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Thursday, 20 September 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) .- I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item (3) by leaving out the word "grain," and inserting in lieu thereof the words "other materials.".

If the request be agreed to it will bring the item into conformity with the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, with this difference only, that whereas the Tariff Commission referred to blended " brandy " in their recommendation the item refers to blended " spirits."

Senator Turley - It is an additional item, is it not? The Tariff Commission's recommendation refers to item No. 2, and item No. 3 is an extra item.

Senator DRAKE - We have passed item No. 2, and I direct attention to the fact that item No. 3 refers to blended "spirits," . and " spirits " may be brandy, I should like to point out to Senator Best, who, I think, advanced an argument the other day which was based partly on the supposition that grain must be barley-

Senator Best - No, it might be oats, wheat, or rye.

Senator DRAKE - Or rice, or any other kind of grain. What is required of this particular blend of spirits is that it shall be composed of 25 per cent. of spirit distilled from grape wine under certain conditions. With regard to that I have nothing to say ; but it is provided that 85 per cent. of the blend may be composed of spirit distilled from any kind of grain, in any way. From what we have heard in the course of the debate, if it is distilled from barley it will be more suitable for whisky than for other spirits. If used for other spirits it must be distilled to a high degree of strength, usually by means of a patent still. So that we have a provision here for the use of 75 per cent, of what is called silent spirit distilled from grain in such a way that the peculiarities attaching to the grain are removed, and it becomes a product which, according to experts, is absolutely indistinguishable from spirit distilled from molasses. What I am asking is that the discrimination against molasses spirit, which it is not asserted is unwholesome, shall be removed. I claim that with regard to the proportion of 75 per cent, of the blended spirits dealt with in this item, there should be no bar against spirit distilled from molasses.

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