· Table prepared 5/03/05
Some dot point conclusions from an analysis of the figures follows:
1. Currently about 0.6% of Victorian voters are
2. For ALP held rural and regional seats the figure is 2.1% registered duck shooters.
3. For seats like Macedon the figure is as low
as 1.2%. Ballarat East 1.8%. With a Green vote of 10.5% and 13.1%
respectively, and 45% of preferences bleeding to the Liberals at
the last election, the anxiety over losing these two seats at least,
does not stand up to scrutiny. If anything, the opposite would seem
true, ie, a ban on duck shooting would be an electoral positive
for these Members.
4. There are now only 20,000 registered duck shooters.
Judging by anecdotal numbers of duck shooters on the Victoria's
wetlands for the 2004 season, it is unlikely that the active duck
shooters would be a quarter the registered eligible number. Many
gun owners retain their duck shooters' status to justify the continued
registration of their shotguns.
5. Added to this must be considered the duck shooters who will never vote Labor,
particularly in the rural /regional electorates.
6. Swinging and solid Labor voters who are also active duck shooters in regional/rural
ALP held electorates are estimated to be no more than an average of 0.5% in rural areas
and 0.2% across the state.
7. The numbers of votes that would actually shift
to the Coalition if the government were to permanently ban duck
shooting, is likely to be between 0.1% and 0.5% for rural seats
and less than 0.1% across the state. This would assume that the
decision was made now.
8. Also to be considered is how many votes would
come to the Labor government if duck shooting was permanently stopped.
Although impossible to accurately estimate, it is worth noting,
however, that the Green vote at the last state election in these
rural/regional seats was 7.3%.
9. The WA ban on duck shooting did not result in the threatened voter backlash
threatened by shooters - and it was not reversed by the Court Government, or of course
by the current Gallop government.
10. Carr did not face a backlash from shooters
when he banned duck shooting there in 1995. The ban is unlikely
to be reversed.
Other factors to consider
1. The gun lobby is arguably at an all time low in morale and performance.
2. The Green vote is arguably at a high.
3. If the Government were to legislate an end to duck hunting well before the
2006 season, the gun lobby would have a difficult time sustaining a campaign against
the decision over a year period.
4. The Labor Government is in danger of embarrassing the nation with the 2006 duck
shooting season coinciding with the Commonwealth Games.
The number of registered duck shooters is around 20,000. The figure confirms
that the numbers of duck shooters has fallen sharply in Victoria. Even in rural
and regional electorates, the numbers of registered duck shooters in just over
2%. Banning duck shooting is likely to have a very small negative electoral
impact, certainly not balanced by the positive impact the ALP could expect from
voters, particularly if the ALP develops and markets a vision for the wetlands
(see Valuing Our Wetlands on
The government can depend on strong support from conservation groups, animal welfare
groups and the general public in any move to place a permanent ban on duck shooting
as a sport in Victoria.