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Thursday, 28 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - The value of cigarettes imported from the United Kingdom in 1919-20 was £115,516, and from other countries £18,091. The average value was 14s. per lb., so that the duty is already 80 percent. ad valorem. The value of cigarettes manufactured in Australia in 1919-20 was £4,715,320. An increase in the duty on imported cigarettes would simply affect the revenue, because this is principally a revenue-producing impost. Cigarettes are universally used, and in the present state of our finances the idea ofthe Government is to get extra revenue cut of those people who do not mind' helping the country in a trying time by paying heavy duty on luxuries. I am not too sure that indulgence in cigarettes is beneficial to any one. I do not smoke them, hut many people do, and if it is their wish, I think they ought to be allowed to do so.I am in favour of protecting children, but adults can look after themselves. In any case, it is a question that is subject to State legislation, and there are not sufficient quantities of cigarettes coming in from other countries for the position to be affected by the imposition of a still higher duty. My opinion is that if cigarettes are to be made available for those who enjoy smoking them, we might as well have them made in Australia.

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