If I may add a video response:
(I love the Obama cutout at 3:52)
Here is the story. Robert Borsak is one of two sitting members of state parliment in the NSW state government. Bob Katter is a member in Queensland.
Re: Borsak Article - Weekend Australian Magazine
« Reply #9 on: Today at 09:32:43 AM » Quote
Calling the shots
BY: RICHARD GUILLIATT From: The Australian November 24, 2012 12:00AM
BOB Katter likes to explain his virulent opposition to gun control by telling a story, as he's wont to do.
The white-hatted MP from northern Queensland recalls that, while waiting at his home in Charters Towers one day for a visit from his grandchildren, he decided to dust off his ancient air-rifle so he could teach the little tykes how to shoot. But to Katter's great consternation his wife Susie forbade him, pointing out that children in Queensland can no longer shoot air-rifles without a gun permit.
"She said, 'No, that's illegal, you aren't going to do it'," recalls the Federal Member for Kennedy, sitting in the clubroom of a Sporting Shooters' Association gun range in suburban Brisbane. "I said, 'All right, we'll start work on the treehouse instead'. But treehouses are illegal - you can't do that!" The famous Katter eyebrows arch skywards as a rifle detonates outside on the range. "So I said, 'All right, we'll go down to the flat and teach them how to make a campfire and cook damper'. But she said, 'You can't do that, you've got to have a permit to light a fire in the open and it takes two to three weeks'."
Like many Bob Katter stories, this one may have become embellished in the telling - for one thing, treehouses aren't illegal on private land in Queensland. But he has made his point, which is that gun control is just another thread in the suffocating blanket of do-good, politically correct, Green-Left nannyism that is stifling the Australian spirit. Katter, of course, spearheaded opposition to the stringent gun controls that the Howard government introduced in 1996 after Martin Bryant massacred 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. But back then he was inside the governing coalition, a National Party MP who found himself outvoted by colleagues.
Today he's leading his own party, one that could conceivably win the balance of power in the Senate at the next election. "Most newspapers and commentators are giving us five senators," says Katter. That's another assertion worthy of dispute, but after winning 11.5 per cent of the primary vote in the last Queensland election and gaining two seats, Katter's Australian Party is taking its "freedom and fun" agenda national. And given Katter's apparent belief that gun control makes gun violence worse, and that semi-automatic weapons should be more freely available, that could have quite an impact on the nation's firearms laws.
His influence is already being felt in Queensland, where the state government announced in June that it would reduce "red tape" for gun owners, and appointed an expert advisory panel composed almost entirely of gun-industry figures. One of them is Rob Nioa, the largest arms importer in the country and the husband of Bob Katter's daughter. "I can tell you that there are prominent and powerful people in the Liberal Party and the Labor Government that are very, very strongly on my side of the argument," says Katter. "And they will certainly avail themselves of any opportunity for a more sane regime. Because there's something dreadfully sick in a country that is so trusting of its neighbours that it disarms its own people."
To gun-control groups, the prospect of Katter calling the shots on the nation's firearm laws amounts to a nightmare scenario but, judging from the scene on this balmy spring day at the Belmont shooting range, Katter's claim that there's a growing constituency for his views looks to have some substance. Many of the people shooting targets - from the diminutive 20-something blonde laughing as she fires shotguns with her boyfriend to the young guys staging a target-shooting competition with their .22s - are young enough to have been in primary school when Martin Bryant's rampage galvanised the gun-control cause. Some, like the 13-year-old boy shooting a rimfire rifle with his grandfather, weren't even born then. Asked what he knows about Port Arthur, the youngster replies: "Not really that much - I just know there was a bit of shooting."
The boy's grandfather (who, like every other club member interviewed here, declined to be named) marvels at the younger clientele he now sees at the range. "There are more people into shooting now than I've seen for I don't know how long," he says. "You come out here on a Saturday and people are queuing up - they bring their daughters, their wives, girlfriends, the whole family. It's something you never saw 25 years ago." After Port Arthur, he recalls, an interest in shooting was almost a source of shame, but not now. "The whole thing has turned back to how it was when I was a youngfella," he says cheerfully.
In his autobiography, Lazarus Rising, former prime minister John Howard devoted an entire chapter to the tumultuous events that followed the Port Arthur massacre, when he marshalled support for one of the most radical gun-control initiatives ever enacted by a Western government. Howard defied opposition within his own coalition to institute a gun-buyback scheme that ultimately destroyed more than 700,000 firearms, and he shoehorned state and territory governments into emergency meetings that formulated restrictive nationwide regulations for gun ownership. Semi-automatic assault rifles were banned, access to other semi-automatic weapons was severely restricted and registration of gun owners was introduced in every state and territory. The National Firearms Agreement, as it came to be known, was hailed even by Howard's detractors. Yet, ironically, the agreement would prove a boon to the gun lobby, in ways that have only recently become clear.
One clause stipulated that firearm licences would only be issued to those who demonstrated a "genuine reason" for using a gun, and it defined membership of a shooting club as an acceptable reason. Almost overnight, membership of shooting clubs swelled. At the Belmont range run by the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia (SSAA), membership nearly quadrupled from 4000 to 15,000 in one year, recalls secretary Don Ruwoldt. Before 1996, the SSAA had 45,000 members nationally; today it claims more than 144,000. And a good part of the money flowing into these organisations has been channelled into pro-gun lobbying and activism against the Howard-era reforms. More than half of the $500,000 that founded Katter's Australian Party came from shooting-related donors, including $100,000 each from the SSAA and Rob Nioa.
"There has been an enormous spike in the number of gun club members," says NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, "and with that rise a very large pool of membership funds is being centralised into state and federal peak bodies, particularly the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia. So the structure set up in 1996 has empowered the gun lobby in Australia, which is now well funded and well organised."
Rebecca Peters, an anti-gun activist who supported the Howard reforms, says the volatile events of 1996 shaped the legislation: with recreational shooters warning openly of violence, it was hoped that encouraging gun club membership would lead them to embrace the new regime.
But the shooters' organisations have campaigned relentlessly to roll the regulations back, most effectively in NSW. In 1995, the former radio broadcaster John Tingle, a recreational shooter, was elected to the state parliament as the inaugural MP of the Shooters Party. Tingle is now retired and his party has changed its name to the Shooters and Fishers Party, but most of its funding has come from shooting bodies until this year, when law changes banned political donations from organisations. The party's operating principle has never changed: in the tightly held NSW Legislative Council, it supports government legislation in exchange for pushing through looser gun laws. Tingle himself cheerfully noted that former Labor premier Bob Carr "was very good to us", channelling millions into shooting clubs and hunters' organisations, and Carr's successor, Morris Iemma, opened state forests to hunters in 2006. When a second Shooters Party MP was elected in 2007, the party effectively won the balance of power in the upper house, and it has since pushed through further changes, including the reintroduction of duck hunting and a law that allows people without a gun licence to shoot in gun clubs. In May, Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell backflipped on a pre-election promise and acquiesced to allowing hunters into 79 national parks and reserves.
Not surprisingly, firearm use is accelerating in the state: there are now almost 200,000 people with gun licences in NSW, up 17 per cent in the past five years; 15,080 of them have hunting licences, double the number in 2006. And many of those gun owners are acquiring multiple weapons, with permits for individual guns rising 70 per cent to 111,792, from 2006-10. It reflects the story nationally: in June the Australian Crime Commission reported that there are now 2.75 million registered guns and 730,000 licensed gun owners in Australia; according to researcher Samantha Bricknell of the Australian Institute of Criminology, that's 230,000 more guns and 30,000 more gun owners than there were in 2006. Annual gun importations have doubled to more than 85,000 since 2006, and imports of handguns have more than tripled over that time, from 5876 to 19,561. The 730,000 firearms imported into Australia since the buyback have more than replaced all those that John Howard destroyed.
Tim Bannister, of the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia, says shooting is enjoying a boom in interest from the 30-and-under demographic, many of them blue-collar males cashed-up from the mining boom. At the same time, the end of the drought has spurred an increase in hunting as wildlife returns to the bush. Bannister is openly dismissive of the Howard gun laws. "What Howard did at the time, he made hunting and shooting distasteful, he made it almost shameful, as if it was something to do with the criminal milieu," he says. "But that time has passed."
Like Katter's Australian Party, the NSW Shooters and Fishers Party is planning to field Senate candidates in the next Federal election. And if events in NSW are any guide, that could make for a lively campaign.
"I killed my first deer when I was 12," says the Honourable Robert Brown, parking his ample girth on a bar stool in the clubhouse of the NSW Gun Club, in Sydney's northern suburbs. "After I killed my first deer I was hooked, because they're a very special animal. It might go back to the genes - I've got bloodlines that go back to Scotland and Eastern Europe."
The silver-bearded 63-year-old takes a sip of his Coke and notes that not every hunter is keen to expound on the philosophical aspects of shooting animals in the wild. By contrast, Brown and his fellow MP from the NSW Shooters and Fishers Party, Robert Borsak, are positively effusive on the subject. Their offices in Parliament House are decorated with a mounted deer head and a large oil painting of a hunting dog poised over its dead prey. Borsak, an accountant until he joined the Parliament two years ago, once wrote a lovingly detailed account of how he shot dead an elephant from a distance of six paces while on safari in Zimbabwe. ("It was awesome, he did not know what had hit him...")
Both MPs have working-class roots - Brown left school at 15 to become a fitter and turner; Borsak is the son of a Polish Buchenwald survivor - and have been hunting most of their lives. When it's suggested to Borsak that many readers of this magazine might wonder what pleasure he gets from shooting a defenceless elephant, he looks nonplussed. "It's not a matter of defence," he says. "I'm culturally a hunter and I'm participating in my cultural activity in the framework of a conservation program in Africa. That's what I do. It's in my genetics." The elephant, he adds, was shot under the auspices of a Mugabe government program designed to protect farmlands.
The idea that hunters are the real conservationists - as opposed to the "Stalinist" Greens - is central to the Shooters and Fishers ethos. Allowing hunters into state forests and national parks will reduce feral animals without endangering the public, they say. Furthermore, says Borsak, hunters and sporting shooters are tired of being portrayed as rednecks and being made to feel guilty for the actions of "one insane f..kwit" in Tasmania 16 years ago. The 166,000 people who voted for the party in last year's state election, adds Brown, were "ordinary citizens - doctors, lawyers, plumbers, street-sweepers. Get over it."
But the rise of the Shooters has not been without controversy. In 2003, a former party candidate named Raymond Galea was jailed for being an accessory in a brutal murder. And a shooters' organisation Borsak once chaired, Game Council NSW, has been a source of persistent controversy. The Carr Government established the Game Council in 2002 at the behest of John Tingle, ostensibly to regulate hunting. But according to David Dixon, who worked as communications manager at the organisation from 2007-10, it's little more than a government-funded lobby group which spends much of its $3.9 million budget on promoting hunting and devotes little energy to monitoring hunters. Dixon told this magazine that few, if any, illegal hunters were prosecuted during his time at the Game Council, and the council's email system became a conduit for propaganda of the type spread by the National Rifle Association in the US.
Borsak dismisses Dixon as a disgruntled former employee who was sacked and is now spreading falsehoods. But in June the Game Council was the subject of a memorable stoush in State Parliament when the Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham denounced the organisation as a million-dollar government "kickback" to the Shooters and Fishers Party. Rising in response, Robert Brown furiously demanded that Buckingham withdraw the remark. "Unfortunately, we're in a modern era," Brown added, "so I can't take you outside and beat you to death." Today he laughs off the remark as a "brain slip" caused by exhaustion. "I meant to say, 'I'll kick your arse up and down George Street'," he explains.
Like Bob Katter, the Shooters and Fishers Party argues that Howard's gun-control measures have been a costly waste, doing nothing to reduce homicides or suicides and merely creating an unwieldy system of state firearms bureaucracies that justify their existence by making gun owners jump through ever-changing hoops. "When you cut through all of John Howard's ******** it was just a political decision," says Borsak. "It was a perfect opportunity for him to make a big man of himself and it cost the Australian taxpayer about a billion dollars or more. The ongoing running cost is horrendous and the actual benefit in terms of crime isn't there."
In support of these assertions, shooters' groups cite two academic studies - a 2010 paper in Contemporary Economic Policy and a 2006 paper in the British Journal of Criminology - which analysed data on gun deaths from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and concluded that suicides and homicides by firearm were already declining before 1996 and did not decline faster afterwards. However, two other papers - one published by the Brookings Institution in 2003 and another in Injury Prevention in 2006 - analysed the same data and concluded that gun deaths did decline faster after 1996. Thanks to the mysteries of statistical analysis, both sides of the gun debate now cite scientific evidence in support of their cause.
What's incontrovertible is that there hasn't been another massacre since 1996. But gun advocates argue that it was unnecessary to restrict ownership of semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns, or insist that a youngster needs a gun licence for an air-rifle. The firearms bureaucracies that were established, they argue, are slow and cumbersome - Don Ruwoldt of the Belmont range says he applied for a gun collector's licence eight months ago and only recently got a response after complaining to his state minister.
But deregulation can have consequences, as has been shown in NSW. In 2008, the Shooters Party pushed through a "streamlining" of gun laws, including an amendment permitting people who don't have a gun licence to shoot under supervision at gun clubs. The party's then MP, the late Roy Smith, dismissed as "absolute rubbish" the warnings that public safety would be compromised. Two years later, a mentally ill 43-year-old woman, Shamin Fernando, enrolled as a probationary member of the Sydney Pistol Club and stole a Ruger semi-automatic pistol, along with 30 rounds of ammunition after staff left her unsupervised. On August 22, 2010, several hours after she left the gun club with the stolen Ruger, Fernando shot her father in the back of the head as he sat at a computer in her home, then called police to inform them of the murder. Fernando's sister, Dayanthi Bonarius, has since started a campaign to have the 2008 amendments overturned, saying "this law is the reason my father is dead".
Borsak and Brown dismiss the case as an anomaly. "The Greens got a hard-on about this woman who stole a firearm and went home and murdered her father," says Brown. "In that particular circumstance the two club officials who were responsible were subsequently charged under firearms regulation for neglecting their duties, as they rightly should be."
Like Katter's Australian Party, the NSW Shooters and Fishers Party say they have no desire to lift the ban on assault rifles but believe recreational shooters should have access to semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns. In June, when Robert Brown introduced his private members' bill allowing hunters into NSW national parks, the state government hastily amended the wording after the Greens claimed that one clause would have permitted recreational hunters to use semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns for the first time since the National Firearms Agreement. Brown says the Greens totally misinterpreted the wording and are "full of ****". But asked if the Shooters and Fishers are simply chipping away at John Howard's reforms until they are all repealed, he doesn't hesitate. "Yes, we are," he says. "We're using the same tactics the Greens have used for 35 years."
Back at the Belmont range, a mother watching her two teenage sons being taught to shoot rifles explains her rationale for being here: she'd become disturbed by the amount of time their friends spent immersed in violent shooting games on their Xboxes. When she banned videogames in her own house, her sons were suddenly being mocked by their peers. So letting them learn about real guns, an idea she initially resisted, came to seem a healthy alternative.
"I see kids becoming desensitised to violence - they're shooting people all the time in these games," she says. "I don't think a lot of parents even realise that stuff is going into their heads." When a lone gunman slaughtered 12 people in a Colorado cinema in July, one of her sons' friends made jokes about it.
In Bob Katter's view of things, the gun ban itself could be responsible for this warping of young minds. Prohibition often heightens the allure of whatever it is you're trying to ban, he notes, and some academic research suggests the gun ban has had a "monumental" ill-effect on Australia's youth. "I don't want to say that there is a relationship," he avers, "[but] a boy is programmed to be a boy and if you stop them from being a boy, well, there is going to be very serious down side to that". Which is why Katter's Australian Party will "return to boys the right to be boys in this country - we'll give them back hunting, fishing, shooting and male schoolteachers".
John Howard refused to comment for this story, but former National Party leader Tim Fischer, who helped push through the 1996 reforms, says any moves to put semi-automatic weapons back in the hands of suburban recreational shooters will lead Australia down the same path as the United States. Fischer declines to comment on the Katter party's specific policies but says he fails to see what gun enthusiasts are complaining about, given the huge numbers of guns being legally imported and the ease with which farmers and recreational shooters can access weapons. "I took a lot of skin and real political hurt in 1996 - I was hung in effigy in Gympie and I didn't care for that," Fischer says. "Any broad collapse or corrosion of the gun-law reforms spearheaded by John Howard would be as dumb as the situation now in the US."
Katter's prediction of winning five Senate seats is predicated on his party being as popular nationally as it is in Queensland, a very large assumption. The election analyst Malcolm Mackerras believes Katter's Australian Party is unlikely to get more than one Senate spot at the next election; the Shooters and Fishers Party, meanwhile, does not have the votes to win its own Senate seat, and will largely exert its influence through preferences. Assuming the cards fell Katter's way and his party won the balance of power in the Senate, his gun policies would not be automatically adopted, for the simple reason that firearms laws are largely set by state governments.
But as Howard showed when he strong-armed the states into the National Firearms Agreement, the signals that emanate from Canberra can have a persuasive impact on gun policy. The regime that was put in place back in 1996 stands or falls on the willingness of state governments to maintain it, and the past few years suggest that resolve is fraying. Police in Queensland are already warning that Campbell Newman's government is setting a dangerous precedent with its plans to loosen gun restrictions in the state. And Katter, who once boasted that he kept a gun under every bed in his house, is relishing the chance to slay the "Green monster" that took away people's guns.
"You're looking at St George here," he quips. St George with a pump-action shottie, perhaps.
Last edited by Haz.; 11-23-2012 at 11:11 PM.
When a criminal invades your home and has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.
My Definition of Gun Control: The idea that dozens of people found dead in the Broadway Café, Tasmania, and many also seriously wounded, all while waiting for police, who were called to show up and protect them, is somehow morally superior to having several armed and therefore alive civilian's explaining to police how the attacker got that fatal bullet wound.
Steve Lee is not what he wants you to think he is.
As long as you are not trying to make a RKBA poster boy out of him I think it will be OK. But there is a disconnect between his songs/videos and his public statements on how he views RKBA.
"He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man
Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.
"No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
Thanks a lot for the enlightenment. I guess I need to take his poster down... not that I am affected by Australian gun policies but I like to see governments trust their citizens and treat them as responsible people.
...And pro gun rights singers stand true to their songs!
There are a few differences between the U.S. and oz like we dont have the second amendment so we dont have a legal right to bear arms as you lucky buggers do...
This guy has zero concept of the right to keep and bear arms in the US. The 2nd amendment does not GIVE us our gun rights; it just acknowledges them specifically. Read the 9th amendment...
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
So even IF the 2nd amendment was not written ... this natural right to defend yourself is also included in the 9th amendment.
This right exists from our creator, not any body of government. We had them before our constitution was penned.
And like all natural rights, everybody has them ... not just US citizens.
What, to me, is so very sad about the state of affairs in Australia and in the U.K. is that many of our laws and, indeed, our Constitution are based on English common law. That free men and women are denied the basic human right of self-defense is criminal, at the very least.
I may not live to see it, but I have every hope that both the U.K. and Australia will return the right to keep and bear arms to their citizenry.
"Happiness is a warm shotgun!!"
"I am neither a pessimist nor a cynic. I am, rather, a realist."
"The most dangerous things I've ever encountered were a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass and a Private who was bored and had time on his hands."
"I never in my life seen a Kentuckian without a gun..."-Andrew Jackson
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined."-Patrick Henry; speaking of protecting the rights of an armed citizenry.
In fact, they made a law to oblige EU countries to honour all EU permits and allow import/export of firearms within Europe. Before, that was strictly forbidden.
Contrary to popular belief, at least some countries in Europe are somewhat liberal about guns. Just no OC (in public), for the moment (working on it)....
In fact, the UK have the strickest gun laws in Europe (handguns are forbidden. Period). Nobody obliged them to do that... They created this ridiculous situation all by themselves. Even UK target shooters need to go abroad to practice their sport!!
On the main topic: maybe someone should organize OC events in Australia too. Just to show that responsible citizens with side arms don't kill or harm anyone. They will keep going about their lives, make a living and have fun (but are able to protect themselves when and if they need to).
Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)