There was an exhibition of fisticuffs between Messrs. J. J. Sullivan (a director) and Mr. C. R Brett (Stock Inspector) at the monthly meeting of the P P Board yesterday. It was a one round "go," and was particularly willing whilst it lasted. The rules were "all in" and the bout ended in a draw.
The trouble arose out of a report read by Mr Brett in connection with a matter arising out of a report from the police regarding the defacing of earmarks on sheep in the Bathurst district and in connection with which he had been charged with a dereliction of duty by Sullivan at the previous meeting. Mr Brett stated that he had attended to the matter, as he had written to the Chief Inspector of Stock, and got a reply stating that it was a matter for the Board and asking them to exercise care in the matter. When he got this reply he saw the Chairman, who would not take the responsibility of giving instructions.
Mr Sullivan, in reply, said that the Stock Inspector received the communication from the police about March 6 and that though a meeting of the P.P. Board was held on March 12, he did not mention it. At the next meeting, he gave the Board the Chief Inspector's answer, when he (the speaker) moved that after the show, Mr Brett should go and personally inspect the sheep. The motion was carried, but the instructions were not carried out, the police having investigated the case themselves and found nothing suspicious.
This clearly shows, "said Mr. Sullivan," that the Inspector did not interest himself in the case at all, excepting his having written to the Chief Inspector.
Mr. Brett : That's a lie.
Mr. Sullivan (indignantly) : It is not a lie.
Mr Brett : I have been accused of several things and have been tried to be proved a liar. Continuing he quoted a case which occurred in connection with Mr W J Bullock's fence, Stoney Creek, about two years ago and in which he had been accused of delay actually caused by Mr. Burgess.
Mr Burgess: That's not true. Mr Burgess appealed to the Chairman, asking him if he (the secretary) did not fill in the applications for inspections of wire netting fences and other applications appertaining to reserves immediately after that meeting.
Mr. Boyd : That is correct.
Mr Burgess: Mr. Brett always kept his report back for two or three days before he hands it to him, whereas it should be handed in at the meeting. If any delay had occurred in connection with the application it was Mr Brett's fault and not his.
Mr Sullivan objected to Mr Brett referring to other matters when the original complaint had not yet been dealt with and stated that as long as he was on the Board he would try to make Mr Brett carry out his duties, and furthermore, instead of his being in the office day after day, and making a report to the Board of "attending district correspondence and issuing permits," he would have to get out into the country and inspect holdings and stock. This was his duty as clearly laid down by the Chief Inspector of Stock. "The Board," went on Mr Sullivan, "pays Mr Brett a big salary for his services as Stock Inspector and not as a clerk.
Mr Brett : I do my duty.
Mr Sullivan : You do not. I can mention several cases, but I will mention only one case which has been hanging fire for six months and has not been attended to yet.
Mr Brett (warmly) : You're a liar.
This was too much for Mr Sullivan, who sprang out of his chair, and despite his bulky proportions, sprinted smartly around the table, where he shaped up in a business-like manner and commenced the assault. Mr Brett at first devoted his efforts to defensive tactics, but Mr Sullivan got through the defence, however, and landed a straight left on the side of Mr Brett's face. Mr Brett then counter-attacked and a heavy left swing landed on Mr Sullivan's right ear, which turned red and blue in quick succession and in creased to extraordinary dimensions. In the meantime the mill was increasing in violence, and the heavy weights in their manoeuvres sent table, chairs and directors in all directions. Finally, the pugilists were separated from a firm embrace by the efforts of some of the directors, who prized them apart with the assistance of chairs.
Mr Boyd then declared the meeting adjourned till after lunch.
When the meeting was resumed after lunch, Mr. Sullivan wanted to know what the Chairman was going to do about the matter.
Mr. Boyd (emphatically) : I am not going to hear any more about it.
Mr Sullivan : I think it is not fair to me that you should have allowed Mr. Brett to call me a liar.
Mr Boyd : We have had enough of this quarrelling. One was as bad as the other. You have practically had a stand up fight and that ought to be enough for you.
Mr. Sullivan : He called me a liar.
Mr Boyd : I am not going to hear any more about it.
Mr Sullivan : I want something definite.
Mr Boyd : You have had a fair innings. (Vociferously). I am not going to listen to you. I am chairman of this Board.
Mr. Sullivan : I say that you, the Chairman of this Board, have not done your duty or you would have made Mr. Brett withdraw those words.
Mr Boyd : I failed to do my duty two years ago, when, subjected to an attack by you, I did not then step out of the Chair.
Mr Sullivan : That matter need not have been brought up again. I want Brett's complaints thrashed out.
Mr Boyd : Then you will have to put it in writing.
Mr. Sullivan : And Mr Brett will have to lodge his complaint with the Chairman.
Mr Brett : The statement belongs to the Board and the Board can have it immediately.
Mr Boyd (to Mr. Sullivan) : I have as much backbone as you have. This controversy has been concluded. It has caused members of the Board much pain but none more than myself. However, these things I forget quickly. They are like water on a duck's back.
Mr. Kerr : The matter has been most deplorable.
Mr Brett's complaint was handed to the Chairman but no action was taken regarding it by the committee as the Chairman said he would not allow any more discussion on it.