Matho’s blog: Electoral representation

Laws, guns and money: time to take a stand

Are NSW shooters screwed? This week is a disaster for them, and not just because Barry O’Farrell wants to score some “tough on gun crime” headlines at their expense. Something even worse has happened.

This week, his government’s new law on electoral funding was passed with the support of the Greens. This law threatens to destroy the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Sure, they say the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Bill is good for democracy because it stops rich people and organisations from buying election results by making huge donations to political parties. In some ways that’s true, just as it’s true that if you ban people from shopping there’ll be no shoplifting.

Hmm, now there’s an idea for our aspiring tough-on-crime politicians…

There’s also a bit of political tit-for-tat in the laws, because Labor previously banned developers and their Liberal-backing ilk from donating, and now it’s time for the Liberals to hit back by banning unions and the like from backing Labor (there’s a few thousand dollars allowed either way, but not enough to worry about).

And the Greens love it because they have a pretty good grassroots support base, not a mob of rich capitalists. And they love it because it virtually bans the SSAA and the shooting industry from supporting the Shooters and Fishers Party in NSW.

Remember that the SSAA’s state branches are associations made up of members – members who are all shooters and effectively give the SSAA a mandate to lobby on their behalf. That’s a pretty good basis for a democracy to work in. But that’s effectively been stripped from us in NSW.

Here’s the challenge: the only way the SFP can stay afloat is to get, say, $10 out of the pockets of each of 100,000 shooters. That’s roughly one in every two licensed shooters. It’s a big challenge.

We must rise to the challenge. NSW shooters, are you happy that you’re about to be slapped with unnecessary, ineffectual and politically motivated restrictions on what ammo you can buy? Even with two SFP members in the Upper House, this is likely to go through.

Do you want to be limited to owning three guns? I’m not scaremongering; that’s a law the Greens have promised to introduce, and while O’Farrell is looking for headlines the Greens will succeed with it.

If NSW loses the SFP as a credible political party, we will lose more than that. Much more.

Join the SFP. Donate to them. Hassle your shooting mates to do the same. And your fisho friends. And four-wheel drivers. Anyone who values the outdoor life. It is more crucial than ever.


Mick Matheson




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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.