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Monday, 24 September 1906

The CHAIRMAN - Clause 11 has already been dealt with.

Senator CLEMONS - May I be permitted, sir, to point out that clause11 practically provides that spirits that are distilled in Australia can, until the date specified, be delivered for human consumption although they have not been matured for two years? In the Excise Bill we have provided that spirits coming into consumption without being matured for two years shall pay certain higher rates of duty.

Senator Playford -They will pay the n.e.i. duty.

Senator CLEMONS - But, according to the proviso to clauseII, until 1908 as much raw spirits as distillers choose to put on the market may go into consumption.

Senator Trenwith - But the Excise Bill provides that they shall pay the n.e.i. duty.

Senator CLEMONS - That is so; but the operation of this clause, in conjunction with the provision in the Excise Bill to which I have referred, may result in Australian distillers not having in 1908 any large. quantity of spirit that has been matured in wood for two years.

Senator Playford - The 1st January, 1908, is the date fixed in the proviso.

Senator CLEMONS - So that, until the end of next year, every distiller may allow his spirits to be sold, although they have not been matured for two years.

Senator Trenwith - He can do that under the existing law, and this clause imposes a limitation.

Senator CLEMONS - But is the limitation a good one ? I doubt it. The consequence of the proviso may be - I am not necessarily assuming that it will be - that no attempt will be made by Australian distillers to mature their spirits in wood until 1st January, 1908.

Senator Trenwith - If they did that, they would have to cease selling for two years after that date.

Senator CLEMONS - No; they might have to pay the higher Excise duty, but that is the only condition imposed upon them. It would appear desirable that the clause should come into operation at an earlier date, so that our intention may speedily be carried out.

The CHAIRMAN - As we have already dealt with clauseII, I would suggest that the Minister should consider Senator

Clemons' proposal, and, if necessary, move later ora that the clause be recommitted.

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