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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2388


Senator BOSWELL —My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the minister seen media reports stating that the Australian Sporting Shooters Association may contribute $1 million to the Australia First Reform Party? What will this achieve for the interests of sporting shooters?


Senator HILL —I commend Senator Boswell for the warnings that he has been giving in recent times to members of the Australian Sporting Shooters Association and to sporting shooters in other organisations as well who may well be, without realising it, contributing support to extremists organisations and to political organisations that have an agenda far beyond the wishes of these particular shooters.

There is no doubt that within the community there are many—some to many, anyway—genuine, law-abiding shooters who hold a different point of view on the guns debate to that which is held by all of the mainstream political parties in this country and, basically, by all states and the Commonwealth as well. It is quiet legitimate for them to participate in this debate and to protest in all the democratic ways, but they must be careful that, out of their disappointment or frustration, they are not abused by some who have a different agenda.

Senator Boswell is quite correct when he issues this warning. He tells them to ensure that their organisations and the leaders of their sporting organisations are not using their membership fees for political objectives other than the sporting shooting objectives for which they contributed those membership fees.

I also have to say in passing that it is disappointing that politicians, such as Mr Campbell, apparently see some short-term political gain in associating themselves with some of these more extreme elements. Those who might now see that they are indirectly supporting him through these means should take note of that cautionary warning as well.