Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 19 September 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The Customs duty on pure brandy is 14s. per gallon, and the Excise duty under the present Commonwealth Tariff is11s. The proposal in this Bill, on the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, is that the Excise duty shall be 10s.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [9.56]. - I have no wish to interfere with these items if it can be avoided, because there appears to be some sort of classification of these spirits which was not previously made. I wish to ask the Minister for some explanation of differences which I note between the items. For instance, item No. 3 deals with blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain, and containing not less than 25 per cent. of pure grape wine spirit, and under the conditions provided the Excise duty on these spirits is to be 12s. This is a blend which is made up of 25 per cent. of brandy distilled from pure grape wine spirit - the spirit dealt with in item No. 1, on which the Excise duty is 10s. per gallon. The 25 per cent. of this spirit comprised in the blend therefore represents a duty of 2s. 6d. The 75 per cent. of the blend is, I assume, composed of spirits n.e.i., dealt with in item No. 8, on which the Excise duty proposed is 13s. The 75 per cent. of the blend, therefore, would represent an Excise duty of 9s. 9d., giving a total of 12s. 3d. for the spirits represented in the blend. But under the Bill this blend is to be subject to an Excise duty of only 12s. That seems to me to be an odd sort of arrangement. I think that there should be some sort of relation between the duty imposed on the blended spirit and the duties imposed on the ingredients of which it is composed. We do not wish to admit the blend at a less Excise duty than the ingredients of which it is composed. I take now item No. 5, blended whisky, and it is difficult to ascertain on what basis these Excise duties have been calculated or arranged.

Senator Playford - They have been arranged according to the principle laid down bv the Tariff Commission.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Then I am sorry for the Tariff Commission. I do not desire that these blends should be subject to a lower Excise duty than their component parts. Item No. 5 is blended whisky distilled partly from barley malt and partly from other grain containing not less than 25 per cent. of pure barley malt spirit. That leaves 75 per cent. of spirits n.e.i. Again, the proportion of spirits n.e.i. in the blend represents the same amount of duty as in the blended spirit previously referred to, namely, 9s. 9d., and the 25 per cent. of pure barley malt spirit, dutiable under item No. 4 at ros. per gallon would represent 2s. 6d., and the Excise duty on the blend should therefore be 12s. 3d. But then the blend is to be admitted at11s., which is 1s. 3d. less than is charged on the component parts, made up of the best kind of spirits. Senator Playford will see that it is a little hard that these higher duties should be charged in respect to superior spirits - at least in the case of pure barley malt spirit - and that only11s. should be charged on the blend made up of 75 per cent. of inferior spirit.

Senator Playford - Spirits n.e.i. could be made from anything under the sun, and could not be used in blended whisky. Spirits used in blended whisky must be made from grain.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - The line spirits n.e.i. includes grain spirit. I should be disposed to move that the amount of duty in item 3 be raised to 12s. 3d. At any rate, some modification should be made. It is a very wrong thing to insist that the Excise duty on the blend shall be only 11s., and that the duty on the component parts of it should come to 12s. 3d. That is unfair discrimination.

Suggest corrections