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Thursday, 16 August 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - I am fortunately in a position to inform the honorable member for North Sydney that the difficulty in regard to the shipment for which entries were tendered has been settled, and to state, in reply to the honorable member for Bland, that the word "industrial" is understood in the Department to cover spirits used in connexion with essences, perfumery, and things of that kind. That interpretation will be made perfectly clear, but even in the absence of a definition the word would be so interpreted by the Department. The usual practice is being followed, and I am assured that no obstacle is being presented. The Bill will also provide for sufficient notice being given abroad relative to the provision that spirits shall be stored for at least two years. That notice will not extend over two years, but will be sufficient to allow importers to deal with orders now afloat. In dealing with future orders, they must obey the requirement that only spirits of a certain age shall be admitted.

Mr McCay - A similar notice will have to be given to those producing Australian spirit.

Mr DEAKIN - There will be absolute equality of treatment.. Although it was unnecessary, I saw the Comptroller-General of Customs to make sure that these two courses were being taken, so that there would not be any sudden interruption of commercial transactions. I was assured by him that the ordinary steps had been taken, and that if any interruption took place it would be due to temporary misunderstandings, which could be at once put right.

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