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Thursday, 2 October 1902

Mr BAMFORD (Herbert) - Some little time ago, Colonel Templeton, who was the organizer of the Victorian Rifle Clubs, was retired. It is now rumoured that another officer has been placed in the position vacated by him, and that whereas Colonel Templeton performed the work gratuitously, and very well, his successor is in receipt of a high salary.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Colonel Templeton retired under the provisions relating to the age limit, and Major Boam has been appointed, not to the same position, but as Secretary for Rifle Clubs at £300 per annum. Major Boam is a very good officer indeed. At present the expenditure in the RifleClubs Office is less by £1,000 per annum than it was before, because some of the clerks have been transferred to the Treasury, and their salaries have thus been saved to the Defence department. I do not desire to press heavily upon Colonel Templeton or any one else, but I have not dared to interfere in cases where officers have been retired under the age limit, because if I once did so I should be overwhelmed by the efforts made to secure reinstatements.

Mr Crouch - Was not Major Boam over the age limit ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes, as a military officer, but he now holds a civil appointment. Colonel Templeton desires to be made Comptroller-General of the Rifle Clubs of Australia. I fully explained the position regarding that officer on a former occasion. In reply to the honorable member for South Australia, Sir Langdon Bonython, I may say that the retrenchment will, as far as possible, be carried out proportionately in all the States. I do not quite know what we are to do in regard to the additional drill instructors sent to South Australia ; but if they are not required they will not be kept there. The honorable member has persistently badgered me regarding these drill instructors, but I cannot make any promise at this stage, because it will take some time to obtain the information necessary to enable me to arrive at a decision. If I am satisfied that the drill instructors are not required, they will be removed.

Mr. McCAY(Corinella).- I am glad that the Minister is now using the language of determination with regard to something. Might I ask when the process of reducing the Defence Estimates is to stop? Are we to go on cutting them down by £100,000 or so every year? I am not given to extravagance, as I have shown, but I should like to know when we are to reach finality in these reductions. Wo shall never bring our Defence Forces into a condition of efficiency, so long as those who have to control them and are responsible for their proper organization, are placed in such a position that they cannot know from month to month what sum will be available to enable them to carry on their departments.

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