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Tuesday, 20 October 1931

Mr PATERSON (Gippsland) .- I wish to make one point with respect to this item. The duty on the imported cigar is 20s. per lb. The Minister says that this excise concession has been given to the Australian cigar-making industry to induce smokers to use Australian cigars and to give a fillip to the industry. I would point out that even if the excise were to revert to the old rate of 2s. 8d. per lb., the total taxation on the Australian hand-made cigar, including a duty of 2s. 6d. on the imported leaf, would be 5s. 2d. - 2s. 6d. duty and 2s. 8d. excise. If the Australian industry cannot compete with overseas cigar-makers who have to pay a duty of 20s. as against 5s. 2d. per lb. in Australia, there is something very wrong with the industry. It is utterly ridiculous to have a disparity still greater than this between the duty on the imported cigar and the total duty and excise on the Australian cigar. I support the amendment of the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory).

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