Politicians, guns and money

Apologies to the late Warren Zevon for warping the title of his famous ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’ song to refer to One Nation representatives and others seeking funds from the gun lobby to blight Australia with US style gun ‘rights’.

The Australia Institute has done us all a favour by analysing political donations from gun lobbyists, but more particularly the firearms industry, to Australian political parties. Their two recent reports on these issues were commissioned by Gun Control Australia, which is campaigning to ensure gun controls are tightened rather than relaxed.

Their report Point Blank: Political strategies of Australia’s gun lobby reveals that:

“The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA), the peak body for Australia’s five largest firearms suppliers, spends roughly the same amount of money, again as a share of population, on political campaigning as the National Rifle Association (the NRA) does in the United States.”

Hunters and Collectors: Gun use and ownership in Australia recommends that States and Territories cap the number of guns a person can own, and that data should be collected on the distribution and uses of guns in Australia.

These reports support a call to action, inviting us to sign their petition urging all Australian political parties and candidates to refuse donations from the gun lobby .

In my view, this is a public health issue, which all of us concerned about the level of violence in our community need to include in our advocacy work. Of course, we will need to do more than just sign a petition for this campaign to be effective.

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