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Friday, 6 July 1906

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) . - I desire to make a personal explanation. The Attorney -General this morning interjected, while the honorable member for Grampians was speaking, that one of the reasons which had prompted the introduction of this Bill was that 99 per cent. of the tobacco trade of the Commonwealth was in the hands of the tobacco combine. In reply, I went to the other extreme, and said that the combine did not control more than 50 per cent. of that trade. The Attorney-General now says that my statement preceded his. Through the courtesy of the leader of the Hansard staff, I have obtained a copy of the interjections bearing upon this portion of the debate, which were recorded by the Hansard reporter. I find that the first of these interjections was made by the Attorney-General, who asked -

Has the honorable member read the report of the Tobacco Monopoly Commission?

Thereupon the honorable member for Grampians replied-

The alleged tobacco monopoly, the honorable member means.

I then interjected -

The Commission say that it is not a monopoly, that it is only a partial monopoly.

The Attorney-General then said-

Well, 99 per cent. is pretty close up, anyhow.

And in reply, I stated -

But it is said to be only 50 per cent. I will get the report and read it for the honorable gentleman's information.

I was partly wrong in saying that the combine controlled only 50 per cent. of the tobacco trade of the Commonwealth, and I withdraw the statement. But the report which I have read shows that the AttorneyGeneral's statement as to the percentage of the trade which the combine controlled was made before I said that it controlled" only a very much lower percentage.

Mr Isaacs - I do not dispute that.

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