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Thursday, 22 October 1931

Mr MARKS (Wentworth) . - I admit, candidly, that I know nothing about the growing of grapes or the making of wine, but I do know a good deal about the drinking of it. I have drunk a considerable quantity of Australian wine - of course, under doctor's orders - a fact which is no doubt responsible for my magnificent physical condition. In other words, I am fully matured, as is the Australian wine I drink. I wish particularly to refer to the marketing of Australian wine in Great Britain. I have made about eighteen or twenty trips to Great Britain, the last about two years ago. I have found that it is not possible to obtain Australian wines on any of the trains running between Southhampton and London, nor, for that matter, on the trains running north from London to Hull, Edinburgh and Inverness. Apart from such places as The Trocadero, and one or two others probably known to the Minister for Markets (Mr. Parker Moloney), it is impossible to get Australian wines in any of the hotels in London. It cannot be obtained at The Savoy, The Ritz or The Cecil. I made inquiries, beginning at Australia House,, to find out the reason for this. The head waiters - on the trains and in tha hotels all told me the same thing. They seemed to know the word "Australian", but they knew little or nothing about tho country or its products. When I pressed one of them, he told me that it was possible to obtain Australian wine> perhaps in April and May, but not in June, July and August. It generally became available about Christmas time-. Continuity of supply is essential if Australian wines are to capture a place for themselves on the English market. I admit that, at the time of which I speak, there was some shipping trouble in Australia, which may have prevented sup plies from coming forward, but it remains true that Australian wines do not reach England with sufficient regularity to keep the market supplied. I do not know whether the Minister for Markets went into this matter when he was abroad, but it is deserving of his attention. Our wines can hold their own with those of any other country in the world. The American wines most sold in England come from California, the " Big Tree " brand of sparkling hock being the most popular. Of that I have drunk a good quantity, but I do not think that either it or their Burgundy is a patch on ours. I went into the subject, and made a report to Mr. Bruce, who was then Prime Minister. To make a success of this, or of any other industry, we must put our best young Australians on the job, with a salary of about £1,000 a year plus a commission on the gross turnover. The salary would allow them to dress and look well, take people to dinner, to the theatre, and to the pictures, while the commission would be an incentive for them to go their hardest and sell our goods. I admit that the Export Board at Australia House is doing very good work, but it is not all that T desire. You cannot get a body of men sitting around a table in a room at Australia House a few times a week to deal adequately with such an important subject as our export trade.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The difficulty has been overcome by the formation of an Export Control Board, which has agents doing the very type of work to which the honorable member has referred.

Mr MARKS - I am sure that, as a result of the Minister's visit to Great Britain, our business will improve. I want him to accept cheers for the excellent work that he did over there. I know something about this business. His was a wonderful achievement. I trust that his visit to Great Britain will have a good effect in stimulating the whole of our export trade.

I also hope that the Minister will exploit the markets in the East. I made a report on that subject to the Government of the day after spending weeks inChina and Japan interviewing governments and Ministers. Like all reports, no matter from whom they come, within a week after it was handed in, it was covered with two inches of cobwebs. That is a vast market to exploit, one to which the Minister might well direct his efforts.

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