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Monday, February 25, 2013

Police to deal with fights over hunting

Dear Minister Parker,
cc Mr Gareth Ward MLA - Member for Kiama.
cc The Hon Pru Goward MLA, Member for Goulburn

I can barely manage to write to you - simply because I am apoplectic with rage with what I have read in the paper today.   (Police to deal with fights over hunting).

I object to the apparent reversal of the Onus of Proof in the planning for administering supposed anticipated confrontations between Hunters and people, like myself, who object to the introduction of hunting in National Parks.
I live close to Morton National Park, in Robertson and my view covers most of the Shoalhaven Valley (which is where Morton National Park is located). I live within the Electorate of Kiama, and I also know the Hon Pru Goward, Member for Goulburn whose electorate includes much of the rest of the Morton National Park.

I am an Orchid enthusiast, and I seek to photograph (not collect) these beautiful plants. 

Small Tongue Orchid
Cryptostylis leptochila
Because most terrestrial Orchids are small, ground-hugging plants, I feel particularly at risk from stray shooting by Hunters, because I could easily be confused with a Wombat or Wallaby (or a Pig or a Deer), when crouching down low in the undergrowth, in order to photograph these plants.
I have already obtained bright orange Hi-Vis vests. But they are not bullet proof.

But what has really "got my goat" (I do hope some reader gets this joke) is the report in the Sydney Morning Herald of today, 24 February, written by Heath Aston : "Police to deal with fights over hunting".

In that article, it clearly states that:

"Police will be deployed to deal with ''aggressive confrontations'' between hunters and members of the public when national parks are opened to hunting.
..... (T)he state government has .... drawn up plans to counter expected protests.
They include concealing the identity of hunters for their own safety, teaching hunters how to deal with ''hostile'' protesters...."

What on earth gives your Office the right to assume that people such as myself will threaten Hunters?

You have reversed or even totally ignored the principles of the Onus of Proof. I am assumed (by the above statement) to be "hostile" and to pose a threat to Hunters.

I am a law-abiding citizen, and I object to being characterised as some sort of lawless thug who is likely to threaten (or worse still) supposedly harm Hunters. How dare you assume any such thing about me?

Yes, I do object to your Government's about-face on this Shooting in National Parks policy. But I have read the amendments to the relevant legislation and I know I will be prohibited from "interfering with" any (legitimate) hunters.

On that point, It is not clear quite how I am meant to know which Hunters are legitimate or not, given that any hunting in Morton National Park is supposedly intended to be unsupervised (despite explicit promises by the Premier to the contrary). One of the Standard Conditions for Hunting in Zone C Parks, apparently, is that Hunters will be unsupervised.

I assure you that common sense dictates that I will not approach any people carrying or firing guns. That would be a rash and foolish act, would it not? I am neither a rash nor a foolish person.

But I still cannot see how unsupervised hunting can be monitored and assessed as "successful" as a "Supplementary Pest Control Program".

Without monitoring and assessment, how on earth can you swear that this Program will be successful?

More to the point - how dare you assume that I am a potentially dangerous citizen and that I pose a threat or a risk to armed Hunters.

Not only is that in obvious contradiction to common sense, frankly, it is a damnable insult.

I request that you urgently review this particular aspect of the implementation of the "Supplementary Pest Control Program".

And while you are at it, can you please ensure that Morton National Park is not classed as a "Zone C" Park under that Program. For contrary to your Office's apparent advice, it is in fact a "High Visitation" National Park.
  • Have you checked the Visitation Statistics? (clearly not).
  • Do you realise that it is rated as a highly important tourist facility within the Wingecarribee Shire? (Presumably not)

1 comment:

Brigid O'Carroll Walsh said...

Denis, why would you not approach people carrying or firing guns? You have your weapon - your camera. Carry a mobile phone or some form of recording device as well. IMHO, the sort of people who are determined to hunt in national parks are not the sort of people who are happy to have their voices and faces posted on The Nature of Robertson. And what will they and the government do about such activity on your part? Outlaw it with amended legislation. I know you, Denis, and I am sure that if this were to be the case you would gladly break the law and appear in court to give voice to your civil disobedience. I think everyone against hunting in National Parks should not go into them without their weapons - cameras, recorders. If we can have guns en masse - then nothing less than cameras and recorders en masse are required!!!