Conservative cane toads

Leader of the One Notion Party, Pauline Hanson has had another brain fart. This time, the plan is to reward people with a bounty of 10 cents per cane toad collected. This was supposed to decrease the numbers of cane toads. This goes against what the experts tell us, with ecologist Rick Shine simply stating that it wouldn’t do much to decrease numbers because of the rate at which the animal breeds. He also noted that this ‘plan’ has been suggested hundreds of times and anyone who ever thought about it for very long decides it is a terrible idea1. I’m sure Hanson would think “What would Shine know; he is an ecologist. We have Malcolm Roberts.” Hanson may not know that similar plans have been tried before and all have failed. Hanson not knowing something is a common occurrence. She seems to be also unaware that there are many, many thousands of cane toads where there are very few people. But Hanson is largely impervious to facts.

As if to attempt to outdo Hanson in the stupidity stakes, Bob Katter has ‘developed’ a plan which involves giving children air-rifles to shoot cane toads, with a 40-cent bounty for each cane toad killed. Katter thought it would give kids a bit of fun and a bit of pocket money. Of course, Katter denied air-rifles would be dangerous in the hands of children. Indeed, he said that ‘some of my friends have tried to hurt people but that’s not going to happen – they’re pretty harmless2. Clearly, Katter has never owned an air-rifle. I used to own a Gecado .177 air-rifle and it can punch a hole through a window or put a dent in a corrugated iron fence at 30 metres. I cannot begin to imagine how much damage that would do if it were to hit a child in the throat or the face. Indeed, there are several deaths recorded from .22 and .177 air-rifles at close range; most are accidental, but a few are suicides. The pellet, particularly at close range, can penetrate the skin easily and even, in some cases the skull3,4.

The well-being of children is not important to Katter, what is important to him is increasing the number of guns in the Australian populace. Indeed, in an earlier foray into the topic of the proposed relaxation of gun laws, he used the same lies the National Rifle Association uses in the US, to justify its laissez-faire approach. But there is a more corrupt aspect to Katter’s wish to relax gun laws: Katter’s political party is in part funded by NIOA, one of Australia’s largest firearm importers. The managing director NIOA is Robert Noia, Bob Katter’s son-in-law5. What are the lives of a few kids when there’s profits to be made?


  3. Milroy, C.M., Clark, J.C., Carter, N., Rutty, G. & Rooney, N., 1998. Air weapon fatalities. Journal of Clinical Pathology 51 (7), 525-529.
  4. Ceylan, H., McGowan, A. & Stringer, M.D., 2002. Air weapon injuries: a serious and persistent problem. Disease in Childhood 86 (4), 234-235.

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