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Thursday, 20 September 1906

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I trust that the Committee will not agree to the amendment. Whisky as made in Scotland and Ireland is composed entirely of spirit distilled from pure barley malt or from grain. I have never heard of any such thing as a whisky made of any other than grain spirit. As a rule, in Scotland and Ireland, whisky contains about 25 per cent, of malt spirit. The dextrine in the malt converts the starch in the crushed grain into sugar, and the sugar in the process of fermentation produces alcohol. The spirit is distilled mostly in patent stills, the product of which is often of quite a low alcoholic strength as that made in the pot stills, and is equally as good for human consumption. Whisky blenders in the old country are not permitted to use any other than grain spirit. I would remind honorable senators that we are giving Australian blended whisky a name, and are imposing upon the blenders the necessity to comply with certain conditions. If we attach the name " Australian blended whisky " to a product composed partly of pure barley malt spirit and partly of spirit produced from molasses, we shall interfere seriously with the reputation and sale of the article.

Such a product might be called rum or "molasses spirits." If the words "any other materials" be used, the spirit might be made from potatoes, beet, or any other material, and the Australian blended whisky would not sell. If the whisky made in the Commonwealth is to have a good name, it must be made from pure malt; and, when so made, it will be certified as Australian standard malt whisky. There may, however, be a blended Australian whisky, the materials of which are clearly set forth in the Bill.

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