Lost without a fight

According to comments by Shooters Party MPs, the government’s determination to close Malabar as a shooting range is a fait accompli.

In an email on 30 November 2007, Robert Brown said (in bold), “The State and Federal Governments have made it plain that the issue is non-negotiable.

On 4 December Brown and Smith issued a press release demanding that the government allocate $20 million to a new range. They did not demand the decision be reversed.

In a newsletter on 18 December Robert Brown said, “We expressed The Shooters Party opposition to the move but the decision has been made – there is nothing further that can be done except get the best deal possible for those who use the range.”

The source of this supposed decision is a speech by the member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, on 30 November, just 5 days after the federal election at which Labor was elected.

Daley said, “The New South Wales Government’s position and now the Federal Government’s position is likely to be that the shooters be relocated and that the headland be handed over.”

Daley’s speech also included this sentence: “We have consulted the shooters involved and secured their agreement in the matter.

Does “likely to be” indicate “the decision has been made” or a “fait accompli” to you? And which “shooters” were consulted and agreed to the closure of Anzac?

In my opinion Daley can only have been referring to Brown and Smith. In practical terms, nobody else could have been consulted in the 5 days since the election. Certainly not SSAA Sydney branch, NSWRA or any of the other large organisations that use the range.

What Daley seems to be indicating is that Brown and Smith consented to the closure of Malabar. And that’s why they are calling it a ‘fait accompli’.

Writing about the topic on the Shooters Party forum, John Tingle said: “Yes, of course we will want to fight it, but the fight’s been over for years.”

Tingle is plain wrong. In fact, the fight was almost won just prior to the federal election when the Liberals announced the NSWRA would be granted a long term lease. Brown admitted as much in his announcement. But Tingle has long had a defeatist attitude to Malabar, in part because the NSWRA has never been a keen supporter of the party. That mentality now seems to have infected Robert Brown and Roy Smith.

Just as there was when the Liberal government wanted to close Malabar for shooting, there is a great deal that can be done to reverse the decision. Anyone who knows anything about politics knows that few political decisions are ever non-negotiable.

In particular, Brown and Smith have a pivotal vote in the Legislative Council. Without them, the Greens and Coalition could combine to defeat government legislation. But in reality they only ever vote against Labor on procedural matters. On substantive issues both Brown and Smith are obedient Labor supporters. Indeed, so reliable are they that neither Labor nor the Coalition bother to lobby them in most cases. It’s simply unnecessary.

If Brown and Smith were to notify the Government that it could no longer rely on their votes, their leverage would be quite considerable. And with Labor in government in Canberra, the message would be passed on to their federal brothers very rapidly.

We were told that with a second Shooters Party member in Parliament, shooters would be able to hold the government to account. Looks like that’s been proved wrong at the first hurdle.

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4 Responses to Lost without a fight

  1. Phil says:

    John Tingle’s comment on the firearms forum;

    21-Jan-2008

    The Shooters Party today ridiculed an outrageous suggestion that its MPs had
    been consulted by the Government, and had agreed to the closure of the Anzac
    Range at Malabar.

    The claim was made in a post on an obscure blog by a former office bearer of
    The Shooters Party, who was removed from office by an overwhelming vote of
    members in 2005.
    The blog exists only for the purpose of sniping at The Shooters Party, and
    frequently makes statements as daft as this one.

    The curious “logic” behind this individual’s quite unsubstantiated claim, is
    that the Member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, while announcing the
    forthcoming closure of the range, claimed that shooters had been consulted
    and had agreed with the proposal. Since none of the shooting
    organisations had actually been consulted, this person assumed that the
    shooters who had been consulted must have been Robert Brown and Roy Smith.

    Pretty weird, and quite wrong. Neither MLC was consulted about the
    matter, but, had they been they certainly would not have agreed.

    They are the only ones who appear to have tried to take any real action
    about the proposed closure. They immediately met Premier Iemma; placed on
    record The Shooters Party’s implacable opposition to any closure, and served
    a letter of demand on both the state and federal governments asking for
    $20-million, and suitable public land, to relocate the various ranges at
    Malabar.

    The Premier made it clear at that meeting that the state and federal
    governments had agreed on the closure, and that this was non-negotiable.
    The blog post is typical of someone on the outer fringes of the shooting
    movement, and way out of the loop in politics

    The blog post suggests the MPs should have brought pressure to bear on the
    state government to leave the range open. As everyone knows, the land is
    owned by the federal government.

  2. Robbie says:

    This was posted on Australian Hunting Net:

    Just received this from the NSWRA –

    There has been much discussion, false information, rumours and complete lack of substance circulating in regard to the future tenure for us here at Anzac Range since the issue of my previous missive on this subject dated 30th November 2007.

    The purpose of this memo is therefore to try and explain the situation and make our (NSWRA) position quite clear and just where we stand.

    Due to the presumptive announcement in the NSW Parliament by the local State Member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, on Friday November 30th last year, that the decision had been made to relocate all shooters from the Anzac Rifle Range Malabar, false and misleading statements have been issued from both The Shooters Party and media publications agreeing with the local members announcement.

    This is completely false; NO such decision has been made by the owners of the property, the Commonwealth and/or the newly elected Federal Government.
    NSWRA’s position has always been that we do not object to relocation, providing that the relocation is seamless and the new complex, amongst other conditions, would be located within the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Basin.

    NSWRA in conjunction with the Commonwealth spent some two years working with consultants appointed by the Commonwealth at the time to find just such a site. The final conclusion was there is none, and the previous Government finally acknowledged this fact in their letter of June 25 last year with the advice of continuing tenure, signed off by the respective Federal Ministers.

    NSWRA, as with the other users at Anzac Rifle Range, operate under a License Agreement with the Commonwealth. NSWRA’s license includes a proviso that NO relocation notice will be enforced/issued by the Commonwealth until a suitable alternate site, such as Holsworthy, is available.

    NOTHING HAS CHANGED!!

  3. pete2whelan says:

    I had always a high regard for John Tingle and his efforts during his years in NSW Parliament, to get a better deal for shooters. However, J.T.’s attempt to discredit the author of this entry does not win him any points. No doubt the author has contacts within shooting groups who use ANZAC range at Malabar. (I use one of the ranges to shoot metallic silhouette comps). Perhaps he too has contacts within NSW Parliament!
    We observe that J.T.’s response leaves several questions un-answered.
    a) If the Member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, announced in Parliament that “Shooters had been consulted” and J.T. claims that no shooters, nor shooting groups had been consulted, has Michael Daley lied to NSW Parliament?
    b) If M.Daley has in fact lied to Parliament, or dramatically misrepresented the facts, why has this not been taken further by our two Shooters Party MPs?
    c) If the two Shooters Party MPs were not consulted prior to the announcement, why weren’t they? We were promised that with two members representing shooters in NSW Parliament, our voice would be heard! Apparently M. Daley had not heard of these Shooters Party MPs! Why were Roy Smith and Robert Brown ignored?
    d) Does anyone else get the feeling that the “letter of demand” for $20million, would seem to be a rather feeble attempt by the Shooters Party MPs to be “seen to be doing something”, but is too little, too late. Why not ask for $200million!

  4. Why can’t Malabar be Heritage Listed or something like that as an historical place that worth protecting as a rifle range?

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