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Friday, 2 September 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister foi) (Defence) . - If there is an anomaly it does not occur in our legislation. Sections 11 and 12 of the Commonwealth Spirits Act, which provides for the storage of spirits in wood for two years, are consistent with the Excise Tariff Act, which stipulates that spirits imported into Australia or exported from Australia must have been stored in wood for two years. The inconsistency, if any, is between our legislation and' that of Great Britain, which provides that the spirit must be stored for three years. I am not prepared to express an opinion, offhand. Senator Pratten's suggestion, would be a very proper matter, I think,, for inquiry by the Tariff Board, for thereare such considerations as the effect upon, our export trade, and upon local manufacture generally. , The longer the spirit is stored the longer the capital involved lies idle - although, of course, it is being enhanced. To that extent - namely, thetieing up of capital - a tax is imposed upon local industry. It would be unwise to make an alteration of a vital principlewithout? very serious consideration, following upon full investigation. Experts should be called upon to consider thewhole effect upon industry, after which the policy of Customs administrationcould be adjusted, if deemed desirable, tosecure conformity with the British law and practice.

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