Inform your vote
These statements from political parties are a good indicator of the general approach they take to firearms policy. However, always remember that policies are shaped by individual members and senators.
Just because one party is more friendly to shooters in general, doesn’t mean your local member or candidate is equally friendly. Likewise, the only way misinformed firearms policies are going to change is if parties elect members and senators who take the time to understand shooting.
The SSAA is happy to work with any political party or parliamentarian on sensible, workable firearms policy. Following are just a few snapshots of current MPs who have over the course of years proven they can be trusted – or not – when it comes to formulating sensible firearms policy.
We strongly urge you to do your own research, contact your local candidates and find out what they really think about firearms and shooting, not just the party lines.
Mr Ian Goodenough MP
Liberal Member for Moore, WA
Ian is an active sporting shooter, accredited shooting coach and paid-up life member of the SSAA. He took up competitive shooting at age 11, starting with small bore rifle before participating in clay target and pistol disciplines. A keen firearms collector, Ian also participates in hunting in northern Western Australia.
Since being elected to Federal Parliament, Ian enthusiastically became a founding member of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting Group which aims to raise public awareness of shooting and project a positive image of our sport among the nation’s leaders and decision-makers. Ian has made speeches in Parliament promoting responsible firearms ownership.
He encourages clubs across Australia to invite their local, state and federal elected representatives to family open days, annually, to experience shooting in a responsible environment. As a club coach, Ian actively encourages new shooters to try the sport so community participation will continue to grow.
Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP
Labor Member for Hunter, NSW
Joel Fitzgibbon represents an electorate which is home to many recreational shooters and shooting clubs. He has long-standing relationships with local rifle, pistol and clay target shooting clubs which provide sporting opportunities for local residents in a safe and responsible way. The Hunter Region boasts a number of high profile and successful shooting champions including Daniel Rapacholi (pictured).
Mr Fitzgibbon is a former co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooters and remains a supporter of legal and regulated recreational and sports shooting activities. As Shadow Minister for Agriculture, he is acutely aware of the needs of farmers and other landholders who rely on legal firearms to control pests and supports their on-going right to use them for these purposes. He recognises that organisations such as the SSAA play an important part in the promotion of safe firearms use, education and appropriate conduct.
Mr Ross Vasta MP
Liberal Member for Bonner, QLD
Ross is patron of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia at Belmont in Queensland, Vice-Patron of many of the clubs situated within his electorate and is very proud to represent the thousands of members within these clubs.
He’s an avid sporting shooter and member of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting and understands the importance of this sport to our nation. Ross has worked with SSAA Belmont to advocate for and deliver $20,000 worth of funding for the upgrade of the Belmont club’s carpark to support the growing club and its members and will continue to work with them in the future.
Mr Brian Mitchell MP
Labor Member for Lyons, TAS
As a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting and Federal Member of a rural electorate, Brian supports the use of firearms in regional Tasmania as tools for pest management and control, as well as for recreational shooting.
Equally, he recognises the critical importance of the safe and responsible use of firearms and the benefit of Australia’s strong gun laws and regulations. It is essential we have the structures in place to ensure people using guns are able to access proper education and training on safety, compliance and appropriate use of firearms.
Mr Jason Wood MP
Liberal Member for La Trobe, VIC
Jason Wood was the main architect of the misguided trophy hunting ban which was aimed at unethical canned hunting operations, but in reality impacted the legal, sustainable hunting which has been shown to aid in species conservation, protect biodiversity and benefit rural communities.
He has consistently demonised hunters who participate in legal and legitimate conservation efforts both here and overseas, and shown no respect for the men and women who assist with animal population control, put food on the table for their families, have a genuine love of the outdoors and pour millions of dollars each year into regional, interstate and overseas economies.
Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP
Labor Member for Fenner, ACT
Co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Gun Control, Andrew Leigh has consistently repeated rhetoric straight from the talking points of the anti-firearms lobby. He has equated the mere existence of more firearms with homicides and suicides, pushed for more stringent firearms legislation and presented controversial and debated statistics suggesting a causal relationship between the NFA and decreased firearms deaths as ‘fact’.
OTHER FRIENDS OF SHOOTING
Co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group, Anthony Byrne (Holt, VIC) is also up for re-election this year and a long-time supporter of shooting. A few other members of that group who have been enthusiastic participants in our parliamentary shooting events include Scott Buchholz (Wright, QLD), Ben Morton (Tangney, WA), David Littleproud (Maranoa, QLD), Andrew Hastie (Canning, WA) and Luke Howarth (Petrie, QLD). New Senator Duncan Spender (NSW) has been appointed to fill the Senate vacancy left by former Senator Leyonhjelm and has pledged his unwavering support for shooters.
While she is not up for election this year, it would be remiss of us if we failed to recognise the ongoing support of Senator Bridget McKenzie. As Minister for Sport and a shooter herself, Senator McKenzie has consistently been a supportive voice in Parliament for the shooting community. Shadow Minister for Sport, Senator Don Farrell, has also been open-minded and willing to engage with the SSAA.