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Monday, 24 September 1906

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) . - There is a provision in this clause in reference to the use of methylated spirit for the manufacture of scent, which, according to information presented, to me, seems to be a mistake. I am advised that, during the whole history of Australia, scent-makers have been permitted to use methylated spirit for this purpose.

Senator Clemons - Is methylated spirit used in. making scent ?

Senator TRENWITH - Messrs. Blogg Brothers are my authority for the statement. I confess that I have no knowledge on the subject save that which has been presented to. me. In a circular which Messrs. Blogg Brothers have distributed among honorable senators, they state that -

Methylated spirit has been permitted to be used in the manufacture of scents, during the" whole past history of Australia, and the industry of scent-making has rested upon the use of methylated spirit. It would be manifestly unjust to disturb this long esablished custom, and thus extinguish an industry which is a credit to the country and a large employer of labour.

I am inclined' to think that that is a slightly exaggerated statement.

Senator Playford - A greatly exaggerated one.

Senator TRENWITH - If it is a fact that they have been permitted to use methylated spirit, it seems to me to be an enormous additional handicap to their industry to provide that they must pay 10s. per gallon where only Australian' products are used, and 15s. per gallon if they make use of a mixture of Australian and imported products on their principal raw material, which they previously obtained duty free. They urge, and I think with great force, that they will be unable to stand such an enormous increase in the cost of production, and their industry will, consequently, be wiped out. This is an ex parte statement, and I know nothing of the facts, but give the statement as presented to me by a reputable firm well known in the industry. Unless good reason is shown to the contrary, I purpose to move the omission of the word " scents " in this clause in order to put the scent-making industry in the position in which I am informed it used to be. If that amendment be agreed to, it will be necessary to make a similar amendment in clause 16. I should like to hear some discussion of the matter by the Minister, or by a member of the Tariff Commission.

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