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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I intend to submit a request upon this item to which. I think, the Minister (Senator E. D. Milieu) will agree. I should like, first of all, to know whether wines and spirituous liquors can be used officially by the Governor-General. It struck me that at an official reception the Governor-General might invite his guests to take a glass of wine with him, and I wish to know whether wines or spirituous liquors consumed in that way are admitted free under this item.


Senator GARDINER - Then I do not see why the Governor-General or his guests should escape the payment of duties which have to be paid by other folk. Our laws should apply alike to every one in Australia, from the Governor-General down to the humblest citizen. I am given to understand that some very fine wines are made in this country, though I am no judge of them myself, and I think that an Australian Governor-General might restrict his guests to the use of Australian wines, or that, if they desire French importations or wines from other countries, duty should be paid upon them. I have no ill-will to Government House. I realize that while we are living under our present Constitution it is necessary that Great Britain should have a representative here. All that I desire is that, so far as the laws of this Parliament are concerned, we shall make no exception in their application. They should apply even to the highest representative of the Crown in this country, as fully as to the humblest citizen. I take it that all the expenses of these official functions are paid for by the Commonwealth, and if duty were imposed upon these articles it would be like taking money out of one pocket and putting it into the other, but, to my mind, that does not affect the principle I desire to assert.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Government does not pay such expenses. There is a statutory amount paid to the GovernorGeneral, and if he gives an official banquet the Government do not pay the expenses of that function in addition.

Senator GARDINER - Then the request I intend to make will supply the Government with a new source of revenue. I am rather glad to learn that the expenses of the functions are paid by the King's representative out of his own allowance. That does not alter my desire that in laws wepass here we should recognise no distinction between the King's representative and other persons in the community. As a very loyal subject, I recognise the high position of the GovernorGeneral. All the men who have been sent out to occupy that position have been excellent gentlemen, and have carried out their duties well. I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by adding after the word " use " the words " except wines or spirituous liquors."

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