Chang­ing land­scape

Field and Game - - NEWS -

CPI Strate­gic di­rec­tor and Field & Game Aus­tralia ad­viser Rick Brown pro­vides com­men­tary on an elec­tion re­sult that shocked self-ap­pointed ex­perts, com­men­ta­tors, Malcolm Turn­bull, the Lib­eral Party's gu­rus and in­deed seem­ingly ev­ery­body ex­cept Bill Shorten and his in­ner cir­cle.

The ques­tion is whether the re­sults should have been such a sur­prise.

Be­fore the Lib­er­als com­mit­ted them­selves to the dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion path there were those within Coali­tion ranks who ex­pected to lose be­tween six and ten seats. Thus, the next ques­tion is why La­bor won more than 10 seats.

One ex­pla­na­tion, which nei­ther of the ma­jor par­ties would want to hear, is the vote for the United King­dom to leave the Euro­pean Union.

The Lib­er­als re­in­forced how out of touch they were with vot­ers by con­clud­ing that the Brexit re­sult would drive vot­ers (as dis­tinct from ‘the mar­ket') to seek sta­bil­ity.

The odds are that the Brexit vote gave hope to many in main­stream Aus­tralia, who, like their coun­ter­parts in the USA, United King­dom and other western coun­tries, have con­cluded the ma­jor par­ties do not un­der­stand their pri­or­i­ties and con­cerns.

This mind­set not only would re­in­force the at­trac­tion of mi­nor par­ties but also favour La­bor for two rea­sons.

The first is that one can only protest by vot­ing against the gov­ern­ment even if it is just as bad.

Se­condly La­bor cam­paigned on the theme that Malcolm Turn­bull was an outof-touch toff and cam­paigned on Medi­care, an is­sue which struck a chord with vot­ers.

A re­volt by main­stream Aus­tralia against the in­ner sub­ur­ban elites would not harm shoot­ers and some oth­ers whose pas­times or ac­tiv­i­ties are la­belled po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect.

Last year, the Lib­er­als cre­ated a prob­lem when they were sucked into de­cid­ing to ban the Adler and there­fore lever-ac­tion shot­guns, a de­ci­sion that would have had ram­i­fi­ca­tions for clas­si­fi­ca­tions of pump-ac­tion and lever­ac­tion ri­fles.

The Nationals solved the prob­lem by dis­tin­guish­ing be­tween Adlers with a ca­pac­ity of up to five rounds and those with a ca­pac­ity of more than five rounds.

La­bor sought to ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lem by try­ing to shoe­horn Malcolm Turn­bull into ban­ning the Adler.

La­bor re­fused to re­sile from its po­si­tion even though it was based on in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion. It re­quired an enor­mous ef­fort and hold­ing our nerve to per­suade La­bor to mod­ify its po­si­tion at the last pos­si­ble minute dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

De­spite this change, we could not have as­sumed that a re­view of the Na­tional Firearms Agree­ment would not have been used as a means to tighten cur­rent clas­si­fi­ca­tions had La­bor fallen over the line or formed a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment.

This ex­pe­ri­ence raises the ques­tion of the ef­fec­tive­ness of a pol­icy of sup­port­ing in­di­vid­ual can­di­dates and mem­bers who are sym­pa­thetic to shoot­ers, thereby ig­nor­ing the poli­cies of and dom­i­nant mind­sets within a po­lit­i­cal party.

The events of last year also demon­strated the im­por­tance of the in­flu­ence of the Nationals and the fact its po­si­tion within the Coali­tion is now stronger is a good elec­tion out­come.

North­ern Ter­ri­tory sen­a­tor Nigel Scul­lion, a keen hunter and a great sup­porter, was in­stru­men­tal in per­suad­ing the Gov­ern­ment not to pro­ceed with a ban on the Adler last year. His re-elec­tion as the Nationals' Se­nate leader is good news as would be his re-ap­point­ment as a Cabi­net min­is­ter.

So far as the Se­nate is con­cerned, the re­sults will not be clear for weeks.

The good news is that the Greens did not do as well as ex­pected. They are likely to lose one sen­a­tor and pos­si­bly two.

How­ever the elec­tion of Derryn Hinch in Vic­to­ria is not good news for shoot­ers. Nor is the suc­cess of Nick Xenophon in South Aus­tralia. Tas­ma­nian Jac­qui Lam­bie's views on firearms is­sues are un­clear.

Han­son's suc­cess would be good news for shoot­ers, par­tic­u­larly given the suc­cess of Hinch and Sen­a­tor Xenophon and the fact that Bob Day and David Ley­on­hjelm are only out­side chances of be­ing re-elected.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.