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Friday, 28 May 1915

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) .- When the rules of the Senate prevented me from reading a certain extract from a newspaper, I did not think that I would so soon have the opportunity of placing the matter again before honorable senators. When I desired to put ' certain questions to. the Minister concerning rifle clubs, in which I take a great interest, I considered that it was necessary for me to explain why I required the information. I now take this opportunity of reading the extract. It is as follows: -

Mr. B.H. Corser, M.L.A., paid us a visit on the 27th inst., and was enthusiastically received. Quite a novel feature of the programme was an armed mounted escort of the Philpott Rifle Club, under the command of Captain Hull, which met Mr. Corser at Pumpkin Hut, and escorted his carriage to the goods shed, where a guard of honour was drawn up to receive him, under the command of Mr. Sydney Wagstaff.

As the carriage with its escort approached the saluting point a fanfare of bugles was sounded by the brothers Mahony, and the guard presented arms. Mr. Corser then inspected the guard, remarking, jokingly, that he fancied h imself Lord Kitchener. The goods shed was tastefully decorated with flags and bunting, the Union Jack, Australian flag, and the Irish flag waving side by side. The platform was draped with green curtains and wattle bloom.

I do not think that the rifles belonging to the Commonwealth should be used for purposes of this description. If one candidate for Parliament is to have an escort from a rifle club to advertise him it is unfair on those who cannot get a guard of honour. What I wish to know is, whether there are any conditions attached to the granting of rifles to these clubs, and whether members of the clubs are allowed to use them in any way they choose. I think that there should be some conditions attaching to the issue of arms to rifle clubs, and that the rifles should only be used for the purpose for which they are intended.

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