Earlier this week in The West Australia newspaper there is an article by Mr Daniel Mercer in regards to Hunting on Public Lands, Titled “Hunt Ban Stays”. The following is an extract from the article, in which Mr Mercer quotes the Environmental Minister Albert Jacob;
“… But in his official response to the committee’s report, Mr Jacob confirmed yesterday the plan was dead, arguing the Government’s priority was the public safety and recreational hunting in heavily visited areas such as national parks or nature reserves could threaten this.”
However, while it initially appears that the program may be doomed, a press release by the Hon Rick Mazza, Upper house member representing the Shooters and Fishers party, alludes to an expanded agreement with Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) and the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA). Under current agreements, volunteer shooters are contracted by these government departments to perform culls as required – expanding these agreements is being considered rather than having licensed recreational hunting. Which is virtually the same thing.
Now, this isn’t bad news. I’m not saying that this isn’t a good proposal, for shooters and for the West Australian environment, but let’s look at the environmental minister’s comments a little closer…
Let’s clear something up first – the recreational shooters that were going to engage in recreational hunting on public lands are the same people who volunteer to shoot for the government departments. They are the same people doing the same shooting for the same reasons.
Basically, all the Environmental Minister has said is this;
Under Proposed recreational hunting trial;
- We don’t believe recreational hunters can be trusted to perform shooting tasks safely on public land, even under the guidance of Government Departments
- We don’t want shooters access to public lands for recreational purposes, and
- (Even though the proposed hunting was only going to take place in two locations, neither being a National Park or Nature reserve) Shooters having access to National Parks and Nature reserves will endanger the public.Instead, the Recreational shooters will be engaging in contacting for government departments, in which;
- Recreational hunters are trusted to perform shooting tasks safely on public land, under the guidance of Government Departments
- We are happy to give shooters access to public lands for recreational purposes, and
- (Even though the proposed hunting was only going to take place in two locations, neither being a National Park or Nature reserve) Shooters will have access to National Parks and Nature reserves with no perceived danger to the public.So, while being opposed to recreational hunting on public land, he is opening up public lands for recreational shooting. The Environmental Minister is clearly contradicting himself.
Now a lot of shooters will be saying “Who cares? We get to cull ferals on public land!” , and that is true. But what is disturbing is the motives behind the Environmental Ministers’ comments.
What the Environment Minister is attempting to achieve is the same environmentally beneficial result but without being seen by the public to be allowing shooters their way. To the point that he is having to resort to misrepresenting the proposed Recreational Hunting trial to include areas that were never going to be shot on. However, the man is not an idiot – he knows that his comments were a misrepresentation of the truth. What he is relying on is the average person in the street not knowing the particulars behind recreational hunting on public land – hence his comments in the paper.
As a result of his comments the average person can rest easy knowing that the Liberal party is looking after them and keeping these nasty shooters out of their National Parks and Nature reserves. He is rattling the same swords that the Liberals have been rattling for decades and maintaining this demonised image of shooters in Australia. The same image portrayed by Howard when he wore a bullet proof vest when he addressed a crowd of shooters last century.
So don’t be lulled into the belief that either side of politics are our friends – the only Party on our side are the Shooters and Fishers Party.