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Tuesday, 20 October 1931

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) .- It appears from what the Minister has said on other occasions that the industry of manufacturing tobacco products is in a difficult position, and, accordingly, steps have to be taken to remove the obstacles in the way of its success. Some of those steps are being taken through the excise duty. It would be interesting to know why it is necessary to increase the excise on cigarettes and to decrease it on cigars.

Mr Paterson - In one case it is 7s. 6d. and in the other1s. 3d.

Mr LATHAM - The excise on machine-made cigarettes is 7s. 6d. per lb., which is very high.

Mr Jones - Why did not the honorable member have it reduced when the Bruce-Page Government was in power?

Mr LATHAM - It is only during the last year or two that this tremendous increase in the rolling of cigarettes by smokers themselves has taken place. That factoris a new element, but it does not arise on this item.

Mr Jones - The habit was cultivated during the war.

Mr LATHAM - With new conditions, new methods must be considered, and changes in conditions in industry and commerce will justify tariff variations. A pound of cigarettes is not nearly so valuable as a pound of cigars, but the excise on hand-made cigarettes is 7s. 3d. per lb, and on hand-made cigars, 3d. per lb. The excise on cigars has been reduced from 2s. 8d. to 3d. The excise on machine-made cigarettes is 7s. 6d., and that on machine-made cigars,1s. 3d. I ask the Minister for an explanation of these duties.

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