Should The Shooters Party Contest The Federal Election?

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.

Federal elections have long been a sore point in the Shooters Party. Party founder and general political know-it-all John Tingle always regarded them as an utter waste of time from the party’s point of view. Some suspected this had more to do with fear of sharing the limelight, particularly since he had no objections to the party standing candidates in other states, but at least he was consistent. He opposed standing candidates in the Lindsay by-election, which occurred just a few months after Howard imposed his Port Arthur gun laws, and held to that view until recently.

Tingle’s refusal to allow the party to enter federal elections is what led to the departure of former Chairman David Leyonhjelm, who was consistently overruled on the issue. In 2004, with the ASP deregistered and unable to enter the election, Leyonhjelm decided to run a team of shooters for the Senate and four marginal seats using the Outdoor Recreation Party. Tingle was incensed and prevented the Shooters Party from providing any assistance (unlike the SSAA). At the following State Conference he orchestrated Leyonhjelm’s removal and to this day denies the fact that it was the votes of shooters that helped keep the Greens from gaining an extra seat in the Senate.

At the 2005 State Conference of the party, a motion calling on the party to contest the 2007 federal election was defeated by a margin of 30 to 1, Leyonhjelm’s vote being the only one in favour. Leyonhjelm did not renew his membership when it fell due that year but instead joined another small party, the Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP), where he is Treasurer.

Not surprisingly, the LDP has a policy on firearms that is equally as strong as that of the Shooters Party. The LDP is also about to achieve federal registration and intends to enter the federal election.

Recent comments by both John Tingle and Robert Brown on the Shooters Party website forum suggest the ASP is now proposing to nominate Senate candidates in NSW for the federal election.

The question that follows from this is, why now? Why not in 2001 and 2004? Has the party’s success in the NSW state election changed anything?

The arguments in favour of running are the same as they always have been. Shooters candidates consistently attract up to 2% of the vote. If leveraged the right way, that can deliver tremendous results. In 2004, Liberals for Forests candidate Glenn Druery came within 2073 votes of being elected to the Senate despite gaining just 21,185 primary votes or 0.5%. There are also numerous House of Reps seats where the margin is a lot less than 2% and preferences will decide the result.

Gun control has been a federal issue since 1996. With talk about a national gun registry, national training standards, Australia Post rules and Customs limits on what can be imported, it still is.

Against that, the Shooters Party still does not understand how the game is played. They have never tried to leverage preferences and, alone amongst nearly all the other small parties, consistently refuse to stand in lower house seats in State elections. Their “we are alone against the world” attitude prevents them from dealing pragmatically with other parties.

As a result, entering the federal election will achieve nothing. By not running in lower house seats, their Senate vote won’t be particularly strong. Even if they figured out how Senate preferences work, they wouldn’t do the deals required to get anywhere.

Entering the federal election will also cost money. Nomination fees are $750 per candidate (minimum of two required) and even a modest publicity campaign costs several thousand dollars. That money will inevitably come out of the campaign fund being built for the 2011 state election when Robert Brown will be seeking election in his own right. Brown is not the SSAA’s man, so he can’t expect to receive the support that Smith attracted. He will need the money.

Finally, entering the federal election will prompt some party members to ask why the idea was so wrong in 2004 that it led to the ostracism of David Leyonhjelm, but is now a good idea. Could it be that the quality of some ideas vary according to who is proposing them?

The ASP is likely to stand candidates in the federal election, for better or worse, because of the LDP. How can a party that claims to be fighting for the rights of shooters sit on its hands while another pro-gun party does the fighting? How do you keep faith with a constituency that expects you to fight every battle, if you leave it to others? How will it look at the state election in 2011 if the ASP hasn’t even put up a fight? These are the questions the ASP will have to answer if it sits on its hands yet again.

Nonetheless, given the ASP’s capabilities, Tingle was probably right all the time. It would have been a waste of time, and it still is. But that’s not so relevant any more. These are interesting times for the ASP.


27 Responses to Should The Shooters Party Contest The Federal Election?

  1. Bill says:

    The ASP should stay out of the federal election. They’re a state party, that’s it. They only registered the ASP so nobody else could get it.

    I say leave it to that other mob and don’t split the vote.

  2. TopGun says:

    Sorry Bill, but ASP is not a state party. TSP is the state party. Which is why it is called the Australian Shooters Party.

    There is no other mob, Bill. Were you thinking of leaving it to John Howard perhaps? Or the LDP?

    Ostracism of Leyonhjelm was really much too lenient. I’d hate to think what would happen if someone tried to hijack some Labor party voters to assist some other party against the party’s wishes.

  3. Nick says:

    Get up him ratsak you got him on the ropes now finish him.

  4. Bill says:

    Well ASP might be not just a state party in theory, but that’s no reason to mess around in federal politics. There’s still One Nation and now the LDP.

  5. TopGun says:

    No Bill, ASP is separate from TSP. In NSW politics it is TSP running candidates. At a Federal level it is a distinct party, which is ASP. ASP does not stand candidates in NSW because TSP handles NSW politics.

    Those joining ASP have to join it separately even if they are part of TSP.

    One Nation is a spent force Bill. Like a souffle, they rose quickly, but then sagged. I don’t know whether anyone would vote for them, except for Queenslanders. If they ran a candidate in NSW during the last state election that might be a good guide as to their potential later in the year in NSW.

    The LDP is even worse. It has never held a seat anywhere in Australia. Its leaders talk about preferences the way gamblers talk about sure things at the racetrack. If they were genuine they would advise their followers of the preference deals which they have managed to pull off. Then you could decide if you wanted to try them. I doubt whether they have got a single decent preference flow going for the Senate.

    As for the House of Reps, the LDP have got no chance of getting anyone in, anywhere.

  6. Ted says:

    Top Gun seems to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the now defunct Shooters Party, now known as the SSAA party but he does not know whether they are going to run in the federal election. Bill it is two different parties run by the same people with the same three dictators who suffer from quarter inch pipe vision.

  7. TopGun says:

    Really, Ted? Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (into politics).

    I’ve got an idea Ted/Bill. Why don’t you give your second preferences to ASP in the next Federal election. That way, you will be following your LDP political theory by “controlling” the system. Or just give it your preference after the LDP, Outdoor Rec and One Nation, and it will probably still end up going to ASP because the others will not go the distance.

    I know that you both would rather have a Democrat elected than a SSAA official in NSW, because you wanted the Democrat to keep helping the Greens belt shooters.

    According to Leyonjhelm, he tried to use ORP to get some shooter into the Senate. Now he is trying to use the LDP. Instead of continually flying his flag of convenience, he should just fly his own pirate flag from the stern of his sinking ship.

  8. Bill says:

    Well I guess that must mean teh ASP will be in the federal election. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to give them my preferences.
    I’m not interested in the Democrats (except for some in the USA who are shooters.) You are easily confused Topgun.

  9. TopGun says:

    Well Bill if Roy didn’t get the second last seat in the upper house of NSW, it could easily have been a Democrat who got the last seat or second last seat, because the way it turned out, it was Roy then Coalition.

    So if Roy got deprived of votes because of your SSAA phobia, there would have been someone to take his place from the Coalition or Democrats. One Nation of course didn’t even bother running a candidate.

    See there is one thing which is even more certain than Leyonhjelm’s preference theory and that is, if you don’t vote for ASP or TSP at all, they won’t get in, but some other party which doesn’t give a hoot about shooters, will get in.

    When LDP and other wannabes actually get a seat somewhere, then I might start to accept some of their ideas, but at the moment, when they talk, I say, “Show me the seats”.

    So, Bill, I take it that if you see ASP on your Senate voting slip, you will be giving them a preference, or maybe even your primary vote?

  10. Ted says:

    You are a clever bloke Top Gun the TSP had no seats once they had to split the vote to get one elected, just, and then in 99 due to Tingles great political knowledge of preferences the TSP was responsible for getting the Unity Party elected, who were anti gun. Must be a rough club if you are the top gun.

  11. Bill says:

    “So, Bill, I take it that if you see ASP on your Senate voting slip, you will be giving them a preference, or maybe even your primary vote?”

    That depends Topgun on who is the candidate. That prick who split the Safari club a few years ago wouldn’t get my vote. But maybe someone decent would.

  12. TopGun says:

    Ted, Tingle did give some free votes to Unity, if you look at his valedictory speech in Hansard you will see the Unity Party guy praising him and thanking him for those votes. So I don’t know if he was necessarily ungrateful.

    Tingle could achieve little anyway as a one seat man in the NSW upper house, in terms of punch ups in Parliament. He had to do his work through friendly persuasion, which he did. Now with Roy and Bob Brown there are 2 TSP and 2 Christian Democrats versus 4 Greens. That has taken a lot of the wind out of the Greens.

    Bill, I don’t know if I am thinking of the right man in regard to your comment but if I am right, he won’t be running as the candidate. He doesn’t want to run, though I think he would be a great candidate. The Safari club saga is a long one with 2 sides to it. It would be nice if Ben Chifley could be reincarnated and run as the ASP candidate, but at this troubled point in shooting history, we need solidarity, regardless of any shortcomings of candidates.

  13. Ted says:

    Thanks Top Gun it is nice to see you tell the truth, once.

  14. Malcolm says:

    Why did Tingle give preferences to a anti gun party?

  15. It would be nice if Ben Chifley could be reincarnated and run as the ASP candidate,

    Interesting you should nominate Ben Chifley, Topgun. Amongst other things, Chifley is remembered for attempting to nationalise the banks in Australia.

    Is that ASP policy? Does solidarity mean supporting a candidate even if he/she supports socialist policies?

  16. Daniel says:

    Be nice to hear the other side of the Safari Club story Top Gun, where did the money go? EH and how did this dude start a three man stand alone shooting organisation when no one else can, muddy water here boy tread carefully.

  17. Bill says:

    Nationalising the banks? Jeez, who the hell would want that commie crap. If that’s what the ASP/SP wants to do it should definitely stay out of the federal election. Like I said.

  18. Malcolm says:

    The silence of the gun

  19. Daniel says:

    Cooooeeee Top Gun no answers dont spoil a good line of BS

  20. TopGun says:

    Sorry lads, I was busy trying to talk some sense into a politician who definitely does not like firearms. Where were we?

    Ben Chifley. Yes poor old Ben Chifley had nowhere to live when he retired because he didn’t manage to stash any cash away, and the Labor party had to have a whip around for him amongst party members to buy him a house. Maybe he did have some socialist tendencies, but what kind of Labor man from yesteryear didn’t have such tendencies. Jack Lang would be a prime example. Everyone loves Ben’s Light on the Hill speech. It’s a bit hard to think of any nice Liberal speeches. Wasn’t Menzies the one who wanted to ban the communist party? Hardly a great leap forward in terms of a freedom loving democracy.

    Australia has always had some socialist ideas. Medicare, for a short time 20 years ago, free university education and the dole. I suppose we could let poor people die on the street without medical care. Market forces yes, a fine thing.

    And the dreadful Safari Club. Well you see there was once an organisation which spread its tentacles over the earth, known as SCI. It required its local chapters to pay homage to Rome in the form of silver. In return they were able to call themselves associate citizens of Rome.

    But one day the provinces could not afford to send any silver to Rome and they found that Rome commenced legal proceedings against them saying that they could no longer call themselves associate Roman citizens. So they just started calling themselves Visigoths instead, and settled with Rome. No money down. Later the Visigoths became friendly with the Romans again, and since Rome was a very long way away, the Visigoths hardly missed being part of the Roman empire at all. The Romans too, realised that they needed Visigoths to act as mercenaries from time to time,so they became more friendly also.

    I’d like to help you Daniel but I’m not sure I know which three man organisation you are talking about.

    David, Mr Tingle has been saying that you opposed the renewed registration of ASP when it got deregistered. So I don’t know whether that fits in with freedom loving libertarianism, but I’m sure you had a reason which seemed like a good one, in your mind at least.

    Why did Tingle support an “antigun party”. They weren’t any sort of party really, they got in for a short time, and now are gone, and they didn’t really have any established policies, so can he be expected to foretell every future event.

    If the LDP can get a couple of percentage points vote for the next Federal election, they should give their preferences to ASP. At least something could be achieved that way. I’m sure ASP will have the same durable right wing ideas which you’ve come to love from TSP,so you can be sure that your preferences won’t be wasted.

  21. Wasn’t Menzies the one who wanted to ban the communist party? Hardly a great leap forward in terms of a freedom loving democracy.

    Is that the limit of your political knowledge, Topgun. A choice between Menzies and Chifley? Principles don’t count to you?

    Why did I oppose registration of the ASP? That’s easy, because you dopey buggers only registered it so nobody else could use the name. You said as much on the TSP forum.

    I was the one who got the ASP re-registered in 2000, but you and your thickhead mates were too silly to enter federal elections so it got de-registered in 2004. Even now it’s only entering this election because you don’t want the LDP to steal your limelight. But that’s OK, we’ll return the favour in 2011.

    We’ll give you our preferences before the major parties and Greens so long as you do the same. Not otherwise.

  22. TopGun says:

    That sounds like a nice deal for us David. There are many different views about elections. And elections cost money. Then again, so do disputes about registration of parties.

    Principles are nice things, if you can work out which ones are the right ones. The Greens have their principles too, its just that some of them are wrong.

    Do you think you will have enough volunteers to match the number of TSP volunteers handing out how to votes in 2011? I hope you will.

  23. Ted says:

    “anti gun party” yes Tingle set himself up as an expert on the matter, he never stopped harping about being a political journalist and he knew it all and if anyone objected he would chuck one of his famous tantrums and threaten to resign and sit as an independant if he did not get his own way. No preferences to any pro gun parties because they were not paying homage to him. Don’t treat us all as fools Pop Gun.
    Re 2011, don’t be too smart the SSAA may not be so willing if it is not one “of theirs” to stand around at booths like last time and even then a lot of them only did it under sufference, not like the old former party slaves most of who have gone. Your new friends may not have the staying power that you hope, they only wanted their man in and unless you give another one of their boys a free ride they will all disappear.

  24. Ballistic Tip says:

    I been shooting for years and my wife showed me this stuf a month or so ago an I mbeen watching. Im not too good at tiping but I been shooting for 56 years and I am into the Shooter Party and the SSAA did lot of things to try and finish the Shooter Party then when Smith was the bloke they all make a rush to help but I rekon Ted is on the dot we have to watch these SSAA people they are not good if we want to keep the party going we need a strong man like Tingle. That Roy has done nothing.

  25. Ron Davis says:

    at this troubled point in shooting history, we need solidarity, regardless of any shortcomings of candidates.

    Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
    – Ayn Rand

  26. TopGun says:

    Same old arguments. Will SSAA remain committed? What has Roy etc done. Ayn Rand?

    Imagine if the Libs or Labor decided to just let all their MPs and party members do whatever they felt like doing. Then they would not be running the State of NSW or Australia. The Lib who attacked the gunshop at Roseville got preselected on a margin of 2 votes. Now he is in a position to attack shooters. Do you thing he gives a hoot about the fact that nearly half of the local Libs didn’t want him.

    It was Graham Richardson who famously said “I’ve got the numbers” and that simple message is one which falls on deaf ears around here. 2 Upper House MPs are better than 1. Oh and Ron Davis, when the cop comes to your door one day and says he wants to take your gun to the smelter, just quote Ayn Rand. He’ll probably say something like “You might stop me, but there are 15,000 others cops backing me up.”

  27. young shooter says:

    i recon nearly all politicians are cunts

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