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Thursday, 20 September 1906

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) .- It is evident that the " brandy of commerce " has been produced in order to perpetrate a fraud upon the public. There is no compound brandy which is not distilled wholly from grape wine. In the two previous clauses we have provided for different blends of brandy, namely, pure grape brandy and blended brandy, and having done that we have done all that is required. I am inclined to agree with Senator Clemons that the best thing we can do with blended spirit is to let it come under the item of " Spirits n.e.i."

Senator Clemons - If it were struck out it would automatically come under that item.

Senator GIVENS - If there is a possibility of the clause being passed I shall vote for the amendment, because I desire to insure that the public shall get as pure a spirit as possible. There is no doubt that the arguments of Senator Drake in that connexion are unanswerable. The Minister said that grain spirit blended naturally with wine spirit. But I hold that it is an unnatural union. One of the main objects of the Bill, I think, is to establish a high standard of Australian liquor. Therefore we should not do anything which would militate against its accomplishment. If, however, we gave a protection of 2 s. per gallon to blended spirit of this kind, it would not be likely to tend in that direction. It should be borne in mind that the blended spirit would also come into competition with pure Australian malt whisky, and with blended whisky. If it were allowed to compete with blended whisky it would injure an article which is eminently safe and good. I have heard medical men say that the worst drink a man can take if he has to drink atall is bad brandy. I do not intend to encourage the perpetration of a fraud upon the public. I feel inclined to vote against the clause, but if it is not possible to secure its omission, I shj.ll support the amendment, because spirits distilled from molasses are, I hold, just as good as spirits distilled from grain.

I do not think that that should be encouraged, and no vote of mine shall encourage it.

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