Our chance to rally round for bushfire victims

To witness the catastrophic toll taken by the devastating bushfires that have raged throughout Australia has been heartbreaking and recovering from such awful consequences will take considerable time. And with various SSAA connections directly affected, this would be a fitting opportunity for our members to become involved and support communities, clubs and property owners as they embark on the long road back to some sense of normality.

We must all recognise the enormity of what has happened and help out in whatever way we can and I have no doubt that, in the usual spirit of SSAA togetherness, our members will respond accordingly. The new year has rolled in and seemingly thrown up a host of issues from floods, fires, politics and biased media, giving us plenty to think about.

So it’s now up to our members to rise to the challenges and get out and participate in every aspect of our wonderful sport. Standing together can simply mean taking a mate to your nearest SSAA branch and with more than 400 scattered across this vast continent there are plenty of options.

The Australian environment can be a harsh taskmaster and there constantly seems to be something happening from a natural world perspective. But amid the trials and tribulations our shooting fraternity should always be able to get out and about and enjoy themselves and I have every faith we’ll do exactly that. We will stand together and prosper on our strengths.

On a less satisfactory note, it was disappointing to see Senator Bridget McKenzie bowing to pressure to resign from Cabinet duties in the aftermath of the media feeding frenzy around the so-called ‘sports rort’ affair. During her time as Sports Minister and latterly Minister of Agriculture, Senator McKenzie was a powerful ally to the shooting sports and it was at times distressing to witness her being hounded out of office.

Perhaps SSAA National CEO Tim Bannister summed things up succinctly in his appraisal of Senator McKenzie’s standing and I’m happy to reiterate some of his thoughts when he wrote: “SSAA is disappointed in the resignation of Senator Bridget McKenzie from Government Cabinet and on behalf of its near 200,000 members thanks her for her energetic support of the shooting sports and our Association.

“Much of the media and anti-firearms fraternity has tried to bully and belittle her over her involvement in shooting, demonstrating their biases and discrimination towards almost one million Australian licensed firearms owners. Attempts have also been made to tie in SSAA and our Victorian branch with Federal funding where SSAA National and Victoria have not applied or received any grants from the Commonwealth.

“We wish Senator McKenzie well in her parliamentary career and have no doubt she will continue to be one of its hardest working and most dedicated members. As an Association we remind all politicians, the media and community at large that we will continue to support those who support us and speak out against those who don’t.”

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