Now that the red dust has settled in the rerun of the Western Australian senate election, it is time to digest some of the results and consider some of the deals which brought it about.
The Liberal Democratic Party, like most of the minors suffered a fall in primary votes, due in no small part by the massive spending of billionaire, Clive Palmer in support of his Palmer United Party. Despite this, we have maintained our position of first among the minor parties right behind the majors and big money ones.
The first thing that springs out to meet the eye is the deals done by the Shooters and Fishers Party. S&F is something of a mixed blessing to shooters, offering a forum to bitch against the draconian Howard gun laws and occasionally gaining minor concessions for shooters in New South Wales owing to their balance of power position in the upper house there, but otherwise, they have achieved precious little.
The main reason for this is that rather than adopt the libertarian position that all law abiding citizens have a right to gun ownership for whatever non-coercive purpose they wish, the SFP accept the status quo and essentially bargain for whatever scraps the NSW government is prepared to toss them from the big table in order to keep them quiet.
Worse still, their leadership have a habit of regarding shooter friendly parties as competitors and preferencing away from them in elections. Despite the fact that the LDP have better policies on firearms than SFP and more rational arguments in favour of them, SFP normally preference the coalition which took their guns off them in the first place.
This time they became truly bizarre, in that they not only preferenced the Palmer United Party, but were instrumental in getting their candidate elected. They actually expended 91% of their votes to do it. This would not be that much of a problem if PUP were likely to support their position, but the opposite is the case as Clive Palmer opposes gun ownership:
"The Katter Party is an extreme right party and our party is a more centre party."And we disagree on certain things, such as guns ... a whole lot of things Bob's in favour of."
Mr Palmer said the leaders might like each other personally, but a political party had to share the same beliefs.
"There's more chance of us merging with the Labor or Liberal parties than with Bob."
Shooters tend to be very responsible people, they have to be as each carries on his shoulders a responsibility for the rest of the shooting community. The leadership of their party though, is clearly incompetent, out of its depth, inarticulate, lacking in judgment, and need replacing.
In addition to this, whatever drop-kick did this preference deal needs to be drummed out at the first opportunity.