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Wednesday, 15 August 1906

Mr SALMON (Laanecoorie) . - From the point of view of the consumer it is desirable that the Government proposals should be accepted. The consumer requires protection, and I am very glad that a number of honorable members are determined that he shall have it. We can best serve the interests of the consumer by offering to the producers of pure spirit a decided advantage over those who produce blended spirit. The honorable member for Perth has spoken of the necessity which the distillers are under to produce a spirit which will suit certain palates. I am afraid that the palate is more likely to get down to the level of the blend than the blend is likely to rise to the level of the palate. As a result, we shall probably develop amongst our people a taste for spirits which " bite all the way down " - in other words, for blended spirits. A spirit such as would be , recommended by the medical profession does not " bite all the way down," but gets in its work in the way that it is intended to do, and is of great value. But it would be very difficult to trace the effects of a compound which consists of only onefourth of spirit from .the pure juice of the grape and of three-fourths of some unknown spirit. Blending may be necessary to suit certain palates, but I. think that that process is introduced for the purpose of enabling a compound, which will command a certain sale, to be placed upon the market at a cheap price.

Mr Frazer - But must not the spirit be pure alcohol, no matter from what material it is extracted?

Mr SALMON - I may tell the honorable member that I recently heard of a whisky which was manufactured in Germany, and which was placed upon board ship for 9d. per bottle. This stuff was shipped to South Africa, and we can easily imagine the evil effects to the inhabitants of a tropical climate which would result from the consumption of a spirit of that character.

Sir John Quick - That class of spirit would not be blended with pure grape wine spirit.

Mr SALMON - This is the only opportunity that we have of dealing with the local manufacture of spirits. It is the function of the States to legislate regarding the food and drink of the people. This is the only way in which the Commonwealth Parliament can endeavour to insure to the consumer a really pure spirit.

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