The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - TIME OUT -

Lively de­bate com­monly de­scends into jeer­ing, be­lit­tling and name-call­ing by elected lead­ers, and the Queens­land Par­lia­ment has never been a stranger to ram­bunc­tious pol­i­tics.

Rat­cliffe Pring ( pic­tured), the Mem­ber for North Bris­bane from 1870-72, served as Queens­land’s first at­tor­ney-gen­eral. A skilled bar­ris­ter and sea­soned politi­cian, he also had a rep­u­ta­tion for im­pul­sive­ness and a quick tem­per. Dur­ing the par­lia­men­tary ses­sion of Jan­uary 10, 1872, Pring, ob­served to be the worse for liquor, be­gan con­stantly in­ter­ject­ing as the Mem­ber for Cler­mont, Os­car de Satgé, was speak­ing. Charles Ge­orge Henry Carr Clark, Mem­ber for War­wick, protested. Ac­cord­ing to Hansard, Clark said Pring made “ex­tremely of­fen­sive and per­sonal re­marks in re­gard to the honourable mem­ber for Cler­mont”, be­fore im­ply­ing that Pring was in­tox­i­cated.

The Speaker at­tempted to re­store or­der as the two men ar­gued un­abashed. “If he will come out from this place for five min­utes, I will set­tle all things,” Pring chal­lenged Clark, later re­fer­ring to him as “the dirty wretch” and threat­en­ing “I will kick you”. A de­fi­ant Clark re­torted: “Any per­son who knows me knows I am not afraid of any­one in the House or out of it.”

Pring rose and ap­peared to be leav­ing the House, when sud­denly he lunged at Clark and ex­claimed, “Come out­side, and we will set­tle it!” The Speaker de­manded Pring be ar­rested. “I take you in charge,” de­clared the sergean­tat-arms, to which Pring (apocryphally) re­sponded, “Do you? You will have to catch me first!” and took to his heels.

A war­rant was is­sued for Pring’s ar­rest. Pring sent a let­ter of res­ig­na­tion, hop­ing to end the mat­ter, but on Jan­uary 22, two po­lice sergeants ar­rested him in Dalby and de­tained him at the Cri­te­rion Ho­tel. They were later in­structed to re­lease him with­out charge.

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