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Wednesday, 19 September 1906


Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) . - I can understand that Senator Playford is in a very difficult position, and I honestly sympathize with the honorable senator, because, without disrespect to another place, I say that these two Bills taken in conjunction are in a most unsatisfactory condition. They contain provisions which are contradictory, and leave big lapses of time unaccounted for. We start first of all with a proviso to clause 2 of the Excise Bill to the effect that, so long as these spirits were on the 17th day of August in the store, they may, until the rst day of March, 1907, be delivered at the rate of duty specified in the Excise Tariff of 1902, namely, 11s. per gallon. That is a clear proviso that with regard to brandy, from the 17 th day of August of this year until the1st day of March,1907, it can be put into human consumption at an Excise duty of11s. That may be right or wrong, but we have passed the provision. Assuming that it is right, what provision have we made in either or both of these Bills for the brandy that goes into human consumption after the 1st day of March, 1907 ? When that question is asked this is what we find : The Spirits Bill provides that spirits distilled in Australia may go into human consumption until the 1st day of January, 1908. That would mean that if we pass this item in the Excise Bill all that brandy which goes into human consumption in the interval between the 1st March, 1907, and the 1st January, 1908, would pay an Excise duty of10s. per gallon.


Senator Playford - That is not intended.


Senator Drake - It would pay 13s. per gallon.


Senator CLEMONS - I am sorry that Senator Drake has not yet understood the matter. This Bill provides that the provision with respect to maturing shall not come into force until the 1st day of January, 1908. What it provides is that up to that date there shall be no hindrance to spirits distilled in Australia entering into human consumption. Therefore, it is provided that the necessity for the storage in wood shall not apply until the 1st January, 1908. So that there is an interval practically unaccounted for, and there is a rate of duty to be imposed during that interval which is not perfectly clear. lt may be argued that the Excise on brandy going into consumption between! March, 1907, and January, 1908, would be the Excise we are now going to impose -10s. But, in answer to that, it would probably be pointed out that such would not be the case, because the10s. Excise applies to brandy matured in wood for two years. In the absence of the10s. Excise applying, we have to ask ourselves what duty would be applicable in the interval . between March, 1907, and January, 1908. I think that the duty, 13s., on spirits n.e.i. would apply.


Senator Playford - That is more than the brandy-maker would have to pay under the present Excise Tariff.


Senator CLEMONS - Exactly. I am not saying that I want him to pay that rate, but I am pointing out how confused the proposal is. I hope that, under the circumstances, Senator Playford will agree to postpone the matter. It is hopelessly confused at present. Personally, I hare ho doubt that the brandy-maker, under the conditions I have described, would pay 13s. Will Senator Playford explain how any other Excise rate could be applied to brandy between March, 1907, and January, 1908, if that brandy had not been matured in wood for two years?







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