The Australian Country Party (ACP), formerly the Country Alliance, supports the government and police in eradicating the community of illegal firearms and eliminating illegal firearm usage. However, we will staunchly defend the rights of licensed firearm owners. The separation of legally held firearms and their owners from the criminal misuse of firearms is both logical and imperative.
Safe storage is a responsibility of firearm owners, but we insist the emphasis on stolen firearms be put back onto the thieves. We support the increase of penalties for firearm theft and illegal use of firearms, particularly in the commission of a crime.
We support the reclassification of some national parks to increase access to user groups such as hunters, but we do not support the creation of new national parks that will reduce access to the community. The ACP also does not support legislative changes that further restrict access to land for hunting and shooting.
The ACP supports hunting in many forms and, when conducted in accordance with the principles of ‘fair chase’ and the applicable laws of each state, hunting is a significant contributor to our economy, environment and social well-being. We support the continuation of waterfowl and quail seasons in those states where seasons are legislated and will advocate for the re-establishment of seasons in states where hunting of these species is no longer permitted.
Deer are an esteemed game animal worldwide and must be treated as such in this country. The ACP is opposed to baiting or aerial culling of deer and will call for the use of recreational hunters as the first option when addressing problem deer. There should be a greater effort by state governments to utilise hunting organisations within parks and reserves where hunting is not currently permitted as a means of controlling pest animals.
The ACP views the use of firearms by farmers as standard farming practice and the government needs not be overly intrusive. Primary producers should have access to self-loading firearms without undue scrutiny and red tape.
We fully support and encourage sport and competition shooting. Shooting groups are uniquely positioned to assist the government in policy development by providing expert and fact-based knowledge and experience. A review of the current firearms categories is overdue. Any changes made must be in collaboration with the larger shooting associations and representative groups.
Dr Julian Fidge
Electorate: Indi, Victoria
“I was a soldier, then an officer in the Australian Army. I have served overseas on operations with 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. I am safe and proficient in the use of small arms.
“I am a current member of Benalla Pistol Club, where I shoot as often as I can.
“I am a farmer and have a longarms licence. I use firearms for the destruction of wild dogs, sick or injured stock and the destruction of pests like rabbits.
“I believe that the laws and regulations Australia has in place at the moment strike a good balance between controlling access to firearms and making them available for legitimate purposes such as target shooting, hunting and other sports shooting. I would not support further restrictions on firearms availability.
“I am standing for election because I would like to see country people get their fair share of attention and finance from the Federal Government. At the moment, rural people get about 30 per cent of the money they pay in taxes returned to them. The other 70 per cent is spent in metropolitan areas in order to buy votes. If you live in rural Australia and you think you aren’t getting a fair deal from the government, you’re right.”