Victorian Labor’s Dangerous Love Affair with the Gun and Hunting Lobbies

Victorian Labor’s Dangerous Love Affair with the Gun and Hunting Lobbies

Over its past two terms in office, the Victorian Labor Government has been silently weakening controls over gun ownership while encouraging the slaughter of native wildlife by recreational hunters.

Earlier this year, when challenged about continued recreational hunting of Victorian native water birds, the Premier, Daniel Andrews, chillingly, stated:

“Some of us play golf, some people go shooting…”.

In the Premier’s view, it seems, it is ok for people to kill wildlife as casually as they might play golf”, Ms Nuske stated.

Here are some of the facts:

  • As a result of amendments to the Wildlife Act, the Game Management Authority (GMA) is now effectively a tax payer funded and legislatively empowered gun lobby group. Its senior executives, are predominantly current or former members of major hunting and gun lobby organisations.
  • Compliance relating to illegal hunting activity has been virtually non-existent. Breaches by hunters have been virtually ignored, while prosecutions have been directed at wildlife rescuers.
  • The GMA has a history of challenging Freedom of Information (FOI) applications.
  • The Andrews government has caved in to resistance to competency testing by hunting organisations as a requirement for gun ownership. Regardless of competency, Victorians can own up to 15 guns and apply for all game licences.
  • An interim intervention order against a person is no longer necessarily a barrier to gun ownership. In the past, having such an intervention order would have prevented firearm ownership.
  • The ‘genuine reasons’ for owning a firearm have been significantly watered down. 

Premier Andrews’ pandering to the demands of the gun and hunting lobbies has gone hand in hand with the continued legalised slaughter of native wildlife species.  

“Native water birds continue to be misgoverned as ‘game’ species to be annually maimed and killed for pleasure by boy-men playing dress-ups, running around in combat fatigues; Labor simply places their interest above that of the natural world”, Ms Nuske said.

At a time of climate change, ecological instability and declining water bird numbers, it is crudely disingenuous for the government to argue that the recreational killing of native water birds is ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’. “The Andrew’s government has become the willing mouthpiece for the hunting lobby. No native wildlife species should be governed as a ‘game’ species”, Ms Nuske stated.

Against the advice of Australia’s leading environmental scientists, Victoria’s iconic native apex predator, the Dingo, continues to be persecuted by the Andrews government. Although listed as a threatened native species under Victorian threatened species legislation, Victorian Labor has unprotected the dingo across large areas of Victoria, subjecting dingoes to a cruel death by poisoning and trapping, and encourages its destruction by recreational hunters for a bounty.

Ms Nuske stated, “where else in the world is a listed threatened native species permitted to be hunted for recreation and inhumanely killed for financial reward?

Ms Nuske further stressed:

“Yet, the government’s own data show that dingo predation of farm stock is negligible.  It is simply political cowardice by Labor to attempt to disguise and justify the persecution of dingoes, including by recreational hunters, by referring to them as ‘wild dogs’, a term designed to keep the Victorian public ignorant and advised against by leading scientists”.

Necessary reforms

If elected to the Victorian parliament, I will work to:

  1. Immediately ensure that no listed threatened native species is subject to unprotection orders.
  2. Immediately cease the so-called ‘wild dog’ bounty.
  3. Make the imposition of bounties on the heads of wildlife, especially threatened native species illegal under the Victorian Wildlife legislation.
  4. Legislatively prohibit any native wildlife being governed as a ‘game’ species for recreational hunting purposes.

On election day, please vote Marilyn Nuske Independent Candidate 1 to help me bring fundamental change for regional Victorians and for voiceless wildlife suffering horrendous cruelty under the Andrews Government.

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