Trophy hunting for crocodiles in the Northern Territory is back on the agenda after an internal spat in the federal Coalition over the decision to ban the importation of legally taken lion trophies from Africa. It is a positive development for hunters that shows at least some politicians are not happy with Environment Minister Greg Hunt's unilateral decision. It's also a sign that we should keep the pressure on our local members.
According to an article from the ABC, brawl erupted between the Nationals and Liberals a fortnight ago after Hunt announced he was "taking action to protect African lions from the barbaric practice of canned hunting by banning the import and export of trophies".
Some Nationals were outraged that they had not been consulted, even though they do not condone canned hunting. They believe that Mr Hunt has demonised all hunters with some of his remarks.
Mr Hunt did not deny the internal dispute and said it was a good example of how to settle a disagreement cooperatively.
He said the ban on canned hunting "is something I believe in deeply and personally and I wanted to do it on my watch".
"I appreciate that others may have had different views, but we worked through it collaboratively and came to an agreement in the end," Mr Hunt said..
Nationals say the spat was settled with the guarantee from the minister that there would be no roll-back of domestic hunting rights for non-threatened species and that there would be an upgrade of the Anzac rifle range on Sydney's Malabar Headland.
It also started a push by the Nationals for the trophy hunting of a limited number of domestic crocodiles.
Some 600 crocodiles are shot under permit in the Northern Territory every year, but trophy hunting is banned.
The Nationals believe allowing Indigenous communities to authorise no more than 25 trophy shoots a year would provide them with much-needed cash and many Indigenous communities have been asking for that right for years.
Mr Hunt has said that the Commonwealth will not do anything that allows the reintroduction of trophy hunting in Australia and that remains his position.
However, under an environmental agreement struck between the Abbott Government and the Northern Territory, it is understood there is now little the minister can do to stop it.
Victorian Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie said she was worried hunters were being stigmatised.
"I am a hunter," Senator McKenzie said.
"I am a shooter and I'm very proud of that fact, and I'm proud of the people that I hunt and shoot with."
She believes opportunities are being missed.
"I think there is a fabulous opportunity within Australia to actually develop a trophy hunting industry," she said.