Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator McHUGH (South Australia) . - The quality of Scotch whisky does not concern me very greatly. Experts assure us that the quality of Australian whisky is excellent. I want this industry to be built up under Australian working conditions. I have always argued that it is the duty of the Australian Parliaments to promote Australian industry whenever they have a say, either directly or indirectly, in the working conditions of the people who are employed in that industry. "We have no say in the conditions of employment of those who manufacture Scotch, Irish, or other whiskies. I would make the duty higher than is proposed. I hope that this is but a commencement, and that later further increases will be imposed so that the distilling companies of Australia will have an opportunity to provide adequate stocks for those who desire to purchase their product'. The following paragraph appeared in this morning's press: -

It is interesting to note that early in April last the Minister of Finance for the Union of South Africa announced in the Cape House of Assembly that the duty on whisky, brandy, and gin was to be increased from 37s. Gd. to 45s. per proof gallon. That duty is now in force.

If the Government of South Africa is not afraid to enter into competition with the great whisky combine in the Old World, why should we in Australia not act similarly, and thus build up a profitable industry ? Where would our wine industry have been but for the highly protective duty that it has enjoyed ? I remember the prejudice that existed years ago against clothing which was manufactured in Australia. There was a man in South Australia who invariably sent' to London to have his clothes made. There was not in Australia a tailor good enough for him. Our wines are gradually finding a place on the market, and we now have good Australian gin and whisky. If the price. of the imported article is made dearer under the operation of the tariff, the people will naturally take to the Australian article. The local industry can be controlled. As a matter of fact we could take over that industry if it became a menace. I hope that the Government's proposal will be carried. Let us give it a trial. If in twelve mouths or less we find that we have made a mistake we can revert to the previous duty. I trust that when the industry is better established it will continue .to produce as good a whisky as it is producing to-day.

Senator HOARE(South Australia) other teetotallers ought not to vote upon this matter. I intend to vote for the proposal of the Government, because I am in favour of building up an Australian industry. I do not agree with the sentiments which were expressed by Senator Ogden. If there were a whisky distillery in Tasmania he would cry aloud for a very much higher duty than that which is proposed. He said we should vote against the increase because it would mean the creation, of a monopoly" in Australia. It would be better to have a monopoly within our shores than abroad, because we could then exercise some control over it. Senator Barwell referred to the falling off in the importations of overseas whiskies. That is what we want to see. Preference must be given to the Australian whisky. So long as there is a market for the spirit we should support its manufacture in Australia. It is a luxury, and those who are not prepared to drink the Australian product should pay a higher price for the imported article. Some honorable senators have condemned the flavour of Australian whisky. We had the same experience in South Australia. When the production of Chateau Tanunda Brandy was first undertaken there was a prejudice against it, but it was gradually worn down, and to-day that brandy is regarded as one of the best in the world. People will gradually realize that Australian whisky is as good as any that oan be imported, and its consumption will steadily increase. Senator Lynch has pointed out_ that, when all is said and done, a man generally considers his pocket and buys the cheaper article.

Senator McLachlan - People are not doing it to-day.

Suggest corrections