John Tingle left a legacy of political action for shooters. (Pic courtesy Margaret Gillings)

Vale John Tingle, founder of the Shooters Party

John Tingle, founder of the Shooters Party, died last week in Wauchope, NSW, aged 90, leaving a legacy of strong and successful political action by the shooting community.

John described himself as an accidental politician, saying he’d never intended to enter NSW Parliament, but 30 years later the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, as it has become, has four Members in NSW Parliament and one in Victoria. 

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party said John represented the “true spirit of independence and freedom”. 

After a very successful career in journalism, John entered politics reputedly on a dare when the NSW Government announced harsher gun laws in 1992. 

John had always been a keen shooter and hunter. 

The story goes that he was told by the then Police Minister, Ted Pickering, that shooters were lazy and would never have a voice, at which point he immediately registered the Shooters Party.

“It was a joke to put the wind up Ted, but it took off, and I got stuck with it,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

While this version of events does oversimplify the beginnings of the Shooters Party, it has become the stuff of legend. 

Much to the shock of established politics, he was elected at the next election, serving in the upper house from 1995 until 2006, when he retired. 

The Party has had representatives in NSW Parliament ever since. 

John’s daughter Laura, a renowned journalist herself, paid tribute to her father, acknowledging her “profound gratitude and luck in having him in my life”.

This is a sentiment Australian shooters could share. 

John is survived by his sister Margaret, his three children, Peter, Sally and Laura, and two grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at the Wauchope Country Club at 11am on Friday, 19 August, and also at the State Library of NSW at 11am on Friday, 26 August. 




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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.