Politicians With Guns: If It's Good Enough For Ian, It's Good Enough For Us!


Australia’s parliamentarians are more divided than ever. Our political system, it is often said, has become jaded, too negative, and entirely partisan.

So how can we bring the warring factions together, to help them put their differences aside for the good of the nation?

By giving them guns, of course.

It was with much excitement that Coalition MP Ian Goodenough wrote to fellow parliamentarians today announcing that this year’s Canberra Parliament Sports Festival would include a new event.

“After much lobbying from Senator Bridget McKenzie and me for competitive shooting events to be introduced, Andy Turnbull from the Australian Parliament Sports Club advised yesterday that Pistol Shooting is now being offered,” Goodenough wrote to MPs.

Yes, the annual festival, at which those who work in parliament are afforded the opportunity to engage in some friendly competitive sporting fixtures, will now be able to face off in a form of competition involving the use of a deadly weapon.

What could possibly go wrong?

“I understand that both rimfire and centrefire events will most probably be offered. Look forward to seeing you at the range!” Goodenough wrote.

If a bit of target practice isn’t Goodenough for you, fear not. The Canberra Parliament Sports Festival website is also hinting that clay pigeon shooting could be on the agenda.

And a bright idea that is too – it could be just the thing to help MPs ease the tension and let off some steam as they return from the winter break.

Just imagine, Tony and Bill popping down to the ol’ shooting range, putting their difference aside, knocking a few rounds out, and maybe even blowing a bit of pulverised limestone out of the sky while they’re at it.

Not since the invasion of Iraq has violence offered to bring such bipartisanship to the nation’s capital.

The shooting events, as well as AFL, cricket, hockey and even stand-up paddle boarding will take place in conjunction with the Parliament Sports Festival’s Family Day, described (in emphatic capitalised font) as following on their website: BRINGING THE PARLIAMENTARY FAMILY TOGETHER ON FAMILY DAY.

It’s heartwarming stuff. The family are getting back together, including the ‘uncles’ that no-one ever talks about.

We can only assume that NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm – vocally opposed to gun restrictions and reportedly a keen shooter – is chomping at the bit to show off his marksmanship and revel in a rare movement of Second Amendment bliss.

If it’s all too easy for the Senator from NSW, there’s always the chance that John Howard could drop by to provide a scurrying, tracksuit-clad target and liven up the event.

Hear that kids? Don’t be scared now, it’s the sound of freedom.

But aside from rogue libertarians seeking revenge on former PMs, are there any dangers of real harm occurring?

Earlier this week the grizzly tale of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot dead an instructor while being taught to fire an uzi reached Australian shores.

It raises some awkward questions for those in charge of facilitating the Canberra event; who will make sure no bullets go astray; who will watch over MPs and ensure the bug of partisanship does not bite while a rival member is close at hand; and, last but certainly not least, what happens when someone gives Clive Palmer a loaded firearm?

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.