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Thursday, 31 August 1972
Page: 1103

Sir WINTON TURNBULL (Mallee) - I had intended to put a question to the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) yesterday or today but as it was not my turn to get the call I was unable to do it. I would like to refer to that question now. The question would have read as follows: 1 am informed that there has been a sharp rise in the price of ammunition supplied by the Department of the Army to Victorian rifle clubs. As rifle clubs come under the administration of the Department of the Army and in this House, the Minister for the Army, I ask: Will the Minister make investigations with a view to reducing the price of this ammunition to a reasonable level?

I am sure the Minister will .know that nuclear means of warfare and long range guns have not made the rifle obsolete. I happen to be the President of the North Western Rifle Club Union in Victoria, lt comprises a fine body of men. Every Saturday they hold rifle shoots. It is pointed out to me by Mr Walter Chivell, who is a very prominent rifleman, that if the price goes up - it is about 8c a shot now which is too dear - it will become a rich man's hobby and many of the smaller, weaker clubs will have to close.

Although we have nuclear warfare and that sort of thing now the rifle is not obsolete because once you are at war and you take a position, you have to hold it. Generally speaking, it is held by rifle fire. The riflemen move in. Rifle clubs were formed at the outset to train young men. to handle a rifle and to shoot accurately. After all, if a man is not trained he would not be very valuable in matters of defence. A lot of people say that there is no need to worry about defence because this country could not be invaded. They say that it could not happen here. Of course it could happen here. We should be ever ready to defend this nation, otherwise it is possible that it could fall to a foreign foe and we could be slaves to that foe in future years. So it is necessary that we keep the rifle clubs active. To the members it is a hobby or a sport, but they are also doing it for the nation because a rifle club with well trained men might be invaluable to this country at some time in the future. I ask the Minister to investigate the position with a view to having the price of ammunition for rifle clubs reduced to a reasonable level.

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