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Shooters Party - fanatical red necks pushing for open season in National Parks

Since May 2009, Robert Brown MP of the Shooters Party has been pushing for the GAME AND FERAL ANIMAL CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL 2009 to be passed into NSW legislation.

The spin of this Bill is so feral animals can be controlled in National Parks. But in reality the proposed changes would mean the following main changes:

* Many of Australia's native fauna across NSW would be condemned as 'game animals' just like in colonial times, when Australian native animals were despised as 'vermin'. Other native animals can be included in the shooters hit list so long as there is consultation with the Minister for National Parks (DECC).
* It would be lawful for sporting shooters to hunt and shoot native fauna in all National Parks, State Forests, Crown Land and 'private game reserves' across NSW. Killing wildlife is to be branded as 'conservation hunting' and basically would be permissible through most natural landscapes outside built up areas.
* The Game Council of NSW, which is a government body dominated by members of shooting and hunting clubs, and it would assume authority for granting shooting licences in National Parks.
* Shooters and hunters in National Parks would be immune from protesters trying to protect native animals and birds - as it would become "an offence to approach persons (within 10 metres) who are lawfully hunting on declared public hunting land, or to interfere with persons lawfully hunting game animals".
* Any environmental protection legislation that impedes shooting and hunting of native animals is to be overriden by the new changes - such as under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
* Hunting of native game animals can be done by non-commercial shooters - i.e weekend sports shooters. Using spot lights is optional and it is ok to leave the dead, dying and injured prey where they fall.
* In the case of native waterfowl, licensed game hunters will be required to pass an official identification test of native waterfowl. The record of shooters killing protected bird species is woeful, yet the proposed legislation won't make any difference.
SOURCE:Bill's second reading in the NSW Legislative Council

Professional safari hunters, recreational hunters, sports shooters, or weekend warriors? This Bill would overturn all environmental legislation protecting our remaining wildlife in NSW. It is repugnant. This proposal is nothing to do with noble gesture of taking on the task of the government's culling feral animals in National Parks.
The Game Council in this self-interested set of demands, simply wants to give its weekend warrior member base open slather access to shoot almost anything and everything in the bush. It would be 24/7 open season on wildlife perpetually across NSW every day of the year. Every weekend would be weekend warrior party time in the ute with the spotties and the beers and the guns - just like in the good old days eh? In doing so, The Game Council and the Shooters Party have shown their true colours. The Game Council's objective is to provide for the effective management of 'introduced species' of game animals. By advocating the hunting and shooting of native animals and birds is outside its 'introduced species' charter.

According to Greens MP Ian Cohen, if feral animals are to be culled then "it should be managed by trained Livestock Health and Protection Authority officers." "Recreational hunters are not helping when it comes to feral species - the reality is that hunters, with their dogs, are often a cause of pest species dispersal, driving feral animals into national parks."

Fortunately, NSW Cabinet yesterday backed away from supporting the bill.

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Chris in his comment (above) 'Shooters Party Bill' (26-Jun-09) has made a number of unsubstantiated claims about "errors" in my above lead article, to which I took the trouble of answering, but also challenged Chris same day seeking explanation of his claims.

Chris falsely claims the Bill would not give anyone the right to shoot native animals, falsely that rules for killing native animals are not being changed and falsely that there is no shooting of native animals in national Parks proposed in the bill. In my reply, I referred Chris back to the online access to Feral Control Bill itself, since it negates Chris' claims.

But Chris' follow up comment 'Feral Animals Bill' (26 Jun 09) again avoids reference to this Bill. Had Chris took the trouble to actualy read this Bill he would be able to reference the facts, rather be making false assertions. So Chris, please refer to the facts of the Bill.

Chris seems to support a key introduction of the Feral Control Bill push to classify native animals as game animals. Chris makes additional unsubstantiated claims of what he "believes", like:

Claim A: "native animals listed as game animals are commonly shot on NPWS native animal control permits"

Claim B: "Shooting is a way of reducing pest numbers. No method is available which will eliminate these animals."

Chris, I suggest getting local Australian facts to support these claims. If "South Australia has been very successful in controlling goats in the Flinders ranges using hunters" what is your source? But are feral goats the prime feral pest. Are not cats, foxes and rabbits more a problem?

Chris digresses on a tangent about rural land holders being allowed to shoot animals on the permit and all animals shot are not allowed to be moved. This Bill is not about what feral animals rural property owners can shoot on their land. They already can! The Bill is about adding native animals in National Parks to a definition of 'game animals' for what cn only be assumed exploitation recreational shooters. Why recreational shooters? What do they know?

To be genuine about feral control, this Bill must specifically exclude:
(1) native animals,
(2) national parks and
(3) recreational shooters.
The intent then of The Shooters Party to help control ferals will starts becoming more genuine.

Tigerquoll writes, "This proposal is nothing to do with noble gesture of taking on the task of the government's culling feral animals in National Parks.

"The Game Council in this self-interested set of demands, simply wants to give its weekend warrior member base open slather access to shoot almost anything and everything in the bush. It would be 24/7 open season on wildlife perpetually across NSW every day of the year. Every weekend would be weekend warrior party time in the ute with the spotties and the beers and the guns."

It its bewildering how such a someone so full of self importance and hubris can be so ignorant about the facts.

Legal firearm owners are by definition an elite segment of society. They have undergone police checks and testing before qualifying for a licence. I wonder how many Greenies could qualify?

A feral animal is not synonymous with a native animal, if you are going to mount an argument please do not be intentionally obtuse. For example, we will shoot a rabbit and photograph a wombat.

"Weekend warrior", outright prejudice and bigotry. Sorry to bust your bubble but LAFOs (law abiding firearm owners) are not all homicidal maniacs as your graphic insinuates. Such an adolescent, puerile and paranoid view can not be part of a serious discussion. I know teachers, accountants, nurses, primary teachers (female), police, business owners who hunt and own firearms. Using your psychological shortcomings and then projecting them onto others is an indication of poor mental health.

"Open Slather" more irrational bleating. Conservation hunters register online before heading into a forest. They possess a letter of permission that lists the target feral animals they are allowed to pursue.

"24/7 open season on wildlife". Wrong again. Hunting at night i.e. spotlighting with a rifle is not allowed and you have once again intentionally mixed up feral and native wildlife. Spotlighting could occur with special permission, but would be a rare occurrence. Refer to above paragraph.

"the beers and the guns". Wrong again. When a LAFO is in possession of his/her firearm a zero blood alcohol level must be maintained according to the NSW Firearm legislation. I have been told that L Rhiannon had a hand in writing this portion of the legislation as one can apparently smoke as much pot as they wish and hunt at the same time. Now that is what I would call politically correct legislation!

Conservation Hunters donate time and money to help control feral animals. The State benefits and so do hunters. They are able to exercise their ancestral & cultural right to hunt, commune with nature while promoting good mental health. The rabid anti-everything lefty always wants someone else to do something so that they can feel better within their neurotic super ego.

Time for bed. No more time to go over all the delusional lies that are posted here.

Since when does paranoia, hoplophobia and hyperbole provide a basis for forming public policy?

Cowboy, I have cut out the worst of the personal abuse in the above post. Next time, please just focus on your case and forget about personal attacks. - JS

I draw Cowboy's attention to the message and not the messenger. My Message above is in respect to the NSW Feral Animal Cntrl Amedment Bill 2009 to: 'exclude all native animals as 'game' and prohibit the use of dogs in all hunting and shooting and you will have me starting to listen to proposals by The Shooters Party to control feral animals. But as for controlling feral animals in National Parks in NSW, this is an ecological management matter for DECC to be held accountable for.'

This issue is all about the Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill 2009 before the NSW Legislative Council, so the debate ought remain centred around the facts of the Bill.

Cowboy’s comment above is big on denials, inferences and personal attack but short on facts to support his (her) claims; a bit like Chris, but more feral. Cowboy's labelling of 'hoplophobia' (the fear of firearms) is a typical defence used by gun rights advocates as a derogatory term against anyone critical of them. Personally, I have trained on the L1A1 SLR and have great respect for professionals expertly and legally weapons trained. Cowboy shooters give the professional a bad name. But there is no benefit in descending to personal attacks (argument 'ad hominem').

Back to this so-called Feral Control Bill:

Where is the substantiation to support this Bill?

1. If the Bill is one of targeting ferals, why does it include native animals in National Parks?
2. If the Bill is one of targeting ferals, why is it limited to shooting and not other control means?
3. Why are the government authorities most qualified to control feral animals not granted the delegated responsibility for this Bill?
4. Where in this Bill does it specify controls on the time of day that shooting can take place? (i.e. it is 24/7)
5. Where in this Bill does it specify how shooting is to be independently policed? It doesn't.
6. Where in this Bill does it specify that only qualified marksman trained in species identification will be permitted to engage in feral hunting in national parks? Why are recreational hunters permitted without the high standards of marksmanship and species recognition training?
7. Where in the Bill are inexperienced recreational hunters prohibited from such shooting? These are the 'weekend warriors' that give the contract professionals a bad name, yet the The Game Council is not going out of its way to distinguish these two extremes.
8. Who will be monitor, police and breath test the shooters?
9. Who will watchdog those monitoring the shooters to ensure legal, environmental and ethical standards are complied with?

Shooters an "elite segment of society"? - come on
I question firearms owners being a labelled an "elite segment of society”
All it takes is to be cleared of a criminal record and paying a licence fee. Even a 12 year old can get a Minors Firearms Permit! A Personal Firearm Licence can be paid at any RTA office with a photo ID. No need to walk into a police station to apply like in the old days.

Under The (NSW) Fireams Act 1996 Part 2, Division 1, Clause 10 'Applications for Licences, all that is required to be granted a firearms licence is:

* be over 18,
* show proof of ID,
* be someone who has not been convicted of an offence within the past 10 years,
* not subject to an apprehended violence order,
* not subject to a good behaviour bond,
* not deemed not a risk to public safety.
* pay the licence fee

Convicted backbacker murderer, Ivan Milat, was a legally licenced shooter and got through these stringent 'elite' tests and he owned multiple longarm firearms.
How does this reflect upon the test standards for firearm owners?

Since 18 August 2008, the Firearms Amendment Act 2008 has required unlicenced persons seeking a licence for longarms undertake and pass an approved Firearms Safety Qualification (Long-arms) Course. This is admittedly a step in the right direction.
SOURCE: NSW Shooting Centre

Lack of professional controls for shooters
Under Firearms Regulation 2006 (NSW) clause 28 ‘Recreational hunting/vermin control—persons who are not members of approved hunting clubs’, an applicant can obtain a firearm licence without being a member of an approved hunting club in order to engage in recreational hunting/vermin control so long as they obtain and hold written proof of permission to shoot on rural land by the landholder which must describe the land to which the permission relates and the type of game to be shot.

But there is nothing in the legislation to enable a firearm holder to have a licence suspended or revoked as a result of shooting protected wildlife.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, not the Game Council should be the prescribed authority for all vertebrate pest animal control.

Poor Species identification training
It is quite obvious that a feral animal is not synonymous with a native animal. One would hope that a shooter can distinguish a rabbit from a wombat, but what training exists to ensure natives are not mistakenly shot. Where is the policing to ensure that natives are not shot intentionally?

"Conservation Hunters"?
Suerly, this is oxymoronic spin. The term 'professional contract shooter' ought to be distinguisged from recreational shooter. If this Bill is to genuinely seek a professional approach to feral animal control it must specifically exclude recreational shooters and the weekend warrior element.

"Ancestral & cultural right to hunt"?
The loose premise of some "ancestral & cultural right to hunt" - may apply to traditional Aborigines using traditional methods on traditional lands away from populated areas, but to quote the Game Council's NSW Hunter eduication Handbook.. "in today's world, hunting is no longer a necessity for most of us, but is something we are never the less driven to the associations with our past." (p4.1.5). So this rather dubious argument says hunting is justified by some nostalgic notion of being connected to early colonists.

Cowboy, I draw your attention to the following extracts taken from recent specific research
and experience in feral animal control in Tasmania dealing with foxes:

'FOXES IN TASMANIA: A REPORT ON AN INCURSION BY AN INVASIVE SPECIES [June 2006] by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.

7.4.3 Shooting

“The shooting of foxes has been a popular control technique used particularly by the agricultural community. It is ineffective in significantly reducing fox population numbers, is highly biased towards naïve juveniles and sub-adults and not suitable where dense cover is available for foxes (Coman 1988, Saunders et al. 1995). Shooting is usually done at night from a vehicle with the aid of a spotlight. This method relies on the ability of the shooter to approach the animal until it is in shooting range. Some shooters try and lure animals into range by using whistles. Coman (1988) reported that as the season progressed, fewer foxes could be shot due to either the removal of naïve foxes or learned avoidance of shooters.

Shooting has the advantage of producing evidence of the kill. Shooting is often promoted as an effective control technique to perpetuate access to lands for the purpose of hunting. Debating the merits or disadvantages of using shooters to remove foxes from Tasmania is probably counterproductive. Examination of historical attempts at fox bounty systems is sufficient to realise that shooting alone is not an eradication tool. Where used opportunistically and in association with normal recreational activities, the removal of individual foxes, as seen, may be appropriate. This would particularly apply in remote areas where a rapid follow-up response will be difficult. However, reliance on shooting as the
primary technique, either by professional or recreational hunters will fail.

Responding to individual reliable sightings of foxes by hunting alone should also be discouraged. Baiting should always be the primary strategy. The risk of a failed shot and subsequent change in the behaviour of the fortunate fox will also make subsequent efforts to kill it even more difficult.”

SOURCE: Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (another collective bucket portfolio)

And The Game Council of NSW is proposing to the government a wild open season on ferals and natives alike, entrusting it to any tom dick recreational shooter from 12 years old and upwards? Contract professional shooters and feral vertebrate animal controllers should feel damn right insulted.