Turnbull government Senator Bridget McKenzie is campaigning for the rights of Australian gun owners.
Ms McKenzie, who grew up in the Victorian high country, resented that only her brothers were allowed to shoot guns and took to partaking in secret.
Now the Nationals Senator is out to change the minds of city-dwellers, who she says often view gun owners as “rednecks” and “terrorists”.
“There’s a lot of snobbery and elitism that I find offensive and I really want to challenge it,” she told The Age in an interview.
Ms McKenzie qualified her views by confirming she supported the Howard government’s swift changes to gun laws and nationwide buyback following the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.
A hunting enthusiast, Ms McKenzie has been known to travel to Gippsland, Victoria, in order to shoot ducks – a practise illegal in most other Australian states.
Ms McKenzie has also shot pheasants in New Zealand, woodcocks in the Scottish Isles and plans to add deer to her hunting CV.
“I know it will sound incongruous to people but hunting is about connecting with nature and the outdoors. You have to understand nature to reap the bounty of it,” she told The Age.
Last week, Ms McKenzie invited a group of journalists target shooting in order to educate them about the practise.
Ms McKenzie believes the divide between gun owners and members of the public who are anti-gun ownership is due to a failure on the part of urban Australians to understand the utility of guns in the bush.
“If you have a gun or a bow and arrow, you don’t need urban society to provide for you,” she says.
“There’s something quite empowering, quite freeing about that.”