Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 18 November 1927

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator will not be in order in proceeding further. along those lines.

Senator CHAPMAN - It is now proposed to place a further burden on the wine industry. That is ridiculous. The action.'; of the Minister -is 'uneconomic. The Government has appointed a development and Migration Commission in order to-

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator must confine himself to the motion before the chair.

Senator CHAPMAN - I was pointing out that this duty represents an additional burden on the wine industry, and that, instead of increasing cost9, the Government should make every effort to reduce them to the lowest possible level, so that our wine may have a reasonable chance in the world's markets. Not long ago the Department of Markets and Migration was created and placed under the control of a Minister. More recently the-Development and Migration Commission was also appointed. Included in its duties is that of finding a way by which our produce can be marketed more cheaply. Yet, instead of allowing Australian-made second-hand wine casks to be used when returned foi refilling, the Government is practically prohibiting their use by imposing this heavy duty on them. That will interfere with the successful marketing of our wines. The Minister justifies his action by saying that it will provide work for Australians and build up an Australian industry. If we ruin the wine industry, the workers of Australia will suffer more than if empty wine casks are admitted free of duty, even though that may affect a number of coopers. Senator Barwell threw on the members of the Coopers' Union the whole blame for having applied for the increased duty. I do not know whether they are solely responsible. Recently a large exporter of wine in Adelaide informed me that he could not get casks from cooperages because he had offended influential men in the wine industry through having advertised his wines in London at a certain price. The association to which those men belong, though not large, is very powerful. Honorable senators will agree that if an exporter of wine cannot get casks, he cannot export wine. By their control of casks certain men have a control on the export of wine. These men are. on the Viticultural Council, advising the Government on the growers' behalf but the growers' interests are that second hand casks be procurable. The Government should take steps to ascertain whether the true position of the industry has been placed before it, or whether other influences have been at work. Giving evidence before the Tariff Board, Mr. Bagenal stated that Australian cooperages do not, even use Australian timbers in making wine casks. The following statement by Mr. Bagenal appeared in the Australian Brewing and Wine Journal of 31st March last: - 1 understand there is a movement on foot to ask for an increase in the duty on oak staves, and I wish not only to oppose this application, but to ask that the present duties shall be removed. My reasons are as follows: - It has been found after much experiment that no Australian timber which is available is suitable for the exportation of the fortified sweet wines which are now being shipped under bounty. If suitable timber were obtainable it would bc used in large quantities.

In the manufacture of wine casks it is important that the staves should be uniform in quality. One bad stave will spoil a cask. Since Australian timber is unsuitable it is not being used for this purpose, rf it were an economical proposition to prohibit the return of the empty casks there might be some justification for the action. As Senator Barwell has pointed out we might with equal justification prohibit a man from using a linen collar twice because such a prohibition would mean more work in Australia for Australian workmen or go even further and prohibit the use of all secondhand goods in order to make more work in manufacturing and new goods.

Suggest corrections