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Thursday, 28 July 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I do not propose to record a vote for the alteration of any of these tobacco or cigarette duties at this juncture, but in touching upon these duties and their relation to the practical mono-' poly now in existence in Australia, we are opening up a subject which I hope will be dealt with in the not very distant future, because not. only is it a big question, it also affects our primary producers to a very great extent. In my opinion, without being ableto state it as a fact, the consumption of tobacco grown in Australia is strictly regulated, not by its suitability or quality, but because there are cross-currents at play directed by American tobacco-growers. When, therefore, we come to the Excise duties, we may possibly see our way clear to give further encouragement to the Australian tobacco-growers, who can grow tobacco equally as well as it can be grown in any other part of the world. If the manufacturers of the day are anxious to use Australian-grown tobacco, ways and means can be found of using it just as easily as tobacco imported from abroad can. be used, whether it comes from the Philippines, or J ava, or the United States of America.

Senator de Largie - How is it that we have never been able to do that?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am in considerable doubt as to whether a bona fide effort has ever been made here to grow the whole of the tobacco requirements of Australia. Some years ago, the growers of Tamworth, in New South Wales, and Texas, in Queensland, were not able to sell to the only consumers of tobacco more than a certain limited quantity. As to what was the reason for that I am not sure.

Senator de Largie - The reason was that we have not the proper soil here.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - At any rate, it is a matter for inquiry. I hope that this Senate will carry the subject further when we. come to the Excise duties, and take some step which may result in our producing from the soil a little more tobacco than we have grown in the past.

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