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Friday, 2 September 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - It will not be necessary to rectify any anomaly. If honorable senators will look at these sub-items they will see that it would he most unwise to alter them. Sub-item j fixes the Excise duty on spirit for fortifying Australian wine, and sub-item k the Excise duty on spirit for making vinegar. It is a most important matter to provide cheap spirit for fortifying Australian wine, thus assisting a primary production, and for the making of vinegar - an important commercial requisite - the production of which it is desirable to encourage in Australia, especially when our own health regulations can be applied to it. However, sub-item l, which provides the Excise duties upon spirit used for the manufacture of scents and toilet preparations, refers to what are essentially articles of luxury. In dealing with the Customs Tariff, the Committee agreed to a request submitted by Senator Pratten, the effect of which was to make the Excise paid by the local manufacturer on his spirit equal to the fixed rate of duty payable on imported toilet preparations, scents, &c, containing spirit.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The rates are now practically equivalent.

SenatorKeating. - Then Senator Pratten's request was to harmonize the Customs Tariff with the Excise Tariff ?

Senator PEARCE - That is so; and if we were to disturb the Excise duty upon the spirit used in making toilet preparations we would also need to review the Customs duty upon the imported toilet preparations containing spirit.

Senator Keating - I was under the misapprehension that the effect of Senator Pratten's request was the other way round.

Senator PEARCE - The effect of Senator Pratten's amendment was to impose a fixed duty on these toilet, preparations to put the importer and the local manufacturer on the same level, and, in addition, an ad valorem duty to afford the local manufacturer some margin of protection. It is a very equitable arrangement.

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