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Wednesday, 20 August 1902


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I hope the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs will be carried. Notwithstanding the discourse of the honorable and learned member for "Werriwa, there are still some points which require clearing up before we can accept his meteorological philosophy. The honorable and learned member asked, with some scorn and indignation in his voice and mien, whether in America such a foolish thing was ever done as to predict storms days ahead.


Mr Conroy - I meant storms that do not come,


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is within my own knowledge that twenty years ago the meteorological experts in America used to predict when depressions would arrive in England, and the predictions were published in the newspapers. That is being done at the present time, and the managers of deep and dangerous coal mines in England act on those warnings and look out for exudations of gas and the falling of roofs.


Mr Conroy - Depressions are predicted, but not whether there is moisture in them.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I take that to be a very minor circumstance compared with the prediction of depressions and their locality with any degree of accuracy.


Mr Conroy - Not one of the great blizzards in America has been predicted.


Mr O'Malley - Hundreds of them have been predicted.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not see much difference between the position in America and the position here so far as Mr. Wragge is concerned. At any rate, it is a fact that nearly all the people on the coast believe intensely in Mr. Wragge and follow his directions. If Mr. Wragge's predictions were not on the whole accurate, they would not be acted on, because it sometimes costs hundreds of pounds to follow his advice. The pecuniary argument appeals to those concerned, and they would soon find out whether Mr. Wragge was the charlatan which the honorable and learned member for Werriwa has described. The honorable and learned member stands alone ; it is a case of Conroy contramundum. I have listened to the honorable and learned member's remarks with interest ; but, much as I always desire to follow his lead, I shall, with genuine regret, have to vote against him on this occasion. Seriously speaking, the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs is a good one. At any rate, until complete arrangements can be made for the Federal Government to take over all meteorological matters and control them from a given centre, it would be as well to continue the present plan, which has been found of the greatest possible value, not only to people on the coast, but to those whose interests lie in the interior.







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