Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 28 May 1914

Senator FERRICKS - For that very reason, it will be seen that the two competitors were absolutely on a different footing. The 'South Queensland man had included in his. test the 600-yards range, which is considered to be the easiest range to shoot over, and he also had substituted the 1,000-yards range for the 700- yards range, which is acknowledged to be the hardest range to shoot over. I approached the Minister on this matter some time ago, when he pointed out to me that the Commonwealth Council had the right of selection, and that he, as Minister, did not consider that he waB justified in interfering. I agreed with that view, and did not further press the matter. The Commonwealth subsidized the team to the extent of £2,000 on the last Estimates, but another £5,000 was accorded to the State Rifle Associations, and a further £5,000 to the District Rifle Clubs throughout the Commonwealth. Therefore the Department should have some greater supervision over these matters than they have had. I recognise entirely that this is a Queensland matter; but a further step has been taken. The father of this young North Queenslander has taken the financial responsibility of sending his son to Bisley as an extra member of the team. I believe that the young fellow will acquit himself very creditably. In North Queensland we regard him as the " pride of the north," and he proved it in the recent contest. I want the members of the Senate, and the Minister of Defence in particular, to watch his performances at the international competitions, and if he acquits himself creditably, which I have no doubt he will do, it will be only fair that compensation should be paid to his father for any expense to which he has been put, out of the £2,000 subsidy already granted, if the Commonwealth Council has the money available; but, if not, the money should be found. The Minister of Defence should have sufficient influence and control over the Council to bring that about. I might mention that Colonel Merritt, when I communicated with him on this matter, very kindly offered to bring to Parliament House all the papers, and show me that the Commonwealth Council had acted very largely on the recommendation of the State representatives in Queensland; and, of course, that, with the other representations, went a very long way. He did come up here, at inconvenience to himself, but, being in recess. at the time, the building was closed at 4 o'clock, and, unfortunately, I had gone when he arrived. Later, I saw the Minister, and after hearing his version of the affair, and of how the thing waa conducted, I did not take further steps. I do not say that any outsider should have the privilege at any time of going into a Bisley team and claiming to be franked or compensated for any expense he is put to. But, when I approached the Minister on this matter, he pointed out, very rightly,' that, even if the Department had sufficient jurisdiction, which he rightly denied, it was more than the Department or the Minister dare do, to oust the man who, had been selected by the Commonwealth Council. He said that if Bagley were ousted, he would have a claim against him as Minister, or against the Commonwealth Government. I believe he would. I believe now that Grosskreutz who was selected by the North Queensland Rifle Association, and acknowledged by it to be the representative of North Queensland under the conditions or practices then operating in that State for the selection of the two representatives, has a very high moral, if not a legal, claim against the Association for any expense that may be incurred. I trust that, a better system of selection will be found for Queensland in the future.

Senator Millen - The thing is for you Queenslanders to agree among your- selves.

Senator FERRICKS - Quiteso. We contend that, for the encouragement of rifle shooting throughout Queensland, the north should be represented. We have there a territory of very huge extent, and, in these matters, we do not want too much centralization in the south. In the north, rifle shooting is one of our chief recreations. The members of rifle clubs in outlying places go to great expense in practising. They put in a lot of their time, and subject themselves to great inconvenience for the indulgence in that very serviceable recreation. I think that the Department, or the Minister, might take this view of the matter, too, that outlying places should receive encouragement to the greatest extent; and, if there is a tendency in any part of the centralized places to not give them the encouragement to which they are entitled, the Department, by virtue of the subsidies which are given to these institutions, should exert a greater influence. I commend these remarks to the members of the Senate generally, and to the Minister of Defence, for their consideration, in the hope that justice will be done.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Suggest corrections