Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 16 August 1906

Mr HUTCHISON (Hindmarsh) . - I would point out to the honorable member for Wide Bay, who has urged the Committee to adopt the recommendation of the Commission, that that recommendation is that only approved spirit shall be used in the blending of brandy.

Mr Fisher - I quite agree with that proposal.

Mr HUTCHISON - The Government proposal will really give effect to the recommendation of the Commission.

Mr Fisher - No.

Mr Deakin - The chairman of the Commission last night agreed to it.

Mr HUTCHISON - Exactly. WhenI said that, in arriving at this decision, the Commission must have had in mind the exclusion of molasses and potato spirit, no denial came from any member of that body. As a matter of fact, the chairman has agreed to the proposal. I am satisfied that the House would not allow a mixture of 25 per cent, of tea and 75 per cent, of some other substance that was not injurious to health to be sold as " tea," and I hold that a mixture of 25 per cent, of pure grape spirit with 75 per cent, of some other spirit should not be described as brandy, At the proper time I shall move that the word " brandy," which occurs in two places in this paragraph, shall be left out, and it will then be open to any honorable member to move the insertion of any other word or words. My own proposal is that the word " spirits " be substituted for brandy. I do not know who is in charge of this Bill ; it seems to be left to take care of itself.

Sir John Forrest - That is not a fair statement ; the Prime Minister has been here throughout the proceedings.

Mr HUTCHISON - It is an absolutely fair statement. I desire to obtain from the Government some information with regard to certain spirits, and, in the absence of the Prime Minister, I do not know to whom to appeal. I understand that it is the desire of the Government, as well as of the Committee, that only wholesome spirits shall be supplied to the public. I believe, however - and it is on this point that I seek information from the Government - that wine spirit and also other spirit 65 per cent, over-proof is being manufactured into bogus rum and whisky. It is said to be flavoured with essences and adulterated1 with colouring matter after it leaves the control of the Customs Department. It is necessary, when we are dealing with the whole question of the spirit duties, to consider the best steps to take for the protection of the public. So far as brandy is1 concerned, we can readily protect the consumer by providing that only that which is distilled from the pure grape shall be so described. I should like to know whether the Government have any information supporting my statement that highly-coloured inferior spirits are being sold as genuine whisky, rum, and so forth? If this is being done, manufacturers of pure rum and whisky must be seriously handicapped, and I hope that the Government will be . able to supply us with some information on the- subject.

Suggest corrections