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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) (1:20 AM) . -I would not raise a subject at this late hour unless it was very important, and I: will take only a few minutes to deal with this subject. I was rather apprehensive today at the answer given to a question by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer). A question was directed to him regarding the future of rifle clubs and he said that he would make a statement shortly. I assumed that no definite decision had been made, because if it had, he could have made his statement to-day. I urge the Government and the Minister for the Army to do nothing that will restrict the activities of rifle clubs. They include some of the finest men in our community. They are fine sportsmen and their sport is essential to this country. In spite of nuclear and atomic bombs, the infantry man - the man who can use a rifle - is still necessary. High military authorities all over the world admit this claim to-day. We must remember that the long-range gun did not make the revolver obsolete. I urge the Government, therefore, at this late hour, not to bring anything before the Parliament or to contemplate any action that would stop the activities of rifle clubs.

Perhaps.303 ammunition will not be manufactured in the future because the FN rifle has been introduced. If that is so, I ask the Government to assist the rifle clubs to convert their rifles to the FN model by putting new barrels on them.

Mr Hulme - You cannot do that.

Mr TURNBULL - If new barrels cannot be put on them, the Government should subsidize the purchase of new rifles by the clubs. You can do that. The rifle clubs are of great importance to the country, and I believe that every honorable member on both sides of the House will support the advocacy that I make at this late hour.

Question resolved in. the affirmative.

House adjourned at 1.23 a.m. (Friday).

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