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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr JENNINGS (Watson) .- As a practical soldier, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Street) will have full knowledge of the value of rifle clubs as an adjunct to defence, and I urge upon him more sympathetic consideration of them than they have hitherto received. The complaint generally is that, instead of being encouraged, rifle clubs are discouraged. That is a wrong policy to-day when we are endeavouring to . increase the strength of the militia to 70,000 men. It is well to point out that the men in "the rifle clubs provide a defence reserve of 50,000 men, who give their services, not only voluntarily, but also at a cost to themselves of about £12 per annum, in order that they may perfect themselves in the use of the service rifle. Requests for assistance in the formation of rifle clubs in various parts of Australia have so far fallen on deaf ears, but I feel sure that the Minister, who has just taken over the Defence Department, will be more sympathetic than his predecessors, and I trust that the many requests for the formation of rifle clubs will evoke a favorable response from him.

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