Victorian State Election: Meet the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party

I don’t have time to read all of this!
The Basics

shootersandfishers

Website: https://www.vicshootersandfishers.org.au/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SFPVIC/
Themes: Hunters’ rights, outdoor sports, guns, the great outdoors.

With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket

The Shooters and Fishers have put the Liberal Democrats either first or second on every ticket, and Transport Matters in their top five in every region.  The DLP and Hinch’s Justice Party are also popular.

The Animal Justice Party, unsurprisingly, can be found at the very bottom of every ticket.  Directly above them are Labor, Liberal and the Greens, all jumbled up together in an order that I suspect is random.  Fifth from the bottom is usually the Victorian Socialists, but they make an exception for the ungrouped independents in Western Victoria and Western Metropolitan, and in Northern Metropolitan, where Walter Mikac is running on the Aussie Battler ticket, they make a point of putting him in their final five.

Given that apparently Druery has been heavily involved in putting together some of these tickets, I’m no longer sure just what we can learn from these, but I do think the LDP is a philosophical match, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the AJP didn’t find their way to the bottom of the ticket by accident.

The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations

I would note that Ricky Muir, accidental Senator and former member of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, is on their ticket for Morwell.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I actually really liked Muir when he was in Parliament – he struck me as a decent, reasonable human being who was determined to do an honest job of being a Senator.  I liked his willingness to read and judge each piece of legislation on its merits, without partisanship.  I don’t think he got it right every time, but he worked very hard and with integrity, and I have a lot of respect for that.

Sadly, while I miss Muir’s voice in Parliament very much, the one part of him I don’t miss is his enthusiasm for guns.  So there’s that.  I have to admit, though, that if I were in Morwell, I’d be giving serious consideration to voting for him regardless.  Honesty and integrity in politics are rare qualities, and I’ll put up with a fair number of foolish ideas if it will buy me that.

But let’s have a look at the party itself!  The SFFP’s slogan is ‘It’s your powerful voice’, which I am finding slightly hilarious.  There’s something about it that just doesn’t work as a slogan, and I’m finding myself wanting to re-write it.  ‘A powerful voice for you’ might be better.  Though it’s still not good.  Modifying ‘voice’ with ‘powerful’ sounds like you are judging a singing competition, or possibly telling a child to settle down.  (‘You need to use your inside voice now, not your powerful voice.’).

Anyway.  What I think they are trying to get at here is the idea that the party can speak powerfully for you.  And they are trying to ascribe some of the ownership of that power to you, and now I’m giggling again, because, well, it sounds like someone is trying very hard to reassure themselves about their masculinity, and the jokes  just write themselves.  Which is a pity, because of all the many, many gun-loving parties out there, the SFFP is by far the least toxic, the most honest and the most reasonable.  I mean, they are not going to the top of my ticket, but there is plenty of space below them on my ticket at present.

Their Facebook page has a much better, if more militant tagline:

No more National Parks.  Hunters Rights enshrined in law.  Protecting the future of outdoor sport in Victoria.

This is less a slogan than a statement of intent, and it’s a good, straightforward one that gets to the heart of what they stand for.  Good job on that.

(Bad job on your desktop publishing, though.  I know you had a very suitable picture behind your text, and you didn’t want the text to camouflage with it, but swapping your text from white to black and back again mid word just makes it look like you have some sort of hidden code.  But I’m fairly sure ‘Par/rined/tdoor’ isn’t code for anything except ‘help, we need a graphic designer!’)

The SFFP don’t have a specific policy section for Victoria, so we are redirected to their federal policies, of which there are eight, all pleasingly brief.

(I think I have an optimal policy length of about 2/3 of a page.  Less than that, and you have no idea what they want.  More than that, and usually the weirdness starts to creep in.  Also, it’s a bit of a slog for people like me who insist on reading everything…)

Fishing

Fishing is one of Australia’s most popular recreational activities, with enormous economic, cultural and social benefits. Fishers have increasingly become victims of green bureaucracy gone mad, while true facts and statistics are repeatedly ignored. We believe sustainable and viable recreational and commercial fishing can exist and expand.
I am quoting this policy entirely and solely for my delight in the ‘victims of green bureaucracy gone mad’.  Because let’s face it, this is a party with ‘fishers’ in the title.  We knew they were going to be pro-fishing.
So they want to expand recreational fishing, prevent international companies from fishing from our fish stocks, and prevent ‘illegal poaching’ (Legal poaching is fine) (Poached fish is quite tasty, though) (The puns are only going to get fishier from here), and cease Federal interference with State and Territory water management and fish conservation programs.
Outdoor Recreation and Access
This is another party that really objects to being locked out of national parks, and wants ‘access to public lands and waters for all recreational users’.  They clearly believe that the ‘belief that the environment and biodiversity will be degraded unless locked up’ is a delusion.
Their action plan certainly has some lively moments.  Some of my favourites are:
  • Expand public land hunting programs and opportunities across Australia
  • Expand sustainable, nature-based tourism
  • Promote the expansion of private game reserves and remove red tape regulation for said reserves
  • Oppose the vilification of four-wheel driving and motoring enthusiasts
  • Promote shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities…

So I have some questions.  Question number one is does nature-based tourism mostly involve shooting at it? I am assuming not, but honestly, it’s hard to be sure.

Question number two is about the alleged vilification of motoring enthusiasts.  I am *fascinated* about this.  Who is vilifying them?  What are they saying?  ‘Your mother drives a Daihatsu Charade!’?  ‘You hoon like a little old lady in a Kia hatchback!’?  ‘Your engine is so quiet it might as well be a hybrid!’? ‘Your mid-life-crisis-mobile is a Volvo!’? ‘You drive at 99 in 100 zones!’? ‘You swerve for man-hole covers!’?

(…I don’t even have a driver’s license so I just texted a friend who is quite into fast cars and 4 wheel driving for help generating insults.  There is a real risk that this entire post will degenerate into driving-related insults.  No wonder the SFFP has to have a policy about it.  I am clearly part of the problem…)

Or are they feeling attacked because they love forests and the great outdoors and don’t like having people telling them that their actions might be extremely bad for the environment?

Because the paradox, as always, with the SFFP is the fact that they clearly do really love being outside and getting out into the bush and interacting with it.  They want to do more of it, and they want everyone to get a chance to enjoy it.  But they seem really oblivious to the idea of an ecological footprint and the ways in which their actions, if pursued by everyone with the degree of liberty that they would like to allow, would damage the very thing they love and want to share with others.

I honestly don’t understand this disconnect – it seems to extend to a profound distrust of any ‘green’ initative whatsoever, even the ones that don’t impinge on their desire to hunt things and do manly activities in national parks.  I keep waiting for the SFFP to figure out that the things they want to do are unsustainable given our current population, but they haven’t so far.

Safeguarding our Environment

The SFFP really does care about the environment.  But they feel that the fact that our natural environment is still being degraded shows that current management isn’t working, so they want laws that ‘strike the appropriate balance between responsible usage and preservation’, which is best done not by restricting access but by ‘actively manag[ing] our landscape to conserve and enhance biodiversity.  And they want this to be a ‘shared responsibility between individuals, the community and all outdoor users’.

Honestly, the SFFP makes my head hurt.  Their hearts are in the right place.  They clearly care about conservation.  But their logic is awful.  I sort of want to lock them in a room with some really nice ecology professors or something.

Primary Industries

The SFFP believes in domestic energy self-sufficiency, which involves using our ‘vast reserves of gas, coal, uranium and oil shales’ to maintain our economic advantage.

Guys, you get that we are running out of these things, right?  It’s not just about greenies and the environment anymore.  We literally are not going to have these resources forever, and we need to come up with alternatives before we run out.

Also, again, if you expand mining everywhere – and yes, I see that you want to make sure prime agricultural land and water systems are not permanently affected, but still – you are not going to have any natural, outdoor areas left to hunt and hoon in.

They also want to rebuild a sustainable timber industry.

Interestingly, they do support the Tasmanian renewable energy market, because apparently it is commercially viable without subsidisation, and they are OK with nuclear energy, so I’m honestly having a bit of trouble working out the  logic of this policy.

Farming and Land Management

The SFFP is a wee bit protectionist.  They are worried about foreign ownership of our farmlands, and about food and water security.  They are also very keen on protecting farmers, who are ‘environmental stewards who collectively manage most of Australia’s land mass’, and deserve better recognition and security.  And a rural development bank, to provide farming enterprises with a source of financial support.  These are all very far points.  But oh dear…

We reject both sides of Government who cave in to inner city and green lobby groups over land clearing laws, while true facts and science are neglected.
True facts as opposed to untrue facts? OK, I think we all deserve a treat, so here, have some true facts about baby echidnas.  (Not safe for work. The visuals are fine, the commentary, not so much.)
Anyway, the SFFP feels that farmers are the best people to decide what land gets cleared. And they don’t like the Federal government muscling in on State decisions.  Also, what even is this?
Prevent Commonwealth interference over farmers protecting their land through burning of adjacent public land areas.
I get that farmers are important, but I don’t think they should get to burn lands that don’t belong to them without any oversight.  What the hell?
I note that the SFFP also wants to amend the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to exclude the Commonwealth veto on State infrastructure projects and to prevent third parties from taking court action.  I’m not quite sure what this is about, and unfortunately, I don’t have time for more than a quick scan of the Act in question (link to full text of the Act), so while it’s pretty clear from context that this is again about not wanting external interference in things the SFFP views as the rights of farmers, I don’t know exactly what they are hoping to do here.
Firearms
The Commonwealth Government has no Constitutional authority for the legislation and regulation of firearms laws other than those which apply to the Customs Act. Our firearms policies, Federal and State, should be based on one fact – criminals do not obey the law. As such, the vast majority of our rules and regulations must be focused on the use of illegal firearms, not the persecution of law abiding firearms owners.
Look, when a party has Shooters in their actual party name, we know I’m not going to be seeing eye to eye with them on gun control.
The SFFP is strangely States Rights when it comes to a firearm registration, and entirely predictably against red tape for firearms imports.  They also want to support local firearm manufacturers, and expand self-defence rights and non-lethal means of protection.  They also want to ‘support and promote national education and safety programs for responsible firearms ownership and use’ and increase funding to Shooting Australia.
Maybe I’ve been numbed by the raging trashfire that was the LDP’s gun policies, or maybe they’ve toned things down a bit since last time, but this doesn’t actually sound so bad.  I mean, I don’t love it, but it’s by far the most reasonable gun policy so far.
With regard to the bit about criminals not obeying the law, I’d like to note that I’ve read law enforcement and security folk pointing out that one big advantage of gun legislation that restricts where and where you can carry a gun is that it makes it easier to intercept someone before they actually shoot someone – because simply by carrying a gun somewhere they shouldn’t they’ve given you grounds to step in and get involved.  As soon as you get permissive open carry laws, you have a much tougher time ascertaining whether someone is a ‘good guy with a gun’ or a would-be murderer until they actually start shooting at people, because until that point, you don’t really have the right to interfere.  So there is something to be said for having laws, even if you know criminals won’t obey them.
Anyway.  I think we need to agree to disagree on this one.
Foreign affairs and society
The SFFP feels we have a ‘moral obligation to assist less fortunate nations and peoples’, but they don’t want to do this at the expense of Australians.  They also support multiculturalism, provided everyone is ‘committed to AUSTRALIAN values of democracy and freedom above all else’.  I detect a touch of xenophobia here.  They support offshore processing of refugees (and just when we were getting along so well, too), and want to increase defense spending.
They want increased funding to alleviate homelessness, including funding for drug addiction research, and they want better telecommunications for rural areas.
Also, once again they are suspicious of the Commonwealth usurping the rights of States.  Where is this one coming from?
Economy
Debt reduction, putting Australians first, rising cost of living… and the answers are mining and agriculture, of course!  I like the bit where mining royalties should go directly to the Regions, especially rural areas.
The SFFP wants fairer taxation of individuals compared to multi-national corporations, but declines to tell us what principles would underly this system, and they are worried about disadvantaging Australian businesses with carbon taxes.
And that’s all!
My view of the SFFP has been the same for a fair while.  I think they are nice people who are trying to be fair-minded and compassionate about a whole lot of things, and are occasionally a wee bit narrow minded.  I think they genuinely love Australia’s natural landscape and environment and want to preserve it, but are sorely misguided when it comes to their methods for doing so.
In other words, unlike some of the other parties I’ve seen so far, I don’t think they are bad people.  But I do think they are wrong.  They aren’t going to go high on my ballot, but they might manage to wind up somewhere in the middle.  There are so many worse contenders this time around…

5 thoughts on “Victorian State Election: Meet the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party

  1. Their hearts are in the right place.  They clearly care about conservation. 
    They need to focus their hunting enthusiasm policies on feral species. They are much more likely to get support for a limited licence and controlled hunting season in national parks on deer or pigs or rabbits or dogs than they are for indigenous duck species for example.

    “hunt and hoon”
    I feel this should be their slogan. Maybe with fish added in.

    I don’t think they should get to burn lands that don’t belong to them without any oversight.  What the hell?

    Ah. I actually know where that one is coming from, and it’s frustration with perceived mismanagement of state/federally owned lands, i.e. controlled burns not being done, or not being done frequently enough leading to increased risk to people in adjacent areas. I agree that farmers shouldn’t be able to burn on lands they don’t own (or deforest them either come to that) but I think better communication between parties about what is happening is definitely a good thing, especially as we are looking at increased climate change and a potentially decreased period in which controlled burns can be done.

    Also, once again they are suspicious of the Commonwealth usurping the rights of States.  Where is this one coming from?
    That is a very right-wing US sentiment, which makes me suspect it has been lifted wholesale. I really hope they’re not starting to drift down the sovereign citizen path because, just, no.

    in Northern Metropolitan, where Walter Mikac is running on the Aussie Battler ticket, they make a point of putting him in their final five

    Petty. Very petty.

    • Thanks for that. I’d vaguely guessed that the bit about farmers and burning of adjacent land might be something like that… but I feel that it is a policy that needs a bit more nuance. As it stands, it looks like a licence to arson, which seems excessive.

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  3. I think the state’s rights stuff is about the Franklin Dam and the High Court giving Commonwealth Parliament law making power over anything that they have entered into a international treaty about. Would also potentially be about Mabo and native title.

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