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Friday, 18 November 1927

Senator MCLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Honorary Minister) - Is it correct to say that when the amount of bounty was being calculated new casks and not old "casks were taken into consideration?

Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL - I cannot say what was taken into consideration in fixing the bounty.

Senator Crawford - It was estimated that casks would cost ls. a gallon.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.That does not touch the point at issue.

Senator Herbert Hays - It has a distinct bearing on it if the rate of bounty was fixed on the use of new casks. '

Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL - That might be an argument for reconsidering the rate of bounty, but it cannot be an argument in favour of maintaining an absurd and stupid practice of this kind.

Senator Sir William Glasgow - It might be an argument in favour of reducing the bounty if it were found that the wine was being conveyed in secondhand casks instead of the new casks upon which the rate of bounty was based.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.I do not know how the Government calculated its bounty. It does not touch the point I am making with regard to the absurdity of the imposition of this duty.

Senator Crawford - In view of the regulation, the Minister had no option in the matter.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.What an absurd statement to make !

Senator Crawford - Casks were being imported in such large quantities that he had to take action.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.That does not matter so long as the returned casks were Australian made.

Senator Crawford - The regulation has been in existence for years, but the casks were not being returned in such quantities before.

Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL - If ten times the quantity were coming in it would not affect the' position that a man should not be penalized by not being allowed to use his casks more than once. The honorable senator did not submit one sound argument against the objections I have raised. Senator Kingsmill stated that he does not know how the matter can be adjusted. I agree with him that it cannot be done by submitting a motion of this nature. If the Governmentpersists in imposing this duty I shall adopt some other course in an endeavour to secure a withdrawal of the regulation under which the duty is charged. Although I have mentioned the subject to quite a number of persons, I have not met one who has not regarded the. action of the department as the height of stupidity. How can it be viewed otherwise? I am sure the Leader of the Government in the Senate cannot defend it. The Minister (Senator Crawford), did not attempt to do so. Having brought the matter before the Senate, I ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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