We live in the free and democratic nation of Australia,
But how free are you?
Everything we do is controlled by laws and we can mostly agree these are necessary for our great society to function. These laws come from acts of parliament. Laws set up a framework of things which you can or can’t do. When you pick up your rifle and head out your door to go hunting,
What laws affect you?
If you look up the QLD government webpage www.legislation.qld.gov.au
and do a search of all current acts of legislation for the term “hunting” you will, after many hours of reading find only brief obscure mentions of hunting and often it is a footnote tied to Indigenous Australians only.
For example, in the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 you will find a section titled
41A Killing an animal under Aboriginal tradition, Island custom or native title
Queensland is sadly lacking any clear definition of this cultural activity that has been enjoyed for many generations. In contrast, if you perform the same search in other states you will find clear reference to hunting.
For example in NSW you will find,
Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 No 64 New South Wales An Act to manage and regulate the hunting of game; and for other purposes.
Where does this leave us?
You may say
“Who cares, It’s all a bunch of lawyer speak!”
In a simple world you would be right but let’s look more closely to see the implications of the omission.
The first thing you will quickly realise is that there is no public land hunting in QLD. This is for a variety of reasons but the result is that all hunting in QLD is on private land. You must have permission of the Land holder to hunt.
The second thing is that there is no game species in QLD. In broad terms, An animal is either native, farmed or feral. There is a lot of legislation aimed at determining what's what but the summary is this,
All the animals that a hunter would class as “game” have been classed as invasive and are listed as pests.
So now we arrive in this position of no hunting legislation and no game animals. It raises the important question,
What are we really doing when we take our rifle and go into the bush and kill an animal?
Can we really even say we are hunting in QLD? We can see the government has not recognised what we do as hunting. They have reclassified us into volunteer pest controllers. This is the root of the situation that we are in.
We have been turned into volunteer pest controllers!
Does it really matter? What’s the difference?
It does matter! There is an important difference between hunting and pest control.
Hunting seeks to sustain for the future. No hunter ever wanted to hunt his target species into extinction. Hunters are in fact, true conservationists. We strive for something we like to call sustainable management.
Pest control generally has the goal of eradication. This is indeed the goal of our government. They wish to remove all non- native game from QLD. “Kill em all!”
Recognition of hunting is key to its future and without it there is nothing stopping the loss of your right to hunt.
Recognition will ensure that Queenslanders will always have the opportunity to go hunting. Sustainable management of our game species will give value to our game which leads to excellent prospects for future generations. Pest control is the tool of those that oppose hunting and would see a future of native only fauna. If they were to decide that professional pest controllers are more effective than volunteer pest controllers, this would make you redundant. If they were to succeed in creating a highly effective and targeted poison(they are trying), you would become redundant! You would no longer have "recreational shooting" as a “genuine reason” to own your firearm. The future of hunting relies on its recognition and acceptance This is only the beginning of the problem. This is the tip of the iceberg. The problems go much deeper and are complex in nature but they all stem from here.