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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I suggest' to the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) that he accept my proposal that saccharin for medicinal purposes be free.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am told that it is impossible to distinguish between saccharin imported for medicinal purposes only and that devoted to other uses.

Senator LYNCH - Under subsequent items we allow surgical instruments and other things required for hospitals to come in free. Saccharin is largely used by persons suffering from diabetes. Why should hospitals be called upon to pay a duty of 30s. per lb. on it? As Senator Rowell has suggested, this means the taxation of human infirmities. I propose to move a request that saccharin for use in public hospitals be admitted free.

Senator Earle - Make it " subject to departmental by-laws," and I will support the request.

Senator LYNCH - Very well; I. will do so.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Would not the honorable senator extend his proposal so as to cover all imports of saccharin for medicinal purposes?

Senator LYNCH - I am afraid that that would be too wide. It might lead to an abuse of the privilege.

Senator Wilson - But is not saccharin used only for medicinal purposes?

Senator LYNCH - If it is used exclusively for medicinal purposes, there is no reason why we should tax it, particularly if it is not produced in this country. I want at all hazards to avail myself of the support volunteered by Senator Earle. The sky seems to be brightening in his quarter, and we do not know what may happen later on. If saccharin is not made in Australia, I hope the Minister will agree to its free admission for medicinal purposes.

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