Mood: don't ask
Topic: election nsw 2007
Picture: A sporting shooter menaces an animal rights activist during the Duck Shooting season in Victoria a few years ago.
How revealing of this story today in the Sydney Daily Telegraph:
Labor trio loved by Libs By Joe Hildebrand: MICHAEL Costa spent his third day in hiding yesterday as the Liberals identified the Treasurer as one of the state's most despised politicians.
Not so much for the sledge of the three allegedly unpopular ministers Tripodi, Costa and Sartor.
No what was far more interesting was this:
"Mr Costa cancelled a scheduled appearance at the NSW Gun Club for some goodwill clay pigeon shooting yesterday after he realised there might be some media present.
Crestfallen organisers were forced to offer the expectant crowd some "last-minute apologies" from the timid tax collector when he failed to turn up.
Ironically, Mr Costa's cut-and-run job yesterday was highlighted even more by the appearance of Mr Sartor and Mr Tripodi days after their invisibility had been repeatedly noted by The Daily Telegraph and other media. ....
Back at the gun club, the only two Government MPs brave enough to show up were Land Minister Tony Kelly and old-school factional heavyweight Eddie Obeid.
But even these two tough guys got the jitters when they realised The Daily Telegraph would be attending the event.
Despite being listed to take part in a sort of celebrity shooting match, they mysteriously disappeared before the games could begin.
"Anthony Kelly? Anthony Kelly?" called out one innocent organiser.
Instead, the only politician who stayed on target was Nationals MP Adrian Piccoli.
He made his own day by outshooting the Shooters Party, something he was modest enough to mention only five or six times after the event.
Olympic gold medal-winning shooter Russell Mark suggested that perhaps it was best politicians stayed away from the shooting field anyway.
"Unlike their political lives, in shooting they've got to keep both eyes open and both ears open," Mark said afterwards.
"Exactly the opposite of what they do in Parliament."
This is just more evidence of the NSW Government's sly dishonest courting of the mad sporting shooter redneck, right to bear arms, Hansonite leaning, 5% ultra Right vote. People like this:
a web site with spookily detailed profile of gun control advocate Dr Rebecca Peters http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/peters.htm and, and Green Party candidate and former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, a website obsessing about the impending fascist dictatorship justifying widespread gun ownership as per the USA.
And there is real money behind the shooter politics too:
"A special general meeting of the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia has been called after the former Shooters' Party president David Leyonhjelm protested against a donation of more than $60,000 towards the Shooters' Party campaign by the association's Sydney branch.
A 10-person committee of that branch, which has more than 20,000 members, voted to give $60,000 to the Shooters' Party and hold another $40,000 in reserve for the campaign. The state division of the association is donating a further $250,000 to the party.
The president of the Sporting Shooters' Association and the No. 1 candidate on the upper house ticket for the Shooters' Party, Roy Smith, said it was just a couple of disgruntled members like Mr Leyonhjelm who were complaining."
The ALP real politik works like this: Do covert cosying up to the Shooters to let them know you like them even if they are Right of Genghis Khan, but just be discreet enough to not offend the other 90% of the electorate who want a safe society, indeed avoid photos of your gun toting ways in the Big Media if at all possible.
In a close election it could make all the difference. And this is a very close if not losing election:
Swinging voters worry Labor
The New South Wales ALP general secretary says he is concerned the party could be swept from power because of the large number of swinging voters across the state, including many in the Hunter.
Mark Arbib has revealed the party is campaigning in about 30 seats it believes could be lost to the Coalition or independents.
Mr Arbib told a function in Sydney that the party is expecting large swings against it due to the volatile nature of the electorate.
"At the moment the Coalition is claiming they will win 11 seats. On top of that there's also claims we're going to lose Newcastle, Maitland and Lake Macquarie. That's 14 seats," he said.
"It's a big change and obviously very, very hard for us to resist and this is what the Coalition is saying at the moment and if they weren't confident why would they be saying it?"
[And acknowledging that The Australian broke this story first on 21st Feb 2007 by Imre Salusinszky here showing the deliberately open warning by Arbib to the Right of the Party and public generally who read that paper, here
Labor warned of hostile swing
Get it? Ministers Costa, and Kelly both pulled out of attending the gun happy NSW Gun Club in reaction to media interest or similar concerns.
For some reason when I lobbied both Anne Davies at the Sydney Morning Herald and Joe Hilderbrand at the Daily Telegraph at the time of writing both seemed too busy or in the latter case particularly disinterested in this line of analysis, so I have decided even more so to spell out the background here for alternative media readers.
(The other sleeper in this story is how can Antony Green of impartial ABC be briefing the very ALP aligned Fabian Society as per the The Australian article? It's in the last two lines.)
This issue of endangerment of all public forest recreationalists, not just card carrying greenies, reaches across the broad spectrum, especially as shooting feral animals by a bunch of amateurs has no genuine scientific basis and most serious observers and rival stakeholders see it as purely pandering to cowboys:
The most telling other piece of evidence was reported in Big Media back in 2006 here:
Safety fears as shooters comb forests
GAME hunters are now able to shoot in 142 state forests across NSW and they've already bagged 650 feral animals since legalised hunting began in March.
Sun Herald 30/07/2006
This radical move to the right by the Iemma NSW government was roundly rejected by green and other civil society groups here:
10th July 2006 More State Forests Turned into Hunting Grounds
Another 46 State forests covering 422,100 hectares in the Central-West and Southern NSW have just been designated as hunting areas, putting in danger neighbouring landholders, campers and walkers visiting public lands while creating new problems for the control of feral animals.
“NPA [National Parks Association] is alarmed about the NSW Government policy of turning over vast areas of public forests and woodlands to hunters,” said Andrew Cox, NPA Executive Officer.
“This brings to 155 the number of State forests made available to hunters for the next five years since the declaration of the first hunting areas by Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, earlier this year. A total of 1.39 million hectares, or half of all State forests in NSW, are now declared as hunting areas, bringing into conflict forest users and hunters with their guns and pig dogs.”
“The Game and Feral Animal Control Act was passed in 2002 despite fierce opposition from environmental and animal welfare groups. Hunting on public lands is overseen by a Board that is required to have a majority of hunters,” said Mr Cox.
and similarly here: Nature Conservation Council of NSW - Hunting in State Forests is "bad news".
Feedback on shooting of dog in state forest
The shooting death of a domestic dog camping with its owner in a State Forest on the North Coast, has sparked more debate about the use of hunters to control feral animals.
Licenced shooters have been targetting feral animals in 152 forests as part of a State Government initiative known as 'conservation hunting'. We had a large number of callers on the issue with varying points of view. At http://www.abc.net.au/rural/nsw/content/2006/s1723227.htm]
Which pet shooting incident ended up with these questions in Parliament:
And unlike in Queensland where Illegal shooters face stiff fines - EPA/QPWS , here in NSW under this desperate NSW ALP government on the nose with voters, we have lax laws for unlicensed shooters too: Magistrate Heilpern responded to a question from this writer at a recent Beyond Environmental Law conference I reported here on SAM as follows:
"Magistrate Heilpern outlined the harsh exclusion by new regulation of [anti logging] protesters from public forest with his slogan “the [jack] boots are on” but declined to make electoral comment on the free rein now for shooters in those public recreation areas except to note it’s $550 fine for saving forests under a PIN notice from a govt forestry officer, but only $200 fine for shooting while unlicensed. The implication is clear the NSW govt supports shooters more than forests."
Barry Unsworth the blow-in ALP Premier in 1988 (after Neville Wran stood down, like Bob Carr in 2005, after a lengthy stint), was seen to be opposing the shooters "rights" and sending the Right into the arms of the Liberal-National Parly Coalition under Nick Griener elected later that year:
"JEAN KENNEDY: And, as the election [of 1988] drew closer, he [Premier Barry Unsworth] had a new issue to deal with, one which was dividing town and country gun control. At meetings like this in Bathurst, there was outrage.
[File tape]: The New South Wales government, without doubt and it can't be questioned, is using the law abiding sporting shooters of this state as scapegoats for their inability to control law and order on the streets of Sydney."
And no one is doubting current ALP Premier Morris Iemma is not a dedicated student of political history in NSW (being an apprentice of fixer ex Senator Graham Richardson) even at the expense of the citizens' real safety.