Gun Shops, Politicians and Symbolism

August 23, 2007

Liberal Party politicians in NSW seem to have embraced the anti-gun cause with renewed enthusiasm. That’s interesting, considering they made some effort to court the shooters vote prior to the March 2007 election.

Planning Minister Frank Sartor has implied Labor might not be far behind them, offering to change planning rules to prevent gun shops from being established near schools. But Sartor is a stirrer and motor mouth, so who knows what his real views are.

Shooters Party MLC Robert Brown has at last spoken to the media about something controversial, but failed to cover himself with glory. The Daily Telegraph reported he “laughed” when told about parent concerns. Would the old fox John Tingle have handled it better?

The Member for SSAA, Roy Smith, has not been heard.

The issue is, of course, symbolic nonsense. If gun shops are dangerous near schools, armed police must be as well. A gun is a gun and if proximity is the source of the concerns, it makes no difference who has it.

The real issue is not whether the local Council reverses its decision, Sartor calls it in, or even Brown’s handling of the media. It is how the major parties view it in symbolic terms. Will they see more political capital in opposing gun shops, supporting them, or ducking the issue? And how should shooters respond to that?

Brown and Smith have a declared policy of voting with the Government on most issues. Will that change in light of this episode? How does it maximise their ability to change the balance of political capital. Will they run a Shooters Party candidate in 2011 against the Liberal MPs who are sounding off?

This is the sort of symbolic issue that sorts out politicians. It’s watch and wait.


Should The Shooters Party Contest The Federal Election?

August 12, 2007

The Australian Shooters Party (ASP) will shortly be registered federally. It was deregistered in 2004, re-registered in 2006 and then deregistered along with all the minor parties late in 2006. Its imminent reregistration will allow it to enter the federal election if it so decides.

The last time the ASP stood candidates in a federal election was 1998 when it nominated candidates in Victoria for the Senate. In its home state of NSW it has not entered a federal election since the 1996 Lindsay by-election. Indeed, the reason it was de-registered in 2004, just a few weeks prior to the election in that year, was that it had not entered enough elections. Parties that do not contest elections for four years are automatically deregistered.

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