Still unsure which way to cast your vote tomorrow? Here’seach of the major political parties’ statements on their policy on gunownership in Australia. Unsurprisingly The Greens haven’t responded to requestsfor their policy on firearms.
The Australian Labor Party is committed to ensuring thatAustralia’s laws strike a balance between the interests of those who have agenuine need to have access to and use firearms, and the interests of thebroader community to be safe and secure. We support and encourage sportingactivities throughout our community and recognise the importance of localshooting clubs for local communities and their contribution to the elite levelof international competition on behalf of Australia.
The Labor Government also recognises the importantcontribution made by sporting shooters through the Commonwealth FirearmsAdvisory Council (CFAC) as it advises the Minister on detailed and technicallegislative and regulatory improvements. This has recently culminated in therelease of Regulations, which amend the law relating to the importation offirearms.
We look forward to this contribution continuing and willcontinue to engage closely with sporting shooters. We thank sporting shootersfor their role in the development of government policy in this area.
The Coalition recognises that thousands of Australians frommetropolitan, regional and rural Australia enjoy and safely participate inrecreational sports shooting. Sport shooting is an exacting activity requiringproficiency and accuracy. Over the years, talented and dedicated Australianshave brought home Olympic gold in a range of shooting disciplines, while formany Australians, it is a hobby enjoyed during a well-deserved break. Weacknowledge the valuable role played by the Sporting Shooters’ Association ofAustralia in advocating for its 150,000 members.
The Coalition has a history of investing heavily in sport atevery level from encouraging participation to developing champions. Under theformer Coalition Government, sport funding increased by 178 per cent inrecognition of its role in Australian culture and its importance in encouraginghealthy and active lifestyles.
The Coalition recognises that the use of firearms bysporting shooters is a legitimate activity. Whilst preserving the interests ofsporting shooters, the Coalition remains committed to the control of firearmsaccess and their criminal misuse. It is for this reason that the previousCoalition Government established the Firearms Advisory Council, which workedtowards achieving consensus on firearms laws.
Firearm laws are largely based on resolutions agreed to bypolice ministers and compiled in the National Firearms Agreement. The Coalitionsupports this process and believes it has improved laws in Australia to benefitand protect the community.
The Coalition recognises there is no single measure orreform package that can prevent firearm crime. We will, however, continue towork towards improving firearm safety while ensuring the interests of sportingshooters is maintained.
Shooters and Fishers PartyThe Shooters and Fishers Party(SFP) has a long track record of over 22 years representing shooters, hunters,fishers, four-wheel drivers and all those interested in the outdoor sports andour unique cultural heritage, including our connection with the land and theprosperity of rural and regional peoples. The SFP has consistently andsuccessfully represented its constituents in New South Wales and has grown instrength, holding the balance of power in the state Upper House for thiscurrent term ending March 2015. We recently successfully contested for thefirst time the Upper House in Western Australia, winning one seat and onlymissing out on a second by some 230-odd votes. The SFP has also contested thelast three Federal Elections and we will be contesting the election thisSeptember.
The SFP will be contesting all states of the Commonwealth,and the Northern Territory, offering Senate tickets in each. A selection of ourkey Federal Policies include:
1. The scrapping of the National Firearms Agreement, seekingits replacement with a review of workable laws that treat shooters and huntersdecently, whilst keeping our communities safe and secure.
2. The abandonment of the National Firearms RegistryProject, which is the precursor of a Commonwealth firearms law takeover.
3. Ensure that Australian border controls are strengthened,whilst removing the import restrictions on all legally owned and held firearms.
4. Support the removal of Commonwealth involvement in allareas of government, where they duplicate state government services. Forexample, removing duplication in education, health, environment protection,water policy and biodiversity, amongst many others.
5. Ensure access for all to all Commonwealth Crown land andsea resources, including self-determination for all Indigenous owners andcustodians in their own absolute discretion, of the use and development oftheir resources.
6. Scrap the Carbon Tax and repeal the Super ProfitsResource Tax, and instead encourage state governments to distribute statemining royalties directly to the regions.
7. We support the principle of ‘sustainable use’ asreaffirmed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) atthe World Conservation Congress in Korea in 2012 and we will ensure that thegovernment reviews all existing treaty obligations.
8. We believe Australia must maintain sovereign energyself-sufficiency.
9. The SFP supports the continued expansion of miningindustries in appropriate locations.
10. We commit to rebuilding a viable, sustainable Australiantimber industry.
11. We support the expansion of the live export trade.
12. We will table a bill outlawing animal liberation-based hatecampaigning and terrorism.
13. The SFP will oblige the government to invest in ourdefence capability to ensure Australia can participate fully in our militaryalliances and ensure the defence of Australia by increased defence spending.
A vote in the Senate for the SFP will guarantee the futureof your hunting, shooting and fishing sports.
Responsible recreational shooting and hunting are part ofday-to-day life for many Australians, especially in regional areas. TheNationals recognise that shooting is a significant and legitimate industry andthat laws and regulations which impact on the industry should be fair andapplied in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible.
Consequently, it is important that governments have a fullunderstanding of how laws, regulations and government processes affectimporters, retailers and consumers, and consult with bodies representing thesegroups about the impact on them of current and proposed legislation andprocedures.
The Nationals are committed to supporting processes andmechanisms which enable the federal government to consult with recreationalshooters and hunters and the firearms industry on matters of interest to themand to ensure that regulation operates effectively and productively.
We also believe that laws, regulations and policiesaffecting recreational shooters and hunters and the firearms industry should bebased on facts and not ideological dogma. Research and data should be robustand comprehensive.
Consequently, The Nationals support the continuation of aministerial advisory committee to consider the impact and effectiveness oflegislation and government policies.
Government initiatives designed to reduce red tape byincreasing the level of uniformity between state and federal laws benefit frominput from those affected by these decisions. The party is committed toreducing red tape by $1 billion per year and supports the removal ofunnecessary regulations, policies and procedures, which have a detrimentalimpact on shooters, hunters and the firearms industry.
We recognise the need to consult industry also about theapplication or interpretation of legislation and the implementation of policieswhich affect them.
Because The Nationals believes that shooting and huntingought to be undertaken in a responsible way, we support education programs forshooters about safe firearms practice.
The Nationals also supports:
Shooting as an appropriate and humane method of vermin andpest control, and believes that such control is not only important for theviability of farmers and the economy of farming communities, but also for theresponsible maintenance of public land and protection of the environment; and
The sustainable use of natural resources including theharvesting of native game species as part of a wider game management program,underpinned by sound science and consistent with the resolutions of theInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Ramsar Convention, theConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna andFlora, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Nationals reaffirms its belief in the importance ofshooting and hunting for farmers and as a recreational activity for peopleliving in or spending time in regional Australia, and acknowledges thecontribution the firearms industry makes to the economy.
Personal freedoms are one of the key tenants of the Katter’sAustralian Party (KAP) philosophy, and as such, support for the hunting andshooting sports runs to the very heart of Katter’s Australian Party. Oursupport for the Aussie shooter has been enshrined in the party’s core valuesfrom the very inception of the party:
Core Value #10: Australians must have the freedom to pursueoutdoor recreational activities of their choice including hunting, shooting,fishing, boating, camping, 4-wheel driving, horse riding, rock climbing andbushwalking without unnecessary limitations and restrictions.
Core Value #11: Vacant land such as State Forests and someunallocated lands and seas now designated as ‘off-limits’ are to be owned andaccessible by the people. They are not the exclusive domain of the ‘Crown’.
Support is one thing, but real change is needed to put anend to unfair and illogical firearm legislation, open up to shooters vasttracts of the country which are currently being devastated by introduced feralpests, and refocus police resources to the real problem of the illicit firearmstrade. To facilitate these changes, the KAP has developed three key initiatives:
1. The Australian Fish and Wildlife Authority
Establish a statutory authority known as the Australian Fishand Wildlife Authority. The charter of the Authority will be to promote andfacilitate safe and sustainable fish and wildlife activities throughout thecountry. The Authority will:
Establish a system of using licensed and accredited shootersto provide humane feral pest culling and control on government lands where itis safe and appropriate to do so. The overriding objective of the program willbe to avoid the use of poisoning programs wherever possible and ensuregovernment lands are not used to provide uncontrolled breeding areas fordisease-carrying feral pests. Active protection of native flora and fauna willbe central to the program’s ethos.
Re-establish and manage a licensed duck and quail huntingseason in all states where applicable.
Support private organisations with objectives consistentwith the Authority’s charter.
Avoid government-funded culling or eradication programs ifvolunteer networks can be more cost-effectively deployed.
Support a wild venison industry.
Support export of wild game products.
Promote fish and wildlife tourism.
Establish and promote ‘net free’ or ‘recreational only’fishing areas around all large cities and towns on the coast, and smallercommunities if desired.
Develop freshwater fisheries to a higher standard in orderto grow regional tourism.
Remove existing green zones where there is no evidence-basedjustification for their existence.
Implement and promote a ‘one line one hook’ fishing policyin remaining green zones and marine parks where there is no threat tobiodiversity.
2. Amendments to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA)
A KAP Government will sponsor amendments to the 17-year-oldNational Firearms Agreement aimed at refocusing licensing efforts in line withmodern community expectations, and take advantage of improvements in governmentinformation exchange technologies that have come about since its originalinception. These amendments have been sought by the firearm community’s peakuser and industry groups for the past five years from governments in allstates. The KAP will commit to table the requested amendments at the APMC and lobbyfor national agreement and adoption. The KAP believes the requested amendmentswill be received favourably by the states, as they represent moderate changeswith significant community safety benefits.
The highlights of the amendments are:
No changes to restrictions on firearms central to communityconcerns at the time of drafting the original NFA.
National efficiency savings for police administration,freeing between 100,000 and 200,000 policing hours nationally – allowing policeto focus on areas of current community concern.
A real-time firearm licence verification system, allowinglicensed firearm owners, who are already in possession of firearms, to purchasesubsequent firearms without delay whilst providing real-time interception of‘people of concern’.
Re-categorisation of Category C firearms (largely restrictedto farmers) to allow access by sporting shooters. These include low-capacitysemi-auto .22s, low-capacity pump shotguns, and low-capacity semi-autoshotguns.
Scrapping of registration requirements for low-powered airrifles and BB guns.
3. Reallocation of police resources
Shift police resources away from administering licensedfirearm owners and instead focus those resources on improved detection andintervention capabilities targeting illicit firearms distribution and drugtrafficking.
A special taskforce will be established within the FederalPolice Service to ensure all efficiencies gained by the police are retained andreallocated within the department in line with a more proactive policy ofdetection and intervention of illicit firearm activities, drug-related violence,and organised crime.
Whereas we are cognisant of the fact that Australians,unlike Americans, do not have an unfettered ‘Constitutional Right to BearArms’, we are insistent that Aussies do have the ‘right’ to demand citizens’access to appropriate firearms, subject to registration, but not subject tounnecessary government ‘intervention’ and restriction. We agree the currentfirearms legislation should be nationalised and rationalised to save confusionbetween states. Some of the regulations need to be sensibly adjusted for theease of legitimate users and harder for illegal users that tarnish the sport ofhunting and shooting.
Moreover, the Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Partybelieves, fervently, that all Australians (excepting those with criminalconvictions) should be able to own and use the firearms of their choice – for‘recreational’ purposes – and for professional and ‘lifestyle’ requirements, asapplies not just to farmers, but also to acreage landholders in ruraldistricts. For example, in our region in the district known as the Daintree,literally hundreds of families live on rain-forested rural properties, whereferal pigs in particular are in plague proportions.
Our Senate candidates, including Cairns charter boatoperator Daniel McCarthy (himself a recreational shooter and pig hunter andmember of the SSAA and the local pistol club), will be campaigning againstprohibitive nanny-state gun laws and so-called ‘gun buy-backs’, one of which hasjust concluded in our state.
In simple summary, the Australian Fishing & LifestyleParty fully supports the activities, aims and ambitions of the SportingShooters’ Association of Australia – our party is indeed an advocate of‘shooters’ rights’ – and we might note in conclusion that it is only NorthQueensland’s recreational hunters who are endeavouring to ‘shoot-out’ the feralpigs, which do inordinate damage to crops, native wildlife and the environment.
Please regard the Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Partyas totally supportive of responsible sporting shooters.
1. Hunting and Game Management
1.1. Game Management
The creation of a statutory authority in all states tomanage and oversee the management of hunting of both pest animal species andgame.
1.2. Game Reserves
Where game reserves have been created in a state, thecorrect identification of those reserves and the placement of adequate signageto identify the history, conservation values and purpose of those reserves.
1.3. Access to Game Reserves
The establishment of clear access to Game Reserves whenaccess is via private property, whether by right or some other means.
1.4. Consumption or Usage Pest Animals
The amendment of current legislation to permit theconsumption or use of any animal or waterfowl, whether native or introduced,that is legally taken under a pest mitigation program.
The exclusion of ducks from current provisions in existinglegislation is a contradiction and should be removed.
1.5. Trial Game Licences**
The creation of a limited licence category that would allowadult Australian residents to undertake a defined number of hunting activitiesbefore obtaining a full licence.
Under this initiative prospective hunters will be able toestablish whether or not they are suited to hunting and wish to proceed withobtaining a full licence.
Any hunting activity would be required to be under thedirect supervision of an appropriately licensed hunter who would assume fullresponsibility for the actions of the individual under his/her supervision.
1.6. Junior Game Licences**
Similar to the Trial Licences and applicable to juniorhunters aged 12 years or more but less than 18 years.
1.7. Visitor Game Licences**
Similar to Trial Licences and applicable to internationalvisitors who hold an appropriate firearms licence in their country of origin.
1.8. The Use of Lead Shot in Sub-Gauges**
The amendment of state legislation to permit the use of leadshot, by juniors and those persons who can with an appropriate physicaldisability, when hunting waterfowl with 28 gauge, 16 gauge and .410 shotguns.
1.9. Tougher Penalties for Protesters**
Tougher penalties for protesters who place their own andhunters’ lives at risk by contravening applicable state legislation.
The last four policies marked ** appear to have been partlyaddressed in Victoria by recent changes to Victorian hunting regulations.Country Alliance will, however, continue to push for these policies elsewhereas the occasion permits and to defend them against any attempt to wind back theVictorian legislation.
2. Firearms Ownership
2.1. Firearms Calibres
The continued importation and availability of those calibresthat are widely and legitimately used internationally in both hunting andtarget shooting activities regardless of their use by the military or police inAustralia or elsewhere.
3.1. The Victorian Multi-Discipline Shooting Range.
To bring an end to the prolonged delay in this key projectby pushing for the purchase of land identified as suitable and the productionof final plans.
Country Alliance would also promote the establishment ofsimilar facilities in other states when required.
Since its beginning, Country Alliance has put forward manypractical policies aimed at improving the lives of those who live, earn theirliving or take their recreation in Australia’s regional communities.
A number of our policies are now being promoted by majorparties. The recent proposal by the Baillieu Government to link the VictorianFire Services levy to rates rather than insurance is a classic example. CountryAlliance first proposed this policy in May 2006 – it has taken a while to catchup. Country Alliance was also the first party to consistently put the Greenslast: something the others are beginning to do.
Since our beginning we have enjoyed wonderful support fromfirearms owners and many of our candidates have had some form of connectionwith shooting.
Despite this history (and the regular branding of CA as ashooters party) we have not previously published comprehensive policies onfirearms ownership or hunting. Now is the time to do this.
Our policies are supported by international experience andevidence. They express the widespread acceptance by the world’s governments andmajor conservation organisations of the social, cultural, economic andenvironmental importance that hunting provides.
“Hunting is an activity that provides significant social, cultural,economic and environmental benefits in different regions of the EuropeanUnion.” (European Commission)
“The overwhelming majority of the 1,100 IUCN Members haveaccepted that sustainable hunting has important benefits that substantially aidin the efforts to conserve biodiversity around the world.” (IUCNBarcelona/Budapest, 22 October 2008)
These are particularly important lessons for Australia whereother political parties fail to recognise the benefits hunting can bring. It islogical that we should apply the same principles in Australia and be supportedby good policy.
The Australian Democrats supports a responsible approach tofirearm regulation, which emphasises community safety, but which does notunduly infringe upon the rights of licensed firearms owners.
The Democrats supports shooting as a sporting activity,provided they are well policed and managed by their governing bodies.
The Democrats supports the ownership of firearms for thepurposes of employment, where ownership can be proven to be required for saidemployment such as in the agricultural sector.
We support a comprehensive approach to firearms regulationto reduce the number of crimes involving firearms in Australia. We acknowledgethat the majority of crimes involving firearms are committed by individuals whoare not licensed gun owners. The Australian Democrats advocates a generalreduction in the number of firearms within Australia, but with a particularemphasis on firearms in the hands of unlicensed owners.
We believe the laws introduced in 1996 have been effectivein improving public safety and responsible firearms ownership. However, theresearch tends to send mixed signals as to whether the gun buy-back scheme hasachieved its fundamental objective: to limit the number of firearms incirculation. Accordingly, the Democrats supports further initiatives to reducethe potential misuse of guns in the commission of crimes or other events,particularly in relation to young people. Such initiatives could include:
Returning firearms reform to the Agenda of the StandingCommittee for Attorneys-General and Australasian Police Ministers Council,which would enable work on a scoping audit to ensure each state is complyingwith the spirit of the 1996 Firearms Agreement
The examination of new technologies to enhance firearmssafety
Revising Customs and import laws in relation to firearms
Comprehensive policing of firearm storage requirements
Broadening the current ban on automatic and semi-automaticfirearms, and
Implementation of a National Firearms Management System,including a national ballistics intelligence database
The Australian Democrats would work and discuss withstakeholders to determine the best approach to sensible firearms laws.
Family FirstFamily First believes Australia’s rich andextensive state parks, marine areas and forests should be open for families toenjoy.
Ensuring the community has access to our natural treasureswill give Australians a greater appreciation and respect for nature and theirenvironment.
Family First supports the use of public lands for:
Recreational fishing, shooting and hunting
Open access for community enjoyment.