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Thursday, 20 September 1906

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) . - I wish to correct an impression which Senator Gould, and other honorable senators, may have produced with respect to the object of some members of the Tariff Commission in providing for the storage of spirits in bond for two years, and to explain why Senator Higgs and myself were prepared, under certain circumstances, to agree to a reduction of the import dutv by 6d. per* gallon. The object was chiefly to insure that the pure grape brandy of Australia should acquire a reputation. Some members of the Commission considered that if either pure grape brandy, or pure malt whisky, were stored in wood for two years, certified by an officer, and labelled as such, it would acquire a certain reputation, as well as promote the public health. On the other hand, with respect to the reduction of 6d. in the import duty to which Senator Higgs and I agreed, it was recommended that imported spirits should also be stored in wood for two years. It was also recommended that the low Excise duty of 10s. per gallon should be allowed on pure grape brandy, made in a specified way, and pure malt whisky. It will be noticed that the Excise duty on blended brandy or blended whisky is higher. When Senator Higgs and I agreed to admit imported brandy at 13s. 6d. per gallon, it was on the condition that it should be certified to be pure grape brandy, and not brandy blended with a highly rectified spirit. In the same way, imported whisky was to be a pure malt whisky, and not a whisky containing a certain proportion of malt whisky, and a far higher proportion of a highly rectified spirit. If we could get any reliable certification that spirit is pure grape brandy or pure malt whisky which has been stored in wood for two years, I should still be prepared to concede the reduction of 6d. per gallon. But I feel quite sure that no pure grape brandy is imported. Not enough of the article is made in Europe to supply its requirements, and it commands a verv high price. From my knowledge of distilling in both Ireland and Scotland, I know that there is scarcely such a thing as a pure malt whisky distilled. All whisky is distilled from malt and grain.

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