Phil Donato
Phil Donato announces his resignation from the SFFP

NSW Shooters Party in turmoil as MPs resign

The NSW branch of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) is in turmoil following the party’s AGM last weekend, with two MPs resigning over a failed attempt to oust party leader Robert Borsak.

Their departure means the pro-shooting party now has no lower house MPs in the state.

Barwon MP Roy Butler and Orange MP Phil Donato had both called for Mr Borsak’s resignation over comments he allegedly made towards Murray MP and former SFFP member Helen Dalton.

Following a robust Upper House debate in September, Mr Borsak commented that the Legislative Council chair “should have got up and clocked” Ms Dalton, who had resigned from the SFFP in March.

As a result, Mr Butler, Mr Donato, and SFFP Upper House MP Mark Banasiak called for Mr Borsak to resign over the comments, with Mr Butler slamming them as “indefensible” and Mr Donato indicating they were the final straw in a series of ongoing internal issues. 

Mr Borsak’s comment was also the subject of an official motion of condemnation passed in the Lower House in October.

The SFFP AGM was held over the weekend and a motion was made to change the executive structure and effectively remove Mr Borsak as leader, but it was voted down by other delegates.

While Mr Borsak survived the leadership challenge at the recent AGM and remains in charge of the party, Mr Donato and Mr Butler made good on their threats to walk if he was not removed.

They have indicated they will likely contest the March 2023 state election as independents.

In a statement on the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party’s official Facebook page, a spokesperson said it was unfortunate that a compromise couldn’t be agreed to with Mr Donato and Mr Butler and that “the will of the members of the Party wasn’t enough for them to remain”.

“The SFF has and always will be unashamedly biased for the bush and will continue to fight for the rights and freedoms of the constituents we represent, against bad law or lack of community support, regardless of which major Party wins government in March,” the spokesperson said.

“We wish both members the best and will now continue to focus our sights, resources and attention to the 2023 March State elections.”

Mr Donato has said that despite his departure from SFFP, he will still be standing up for gun owners as a politician.

“I’ll still be a supporter of farmers, of law-abiding firearms owners, the fishos and anybody else who needs my help … but I just can’t do it with the party going forward,” he said. 

SFFP are one of the few pro-shooting parties with any serious parliamentary representation in Australia — Katters Australian Party in Queensland being the other significant one — and the resignation of its entire lower house MP cohort over the course of 2022 is not a positive outcome for the state’s approximately 250,000 licensed gun owners.

Related: Branch stacking accusations as SFF suffers members’ resignations
Related: Why nothing good will come from the SFF debacle, for the party, the MPs or shooters
Related: Phil Donato: Why I quit the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party




Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

super super
fail fail
fun fun
bad bad
hate hate
lol lol
love love
omg omg
Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.