There’s a NSW state election on Saturday, 25 March, and while firearms haven’t been a hot-button election topic, there are still a number of pro-shooting parties and candidates which, as a politically engaged shooter (you are politically engaged, aren’t you?), are worth paying attention to.
In no particular order, we have:
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party: They’ve been around a long time, have runs on the board, are openly pro-shooting (it’s even in their name) and despite some well-publicised internal issues recently, are still considered an established, mainstream political party.
The SFF holds to seats in the upper house which have been vital to shooters’ interests, and one of them is up for re-election this time around: party leader Robert Borsak. To lose this seat may be a significant blow for shooting interests.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation: After years of confusion and mixed messaging regarding their stance on firearms in NSW, the party has come out unequivocally in favour of shooters and hunters via its new policy on the subject. This is excellent news for shooters, and shows political parties acknowledge the contribution shooters and hunters make to NSW.
Liberal Democrats (LDP): The LDP has long had a pro-gun stance; its Freedom Manifesto explicitly states they believe hunting, sport and self-defence to be legitimate reasons for firearms ownership and that licensed shooters are not potential criminals or a public safety threat.
Phil Donato: Phil is the current MP for Orange and, having quit the SFF, is standing for re-election as an independent. His pro-firearms views are well known and he is very much a friend of shooters.
Roy Butler: Roy is the current MP for Barwon and is also standing for re-election as an independent after leaving the SFF. Like Phil Donato, he is openly pro-firearms and has actively advocated for shooters and shooting clubs in his electorate.
NSW is a big place and there are undoubtedly pro-shooting candidates running for both houses. A complete list of all candidates in the NSW 2023 election can be found here.
We at Sporting Shooter aren’t going to tell you how to vote, but we hope by providing you with relevant information, you can make an informed choice on polling day.
No party or candidate with a realistic chance of getting elected is going to be perfect when it comes to firearms. They’re either not going to be pro-gun enough for some people’s tastes, or they’ll have policies in other areas you may not agree with.
That’s the reality of the political situation in Australia at present, and needs to be kept in mind when deciding who to vote for.
Remember: The only person who controls your vote is you. NSW uses optional preferential voting for both the lower and upper house candidates, which means you only have to number as many candidates as you feel like giving a ranking to.
For the upper house, you can vote ‘above the line’ (essentially by party) or ‘below the line’ (selecting individual candidates).
We encourage you to number every single box on your lower house ballot paper to ensure your vote does not become ‘exhausted’, and suggest you do the same when voting above the line on the upper house ballot for the same reason.
Make your vote count – unless you want NSW to end up like Western Australia.