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Wednesday, 20 August 1902

Mr PATERSON (Capricornia) - The amendment of the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs will have my hearty support. I believe it will prove of benefit to the whole of the Commonwealth". I am sorry an attack has been made on Mr. Wragge. Any one who has any practical knowledge will give that gentleman credit for the highest intelligence and thorough knowledge of his subject. I have listened to Mr. Wragge's lectures with great pleasure, and I know the effect of his work. As the honorable member for Canobolas says, Mr. Wragge is not only a scientific man but a thorough enthusiast ; it is not a mere question of money with him. If he got £2 a week he would work just as well as though he were receiving £100 a week. Who are the people best able to judge in this matter? Are they Members of Parliament or ordinary civilians in the street ? No ; the best judges are ship-masters, managers of shipping companies, and officers of steamers : and I make bold to say that if a committee of such men were got together they would be unanimously in favour of supporting Mr. Wragge. I recollect that 40 years ago the signals given by Admiral Fitzroy, on the Clyde, were of the greatest benefit, and the same may be said of Mr. Wragge's predictions. Hundreds of times I have asked shipmasters whether they could depend on Mr. Wragge's forecasts, and without a single exception the answer has been - " Almost absolutely." These shipmasters do not belong to Queensland only, but also .to Melbourne and Sydney ; and in voyaging up and down the coast they have, in addition to" the question of expense of fuel, to consider the safety of their vessels and passengers. I do not disparage the efforts of scientific men in other States, but simply say that I have never met any person connected with shipping who has had a word to say against Mr. Wragge as a meteorologist.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- My suggested amendment was to strike out the words "or subsidized by."

Mr Brown - The honorable member cannot strike Wragge out.

Mr CONROY - I want to prevent any irresponsible person receiving so large a subsidy as the Government would have power to give.

Sir Philip Fysh - The clause will be a dead-letter until the Meteorological department is organized.

Mr CONROY - But it will be a deadletter after the department is organized. In any case we shall then be dealing with our own department, and arrangements may be made to transmit our telegrams. I see, however, that the feeling of the committee is against me, and I. shall not proceed with my amendment. I think I have done my duty sufficiently in drawing the attention of the outside publicto the fact that all they have to do is to keep Mr. Wragge's records for two months in order to agree with the position I have taken up.

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