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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Newlands - I remind the honorable senator that the committee is not dealing with excise duties.

Senator GRANT - I am aware of that, Mr. Chairman, and I was merely reminding Senator Barnes that, if he wished to encourage the Australian industry, the excise duty should be wiped, out altogether. I listened very carefully to Senator Graham who, quoting from the Tariff Board Act, said that the local manufacturers of whisky could not increase their prices, unreasonably. No one who examines the document produced by Senator Ogden will find in that any suggestion that prices will not be increased. T remind Senator Barnes also that we belong to a party that stands for the new protection, which ensures good wages for workers and fair profits for manufacturers. Very few forget the Harvester case, which had a direct bearing upon that policy. The High Court held that it was impossible, under our Constitution, to compel any manufacturer to sell his products at any price except that which he fixed himself. The same conditions will govern the attitude of local manufacturers of whisky. I am not aware of the conditions under which whisky is manufactured in other countries, but it appears to me that if Australian whisky is distilled from pure barley malt there must be something more in Scotch whisky to make it more palatable than the Australian article. I hope that the Government will not round up its supporters and compel them to vote for this infamous duty, but that, on the contrary, they will have a free hand. I have no objection to the encouragement of local industries, and again I remind honorable senators that the best way to encourage the Australian whisky industry is to wipe out the excise duty.

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