Our suburb Victorian team caught up with Ethan Contantinou, Victorian Senate candidate for the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party. Ethan’s a great guy, and we can expect a lot from him on behalf of the shooting body in Victoria when elected.
Without further ado, here it is, short and sweet:
1: Tell us about yourself, and your history with firearms.
I grew up in Gordon, a small town between Ballarat and Ballan. My dad a plant operator and my mum a chef; wanted a country lifestyle for me and my 2 brothers. Unfortunately the distance from family and work availability in those areas made us move back to Melbourne. However that did not stop us from going on family holidays and enjoying as much camping as we could fit in.
My real personal experience with the outdoors and the challenges of life in the country was in 2010 where; after being made redundant. I sold my home and decided to take some time Travelling Australia in my Nissan Patrol; I ended up circumnavigating the country on a “working holiday”. It was quite an eye opening experience, having only seen these areas on holidays; I was actually working and living in rural and country towns.
Once people find out you’re a qualified Chippy with concreting experience you can find work anywhere.
It was in the preparation for this trip that I thought about hunting and firearms, having never been exposed to guns apart from the old air rifle at my grandfather’s place and my time in the Army Cadets. I thought hard about it, trying to justify the need for me to have firearms while travelling. Eventually after talking with a friend via amateur radio, the pros outweighed the cons and bit the bullet getting my licence and 3 guns that I thought would cover most Australian game, a 12 gauge, 17HMR and a .243Win. From there I have since bought a 30-30 (since sold) a .308 Ruger Gunsite a .22LR Henry lever action (so much fun) and a 22lr/.410 combo as a camp gun.
2: What made you become a candidate for SFFP, and why did you choose SFFP?
I initially joined SFFP in 2013, having never been a member of a political party. I thought of it as a way of doing my bit, being another number; however after SFFP’s success in the 2014 state election and meeting Jeff Bourman at the 2015 SHOT show in Melbourne. I saw that “politicians” are real people with real views and the views of SFFP aligned much with my thinking and perceptions.
I got further involved when the call was made for volunteers at the 2015 4×4 expo I volunteered for a day and met more of the committee and having more time to chat with Jeff and Dan. After the committee changes in early 2016 I decided to get on board and help out as much as I could. It was clear that the current secretary/treasurer was having too much on her place and stood for treasurer so spread the load of running a party. It has been one of the best decisions I have made and has furthered my knowledge of the political system and the processes of running not only the financials of a political party but what “working in the background” actually means.
Becoming a candidate for the senate was really a decision I made at a committee meeting, I put my hand up as a means of doing more for the party and knowing full well what the responsibility means if I get elected. It is with the support of the committee and my friends that I honoured to stand for SFFP in Victoria.
3: What do you think the biggest barrier is for firearm owners?
I believe the biggest barrier is the stigma that is touted by the media; we constantly see the worst of firearms in the media as it is sensationalist at the best of times. So I can imagine the average person with no prior exposure to the truth of firearm ownership and usage would have some preconceptions about guns and responsible gun ownership. We need to address those preconceptions and stigmas if we are to grow our sport.
Another common barrier is government process, all gun owners know about the hoops we have to jump to gain our licence and purchase firearms, this needs to be streamlined and made more efficient. Most State and Territory crime systems are linked so it would be a simple search pattern for police to assess a person when they apply.
4: If elected, what would be the first thing you would change in the NFA?
The NFA is a broken system set up only to hinder the process of the law abiding. SFFP policy is to repeal the NFA and abolish the registration of Cat A&B firearms. I would push for an open parliamentary review into the NFA that fronts up all interested parties to show the truth and factual effect of the failed NFA.
5: What is your stance on.
D- Recreational access to semi-automatics?
I believe I can walk down any street in Australia and feel safe, however criminals have other ideas. Conceal carry is can be a method of self-defence (tying into B) that is a core value of the human rights charter. Everyone has a right to self-defence and there should be no impediment to using whatever means necessary. My only caveat is that of would want a firearm for self-defence a person should have appropriate training in the safe use and non-printing. Concealed carry is just that……concealed
Castle Doctrine is an interesting principle as all states in Australia allow for the use of force to defend life and property. I certainly support the use of reasonable force to defend life and property and there should be no legal ramification for doing so.
Interest in competitions such as 3-gun are on the rise and are completely controlled and safe. I fully support the legal use of semi-autos for recreational, target or hunting applications
6: What’s your dream firearm to own.
Fabrique Nationale FNAR (nice choice – Pres)
7: In Victoria, we are the envy of all other states in regards to public land hunting. What do you know about the great Forest national park and its likely hood to be implemented? Also what can we do to prevent its implementation?
The GFNP is a front of green groups such as the knitting grannies and others to lock up an extra 17% of Victoria. Also locking out sustainable forestry, 4WD’ers, anglers and recreational hunters from prime game habitat. DELWP and Parks Victoria do not have the budget or will be given a budget that will support the management of this proposed park. DELWP and Parks VIC struggle to manage their current land holdings, the tragedies of Black Saturday and Wye River are prime examples of the failure to properly manage the land so ensure public safety.
It is my understanding that the proposal has stalled and is split between MP’s in the current Labor Government and with our SFP MP’s Jeff and Dan continuing to breath down their necks to keep it stalled I expect it to be shelved. This is the advantage of having proper representation with a vote in parliament; we can be on the coalface and approach ministers directly with issues. Not go through the channels of the public service.
8: Do you hunt? What species? Do you shoot? What discipline?
I hunt deer occasionally but finding the time with work and current SFFP commitments is hard at best. I do enjoy feral and pest hunting, with a few properties I can access up and down the east coast along with plinking either at the range or up in the local state forest. I don’t however partake in ant competitive shooting or disciplines, I am interested in handgun disciplines but haven’t had the time to research what I want.
9: What is your stance on paintball regulation and airsoft?
Paintball is a fun sport; I have done it quite a few times. Recently our SFFP VIC MP’s has had the firearm act changed to lower the paintball age so that more people can enjoy the fun safe activity that is paintball.
Having only discovered airsoft a year or so ago, I find that it can slot nicely into the same framework as paintball without no major hassle in regulation or legislation.