Breakdown for those of you that don’t like reading:
- “Off the record” – We had a great phone chat with a Labor insider who gave us some quality advice on moving forward.
- Petitions – Sign and share, share, share. First paper petition going to Upper House this week, we’ll hopefully get one to the Lower House by the end of the year.
- Parliament Happenings – Hon Dr Brian Walker moved to disallow Papalia’s Ban, to be debated at a later stage.
- Email Happenings – They’re getting them and they’re working out how to respond. Keep at it.
- Legal Happenings – Lawyers are already busy but they’re going to get on this as soon as they’re able.
- Fundraisers – See above. If you don’t donate, lawyers don’t get paid.
- Get Off Your Asses – Do you want your sport back? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
“Off the record” with an Insider
First, I had a VERY illuminating phone conversation with a person quite well-connected with the WA Labor Party as well as WAPOL and politics in general. For obvious reasons they not only asked not to be named but that the entire conversation is “off the record”.
But there was some great advice that I am allowed to share:
- Keep up with the petitions, they are VERY hard to ignore.
One of the only people-powered forms of communication with the WA Parliament is the petition.Yes, even the e-petition on Change.org. It isn’t formally recognised by WA Parliament but that doesn’t mean it’s completely ignored. Our “insider” said that 5,000 signatures would get us taken seriously when we present our case to any MP, even Labor Members toeing the party line.But we still need to keep up with the paper petitions too. The first one will be submitted to the Upper House some time this week so we’re not taking any more signatures on that one, but there is another one out there and we’ll be looking to set that one up in as many public-facing places as possible.
If we can pick a date to shoot for to submit the next petition to the Lower House (middle of November, for instance) then we can hit Shopping Centres, Gun Ranges, Supporting Stores and other areas that have the best chance at signatures.
- Keep up with the emails and phone calls but be VERY polite and respectful.
Keep emailing your local MP with different variations on what you’d like them to know about how the Gelball Ban has affected you. Tell them about the mental health aspect, the financial aspect, the community aspect, people with disabilities, Veterans, anything you can think of that’s relevant as to how this ban has affected you as a member of our community.If you’re not sure that your emails are getting through, then feel free to just ring them!
Be polite, be respectful, be rational. Don’t use “bad” language, don’t call anyone names (no matter how much they might deserve them) and try to always mention “How to move forward” with this with ideas on regulating gel blasters like paintball or like they have in South Australia.
- Look to what paintball legislation went through back in 2004 and try to copy that as much as we can.
Not a lot of us were a part of what went down in getting paintball legalised here in WA but if anyone knows of anything from that particular fight that might help, we would LOVE to hear it!Sadly, we’re in a pretty unique situation now as Labor is not only in power but also in complete control of Parliament. When paintball had their fight, the Liberal Party was in control and Labor had enough juice to fight them on things. Enough of the Labor Party were in support of legalisation (and wanted to pressure the Liberals to relax their Draconian laws).So we’re not likely to get any movement in Parliament no matter WHAT we do, unless members in the Labor Party are willing to go against Papalia’s ban. Full stop.
The goal now will be to try and reach some of those people. Give them the truth, hope they do the right thing.
- It’s safe to say that we are officially “in the long game” now.
This ban is unjust, unfair and outright shit. But it it doesn’t break any rules. It’s not going away and it’s NOT going to get magically overturned, no matter how expensive our lawyers are or how rational and correct our arguments are.The “long game” means we have to do our best to try and work with the prominent Members of Parliament (Labor) and even Paul Papalia [gag]. Our best bet is to try and “make nice” and see if we can talk him into regulating gel blasters like South Australia (even if he doesn’t think they can be serialised – though they obviously can).
Straightaway when this ban was announced, we started the Change.org petition. We know they don’t do anything official in Parliament but we wanted to be able to show numbers of support. We’re at about 4,150 signatures and we need 5,000 to really make an impact.
Signing it only takes a click, and sharing it only takes a couple more clicks after that. Sign it, share it, talk to others about it. Be a bit annoying and in people’s face about it if you want any chance at getting your sport back.
The paper petition started by Perth GBG is going to be tabled in Parliament this week (week of 9th August) so we’re no longer collecting signatures for that one. But it’s being put to the Upper House and we’d ideally like to have another petition that would go to the Lower House, so that ALL MPs get to hear about what’s going on with this ban and the People’s feelings about it.
In the short term future we’ll be working out which petition to put out there in the public and how, possibly just utilising the existing one that got started by another group not long after we started ours. But we’ll be looking to get that one as many places as we can and get a proper concentrated effort at getting as many signatures are possible.
We’ve been successful on a couple of fronts insofar as making contact and having discussions with relevant MPs, mostly all non-Labor, but still. We’re looking to bolster support for the Fight Against the Ban with the minority parties and even had the Hon Dr Brian Walker make a Motion to Disallow Papalia’s ban.
That’s the Good News. The Bad News is that it’s still likely to get ignored. But that doesn’t mean it won’t help.
The more we can help Hon Dr Walker with his “debate” on the issue, the more likely we are to shine some light on the issue for those Members of Parliament that may not have any knowledge of what’s gone on (which, sadly, is way too many).
We have a phone call scheduled with Hon Dr Walker later this week to help him with the debate surrounding his motion and we hope we can use him as our voice in Parliament when he does.
The protests might not have gone the way that we needed but it was a chance for Hon Dr Walker to come out and meet a few folks and we’ve got what looks to be a real ally in all of this.
Over the past two months, I’ve personally sent over 1,000 emails to Members of Parliament, WAPOL, Police in every state/territory and as many media contacts as I can. That doesn’t include the thousands upon thousands of emails, updates and posts made here, through our Mail Subscribers and various Social Media.
I’ve been helping a few people with their emails too and we’ve gotten some real and genuine responses from important people in Parliament.
We’re actually making a difference.
I was told today by a gatekeeper in the Ministerial Office of the Hon Paul Papalia that each and every one of our emails has been received and noted, and to expect a response “eventually”.
I was told that the Minister would be getting with the “advisory panel” and deciding what to say after they’ve received “information” they’ve been waiting on.
To me, this basically means that the longer they keep ignoring us, the worse they look in the long run. It also means that what we’ve brought to them has had enough of an impact that they can’t just summarily dismiss us or shoo us away like flies, as they’ve had to put together a group to decide what and how they’re even going to respond.
That means it’s working. So keep it up.
I’ve now started ringing each and every MP that’s relevant and plan on doing so until at least one of them grants us an audience and a promise that they’ll take our message to those that matter.
I’m not at liberty to throw his name around, but you’ve probably heard that Perth GBG and the Gel Blaster Association of Australia have the same lawyer. We’ve had good chats with GBAA’s Chris Sinclair and neither group is interested in paying the same guy to do the work twice, so we will be pooling our resources together where we can in order to push forward with the legal side of this where we can.
We’ve been offered some pro bono legal help from some folks in the industry and we’ll be looking for help in getting some of the “leg work” done for our lawyers when they are free to get onto this.
We’ll be looking to file with the State Administrative Tribunal, and then the WA Ombudsman, in an effort to draw some oversight onto Papalia’s actions. We’ll be putting together a case that definitively proves some of his claims false while also pointing out the many mistakes made with regards to the community.
This too, may get shot down and we might be no better off than we were before. But here’s a famous quote:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
If we do nothing, we’re guaranteed we never get our sport back. We have to at least try for anything to have a chance.
Perth GBG has suspended our fundraising efforts and we’ll be using those funds to cover what legal costs we can from our end and putting the rest towards the ongoing Fight Against the Ban. We’ve made numerous notifications on both GoFundMe and Facebook Fundraiser Refunds being available, but in case you missed it, we’re happy to refund your donations in full if you so choose. Same goes for your Perth GBG Membership, just send us your membership card and we’ll refund your membership pro-rated to the July 3rd ban start.
Also with regards to the lawyers, this ban came in so fast that nobody had time to react and our lawyers are no exception. They were already busy with other clients and other cases and we are simply in the queue and waiting to hear when there will be some movement on this.
Get Off Your Asses
For all of you that claim you haven’t donated because you haven’t seen any definitive direction on how to move forward, see above for why. This whole situation doesn’t lend itself to clear paths forward and it is a “long game”. Our lawyers are working on it, WE are working on it. They have other clients and we have lives that also need attention.
DO NOT have any confusion: It is still VITAL that you show your support by making contact with your local (and regional) MP (that’s Upper House AND Lower House), share your Gelball Story and give us a testimonial that we can put in front of people’s faces as the “human element” of this ban, and open up your wallet and give what you can.
Too many people are just sitting and doing nothing while hoping someone else can bring back their beloved sport, and without any support that’s just not going to happen.
Seriously, get off your ass and DO SOMETHING:
- Send emails to your local MP and all of your regional MPs – There’s one of the former and four of the latter, so that’s only 5 emails you have to send. We even made a form so you all you had to do was fill in a few words and hit “Send”.
- Write out Your Gelball Story – It can even be completely anonymous if you want, but every little bit helps and we KNOW that the ones we sent to MPs are getting read. Show them the people behind this sport!
- Donate to the GBAA Fundraiser – Lawyers are expensive and we don’t even know how much it will all cost in the end. What we DO know is that this can’t happen without your help. Without the funding, this part of the Fight Against the Ban fails, simple as that. All we need is a chance.
- Sign the online petition and SHARE IT AROUND – We’ve gotten just over 4,100 signatures and while we know that WA Parliament doesn’t recognise e-petitions, it still shows the numbers of support that we have to the MPs we want to meet with. IT WORKS, people, we’ve been told, so keep sharing it around.If everyone in QLD and SA that know our pain here in WA signed it, we’d be in the hundreds of thousands! ALL IT TAKES IS A CLICK, so post it on Facebook, send it to friends, be a little annoying with some people and get us to 5,000 signatures!
As always, we’d like to thank those of you that are supporting, for your support. And we’d like to say a HUGE thank you to those of you that are still DOING SOMETHING about this.
Whether it’s just helping wrangle some signatures or even just posting supportive messages or emails, we appreciate you.
Special shout-out to the chap who has taken over admin duties on the WA Gelball Community Facebook Group for his tireless efforts to keep up The Fight as well as keep engaging with the gelball community. His struggles with both while also trying to keep the shitflinging to a minimum are commendable and he is a f*cking LEGEND.
Also, shout-outs to some of you that maybe don’t want your names out here, but to those of you that have been sending emails, PMs and otherwise been having great chats with us about the fight and about moving forward. You are ALL f*cking LEGENDS.
Thank you, all of you, for your support.
-Perth GBG Team