a law-abiding shooter in Queensland would like the option to be there for any law-abiding shooter to hunt in state forests.

Remember hunters need the target shooters too – they’re the ones who ensure there are ranges for you to practice your shooting and load development at!

WHAT ABOUT BOW HUNTING?

Yes, bow hunting is included in the petition – it is about making state forests accessible to all hunters who can take game and pests humanely, not just shooters. Bow hunters would, however, need to be members of an accredited bow-hunting organisation and undertake the same
programme course as firearm hunters.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW THE PROGRAMME WOULD WORK

The petition is about enacting a three year trial of conservation hunting – it’s not about debating the specifics. The idea is to get the green light to establish a programme, and at that point a formal programme can be developed with input from qualified and relevant stakeholders. The
data and information obtained from the trial will then enable an informed decision to be made about making state forest hunting a permanent programme in Queensland.