The Australian Country Party supports Government and police in eradicating the community of illegal firearms and eliminating illegal firearm usage. However, we will staunchly defend the legal rights of licenced firearm owners.
The images of legally held firearms by law-abiding citizens and the criminal misuse of firearms must be separated, as they are indeed separate issues. The far majority of firearm owners are law-abiding. Police have the powers and responsibility to deal with those who break the law.
We support the increase of penalties for firearm theft and illegal use of firearms, particularly in the commission of a crime.
Safe firearm storage and proper licensing is a responsibility of firearm owners. However, we will support any changes that relieve the burden of red tape that is unnecessary and does not contribute to the safety of the community.
A review of the current firearms categories is overdue. Any changes made must be in collaboration with the larger shooting associations and representative groups.
Access to Lands
We support the reclassification of some National Parks to increase access to bush user groups such as hunters, prospectors, members of four-wheel drive groups, motorcycle, hiking, and horse riding groups or individuals to share our natural assets. The Australian Country Party does not support the creation of new National Parks that will further reduce access to the community.
The Australian Country Party does not support legislative changes to further restrict access to land for hunting and shooting.
Recreational Hunting & Pest Control
Tens of thousands of Australians enjoy recreational hunting every week. The hunters that assist Government departments at no charge should be commended for their community assistance with pest control and management.
Firearms and Farming
The Australian Country Party views the use of firearms by farmers as standard farming practice.
Farmers have learned over the generations how to manage their stock and pests and the Government needs not be overly intrusive or apprehensive. Primary producers should have access to self-loading firearms without undue scrutiny and red tape.
The Australian Country Party fully supports and encourages sport and competition shooting.
Australia has a long history of training Olympic and world champions. Competition and sport shooting organisations provide excellent discipline and training for athletes and promote the safe handling and use of firearms. Sports shooting is well represented by both disabled and able-bodied athletes regardless of gender or physical limitations. Competitive shooting has been proven to be a safe and enjoyable recreational pastime for thousands of Australians. Shooting groups are uniquely positioned to assist Government in policy development by providing expert and fact-based knowledge and experience.
The Australian Country Party supports the right of licensed collectors aligned to police-approved societies or guilds to collect, preserve, restore and display antique historical firearms and firearm related equipment and paraphernalia.