Herald Sun’s failure to comply with their Code of Conduct

Herald Sun - Code of Conduct

The Herald Sun recently published 7 articles and opinion pieces supporting Victoria Police’s lobbying on our storage laws and the anti-gun lobby’s calls to ban the Adler in the lead up to the 20th anniversary of Port Arthur.

Not one of these articles include comments or views from anyone in Victoria’s shooting community.  This, despite our repeated communications with their editorial staff to provide that balance.

After considering the pros and cons of possible courses of action, we settled on one – to write to the Herald Sun.

While going the Australian Press Council is an option, the problem we have is that even if we were successful, the best we could hope for is a playing card sized correction buried in the paper.

That wouldn’t do, given the enormous amount of space the paper dedicated to the attacks and resulting damage it caused as other news outlets picked up on the stories they ran.

However the paper has a Code of Conduct (click here to see it) which, like the Press Council rules, requires balance and fairness in reporting.


  • Of the seven articles and opinion pieces which quoted or relied on advice from police and anti-gun activities, not one included comment from the Victorian shooting community. In fact similar articles appeared interstate with similar results, suggesting this was coordinated by someone very high up in the organisation.
  • The data on firearm theft they used was not only unsourced, but at odds with official figures. Put in its proper context, the rate of firearm theft is less than 1/10th of one percent of all firearms, but the articles suggested something very different.

While writing to the paper carries even fewer guarantees of any outcome, we’re nevertheless interested to see what the paper might say in response. This is especially the case given the final clause, which states Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the managing editor of the newspaper concerned, or by an executive of equivalent status.”

In our letter we emphasised that this wasn’t just about principle: it was also about impact. We explained that the Victorian shooting community is considerable in size with well over 200,000 licensed shooters, and so the gravity of their conduct must be seen in that context.

Yes, they could ignore us.  However it’s also a test of their character, particularly given their “pledge” to have complaints dealt with at a senior level.

We’ll let you know how we go.



  1. Couldn’t continual publication of antagonistic articles be interpreted as harassment or victimisation? Imagine if this was done on some of our other minority groups.
    Surely a case could be brought against them to expel the above?

  2. Alternately, how many of us are subscribers? If we can see this imbalance, what other issues get uneven coverage? Should we consider cancelling our subscription in response.

  3. Surprise 👿

  4. bazza fed up with lies

    I pick up a paper have a look at the date on the front page, check it with a calendar and if it is correct then i throw the paper away, because that could be the only correct statement in the paper
    that is why i will never buy a daily rag ever again

  5. I am very pleased to see you investigating credibility of the publisher instead of the “DEFENCE” mechanism utilised by other Shooting Associations.
    We really need to investigate credibility of the Journalists and contributors to these segregating inflammatory articles thereby discrediting them.
    Arguments of defence never win, so surely we are powerful enough to research contributors and expose their unqualified opinions.

  6. Like most Murdoch media outlets, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  7. Here is a copy of a letter i sent the Herald Sun on 9/4/16

    Dear Herald Sun
    Very Disappointing in your bad form, in not add-hearing to you own code of conduct
    This is in regards to the above attachment
    {RE: sorry John you just lucked out}
    You have lost my belief in the media,as i have found out that you have refused the CFCV a fair go in vetting a response to you inaccurate babbling s on the many bias fire arm related articles you have been publishing
    it seems to me that the Herald Sun is run by the greens and only reports what they want to report
    very disappointing
    Bruce Gordon

    here’s there piss ant response i got back on the 10/4/16

    Thank you for your email.

    We have forwarded your email to the Editor’s office for his review and response.

    Many thanks

    Herald sun Reader Feedback

    Guess what ❓ still haven’t heard back from the editors Office lucky im not holding my breath

  8. Gidday Neil. Maybe the good people at the Herald Sun should be advised to read their ‘code of conduct’. Clearly they know nothing of it.

  9. My friend
    This post is very helpful,it give me much help,thanks a lot!

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