Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie took centre stage at October’s SSAA SHOT Expo in Perth, and took the opportunity to announce a nationwide study into the social and economic benefits of the shooting sports in Australia.
Senator McKenzie addressed a large crowd at the Claremont Showgrounds and spoke about the need for shooting to be recognised and treated on an equal footing with other sports.
The SSAA were proactive and vociferous in their successful lobbying for a nationwide study into the benefits of shooting and hunting, and Senator McKenzie, chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group, said she was delighted to have commissioned the study.
She said: “We talk about the contribution sport makes to social cohesion, family stability, community togetherness. Well our sport is like every other but we need to be able to articulate that, to measure that and promote that.
“As law abiding firearms owners we want our recreational pursuits to be treated like everyone elses – we’re not looking for special deals. We are loud and proud, we’re in every single country town and capital city and never stronger than when we stand together.”
Earlier, the Minister joined Jason Spencer of Hunt, Catch, Cook on the main stage to fire up a recipe from the SSAA’s Field to Fork cookbook, then mingled with the audience to hand out the tasty venison bites. She also spent more than an hour chatting with visitors to the expo.
The political theme had been kicked off on day one of the expo when One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson and local Liberal MP Ian Goodenough mingled with the Saturday crowd, Senator Hanson trying her hand at the air rifle range and proving a decent shot.
The more than 10,000 who packed the showgrounds were treated to a wealth of firearms, optics, ammunition and all things shooting by a broad cross-section of exhibitors, and demonstrations including working gundogs, cooking and a fascinating insight into how to skin, bone and bag a wild pig.