Election Assessment NSW 2011

May 2, 2011

At the NSW election on 26 March 2011, in the Legislative Council the Liberal/National coalition won 11 seats. Labor won 5, the Greens 3, Christian Democrats 1 and Shooters & Fishers Party 1.  Pauline Hanson was beaten by the Greens for the final seat.

The Christian Democrats vote was reduced by Family First, but not enough to prevent it winning a seat. Subject to Fred Nile’s future, the CDP can continue to win a seat each election. The total Christian vote, comprising CDP plus FF, rose by 8%.

With 148,000 votes (up 39% on 2007), the Shooters and Fishers Party is now also assured of a seat each election subject to performance and personnel.

The Outdoor Recreation Party, the vehicle through which the Liberal Democratic Party contested a state election for the first time, increased its vote by 42% but fell well short of the number needed to gain a seat.

Efforts by the ORP to win the votes of shooters were only marginally successful, unlike among other groups such as 4WD owners, fishers, etc where it did well. Support for the S&FP among these groups, by contrast, was only detected when they were also shooters.

The source of the additional S&FP’s votes is an interesting question. Some may have come from non-shooters due to the party’s change of name and involvement in the marine parks inquiry and river red gum issue in southern NSW.  I doubt if it was many.  In my view most came from shooters who valued Roy Smith’s private members bill. Unlike any of John Tingle’s or Robert Brown’s bills, it delivered clear benefits that were also communicated to every licensee in NSW at taxpayers expense by the Firearms Registry.

Prior to the election the S&FP was telling supporters it expected to have two members elected, giving it a total of three. Considering this would require at least 285,000 votes, two and a half times its previous vote, it was total fantasy. Nonetheless some people, including SSAA (NSW) and the NSW APA, naively repeated it.

Since the election the party has been telling supporters that the involvement of ORP, the Fishing Party and Pauline Hanson prevented it from occurring. This is also complete fantasy as it would have required at least 75% of the combined votes of these three.  Almost three-quarters of voters did not allocate preferences but assuming those who did were representative (not necessarily valid), while 75% of Fishing Party preferences went to the S&FP, only 17% of ORP preferences went to it. Hanson’s preferences weren’t distributed in the count but it’s unlikely so many of them would have gone to the S&FP either.

In 2015, when Robert Borsak will be seeking to win in his own right (he occupies the seat won by Roy Smith and has never faced an election), the S&FP vote may struggle to match the performance of this election irrespective of which other parties or candidates participate. Robert Brown’s agenda, promoting the Game Council and gaining hunting rights in national parks, has limited appeal. Indeed, the Game Council is controversial in some shooting circles. And many doubt Robert Borsak has sufficient skills as a politician to achieve anything at all.

Of course, if they could convince the NSW government to depart from the 1996 APMC agreement and revisit issues such as longarm registration, semi-automatics and large calibre pistols, that would change things considerably.  It would certainly guarantee one seat, and perhaps getting two people elected would not be impossible.


Those who would deny freedom to others …

April 5, 2009

This week the NSW government introduced, passed and gazetted legislation it claims is necessary to control the activities of “outlaw motorcycle gangs”.  It was prompted by the brawl at Sydney airport in which a motorcycle gang member was murdered, and broadly based on similar SA legislation.

The government had claimed the legislation was too complex to introduce before June. Then it introduced it at such short notice that most MPs  had just a few hours to review it before voting. Yet the only ones to vote against it were the socialist Greens.  The Liberals, Nationals, Christian Democrats and both Shooters Party MLCs voted in favour.

The legislation introduces a mechanism for declaring organisations  to be criminal so that restrictions can be placed on the activities of their members.

Organisations are declared by a Supreme Court judge on application from the police. The grounds may be secret “criminal intelligence” and evidence by “victims”, and can occur without notifying the organisation. There is no right of appeal or review.  The police then apply for control orders on designated members of the organisation and the cancellation of their licences (as bookies or bouncers, handling cash at casinos, driving tow trucks, and firearms). Again, this can occur without their knowledge.  The affected individuals are then served with notice of the control orders, advising them they may not associate with each other. There is  an opportunity to appear in court after the orders have been served, with limited grounds for appeal. However, the consequences of the control order have immediate effect.

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Malabar Saved; Who To Thank?

September 21, 2007

About three weeks ago rifle clubs received written confirmation that the Federal Government had agreed to permit shooting groups to continue to use the range at Malabar. A new licence will be entered into and, it appears, tenure is secure.

Since then I have looked for reports in the media or shooting forums. Perhaps I’ve missed them, but I have seen nothing. Very curious.

The news is enormously significant. Thousands of shooters use Malabar, not least the NSW Rifle Association which conducts the Queens competition each year. Other rifle clubs and disciplines, shotgunners and pistol shooters rely on it as well. Security of tenure will allow them to refurbish facilities knowing they will not be forced to abandon them.

The saga leading to this outcome is long and tortuous. The NSW Rifle Association virtually bankrupted itself unsuccessfully trying to have the order to vacate the range overturned in the courts. Politicians at both the federal and state level, Liberal and Labor, were lobbied. Quite a few people, John Tingle among them, declared it a lost cause.

Yet the reason for the backdown was simple pragmatism.

Being a former rubbish dump, much of the range is unsuitable for the kind of tourist development the government originally envisaged. That made it a lot less attractive to sell.

Someone also convinced the government that to close Malabar without providing an alternative venue for the Queens would be like closing Bondi Beach. The Queens requires 800 metres, which meant there was nowhere suitable in the Sydney area.

For some time it looked like the site would be handed over to the State government. If the Liberals had won the NSW election, that’s possibly what would have happened. However, the Labor government had indicated it would use it for other types of recreation than target shooting. The Federal Government was not keen to give it any help with that.

Enter John Howard’s chief political boofhead, Bill Heffernan; the guy who told Howard after Port Arthur to follow the advice of the CWA on gun laws. He may not be the brightest star in the sky, but he has enough of a political nose to see a way of winning back a few shooters votes. Knowing the Liberals/Nationals lost a lot of shooters votes due to Howard’s gun laws, and are now facing probable electoral defeat, he decided it was time for another type of pragmatism.

This is probably the first time since 1996 that shooters have won something on the basis of their political significance, certainly at the federal level.

It also means the people who deserve praise for the outcome are not the timid and ineffectual leaders of most of the various shooting organisations, but the small number of individuals who convinced Heffernan and a few others there were plenty of shooters out there with a baseball bat in their pocket just itching for the chance to use it on Howard and his henchmen. (I’m one of them, as the LDP candidate for Bennelong.)

I don’t know who they are, so I can only congratulate them anonymously. I’m simply glad that, back in 2004, I got the chance to tell Heffernan myself about what shooters thought of Howard. It sure feels good now.


Freedom equals self defence

March 31, 2007

There are few things more fundamental to freedom than the right of self defence. If freedom means anything it is the right to defend ourselves against those who would hurt us or our families, or take our property.

The problem is, the nanny state is increasingly ambivalent about whether we can be trusted with that amount of freedom. Authoritarians would prefer the police provided protection so that we don’t need to do it ourselves. Indeed, the minute anyone acts to catch a criminal or prevent a crime they are at risk of accusations of “taking the law into their own hands”. If two or more people act jointly, they are just as likely to be called “vigilantes”.

Nonetheless, the law recognises a right of self defence. If we or our families are attacked or our property threatened, we are entitled to defend it without committing a crime.

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NSW Election Analysis

March 28, 2007

The election outcome in the NSW Legislative Council looks to be as follows:

Labour: 10 continuing plus 9 new = 19 total

Coalition: 7 continuing plus 8 new = 15 total

Greens: 2 continuing plus 2 new = 4 total

Christian Democrats: 1 continuing plus 1 new = 2 total

Shooters: 1 continuing plus 1 new = 2 total

The number of shooter advocates in parliament has not increased as David Oldfield (One Nation NSW) was in the previous parliament along with John Tingle/Robert Brown.

The new Shooters Party seat has been won by Roy Smith, SSAA NSW Executive Officer.

The seat was won at the expense of the Democrats, which are no longer represented in the NSW parliament. That is beneficial to shooters as the Democrats are generally opposed to firearm ownership and hunting.

The Labor government will have a choice between relying on the Greens for a majority, or the Christian Democrats plus Shooters. The Christian Democrats are somewhat sympathetic to shooters although their voting history is mixed and they strongly support the Liberals including John Howard’s gun control initiatives. Nonetheless, they strongly dislike the Greens too so they will side with the Shooters more often than not.

Votes in the Legislative Council will only occasionally be determined by Shooters. The Opposition votes with the government quite regularly, especially on issues that are opposed by the Greens.

Having the ability to overcome Greens opposition is nothing like having the balance of power. Nonetheless, the government will maintain pragmatic working relations with all three of the minor parties. That will mean a few crumbs come their way from time to time, such as funding for pet projects.

All post contibutors to this site welcome the replacement of a Democrat with a Shooter and look forward to reporting on the contribution of Roy Smith and Robert Brown to the restoration of shooters rights over the next four years.


Unconstitutional Funding Revisited

March 22, 2007

SSAA Newcastle Branch has obtained the opinion of Senior Counsel on the constitutionality of SSAA (NSW) donating $250,000 to the Shooters Party election fund without the approval of the members in a special resolution.

The opinion finds that the donation was unconstitutional as previously stated here, contrary to the opinion of a solicitor engaged by SSAA(NSW) who was subsequently nominated as a candidate for the Shooters Party in the State election.

Senior Counsel opinion carries considerable weight and is regarded as more likely to reflect the views of a court than a solicitor.

The opinion obtained by Newcastle Branch reads as follows:

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NSW Coalition Firearms Policy

March 4, 2007

The Liberal/National Firearms Policy for the 2007 NSW election is now available: 2007 NSW Liberal-National Firearms Policy. Key points are in italics as follows:

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