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Friday, 18 December 1914

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - The intention of this Bill is to increase the measure of protection which has been granted to Australian whisky.

Senator Findley - Why are the distillers singled out for special treatment?

Senator RUSSELL - The assumption that the Government intend to reduce the standard of whisky ought not to be accepted for a moment. Whilst I am not prepared to say that Australia is a large consumer of whisky, there is, nevertheless, a fair quantity of that spirit consumed in this country, and the consumption of Australian whisky in (proportion to the total whisky consumption suggests that our distillers have not been sufficiently protected. It is exceedingly regrettable that whisky drinkers turn up their noses at the Australian article. From the very best information obtainable, I gather that this is chiefly due to an excess in Australian whisky of the by-product known as fusel oil. In framing the existing Tariff, Parliament fixed a period within which whisky has to be matured in wood, namely, two years. It has been conclusively proved that Australian whisky will not mature in wood in that period.

Senator Millen - The remedy is to make it three years.

Senator RUSSELL - That may be so. We have endeavoured to stimulate the whisky industry by granting it the ordinary measure of protection, and have failed to do so. Now the Government propose to add to the quantity of Aus-, tralian whisky that is consumed by the community by the method that is outlined in this Bill.

Senator Findley - Why should the distillers be singled out for special treatment every time that we have to consider the Tariff V

Senator RUSSELL - No person in Australia will be permitted to sell liquor which will be injurious to public health. I hope, therefore, that the Bill will be allowed to pass.

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