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Tuesday, 12 August 1902

Mr KIRWAN (Kalgoorlie) - The Minister has not replied to the question of the honorable member for Canobolas, who has asked how the proposal to exempt frozen meat from duty can be harmonized with the action of the committee in imposing duties upon fodder and grain. I would like to know why meat preserved by cold process should be admitted free, whilst salt meat is subject to a duty of½d. per lb., and tinned meat has to bear a duty of 2d per lb.

Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON(Brisbane). - I think I can very quickly dispose of the objections raised to the proposed alteration. It has recently been discovered that when meat is frozen the juices become solid globules, which are not re-absorbed by the meat when it is thawed. This renders the frozen meat much inferior to that which is simply chilled, and therefore the process of freezing has been practically abandoned, so far as the export of meat from South America to Europe is concerned.

Mr. BROWN(Canobolas). - I am much indebted to the honorable and learned member for Brisbane for his explanation, but my inquiry has not yet been answered. New Zealand mutton is now being imported into Sydney, and I wish to know why meat is not being placed upon the same footing as wheat ?

Motion agreed to.

Item 36. Meats, fish, poultry and game, viz., preserved in tins or other air-tight vessels . . per lb., 2d.

Request.- That the duty be reduced to1d.

Mr KINGSTON -I move-

That the amendment requested be not made.

This request does not apply to fish, because in consequence of representations which were made when this matter was under discussion previously, we agreed to reducethe duty upon preserved fish from 2d. to1d. per lb. Now the Senate desire us to extend the reduction to meats, poultry, and game. We think, however, that we have already made a sufficient reduction.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why should any distinction be made between meat and fish?

Mr KINGSTON - Because fish is very largely imported and is not preserved here to any great extent, whereas we preserve meat here on a very large scale. The preserved meats that are imported in the shape of tongues, game, &c., partake largely of the nature of luxuries.

Mr Poynton - Those are the only luxuries that people in the back-blocks can obtain.

Mr KINGSTON - We have already made a considerable concession to the residents of the back-blocks in connexion with this duty.

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