Claims shot down
A GUN shop owner with family connections to Warwick has indicated to the Daily News he will support Bob Katter's Australia Party financially.
David Auger, whose sister Melissa is married to Paul Bellingham - the son of Mayor Ron Bellingham - and whose mother resides in Warwick, made headlines in October when The Australian reported he had donated an unknown amount of money to the controversial party.
These claims were amplified when the paper showed photos of Mr Auger holding a rifle next to the dead bodies of endangered animals, some of which included an elephant, giraffe and leopard.
Mr Auger rubbished the financial claims to the Daily News this week, saying while he hadn't donated money "at this stage", he would consider it in the future.
"That was insinuated by other people but it's untrue. I don't have any plan at this stage, (but if I did donate) it would be towards the campaign," he said.
"As soon as they announce the election I'll decide then."
Mr Auger declined to tell the Daily News how much he would consider donating to the party, other than say "it wouldn't be as much" as a reported $100,000 from Katter's son-in-law Robert Nioa.
He said he supported the party as it was "about time someone did stand up and say some things a lot of people probably think but maybe aren't quite politically correct".
"Someone needs to stand up for the rubbish that we go through and say enough's enough," he said.
"If someone wants to go camping, they can't go here or there; if someone wants to go fishing, they can't go to national park, can't go anywhere.
"We're supposed to live in a free country. I've visited some communist countries that are a lot freer than us."
When asked about the hunting photos, and whether he had had public backlash he said there'd been "a fair bit of reaction".
Further questioned whether he had regretted the hunting trip/s he answered "not at all".
"You don't understand how it works from that comment," he said.
"If you go to the poorer (African) countries at the moment, there are guys now farming those animals and breeding them in big numbers. You've got to remember we only shoot males and then only shoot the older ones."
Mr Auger went on to explain that by paying money to shoot, business was being injected into the local, poor communities.
He said three-quarters of the money made from hunters went into national parks, and he said some rare animals, such as rhino, were shot with a tranquiliser so numbers could be boosted.
"One of the photos (The Australian published online), the one with the elephant was shot under animal control," he added.
"It had killed two people in the past seven days before we found it. I paid to shoot it, but if I hadn't, they would have killed it with no income."
- Local candidate for Southern Downs is Ade Larsen.
- Formed in June this year by Federal Independent Bob Katter.
- Party tipped to do well in Ipswich and Bundamba electorates.