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Friday, 5 August 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) .- The Minister (Senator Russell) remarked just now that duties are not imposed upon imported foods unless similar lines are manufactured locally. Is there a food manufactured in Australia which corresponds with Horlick's?

Senator Russell - Yes, a similar line is produced by the Bacchus Marsh Company.

Senator SENIOR - There is a difference of 100 per cent. or more in the prices of the two, and yet a duty is imposed upon the dearer article. The

Minister said that Horlick's malted milk' cannot be regarded as an infants' or invalids' food.; but, according to analysis, it is oneof the purest invalid foods imported, because it is more easily digested, and does not contain any unaltered starch. Many of the imported infants' foods contain unaltered starch, and are, therefore, more difficult for invalids and infants to digest. It seems strange that a food which has been proved by careful analysis to be one of the purest manufactured 'should be penalized to the extent of 20 per cent., which makes it more expensive for those who have to purchase it when other similar foods are admitted free.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What does the honorable senator mean by '20 per cent. ?

Senator SENIOR - The product sold by the Bacchus Marsh Company, the interests of which have recently been acquired by Nestle's, is supposed to be equal to Horlick's malted milk. Both products are put up in . three sizes, and the wholesale price of Horlick's is 6s.,, and Bacchus . Marsh 3s. The second size of Horlick's is sold at4s.11d., and the . Bacchus Martsh product at 2s. 6d., which means, in that case, that there is a difference of 96.8 per cent. between the price of the two. "When there is such a disparity in the price of the two products, there isno need to make . the price still higher for thosewho require it. Even if we deduct the duty of 20 per cent., there is stilla difference of75 per cent. intheprice, . and when we add to the prices already . quoted the margin between the wholesale and retail rates, honorable senators will see that 'the cost is practically prohibitive. The analysis shows Shalt Horlick's cannot be . regarded as other than a good food. It has been in use all over the world for forty years, and is largely used in public and. private hospitals. The . following foods are admitted free of duty:- Mel- lin's,.'Benger's, Savory and Moore's, Allenbury's Carnrick's, andFrame Food, but Horlick's malted milk is dutiable at20 per cent.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is the result of departmental administration.

Senator SENIOR - Departmental interpretation followed by departmental administration. We are asking immigrants to settle in the Commonwealth,and it 'is 'only natural thatwhenthey arrive and require 'an infants' or invalids' food they should ask for one which they have been accustomed to use. It would be useless telling them that Bacchus Marsh product is just as good as the imported article.

Senator Russell - I have already ex- . plained that, in the opinion of a reputable analyst, the foods are practically the same.

Senator SENIOR - According to an analysis, Horlick's milk contains an admixture of 50 per cent. of desiccated milk, '26.25 per cent. of wheat flour, 23 parts of malt, 0.75 per cent. of soda bicarbonate, and does not contain any unaltered starch when mixed. Frame food, which is admitted free, consists of thoroughly baked flour, cane sugar, extract of bran ; it is not specially rich in mineral ingredients, nitrogenous matter is abundant, and it also contains much unaltered starch. Allen bury 's No. 1 food, which is also admittedfree,contains desiccated cows' milk from which the casein has been removed, sugar and cream, and a proportion of soluble vegetable albumen; it doesnot contain any starch. If the imposition of this duty is to protect the dairying industry in Australia, why are the foods I have mentioned admitted free.; and if it is . to protect thefour milling industry, why are foods in which flour is an ingredient also admitted free? If we are to be consistent, we must impose a similar duty on . all of . them, or . admit them free.

SenatorDrake-Brockman. - Theyare all so expensive that it is not necessary to impose duties to protect local (industries.

SenatorSENIOR.- Theduty doesnot protect our local industries,becausethe difference in price is 'sufficient to do that.

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