Congratulations – we did it! The O’Farrell government has backed down on their proposal to allow children as young as twelve to hunt unsupervised on public land.

Through collective action The Greens, animal welfare groups and members of the community working together have forced the government’s hand.  With over 300 individual submissions, hundreds of petitions and continued pressure on government MPs, we stopped this proposal in its tracks.

That’s worth celebrating.

The proposal that children be allowed to hunt on public land unsupervised, with packs of dogs and bowie knives, was a result of the unholy alliance Barry O’Farrell has struck in the NSW Upper House with the Shooters Party and Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party.

Thanks to this ‘Guns n’ Moses’ coalition, NSW’s electricity generators are being privatised, public sector wages and conditions are under a ferocious sustained attack, and every single worker in NSW has had their workers’ compensation entitlements slashed, which will push many injured workers and their families into poverty.

The biggest pay-off for the Shooters Party so far has been the expansion of hunting on public land from state forests to national parks. But in order to guarantee continued Shooters Party support, Barry O’Farrell will need to keep giving them more and more.

The Game Council, a pro-hunting statutory body of which both Shooters Party MPs are former chairmen, was trying to fly the children hunting unsupervised proposal under the radar and get it approved by regulation with the public none the wiser.

But thanks to people like you who got involved we were able to exert considerable pressure on the O’Farrell government and stop this outrageous proposal in its tracks.

The issue received quality media coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald, on ABC TV and Radio, and from the BBC World Service. But it was actions by grassroots campaigners which were the real key to the campaign’s success.

People like you lobbied government backbenchers, made over 300 submissions to the Department of Primary Industries opposing the proposal and organised almost 800 signatures on a petition that was presented in the NSW Upper House.

When Liberal and National backbenchers were contacted about the proposal, most of them didn’t know a thing about it. Their initial reaction was that it couldn’t be true and they’d never support something like that. Their own government hadn’t even told them what they had planned.

The proposal for children to be allowed to hunt unsupervised using bowie knives, dogs and bows and arrows was rightly labelled as outrageous, but it was almost a reality in NSW.

Unfortunately, governments don’t always make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the community or even in consultation with their own MPs. Right-wing fringe players like the Shooters Party cut deals to further their pro-gun and pro-hunting agendas. Big business and developers have the ears of senior government figures on a daily basis and a level of access most people can only dream of.

Working together is how we succeed. Our strength is in our numbers and also in our passion. At the end of the day, governments are only accountable to us if we make our voices heard.

Stopping children from being able to hunt unsupervised on public land was a significant victory for every person involved. Sharing this success can help show people the strength of taking collective political action and making their voice heard.

Thank you again for being involved, and congratulations on your success!

 

 

 

David

PS:Stopping this proposal was an important victory for grassroots campaigners against the O’Farrell government and the gun lobby, but we can’t rest on our laurels. You can continue the campaign against hunting on public land here.