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Thursday, 28 July 1921

Senator FAIRBAIRN (Victoria) . - I was at first rather staggered by the report read to the Committee by Senator Elliott, but I have had an op portunity of considering this matter from the other side. Upon two points we are all agreed; firstly, that the, hospitals must be served as cheaply as possible; and, secondly, that we should obtain our supplies locally, because, during the war, we narrowly escaped being without anaesthetics. Ethyl chloride is now selling at 3s. 9d. per oz. An operation takes on the average one-sixth of an ounce. The duty is1s. 3d. per oz., which is equal to 2½d. per operation. I am president of a large hospital, and have discussed this matter with the chairman of the Melbourne Hospital, and I do not think the hospitals object to that extra charge. We are getting an excellent drug, quite equal to the imported article, andsome of the hospitals use nothing but the local anaesthetic. Having had a conversation with members of the hospital supply board, and others, I do not think there is any objection to the duty. The only danger is that if the foreign article is excluded, the local manufacturer may raise his prices considerably. If that is done, we shall have to take action. The manufacturers must make a decent profit, but we do not wish them to make unreasonable profit out of the manufacture of supplies for the hospitals. I do not think that there is any danger that this duty will seriously embarrass our medical institutions.

Item agreed to.

Item 11 (Amyl acetate and ethyl acetate), item 12 (Sparkling wine), item 13 (Still wine), item 14 (Grape wine), and item 15 (Wine, n.e.i.) agreed' to.

Item 16 -

Lime juice . . . (a)In bulk, per gallon, British,1s. 3d.; intermediate,1s. 6d. ; general,1s. 6d.

(b)   In bottle, per gallon, British,. 2s.; intermediate, 2s. 3d.; general, 2s. 3d.

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