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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator BARNES (VICTORIA) - The protection under this proposal is 10 per cent, less than it was prior to the war.

Senator ELLIOTT - Yes, the local distilleries are at a greater disadvantage now than they were at that time. The Australian whisky is produced under the strictest supervision.

Senator McLachlan -*- Is not all whisky, except that manufactured inillicit stills?

Senator ELLIOTT - No ; there is hardly any supervision over the manufacture of some imported whisky. The local manufacturers of Australian whisky, who, Senator Ogden said, had formed a combine, have to compete with the Scotch whisky distillers, who comprise one of the world's greatest combines, and have been in control of rum-running operations in the United States of America.

Senator Ogden - Why have a combine here ?

Senator ELLIOTT - If the distillers in Australia have amalgamated, their work is under our supervision and control. Considerable expenditure in advertising is incurred on behalf of the manufacturers of imported whisky; at times whole pages of the daily newspapers are devoted to advertisements concerning the merits of imported spirits. In these circumstances it is reasonable to ask how the local distillers, who have not been operating fully for a very long time, can expect, without increased protection, to successfully compete with, such strong opposition. Before the higher duties were imposed, the Australian distilleries were languishing, but they are now increasing their trade, and it is only reasonable to assume that, as the quality of our wines has improved under a protective policy, the quality of our whisky is also likely to improve. If we can produce the finest brandy in the world, as is now admitted, there is no reason why Australian distillers should not manufacture whisky of a very high standard.

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