By ANEEKA SIMONIS
LA TROBE MP Jason Wood’s seat is again under threat – this time by Liberal Democrats who have joined with the Shooters and Fishers Party to turf out the lion protector.
The party’s only federal parliamentarian, NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm, announced the Liberal Democratic Party will run a candidate in the south-eastern seat unless Mr Wood drops his campaign to end the importation of lion trophies.
“We will seek to ensure he pays a political price for his actions,” he said, accusing Mr Wood of “attempting a vote grab by demonising law-abiding shooters”.
The Liberal Democrat’s decision follows in the footsteps of the Shooters Party which earlier announced that it also plans to field a candidate for the seat as well as direct its preferences to ALP candidate Simon Curtis.
But Mr Wood has told his political opponents that he is ready for them, predicting his electorate will vote to save overseas wildlife.
“I say ‘bring it on’.
“Voting for them is voting to have lions killed but voting for me would help protect vulnerable animals that don’t have a voice of their own,” he said.
“I am pretty proud that myself and the government have changed laws to stop Australian hunters go over there to shoot lions and bring back their parts.”
In March Mr Wood and Flinders MP Greg Hunt led the world-first push to ban hunters from bringing lion trophies from Africa.
Sen Leyonhjelm said most safari hunters do not take part in ‘canned hunting’ and joined with the Shooters Party which earlier criticised the legislation of failing to differentiate between that and ‘ethical’ hunting.
“Few Australian shooters are interested in so-called canned hunting where lions are bred in captivity and released to be shot by hunters,” Sen Leyonhjelm said.
“It is uncommon and opposed by all serious hunters. But it is not cruel and does not threaten the survival of the species.”
Liberal Democrat senator said the ban will adversely affect the “sustainable” hunting of lions in the wild which helps reduce poaching and creates jobs for Africans.