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Monday, 24 September 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) . - May I point out to Senator Playford that in this proviso we are endeavouring to fix the rate of duty which shall Be chargeable upon all spirits made in Australia which are not matured in wood. If he will refer to the schedule, he will see that, in respect of the spirits mentioned in items 2, 4, 5, and 6 we have provided that they shall be stored in wood for two years. In clause 11 of the Spirits Bill we have provided that spirits distilled in Australia shall not be delivered from the control of the Customs for human consumption unless they have been matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years. Then follows a proviso that that provision shall not come into operation until the ist January, 1908. The question therefore arises, "What duties are we going to impose, not merely upon spirits distilled wholly from grape wine, but upon every other item specified in the schedule till ist January, 1908?"

Senator Playford - We say it is fair that they should unless matured pay the present rate of duty.

Senator CLEMONS - The Minister must see that the proviso should read - " Provided that all spirits distilled wholly from grape wine," &c. It would then cover every one of the items mentioned in the schedule to this Bill.

Senator Playford - There is no necessity for that. The proviso is confined to Australia and to grape spirit and spirits n.e.i.

Senator CLEMONS - But it will apply to every one of the items enumerated in the schedule.

Senator Playford - Under the existing Tariff, with the exception of brandy, they all come under "spirits n.e.i."

Senator CLEMONS - That may be so, but even then the drafting of the clause is faulty. What I have suggested will meet the case exactly. For instance, "spirits n.e.i." will not cover our best whisky. It excludes blended wine brandy and blended whisky.

Senator Playford - I see the honorable senator's point.

Senator CLEMONS - If we pass the proviso in its present form, we shall have made no provision whatever in respect of the duties to be paid upon these spirits up. till 1st January, 1908.

Request, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend clause 2 by inserting after the word " that," line 6, the word " all " ; and after the word " distilled " the words "in Australia" ; and by leaving out the words " wholly from grape wine and spirits n.e.i."

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [8.55]. - The position now is that by virtue of the proviso, we suspend the operation of the scheduleto this Bill as to everything except spirits which have not been two years stored in wood until the 1st January, 1908.

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