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Thursday, 16 August 1906

Mr SKENE (Grampians) .- I was rather surprised1 to learn that the term " brandy " could be applied to any spirit other than that which is produced from grape wine. With regard to the attitude which has- been taken up bv the honorable member for Bland. I think that we have to consider the quality of the brandy which is imported.

Mr Watson - That is a question which ought to be dealt with in another way.

Mr SKENE - Possibly. When the honorable member was speaking it struck me that if we do not permit brandy which is locally produced from other than grape spirit to be designated by that term, we should also prevent imported spirit of the same kind from coming into competition with grape wine brandy.

Mr Watson - I quite agree with that idea.

Mr SKENE - It seems to me that the term "blend" in these resolutions is not used in the way in which it has been previously employed. The particular article under discussion seems to me to be a mixture rather than a blend. For instance, a Scotch blend of whisky is generally a blend of the spirit of two distilleries made from the same material.

Mr Watson - Not always. They blend maize spirit with malt spirit.

Mr SKENE - Of course the term "blend" does mean simply a mixture of various kinds. If we admit that whisky may be made partly from malt spirit and partly from grain, we must also admit that brandy may be produced in the same way. I think that the difficulty can be overcome when the Bill is introduced by giving a more distinctive name to each of these articles.

Mr Watson - We might omit the term "brandy."

Mr SKENE - I do not think that that course is necessary. When the Bil], in which these resolutions will be embodied, is brought forward, I think that the article referred to in item No. 1 of the Excise proposals, should be called "pure Australian grape brandy," because I am of opinion that a name should carry its own interpretation. The other brandies might then be called " blended brandies." The recommendation of the. Commission is that brandy which is distilled wholly from grape wine should be called " Australian standard brandy." But the term "standard," I would point out, does not convey any particular meaning to the ordinary individual. After hearing the remarks of the honorable member for Bland. I recognise that a difficulty exists in differentiating between this article and imported brandy. The Tariff Commission, so far as I understand, did not arrive at any conclusion as to how the brandies which are imported are produced. They simply decided that the best French brandies are not introduced into Australia. They were not able to elicit any satisfactory information as to the materials from which the imported brandies which are in use in Australia, are produced. We shall be doing an injustice to those who are engaged in the local production of grape brandies if we allow a blended article to be sold here in competition with them. The local distillers of pure grape brandy believe that they can compete with any article which is imported. I shall return, however, to this matter when the Bill embodying these resolutions is under consideration.

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