The Shooters Party and National Party in NSW have been taking pot-shots at each other as a result of comments by Nationals leader Andrew Stoner about the safety of hunting in state forests.
The following exchange of emails makes interesting reading. Also interesting is the anti-Liberal/National comment by Robert Borsak which he makes in the context of Labor’s hunting policy in Victoria. Borsak is Vice-Chairman of the Shooters Party.
—- Original Message —–
From: Robert Borsak
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 12:48 PM
Subject: FW: Notice of Motion 15/11/06 NSW Parliament- FYI (Andrew Stoner)
243. Mr STONER to move
That this House:
1. Notes the Governments approval of access to State Forests in the Nambucca, Bellinger and Orara Valleys for hunters with rifles, crossbows and dogs.
2. Notes the use of these forests by individuals such as trail bike riders and community groups including the Nambucca Natural horsemanship Club, and the presence in the forests of brumbies.
3. Calls on the Government to guarantee the safety of people and horses in State Forests.
(Notice given 15 November 2006)
From: Robert Borsak
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:37 PM
Subject: FW: Vic Labor Hunting & 4WD policy
Good stuff, NSW could take a few leaves from these pages. NSW Labor has a long way to go. Lib/Nats, well forget them!
From: Adrian Piccoli [mailto:Adrian.Piccoli@parliament.nsw.gov.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 22 November 2006 6:36 PM
Cc: Robert Brown
Subject: Andrew Stoners comments on ABC
I see that you are circulating an email critical of Andrew Stoners comments about hunting in state forets. From the ABC report upon which you rely I cant really see what was wrong with his comments. He makes the point that the safety of other users of public land needs to be protected. If you dont agree with that notion then it suggests that you dont think they need to be protected, a proposition which I am sure you are not suggesting.
I am probably the biggest supported of shooters in the whole Parliament after Robert Brown but I, as does Andrew, also see the risk posed to licenced shooters in state forests if someone is injured or killed. If that happens then the Game Council will be finished and any ideas of expanding it to National Parks will be finished as well. It is in the Game Councils best interests to have public safety as their absolute primary objective which is the point that Andrew was making.
I am sorry that you felt compelled to bag the NAtionals to all the recipients of your email due to what I regard as a misinterpretation, accidental or otherwise, of Andrews comments. If you want Labor re-elected then your strategy will go a long way to achieving that. But if Labor are re-elected then you can be assured there will be no changes to the law and no changes to the way the Registry is run both of which are issues that are causing your members grief.
Adrian Piccoli MP
Member for Murrumbidgee
Nats Spokesman on Firearms
Thanks for your email, don’t know where you get the idea that I am anti Nationals, anti Mr Stoner, or indeed yourself by implication. You might care to ask John Williams about my views.
This is the second time I have seen this type of back flip from a sitting National Party member. The first was recently when Russell Turner, who initially publicly supported the concept of hunting in state forests, when pressured by local anti gun and anti hunting elements publicaly changed his stance. You know this to be the case Adrian.
I have no brief for the Labor Party any more than for the Nationals or the Liberals. What I am about is seeing that proper debate occurs and hunters can form their own judgements.
Hunters want to be treated objectively as any other law abiding responsible users of public land. Does the National Party seek guarantees for all other forms of outdoor activities undertaken on public land?
Mr Stoners comments were in my view not designed to do what you suggest, but to primarily attack the Labor Party by (probably unknowingly) using Green propaganda designed to bring the Hunters in SF’s into disrepute, and get a local resident group off his back. A more thoughtful reasoned response would have been better received by all concerned. Hunters and shooters are sick of being cheaply and easily vilified, the Greens do enough of that as it is. It is made worse when one considers that Mr Stoner is the Leader of Nationals in NSW.
Hunters & shooters are well organised and communicate extensively over a wide network of interested parties. If you are interested I would be happy to discuss policy with you, as regards hunting & shooting.
As for safety, it is of primary concern to me & all hunters in the forests & to the Game Council. I don’t agree that this was the primary point of what Mr Stoner was saying.
His quote didn’t come to me from the ABC, but from Hansard.
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