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Thursday, 30 April 1936

Senator ARKINS (New South Wales) . - Although the Queensland senators have had a good deal to say in support of the Australian tobacco industry, I doubt that any of those among them who are smokers support the local industry by smoking purely Australian tobacco. I go further, and say that if an investigation were made of the pockets of all honorable senators who pose as supporters of this Australian industry, it would be impossible to find in them any cigarettes in which there was even a small proportion of Australian tobacco. 1 believe that a majority of the Queensland Labour senators are non-smokers. I understand that Senator Brown was formerly addicted to the weed, but I undertake to say that, like so many other smokers, he favoured the Virginian blend. I have smoked Mareeba tobacco, and consider it quite good.

Senator J V MACDONALD (QUEENSLAND) - I have smoked it also, and I know it is good.

Senator ARKINS - The facts being as I have stated, it would appear that what is necessary to encourage the Australian tobacco industry is not so much a high tariff on imported leaf or a low excise

On Australian tobacco, as the cultivation of a taste for the Australian product.

SenatorFoll. - There is no difficulty in selling the light leaf tobacco.

Senator ARKINS - I understand that a certain proportion of the Australian leaf can be used for blending purposes, and that it makes a good tobacco. It may interest some honorable senators to know that the tobacco leaf is not the only Australian plant that is used for the manufacture of cigarettes. The leaf of the eucalyptus is also used, I know, because I have smoked cigarettes made from eucalyptus leaves.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - They would be for medicinal purposes.

Senator ARKINS - No; I assure honorable senators that if they smoked cigarettes made entirely from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree they would be agreeably surprised. This particular brand of cigarette is manufactured in New South Wales, and is not, as some smokers would believe, sold only for medicinal purposes. One eminent scientist has expatiated on its health-giving properties, declaring that cigarettes made from eucalyptus leaves are superior to those made from the leaves of the tobacco plant. He goes so far as to say that if Sir Walter Raleigh had found the Indians smoking tobacco made from the eucalyptus leaf, he would have taken that plant back to England, it would have become the national smoke, and tobacco would still have been regarded as a weed. The taste for tobacco is acquired. For centuries our forefathers have indulged in the habit and, like Scotch whisky, it has become firmly implanted in the individual. Just as the Egyptian favours cigarettes made from Egyptian tobacco and the Turk prefers Turkish cigarettes, so our forefathers having been accustomed to the Virginian blend, have passed their taste on to us. Ifwe really desire to increase the use of Australian tobacco, we must encourage smokers to cultivate a taste for it. In time they will consider it a perfect blend.

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