Vested interests: the idea of rangers having to wear bulletproof vests is ridiculous.

Flak jackets and gay crossings to fight hunters

Angst over hunting in NSW national parks has become ridiculous as some opponents demand rangers be issued blaze orange bulletproof vests, a union says no members would be allowed to work anywhere that required the vests, and a homosexual MP compares a rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossing with hunting in national parks.

“It’s incumbent on the employer to provide personal protective equipment so therefore bullet-proof vests and the like are things that should become standard issue,” the Public Service Association’s Geo Papas told the ABC.

Greens MP David Shoebridge backed up the call, which was predictable, but one of his fellows Greens came up with an even more bizarre comment on the subject.

Alex Greenwich tweeted a comparison between a rainbow coloured pedestrian crossing on Sydney’s Oxford Street and hunting in national parks.

“The same Gov’t that is putting hunters in national parks, is telling us that a Rainbow is unsafe,” he said on the social media platform, referring to controversy over a crossing that was painted in gay-pride colours for the recent Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

His comment has drawn an angry response from hunters who believe the defender of gay rights and equal opportunity should steer clear of the vilification of hunters that has been part of the campaign by Greens and others against hunting.

And while the PSA and Greens want rangers to be sent out in bulletproof vests, the Australian Workers Union has upped the ante further, saying any need for vests would be enough to ban workers from entering hunting grounds.

“I am declaring that no AWU member will be entering an unsafe national park area and therefore no AWU field officer will be working anywhere that requires a bulletproof vest,” state secretary Russ Collison said. “This is non-negotiable.”

The opposition to hunting was now in the “realm of fantasy”, according to an opinion piece by Brad Emery published by News Ltd.

“It’s another ridiculous salvo in the perception war to scare mums and dads into believing they will be taking their life in their hands every time they take the kids for a bushwalk in a national park,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the NSW Game Council has reminded hunters that it is still illegal to hunt in NSW national parks or reserves.

Despite the passing of legislation that allows for hunting in national parks, the regulations that will cover the system have not been completed, let alone put in place so that hunting can commence.

“There have been delays in implementation of the new government policy to allow R-licensed hunters into selected national parks,” GC said in a statement. “It was going to start in March but, with recent government decisions, is now expected to start later in 2013.”

GC and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have been working on the regulations for at least six months.

The main reasons for delays, however, have been the political wrangling over the controversial legislation, including the leaking of selective information to the media by opponents, as well as setbacks caused by allegations of illegal hunting against GC employees.

There is no word on the likely timeframe for the re-introduction of duck hunting in NSW.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.