Shooters and Fishers Party
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|Shooters and Fishers Party|
|Headquarters||PO Box 376, Baulkham Hills NSW 1755|
Gun law reform
|NSW Legislative Council||
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|Vic Legislative Council||
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|WA Legislative Council||
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The Shooters and Fishers Party is an Australian political party that was registered with the Australian Electoral Commission on 27 August 2007. Until July 2009, the party was known as the Shooters Party or the Australian Shooters Party.
Since 2013, the party has been a member of the Minor Party Alliance, a loose political movement that assists to organise preference meetings and negotiation of preference flows between minor political parties.
The Shooters Party was formed on 2 May 1992 by journalist and broadcaster John Tingle after the New South Wales Government proposed to tighten gun control laws after a number of Australian mass shootings. Tingle claimed the new laws would prevent citizens from owning firearms for self-defence. Tingle was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council at the 1995 NSW election in March 1995, the party's first representative, and served until 3 May 2006 when Tingle, at the age of 74, resigned from Parliament before the end of his term in 2011, allegedly due to illness believed to be cancer, and Robert Brown, the party's chairman since 2005, was nominated by the party to fill the casual vacancy for the remainder of Tingle's term.
In 2005, Tingle claimed that the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia had joined forces with the Shooters Party, with Brown being a life member of the Association. At the time, the association had more than 35,000 members and the other mainstay of the shooting fraternity, the Federation of Hunting Clubs, had more than 50,000 members. It was the basis of the powerful gun lobby group. The Federation of Hunting Clubs came into being in November 1996, after the National Firearms Agreement came into force. Tingle and the Shooters Party encouraged and helped organise the formation of hunting clubs in many part of NSW, and formed them into the Federation of Hunting Clubs, which is a recognised umbrella group under the Firearms Regulations. The Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) was amended to recognise membership of a hunting club as a “genuine reason” for a firearm licence. About 90% of all firearms licences were taken out for the purpose of hunting. In the federation's returns with the Australian Electoral Commission since 2008/09, the federation indicates that it is an associated entity of the Shooters and Fishers Party. The two entities share the same address. Most of the income of the federation is donated to the Shooters and Fishers Party.
Brown was re-elected at the 2011 NSW election for an eight-year term. In 2013 Tingle resigned his position as vice chairman of the party and has relinquished his membership of the party.
The Shooters and Fishers Party was involved in the Minor Party Alliance and its organiser, Glenn Druery, was on its payroll. At the 2013 federal election the so-called alliance arranged a preference deal among the minor parties which enabled candidates with very small primary votes to win seats in the Senate.
The party's policies were entirely focused around firearms, asserting that every law-abiding citizen should have the right to own and use a firearm for legitimate purposes, including self-defense, a position that remains unchanged. In broadening the appeal the party now strongly supports recreational and conservation hunting, and laws giving shooters access to public land for hunting. It also has policies relating to personal freedom, and reduction of governmental interference in citizens' lives; as well as the need for five-year reviews of all legislation. The party's current motto is "Reclaim Freedom". It actively supports recreational fishers, four-wheel drivers and other outdoor users including hunters, as well as rural activities of farming, mining & forestry. The Party opposes what it calls "extreme Green policies" and the "left leaning social reconstructive agenda" of the Greens.
The Party counts among its achievements, a number of successful Bills, including those giving rights of self-defence to any citizen, anywhere, with immunity from civil or criminal liability; providing extra penalties for attacks on vulnerable people; giving families of homicide victims the right to be heard in court; establishment of the Game Council New South Wales now disbanded, and legislation allowing specifically licensed hunters to hunt on public land; government funding controlled by the party for shooting clubs, and the establishment and control of regional shooting complexes; recognition of membership of a hunting club as "genuine reason" for obtaining a firearms licence; extension of minor permits from ages 18 to 12, etc. The Shooters Party also politically assists some firearms organizations and peak bodies, but not all.
- Federal politics
Before the 2004 federal election, the Australian Shooters Party was deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission for failing to contest a federal election for four years. It was re-registered after the 2004 federal election but was deregistered again on 27 December 2006, along with a number of minor parties which did not have a representative sitting in Federal Parliament. Re-registration was achieved in August 2007. The Australian Shooters Party contested the 2007 federal election and received 0.28% of the national vote and 1.1% of the vote in NSW. The Party was instrumental in flowing preferences away from the Greens in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
Glenn Druery who was behind the 2013 federal election preference deal successes with candidate elections on 0.2 and 0.5 percent is on the payroll of the Shooters and Fishers Party and assists in organising preference meetings and negotiating preference flows between parties. The party has been involved in Druery's Minor Party Alliance.
- New South Wales
At the 2007 New South Wales state election, the Shooters Party received 2.8% of the primary vote for the Legislative Council (↑0.8%) and lead candidate Roy Smith was elected to the Legislative Council. On 30 July 2010, Smith died in his sleep and Robert Borsak was nominated by the party to fill the casual vacancy. As a result, the party holds 2 seats in the NSW Upper House. In 2009 an agreement was reached to allow hunters onto public lands in a deal with the government.
At the 2011 New South Wales state election, the Liberal/National Coalition took government but with three seats short of a majority in the upper house. The Shooters and Fishers Party hold two seats along with the Christian Democratic Party, with the balance of power shifting from the Greens to the two parties. The Shooters and Fishers Party have reportedly created a rolling list of demands in exchange for legislative support of the now Liberal/National government, however the government believes it has "ruled out" any deals with the Shooters.
In May 2012 the party negotiated a deal with the O'Farrell government giving recreational shooters access to national parks to cull feral animals including pigs, rabbits and deer by allowing the passage of laws through the NSW Upper House to sell the state-owned power generating assets of Eraring Energy, Delta Electricity and Macquarie Generation, that were claimed to yield up to A$3 billion. Deals continue to have fallout.
- South Australia
At the 2006 South Australian state election, two Shooters Party candidates for the Legislative Council, Robert Low and Michael Hudson, preferenced the Family First Party as well as the One Nation Party. The Shooters Party received just under 6,000 votes, or 0.6% of the electors, with a 0.08 quota. Neither candidate was elected. The party also contested the 2010, 2013 and 2014 elections, increasing the number of votes in each but not enough to achieve a quota.
At the 2014 Victorian state election, two Shooters and Fishers candidates were elected to the Legislative Council: Jeffrey Bourman received 2.44% first preference votes in the Eastern Victoria Region and was elected on preferences from the other minor parties, and Daniel Young received 3.5% first preference votes in the Northern Victoria Region and was also elected on preferences.
- Western Australia
At the 2013 Western Australian state election, Shooters and Fishers candidate Rick Mazza was elected to the Legislative Council with 3.09% of the vote in the Agricultural Region.
Current members of parliament
- New South Wales
- Robert Borsak - New South Wales Legislative Council, 2010–present
- Robert Brown - New South Wales Legislative Council, 2006–present
- Jeffrey Bourman - Victorian Legislative Council, 2014–present
- Daniel Young - Victorian Legislative Council, 2014–present
- Western Australia
Past members of parliament
- Roy Smith - New South Wales Legislative Council, 2007–2010
- John Tingle - New South Wales Legislative Council, 1995–2006
- Martin, Lucy (11 March 2013). "Shooters and Fishers party likely to win seat". ABC News. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Registration of Shooters and Fishers Party". Extract from the Register of Political Parties for the Shooters and Fishers Party. Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Statement of Reasons: The Australian Shooters Party". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "A man of calibre October 29, 2005". The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW, Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- AEC: Associated Entity Disclosure Return, 2013/14
- AEC: Other returns
- "Preference whisperer goes fishin’ in SA". InDaily (Adelaide). 21 February 2014.
- "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News (Australia). 5 September 2013.
- "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". Daily Telegraph (Australia). 5 September 2013.
- "Senate State First Preferences by Group". Virtual Tally Room Election 2007. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- Jensen, Erik (21 October 2009). "Government deal to open national parks to shooters". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Upper House shift from left to right". ABC News (Australia). 27 March 2011.
- "O'Farrell rules out deal with Shooters". ABC News (Australia). 13 April 2011.
- Whitbourn, Michaela (20 May 2012). "Shooters’ deal secures power sell-off". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "The Shooters and Fishers Party has begun revenge attacks on the NSW Government". Daily Telegraph (Australia). 21 October 2009.
- Wood, Alicia (21 August 2013). "Shooters Party MPs Robert Borsak and Robert Brown vote with Labor, Greens to punish NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell". Daily Telegraph (Australia).
- Gerathy, Sarah (15 July 2013). "NSW government loses support of Shooters and Fishers party". ABC News (Australia).
- Swain, Marie.(1996) Gun control : historical perspective and contemporary overview Sydney, NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service, 1996. ISBN 0-7310-5951-4. Series: Briefing paper (New South Wales. Parliamentary Library Research Service) ; no. 11/96