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Monday, 24 September 1906


Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) - It is possible that I do not understand this proposal, but it seems to me to be one that not only will deprive scent-makers of the immunity from the payment of duties on their raw material of spirits, but will make them pay more than they would if this Bill were not passed. The Excise now on any kind of spirits, for any purpose whatever, is not more than 13s., and if this Bill were not made law, scent-makers could purchase any kind of spirit they wanted at that rate of duty. This, so far as I see, is a proposal to add '2s. to the Excise.


Senator Clemons - The amendment would only complicate matters.


Senator TRENWITH - At At present I cannot see any object in the amendment, except to .make scent-making more difficult than it is at present, assuming the manufacturers do not use methylated -spirits. During the whole history of the Commonwealth, manufacturers have been making scent from methylated spirits. They have, I suppose, by distillation or otherwise, demethylated the spirit, and made it suitable for other purposes. But if they desire to use spirits of wine, or any other form of spirit, under the existing law, they may obtain it on paying an Excise duty of 13s. per gallon. We are now introducing a Bill to increase the protection granted to the distiller, and this is a proposal to add 2s. per gallon to the Excise duty on spirit for scent-making purposes.


Senator Guthrie - On the higher class of spirit.


Senator TRENWITH - Yes ; I think there must be some mistake ; it seems to me to be incomprehensible. As the Bill stands at present those who use only Australian flowers or Australian -essential oils in the manufacture of scent will have to pay an Excise duty of 10s. per gallon on their spirit, whereas this proposal is that they shall pay an Excise duty of 15s. per gallon if they use imported, or partly imported and partly Australian, material. Clearly, it cannot be the intention of Parliament to so seriously handicap this industry. I do not know whether it is an important one. but it is an industry that is established in Australia, and has been instrumental. I understand,- En bringing the luxury of perfume within the reach of people who. because of its cost, could not previously enjoy it. Unless there is some -explanation which I cannot foresee, I hope that the request will be rejected. The position of> the industry is bad enough, and if we raise the cost of the raw material to scent-makers from nothing to 15s. per gallon, so far as the Excise duty on spirits is concerned, it will be still worse. Senator McGregor must be misinformed.


Senator McGregor - I merely move the amendment on behalf of Senator Best.


Senator TRENWITH - I wish Senator Best were here. I submit that if the request be rejected, scent-makers will obtain spirits for the manufacture of scent from colonial products upon payment of an Excise duty of 10s. per gallon - the duty on spirit required for wine brandy. That seems to me to be sufficient, more especially as in the history of the industry scent-makers have not had to pay any Excise duty. It is alleged that some abuses have crept in, and that, therefore, an Excise duty is necessary.


Senator Clemons - I shall vote against the request.


Senator TRENWITH - I have pointed out these facts in the hope that they will cause honorable senators to vote against the request.







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