We’d be lying if we said the outcome of a Federal Election was good news for shooters, although it certainly could have been worse (at least the Animal Justice Party didn’t win any seats!)
Even with a 30% ‘1’ vote swing away from the Major Parties, Labor have still secured a majority (76 seats) in the Lower House and are able to form Government in their own right. When you factor in The Greens winning at least four seats it is pretty clear which way the Government is going to lean on firearm and hunting/sport shooting issues if push comes to shove.
We’d very much hoped the swing away from the Majors would lead to more pro-gun or pro-liberty candidates being elected, but for the most part this isn’t what happened. Some of this was no doubt due to voter confusion (we fielded a lot of comments by people who thought the pro-gun Liberal Democrats were somehow connected to the “responsible for the 1996 gun law changes” Liberal-National Party, for example), and a lot of the parties didn’t do themselves any favours by running “ghost candidates” – people no-one had ever heard of, didn’t know locally, and who didn’t put much (if any) effort into campaigning.
It still comes down to the votes, though, and it’s clear a lot of shooters decided – for whatever reason – to vote for the Majors, and until that line of thinking changes we’re all going to continually find ourselves asking “how come we can’t make any headway politically?”
The saving grace for shooters is that firearms legislation is, by and large, a state issue. Yes, the Federal government is responsible for import legislation and the National Firearms Agreement itself (which flows on to the states) but the implementation of those laws is very much for the states – which is why it remains critically important to make sure as shooters that we are politically informed and holding our elected representatives to account at all times.
All those ‘1’ votes going to Independents and Minors is literally millions of dollars that isn’t going to the Majors in election funding, so that represents another silver lining too. You can bet there are some very unhappy Party treasurers out there at the moment.
One of the few highlights for shooters was Bob Katter getting re-elected as MP for Kennedy. Bob (and Katter’s Australian Party broadly) has long been an ardent supporter of shooters, and in return KAP has our complete support as well.
Congratulations on a well-deserved re-election, Bob! We look forward to continuing to work with you and KAP over the coming years.