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Wednesday, 19 May 1920

Mr CORSER (Wide Bay) . -I take the opportunity of callingattention. to a matter of great importance to the future of Australia - the need for the encouragement of rifle clubs. During last year there was a, reduction of 50 per cent, in the effective grants to rifle clubs. We are fortunate in having in this House a Minister representing the Defence Department who has had practical experience at the Front, and I think he will admit that the men who went from Australia who had previously been members of rifle clubs turned out to be the very best material for warfare. In many instances 60 per cent, of the members of the clubs in the Wide Bay electorate, and elsewhere, enlisted, and in the case of one or two of the clubs in Wide Bay, all the members except two went on active service. I am sure we recognise that the return we got from the past expenditure on rifle clubs has been a hundredfold. Not only were members' of rifle clubs who enlisted effective fighters, but, as they were also able to instruct others who had not the same knowledge of their weapons, they thus assisted to make the whole force a very much better fighting machine. I sincerely trust that the Minister will see that on the next Estimates provision will be made for the payment of a 10s. effective grant to rifle clubs, so that in case trouble arises in the future we shall have a capable and effective force here, ready and able to defend this country of ours.

Proposed vote agreed to.

Divisions 83 to 101 (Navy), £1,536,924, agreed to.

Department of Trade and Customs.

Proposed vote (Divisions 100 to 115), £583,011.

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