Lobbying and advocacy are ever-evolving processes for the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) and involve everything from campaigns to phone calls, meetings and the traditional letter. In the lead-up to the Federal Election earlier this year, efforts were focused on contacting all sectors of the political divide to advocate for the reinstatement of a non-funded Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council (CFAC).
Post-election contact was made with a slew of relevant office holders in the Labor Ministry and Liberal Coalition Shadow Ministry to raise the CFAC reinstatement and other relevant points, which included highlighting the importance of hunting in pest animal management and the uniqueness of target shooting as an all-abilities sport.
Following this correspondence both the Minister for Sport, Anika Wells, and Minister for Agriculture, Murray Watt responded and continued the conversation and it’s these seemingly small interactions which allow SSAA National to ensure we’re remain in the peripheral vision of Government ministers and their departments. This can be useful if they wish to seek expert opinion relevant to our interests or should we need to address more urgent matters, while this type of correspondence also gives insight to their political priorities and their values in areas relevant to our chosen sport and pastime.
In our most recent reply to Minister Wells we were able to delve into the topic of increasing participation in sports and promoting inclusive environments. These values were brought to our attention in the Minister’s previous correspondence and this is a prime example of how common ground can allow us to highlight important issues. As we welcomed the announcement that shooting will be included in the sporting line-up at the Victorian 2026 Commonwealth Games, we were again able to remind the Minister of target shooting’s appeal as a sport to a large and ever-growing section of the Australian community.
There’s a time and a place for making noise in lobbying and advocacy activities but establishing respectful and informed communication channels before issues reach crisis point is always a good first step.