Adrian Piccoli in parliament this afternoon.The expected election of the first Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP to the NSW Parliament’s lower house has sparked uproar, with education minister Adrian Piccoli feigning shooting members of the opposition front bench to make a point.
In extraordinary scenes, Mr Piccoli began yelling “Bang, bang, bang!” while pointing at Labor MPs.”You don’t get out of it that easily!” he yelled. “That’s the Shooters party!”.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Philip Donato has been expected to claim victory in Orange following Saturday’s byelection which saw a record 34 per cent swing against the Nationals on the primary vote.
However, the byelection result was plunged into uncertainty on Thursday night following a recount involving a misplaced bundle of votes.
It emerged thatNationals candidate Scott Barrett had pulled ahead of MrDonatoby 65 votes with counting to continue on Friday.
But earlier, during the final question time of the year, Mr Piccoli – who was until Tuesday deputy leader of the NSW Nationals – attacked the opposition for the decision to direct preferences to Mr Donato.
“What you’ve done is deliver a Shooter’s party member to this parliament,” Mr Piccoli said.
“They’re not interested in education … they want to get rid of the national gun laws. That’s the deal that they did.”
Mr Piccoli said opposition leader Luke Foley was “celebrating with the Shooters Party the other night”.
“So what’s he celebrating?” he asked. “AR-15 assault rifles? Because that’s what they want in NSW! That’s what you’ve given them!”
To calls of “that is disgraceful” from the opposition benches, Mr Piccoli said the preference deal and its result “is not without consequence”.
“I’ve got a wife and two children. They’re eight and six. And we go on holidays. We may have been at Port Arthur that day.”
As Labor MPs shouted, “You’re a disgrace” Mr Piccoli declared,”You did a preference deal with people who want to get rid of the national gun laws!”
Mr Piccoli then rose and began shouting “Bang, bang, bang!” while pointing at Labor MPs. “You don’t get out of it that easily!” he yelled. “That’s the Shooters party!”.
Mr Piccoli told Fairfax Media afterwards: “A lot of Labor supporters would be scratching their heads about the ALP supporting a party that wants to get rid of the national gun laws.”
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers upper house member Robert Borsak said Mr Piccoli was “worried about the fact he’s going to be thrown out of the cabinet”.
“He is the perfect example of a National party member of parliament who has no understanding at all of the gun laws or the requirements to be a member for people living in the bush.”
Mr Foley said: “Labor makes no apology for recommending that voters put the National Party last at the Orange by-election, given the Nationals’ failure to deliver on a range of policies for the people of the Central West.”
“We unequivocally support Australia’s strong gun laws, unlike Mr Piccoli’s government which attempted to weaken them at the most recent Council of Australian Governments meeting,” he said.
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