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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator OGDEN - But Senator Elliott said that there was a definite understanding that the price of Australian whisky would not be increased.

Senator Crawford - The figures quoted by the honorable senator are the retail, not the wholesale, price.

Senator OGDEN - Of course. My point is that, whilst it has been said that the price of Australian whisky will not be raised, this document shows that definite action has been taken to increase the price. The circular continues -

Another very important factor is, the Australian nobbier at 8d. isbound to increase the consumption of whisky.

What do our temperance friends say about that?

Senator Crawford - Eightpence, as against 6d . ?

Senator OGDEN - Yes.

There is room for this. The consumption of whisky in Australia fell from approximately 3,000,000 gallons in 1914 to 1,000,000 gallons in 1924.

Australian whisky is now distilled and bottled in bond under conditions described by Senator Barnes just now. The circular concludes -

Your esteemed support in this movementcannot fail to result to our mutual advantage.

This is documentary evidence that even before the duty has been agreed to by the Senate, an attempt is being made to increase the price. I am not an extremist, and I have no interest to serve in this matter. I look upon this proposal to increase the duty on whisky as one that will give local distilleries a licence to extort further profits from the people of Australia.

Senator Grant - Who signed that document which the honorable senator has just quoted ?

Senator OGDEN - It is signed by Mr. Charles Watt for the Federal Distilleries Limited, Brind's Proprietary Limited, and The Australian Distillery Company Limited .

Senator Lynch - What was the percentage rate of duty before the increase was given ?

Senator OGDEN - I think the Minister said the preference was 4s.

Senator Crawford - That was the difference between the excise and the import duty.

Senator OGDEN - We have learned something in this debate. We have heard Senator Lynch contending that a tariff duty designed to give adequate protection may at the same time be revenueproducing. To me that is an extraordinary statement.

Senator McLachlan - But Senator Lynch admitted that he was illogical.

Senator OGDEN - All I can say is that I hope he will not be as illogical in the debate on the other items. I rose mainly to contradict the statement that the local distilleries would not raise their prices if this increase in duty were agreed to. I think I have shown that they have already done so.

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