The Shooters Party is a unique political party. As I have written previously, it does not believe in contesting elections in general. Rather, it only ever nominates candidates for the upper house of the NSW parliament.
The Fishing Party has quite a different outlook. It believes political parties exist to contest elections. As a consequence, although it failed to gain a seat in the Upper House, its preferences in the Lower House were crucial in determining the outcome of the seat of Port Stephens. Just 501 preferences from the Fishing Party pushed the Liberal Party ahead of Labor so that, notwithstanding Green preferences, the Liberals won by 368 votes.
The Liberal Party is now in debt to the Fishing Party. The member for Port Stephens, Craig Baumann, owes his seat to the fishing vote and is very unlikely to forget it. If he does not promote pro-fishing policies over the next four years, he may not hold the seat at the next election. If Labor hopes to win the seat back, it will have to do something to win the fishing vote.
The Shooters Party could have done that too. Its preferences could have been instrumental in helping pro-shooting candidates win marginal seats. But it didn’t. It had enough money to run in half a dozen seats, money the Fishing Party would die for, but not enough brains to figure out what needed to be done.
So now the interests of shooters are entirely reliant on how well Robert Brown and Roy Smith leverage their votes in parliament.
We will watch results with considerable interest. My guess is the fishos will do just as well as shooters in political terms. As for the Shooters Party picking up fisho votes… yeah, right.