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Tuesday, 14 August 1906

Mr WATSON (Bland) . - I thought that the Government would have come forward with some proposal relating to the storage in bond of imported spirits. It is proposed - and I think very properly - to fix a minimum period during which locally-distilled spirits shall remain in bond, so that we may be assured that they possess some reasonable degree of maturity.

Mr Conroy - After all, I think the honorable member will find that that is a matter to be dealt with by regulation.

Mr WATSON -I donot think so.

Mr Conroy - The object of the proposal was to prevent anybody from coming into competition with Messrs. Joshua Brothers.

Mr WATSON - I do not think that any such blackguardly idea was present in the mind of the Minister.

Mr Conroy - Then the honorable member is a most simple-minded person.

Mr WATSON - Nor do I think that the members of the Tariff Commission would lend themselves to any such proceeding. The other day, I understood the Minister of Trade and Customs, in reply to a question put by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, to say that the Government were prepared to adopt some such proposal as I have suggested. He said that they intended to apply the same principle to imported spirits as was to be applied to spirits which were locally produced. In the absence of any Government proposal under this heading, I move -

That after the word " proof," line 16, the words " matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years," be inserted.

The honorable and learned member for Bendigo has suggested to me that the case might be provided for under the Distillation Act. But I would point out that that Act cannot touch imported spirits.

Mr Deakin - I am endeavouring to obtain a copy of the Bill of which these resolutions will form the base. The resolutions, if passed, will be embodied in a Bill of which they will form the Schedule. As I understand the position, what the honorable member desires will be provided for in the Bill.

Mr WATSON - The better plan would be to incorporate my proposal in the resolutions upon which the Bill will be based. We ought to insist upon like conditions being observed in each case.

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