The Nationals WA look set to drum up new policies on firearms
So we’ve given them some ideas to run with.

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Nationals WA set change tack

THOSE OF YOU who remember 1996 will recall how the Nationals stool still over our gun laws – and haven’t forgiven them since.

Nor do we.  However we’ve come across a change in that approach.  The WA Nationals are now looking towards shooters for guidance on what their new policy platform should look like.

Outranking the Liberals

The result of the 2021 WA State Election saw the Labor McGowan Government returned with an increased margin.  This is despite the authoritarian rule of the McGowan Government, including shutting WA off from the rest of Australia during COVID.

PR podcast imageEvidently the WA electorate saw that as a good thing.

WA’s lower house has 59 Labor MPs, 2 Liberals and 4 Nationals

The upper house has 22 Labor MPs, 7 Liberals and 3 Nationals and 4 others. 

In other words, the coalition got thumped – to the point where the Libs are outnumbered by the Nationals WA in the lower house.

While that is a negative for the coalition and state, the Nats see their situation as an opportunity to be recalibrate itself to bounce back. 

At the very least, it means they realise that their policies need to change  if they are to regain their traditional base. 

Nationals WA want to be ‘bold’ on policy

WA Nationals Louise Kingston

Louise Kingston MLC

IN OUR RECENT INTERVIEW with the National’s Louise Kingston (right), it is clear that the Nationals are prepared to speak out at Papalia’s treatment of shooters

Louise points to the party’s preparedness to be bold in the way it repositions itself for the next WA State Election in 2025.

The media game

It was also apparent from Louise’s comments that the younger generation now rarely seek information to help them inform themselves, but seems 

more likely to take information on face value.

That’s a problem for shooters because it means those people are more likely then others to accept information fed to them – such as Papalia’s argument for rewriting WA’s Firearms Act.

It means we need to be better at the PR game than was previously the case.

The skillsets we need

Louise also expressed her belief that the shooting community could benefit from engaging the right sort of PR skills.

 

Donation imageShe’s right.

From our perspective, our main issues are that we are politically weak, and don’t have the right narrative in the public.  It’s a double headed problem.

Unfortunately we’ve seen that play out a few times when shooters get elected.

While it is great to hear  of shooters getting elected, they are up against political operators who will are skilled at making sure we don’t get anything from the process.

Then there’s that second problem of how we are portrayed publicly.  These problems are linked (thanks to people like Papalia) and what Louise said is no doubt what we need to focus on, in the long term.

Fixing these problems obviously cost money that we don’t yet have, but it confirms the pathway we need to focus on.

 

 

 

The Nationals want your input

The Nats have asked questions of government and made statements regarding Papalia’s failure to act appropriately, but are yet to show what their policy platform will be.

 

However as you will hear from the interview, the Nationals are likely to release their policy platforms sooner than later.

They are now seeking feedback on firearms including “what you need from us”. 

Check out what the Nationals have done by clicking here – and let them know what you think they should do.

Again, we could understand why shooters may be cynical of what is an open ended approach that is yet to yield any details.

However it’s not often you see a major political party invite community input in this way.  That’s why we recommend shooters grab the opportunity while they can.

If the Nats end up ignoring it, then we will hold them to account – but our view is that they see no downside to working on good firearm policies.

Our submission

We’ve put in our submission. Here is a run down of some of the policy suggestions we’ve put forward – with more to come later on:

  • Statutory recognition of the social, economic and environmental benefits of the shooting sports and activities;
  • A code of conduct for ministers and senior public servants to recognise the benefits of the shooting sports and activities before offering any comment on regulatory controls;
  • Abolition of licensing of firearms, to be replaced by permits to acquire (which is a significantly lower cost and inconvenience) as required by the National Firearms Agreement;
  • Abolition of serviceability certificates, as proper functioning of firearms is not usually a safety issue;
  • Abolition of mental health checks and other matters being proposed by Papalia (incl property letters, gun limits);
  • Recognition of interstate licences;
  • Provision for full licensing of juniors;
  • Establishment of a Firearms Appeals Tribunal to enable regulatory decisions to be challenged in a low cost, more efficient forum rather than to go WASAT;
  • Introduction of duck hunting;
  • Requirement that all fees charged to shooters go through public  consultation processes for transparency, as is the case in other states;
  • Abolition of appearance laws.

No doubt you’ve got other ideas: we encourage shooters to put in their 2 cents worth at this page on their website.

Working with the WA Nationals

The WA Nationals firearms policy warchest may seem to be empty at the moment, but they have opened the door by asking the right questions.

The best hope that WA shooters have at the moment is to help the coalition put up decent opposition to Labor

There is time to do this, and the upside is that we can help create the right policies for shooters

We’re not saying we’ll get the results we want (there are no guarantees in politics) – but it’s the best bet we have at the moment. 

It certainly beats giving up – or ‘sitting on the fence’.

We encourage you to listen to the interview, if you haven’t already done so.

Become a subscriber

 

Why not put this on your club’s noticeboard? 

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