The Parliamentary Friends of Shooting hosted its first event last week at Parliament House in Canberra, with Olympic and Commonwealth champions Michael Diamond and Laetisha Scanlon attending as special guests.
According to this press release, the Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie was the driving force behind the creation of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting.
Guests heard from six-time Olympian Michael Diamond, who won back-to-back gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics.
He was joined by rising star Laetisha Scanlon, who won back-to-back gold at the 2010 Delhi and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Senator McKenzie said she created the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting as a show of support for Australia’s many recreational and sporting shooters and hunters.
“Apart from the times when our shooting stars such as Michael Diamond and Laetisha Scanlon are winning gold for Australia, our sporting and recreation shooters and hunters can get a rough deal from some sections of the community,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Often sporting and recreational shooting is depicted as less of a pastime than other sporting and recreational pursuits, when that simply isn’t the case.
“Sporting shooting is highly competitive and much celebrated international sport where participants can represent Australia at Olympics and World Championships.”
Senator McKenzie said hunting was equally important, delivering significant benefits to the economy and played an important role in quelling feral pests.
“We have almost three million registered firearms and more than 730,000 licensed firearms owners in Australia,” Senator McKenzie said.
“In the Victorian hunting contributes $430 million annually to the local economy, with 1500 jobs in direct employment, most of those out in the regions.
“Hunting and shooting delivers an incredible economic, environmental and social benefit for our community, particularly in regional areas, and the newly formed Parliamentary Friends of Shooting is keen to show our support.
“Through the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting our aim is to assist Members and Senators who want to learn more about the sport and to have a go themselves.
“We plan to hold further events and we are keen to host shooting events where Members and Senators can come and try their hand at clay target shooting at some of Australia’s great shooting ranges.”