Leichhardt Greens Councillor Alan Cinis has defended his membership to the NSW branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, after questions were raised regarding the organisation’s close links to the NSW Shooters’ Party.
The Sporting Shooters’ Association is the single largest donor to the NSW Shooters’ Party, which has recently pushed to allow shooting of native species in national parks – a bill opposed strongly by The Greens.
Cr Cinis listed his membership of the Shooters Association on his statutory declaration upon becoming a councillor at the most recent election.
But Cr Cinis said he didn’t believe his membership was inappropriate and had made his membership known to The Greens since his first involvement with the party.
Cr Cinis also disclosed the information in a statutory declaration upon becoming a councillor at the most recent election.
Cr Cinis met recently with NSW Shooters’ Party MP Roy Smith, who was also Executive Officer of the NSW Shooters’ Association at a time when the group donated $458,286 to his own party’s campaign.
“I spoke to him because I have concerns about the Shooters’ Party,” Cr Cinis said.
“I am not happy with the idea of shooting in National Parks. I don’t think it’s realistic, even though I think the best intentions are meant by the Shooters’ Party,” he said.
Shooters’ Party MP Roy Smith said, “Alan is a very passionate firearm owner and a passionate Green at the same time. One doesn’t exclude the other.”
However, he called Cr Cinis’ opposition to hunting in national parks “very shortsighted”.
The Shooters’ Party has previously lobbied against the banning of semi-automatic pistols and last month introduced a private member’s bill to allow children under 12 to fire licensed air rifles on a supervised range.
Cr Cinis did not believe his affiliation would concern Greens voters, although he indicated that he would not stand for a second term.
“If they have a problem with that then they’d be welcome not to vote for me,” he said.
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon had previously called the Shooters’ Party bill promoting hunting in national parks an “act of vandalism”, but defended Cr Cinis’ membership to the SSA, saying, “We’ve got a few Greens who shoot for a sport and are members of various associations and clubs, so it’s not an issue.”
“It’s very difficult for people who are sporting shooters. There are obligations on them to be part of the Sporting Shooters Association in order to take part in various activities.”
Cr Cinis, who shoots on ranges recreationally, also said that gun handling was an important aspect of his career as an actor and that it helped him to relax.
“After I’ve had a shoot for 15 minutes or so, I’m more relaxed than if I’d done an hour of yoga meditation,” he said.
by Rees Steel