2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m. and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, if he can give the Senate any information as to the quantity of spirits methylated in Victoria in each year since 1899?
– The following statement shows the quantity of spirits, including naphtha, which was methylated in Victoria in those years: -
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers: -
Report giving the history of the Defence Department from the date of its transfer to the Commonwealth to 30th June, 1906.
Ordered to be printed.
Provisional regulations under the Pacific Island Labourers Act relating to proceedings for obtaining orders for deportation, Statutory Rules, 1906, No. 71.
Amended distillation regulations, Nos. 48, 69, 70, Statutory Rules, 1906, No. 54.
Amended Customs Regulations, No. 151A, as to vessels trading within the limits of a State, No. 103 [d) as to re-impprtation of goods, No. 101 as to sale of coffee, No.17 (d) as to overtime rates. Statutory Rules, 1906, Nos. 55, 56, 57, 68.
Provisional Defence Regulations : Military Financial and Allowance Regulations, paragraph 42 amended, barrack damages ; paragraph 08, repairs to saddlery. Statutory Rules, 1906, Nos. 73 and 75.
Military Regulations, paragraph 281, line I amended; additions to paragraph 164, appointment of military staff clerks. Statutory Rules, 1906, Nos. 74 and 76.
Amended Public Service regulations 102, 104, 149. Statutory Rules, 1906, No. 72.
The . Clerk laid upon the table the following paper : -
Return to an Order of the Senate dated 26th July, as to the expenses of transfer of State officers.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Keating) read a first time.
Debate resumed from 14th September (vide page 4657), on motion by Senator playford-
That the Dill be now read a second time.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [3.8]. - The Senate is not by any means confined to the report of the Tariff Commission in dealing with the question of the spirit duties, for some years ago the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee - to consider, amongst other things, whether, on grounds of public health, it is desirable that certain classes of spirits, British and foreign, should be kept in bond for a definite period before they are allowed to pass into consumption, and to inquire into the system of blending British and foreign spirits in or out of bond, and into the propriety of applying the Sale of Food and Drugs Act and the Merchandise Marks Act to the case. of British and foreign spirits and mixtures of British and foreign spirits, and also into the sale of ether as an intoxicant.
It will be seen by honorable senators that the scope of the inquiry was very, extensive. In its report, the Select Committee says -
Your Committee are instructed to limit their inquiries, in regard to the bonding and blending of spirits, to their effect on public health.
The duty of the Select Committee was also, amongst other things, to ascertain when the sale of the articles was deleterious. It consisted of wellknown men possessing very great skill and ability. Besides the Chairman, Sir Lyon Playfair, it included ten members. It took evidence in 1890 and 1891. During the course of the investigation, it became necessary to obtain evidence from well-known chemists as to the effect of spirits, and also to . take a large body of evidence as to how far it would be justified in recommending any change which might tend to harass or interfere with trade. At a later stage, I shall allude to the report, and I shallbe able to show by extracts that there was a general conclusion arrived at to the effect that it was very undesirable and unnecessary to impose any time restriction upon the bonding of any spirits, whether distilled by patent still or by pot still. It was shown by the evidence that itwas unnecessary in that country to take any of the precautions which are proposed to be taken in this Bill. I take it that the object of the Government in requiring the maturing of spirits in, bond for a period of at least two years is to meet the requirements of the public from the health point of view, and not to harass or interfere with trade generally. In his speech on Friday, Senator Pulsford stated that, from the revenue stand-point, the proposed change is very important, and that, although a deficiency of , £80,000 or £90,000, as estimated by the Government, might result during the first year, yet the loss would gradually increase until it amounted to £200,000 or £300,000 a year. I desire to reiterate that statement. I am quite sure that honorable senators do not want to be reminded of the fact that the expenditure of the Commonwealth is increasing year by year, that there are many additional services which have yet to be taken over, and that when the transfer is made we shall be confronted, at a veryearly date, with the alternative of either materially reducing expenditure or materially increasing taxation. It would be utterly useless for the Commonwealth to take over those services unless it intended to deal with them efficiently. The difference between the Excise duty and the Customs duty is so great that there can be no question but that the revenue would suffer materially, especially if, as Mr. Joshua anticipates, his firm should distil 2,000,000 gallons of grain spirit in each year, and thus overtake the present consumption of imported whisky. We are all perfectly willing, I take it, to give fair and reasonable assistance to the distillers in the community, but not to such an extent that it would practically wipe out the revenue from the Customs, and leave the Commonwealth de- pendent solely upon the revenue from Excise duty. As honorable senators are aware, there is a difference of 3s. or 4s. a gallon between the Customs duty and the Excise duty ; and while the Government propose to give this great advantage to the local distillers, it is markedly given in favour of grain distillation in lieu of distillation from molasses.
Trade and Customs in Sydney, and I suppose in Melbourne also, by the wine and spirit merchants. Sir William Lyne was so much impressed with the representations of these men, whose business it is to know what good spirits are, that he promised that steps would be taken to overcome the difficulties they had pointed out. To their verv great astonishment and disappointment they found that the only way in which the Minister proposed to overcome those difficulties was merely to delay the evil day for a little while. .
Provided that this section shall not, until the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and eight, apply to Gin, Geneva, Holland, Schnapps, or Liqueurs.
There must be some reason for this proviso. The quantity of these spirits imported is small’ in comparison with the quantity of other spirits imported. From a return I have I find that during the past year the revenue derived from importations of gin, Geneva, Hollands, schnapps, and liqueurs was only 18 per cent.; as against 61 per cent, represented by importations of whisky. If, as is contended by wine and spirit merchants, it is unnecessary, from a health point of view, to mature these spirits in wood, and they will become deteriorated in appearance and, possibly, in quality if thev are so matured, as a matter of fairness and common justice, I believe the Senate will be prepared to make some amendment in the Bill. The Minister, in dealing with this subject, produced two samples of gin in order to satisfy honorable senators that the maturing of gin in wood had no effect upon the spirit so far as its colour is concerned.
Patent spirits made in this country, and an unknown quantity of foreign spirits of the same kind, is distilled bv rectifiers to remove the small percentage of fusel oil and byproducts which they contain, in order that the purified spirit may be converted into gin and other beverages. The basis of these is nearly pure alcohol, to which is added approximate flavouring materials.
Again, they say -
Patent spirits distilled in London are chiefly sold to rectifiers, and contain only minute quantities of by-products, and this is true as regards foreign spirits of a like kind which approach still more nearly to pure diluted alcohol. With regard to spirits of that chemical purity, there is no improvement, but rather a deterioration, by being kept in bond for the purpose of ageing.
Unfortunately, I have not had time to go through the whole of the evidence taken by the Committee. Their investigation extended over a period of from fourteen to sixteen days, during which they examined a large number of witnesses at very great length. I take this from the evidence given by Sir Algernon West, Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue -
Is it not a fact that the spirits for making gin remain in bond only about one month ? - They vary. For instance, I have samples here where the length of time is thirteen days, eighty-four days, twelve months, tWo months, three months, and so on. I take it that it is the convenience of the market that is considered only.
In a communication which you sent to me, I see you mentioned the time as from one month to four years, according to the demands of trade? - Yes, I believe it is the demands of trade that govern it. I do not say that old gin is not considered rather finer than the other, but I do not believe it is really more wholesome.
What is the effect of the silent spirit used in blending upon the character of the whisky? - I should say that the patent still spirit is the purer spirit, and therefore it would have the effect of purification.
That shows how valuable it is when used for blending with grain spirit. The witness was asked again, at question 136 -
Does patent still spirit not improve by keeping as well as pot still spirit? - I do not think they improve by keeping long. It may be a fancy taste.
It is more the flavour that is improved, you think? - It is more the flavour.
But you do not consider they are more wholesome ? - No.
Patent still spirits you say are almost absolutely pure? - Very nearly so. I think you would have an opportunity of seeing how nearly if you would be good enough to come to our laboratory at Somerset House. They are practically pure.
But pot still spirits are not? - No.
So that mixing patent still spirits with pot still spirits will produce a more wholesome spirit? - Yes, I am supposing, of course, that the whisky is newly made, and in that case if rectified spirit was mixed with it so far it would go to purify it.
Your Committee, with the consent of the Treasury, deemed it to be advisable to ask two of the highest authorities in dietetics, Dr. Pavy, F.R.S., and Dr. Lauder Bruton, F.R.S., to consider the whole evidence existing in this country, and abroad, in order to give their professional opinions for the guidance of the Committee. Their opinions coincide with those of the public, that old mellowed spirits are less irritating to the stomach than newly-distilled spirits. It is possible, as Dr. Lauder Bruton suggests, that some new bodies hitherto unrecognised by chemical analysis may explain the fact that old spirits are more wholesome than new, but on this point we are in the region of conjecture, and not of established truth. Our present knowledge is insufficient to justify your Committee in recommending that all pot-still whiskies should be kept in bond for a definite period of time until the byproducts contained in them become mellowed by age, for it is only in pot-still whiskies that they occur in marked quantity, while their retention in bond would give an unfair advantage to the patent-still whisky made in Ireland and Scotland, as well as the chemically purer spirits made in England or imported abroad.
It is perhaps rather a shock to honorable senators to learn that a great deal of the whisky imported from Scotland and Ireland is patent-still whisky.
Both the medical men referred to hold the opinion that old spirits were more wholesome than new, though they did not think that there was sufficient justification for inflicting this hardship upon the distillers of pot-still whiskies. It is true that Canada has passed an Act to compel compulsory bonding of whisky for two years, but ,your Committee do not consider that it would be desirable to follow this example.
Then the Committee says -
The conclusion of your Committee is that, as the public show a marked preference for old spirits, which the trade find more profitable, and as the practice has arisen of blending whiskies with patent spirit, to fit them for earlier consumption, it is not desirable to pass any compulsory law in regard to age, especially as the general feeling of the trade is that such an obligation would harass commerce, and be an unfair burden on particular classes of spirits.
I think that that evidence may be taken as a satisfactory answer to the question whether we should insist upon keeping all spirits in bond for a definite period. Again, the Committee says -
Our general conclusion from the evidence submitted to us is, that compulsory bonding of all spirits for a certain period is unnecessary, and would harass trade.
There are many other passages in the Committee’s report indicating that what is now proposed would harass trade, and that there is every incentive on the part of the seller of whisky - and I presume that the same would apply to the seller of brandy - to produce a good article for the purpose of sale. I venture to say that no evidence whatever has been given before the Commonwealth Tariff Commission that counterbalances the evidence given before the English Committee. It is not as though the Committee reported without making full, complete, and ample investigation. It had certain duties to perform, and undoubtedly pursued its investigations conscientiously. It came to the conclusion that it was wrong to insist on maturity in bond, because it would harass trade, that there was no necessity to compel people who were producing pot-stilled whiskies to mature their spirits in bond, and that they themselves might be trusted to see that their whiskies were mellowed by age before being placed on the market. In any case, if this Bill be passed with clause 12 in it, ample protection will be provided for the general consumer. Under that clause, if an officer of the Commonwealth certifies that amy spirit subject to the control of the Customs is of” Bad or inferior quality, and unsuitable for ‘human consumption, the Minister may order that the spirits shall not be delivered until they have been methylated, or, in “the case of imported spirits, permit their re-exportation or distillation in Australia. While I recognise the desirableness of maturity in the case of grain and grape spirits, I contend that, so far as concerns other spirits, what is proposed is absolutely unnecessary, would’ be unfair, would harass trade, and would treat importers improperly and unreasonably. Allusion has also been made to rum or molasses spirit. Some honorable senators are probably under the impression that it is necessary that rum should attain a certain age before it goes into’ consumption. But if rum is distilled at a low percentage of alcohol, it becomes an unsaleable production. I believe the technical term used in the trade is that it “ stinks,” and is unfit for use. When it is distilled at a high rate it becomes saleable.
This is distilled at a very high strength, and therefore does not gain any benefit from being stored in wood for a period. From cable communication received from the largest shipper of Demerara rum to this market, the chamber gather that this shipper “ cannot give the required guarantee.” This is in answer to a cable asking “ whether rum can be supplied two years old in wood.” This means that after 1st March, 1907, Demerara rum will be prohibited from coming to this market, and as the revenue derived from this source in the Commonwealth is over ^185,000 per annum, it is a question of serious moment.
Reverting, again, to the question of Geneva, these authorities point out -
The Minister of Customs has acknowledged that these spirits must be treated separately, but has only provided a temporary relief. As from cabled information the Chamber understand that these lines cannot be stored in wood. These lines are also distilled at a very high strength, and therefore do not materially benefit; in fact, they would become discolored and thus unmerchantable.
I have a copy of a cablegram sent to Messrs. Thomas Lowndes and Company, London, together with their answer. This firm is the shipper of the well-known “ Lowndes “ Demerara rum, and the London export agents for Messrs. Blankenheym and Notlets’ “ Key “ Geneva. The cable is dated 31st August, 1906 -
Can you supply rum Geneva, two years old in wood. Telegraph quotations.
Answer received 1st September, 1906 -
Cannot give the required guarantee.
Then, with regard to whiskies, I have a copy of .a cablegram sent by Ferguson and Company to their Glasgow house. The date of it is the 23rd August -
Glasgow Customs voucher necessary certify every future shipment spirits two years old.
Another cablegram was sent on the 27 th August -
We cabled you on the 23rd inst., and are without your reply. Wire at once. It is important. Youngest whisky in blend determines the age.
Again, on the’ 29th August, the following cablegram was sent : -
Telegraph immediately can you supply Customs vouchers from this date.
The reply received on the 31st August was -
Customs refuse vouchers.
Do your utmost to obtain immediate reversal of regulation with regard .to gin schnapps being two years in wood. All experts declare keeping does not improve, involves discoloration, change of flavour, and general deterioration. This can be proved by affidavit. If passed by Representatives, try to get it rejected by Senate.
I think that a cablegram of that character ought to carry a considerable amount of weight with regard to this question.
.- In approaching this question, the Senate is, I think, fortunate in having had the advantage of the investigation conducted by the Tariff Commission, and conducted with a. conscientiousness and a care which are highly commendable. So far as I have been able to judge, the evidence is of a valuable character, and will largely assist honorable senators to come to what I hope will be a just determination. When we find that there is a conjunction of free-traders and protectionists for the purpose of making a joint recommendation to the Parliament, I do not think that, we can attach too much importance to that extraordinary fact. I was almost under the impression that it was impossible for free-traders and protectionists to come to an agreement on a fiscal subject, but, in this case, after a full and lengthy investigation the representative free-traders and protectionists on the Commission’ found that so serious a wrong was being done to the distilling industry, that they were irresistibly driven to make a recommendation for its rectification. I anticipated that the Senate would attach so much importance to the recommendation as to follow the example of another place, and to practically accept it with little or no discussion.
-Is the honorable senator justified in saying that, after listening to Senator Clemons?
– I am prepared to abide by Senator Clemons’ signature to the report. I feel quite satisfied that he will not go behind his signature.
– It was not appended at the same time as the others.
– I do not care when the signature of Senator Clemons was appended to the report. I know that it was appended, and that it covers the conclusions and recommendations to which I am going to refer. Under those circumstances, I do attach very great weight to the recommendations, and I think that the Senate should hesitate before attempting to treat them lightly. I cannot, however, shut my eyes to the fact that on the other side there seems, at least, to be a disposition to depart from the recommendations ; indeed, an anxiety on the part of some honorable friends to increase the Excise duties with but one object, and that is to continue the destruction of the distilling industry. I recognise that while Senator Clemons did not indicate his intention to depart from his signature, yet his unconscious bias led him to deal with a certain phase of the question in a way which left it open to some of the newspapers to say that the major portion of his speech consisted of an attack upon Messrs. Joshua Brothers, and I hope to show that some of his statements are very conclusively answered by the evidence and the findings. I shall endeavour not to travel outside that limitation. I regret that I have no Hansard report of the speeches made on the other side; but the reports in the press, necessarily condensed, will, to some extent, answer my purpose. In one part of his speech. Senator Clemons said that the distilling industry “ was fairly and safely established now,” and later on he said that - without one jot or tittle of protection the local distillery industry could hold its own against that of any part of the world.
I admit that I am a little startled by his statements when I take up the second report of the Commission, and find on page 42 the following findings: -
The Commission go on to set out the disadvantages under which local distillers are placed. The first finding is an extraordinary verification of what appeared in the press when the Tariff was before the Parliament. Perhaps honorable senators will remember an interesting case in which a man named Fox sought to recover the sum of £110 for conducting an agitation and writing a pamphlet. It was stated by the defendants that his remuneration for the agitation was to be the sum of fifty guineas; but, .apparently, they, did not assess his services at the same value as he did. The object of the importers who employed him was, of course, to secure the highest Excise- duty, and the lowest import duty. During the case, there came out some correspondence which I shall quote from the Age of the 15th November, 1902. In the course of a letter addressed to, I think, Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox says -
It concerns me very seriously to find such a poor, and, I regret to say, humiliating, value put upon services as I conceive faithfully rendered, and embodying the use of special knowledge secured by me when holding a position of responsibility. . . . The agitation has been successful beyond our best hopes, so that distilleries are irretrievably crippled, and every one knows it. Surely results so patent and affecting importing interests so favorably from one end of Australia to another - interests represented by spirit imports of close on 000,000 annually - will be considered as meriting more than a beggarly pittance in favour of one whose labours and special qualifications were given freely and unstintedly.
– Is he not the man who buttonholed honorable senators?
– That, of course, was part of the purpose for which he was employed. It seems strange that, although protectionist representatives freely asserted at the time what was going on, theinformation was scouted by gentlemen on the other side. But now here, on the part of protectionists and free-traders alike on the Tariff Commission, we have an absolute and complete confirmation. Senator Clemons then went on to say that the highest quality of whisky came from malt, but that, from the point of view of wholesomeness, rectified spirit was as good as any. Molasses spirit, which, is the spirit to which considerable attention has been paid, is rectified to1 a degree of something like 67 or 68 overproof, when it becomes a neutral spirit or spirits of wine. If it can be proved* that this neutral spirit 1 is equal to grain spirit, then the report of the Tariff Commission may be thrown into the waste-paper basket as absolutely useless. This contention was advanced by several honorable senators, and emphasized by Senator Drake; and, as I say, if it can be shown that molasses spirit, which can be produced at a price ranging from 6d. to, say, is. per gallon., is equal to, and answers the purposes of, grain spirit, which costs 3s 6d. or 4s. per gallon, and, in particular, that it can be used for the making of whisky, the report of the Tariff Commission is so much waste paper. Senator Drake, after quoting from the evidence of the Tariff Commission, with a view to showing that silent spirit is quite wholesome whether made from grain or molasses, went on to say that the object of the Bill was to shut out from Victoria spirits distilled from molasses in New South Wales and Queensland, in order to restore the distilling industry in Victoria, and, practically, to kill, or very much depress, that industry so far as the two northern States are concerned. I desire to assure Senator Drake that, so far as I have read the evidence and the report, neither bears such a construction. The proposals of the Tariff Commission are intended to encourage the production of molasses spirit, which has its own, and a great, sphere of utility. Senator Drake seems to narrowly think that all that is necessary is to obtain molasses spirit, and add a little flavouring when, hey, presto ! there was the whisky of commerce. The honorable senator never made a greater mistake in all his life; because^ as a matter of fact, no one would purchase such a whisky. That spirit, though it may be wholesome, is not whisky, and certainly should not be sold as whisky ; and I say that the evidence and the report of the Commission clearly prove that Senator Drake is altogether wrong in his view. It is desirable to encourage the distillation of the .spirit to which Senator Drake referred ; and nothing contained in the report of the Tariff’ Commission is intended to injure that industry in the slightest degree. The particular industry which the Tariff Commission suggests should be encouraged is the distillation of grain spirit; and this is a different class of industry altogether - the two have no connexion. I omitted to. mention, in reference to the addition of flavouring referred to bv Senator Drake, that Mr. Wilkinson, the analyst, expresses the opinion that flavouring essences are more injurious than alcohol itself. That opinion was expressed in the course of his evidence, and may be found referred to on page 16 of No. 2 report. I repeat that there is nothing in the report of the Tariff Commission to suggest injury to this industry in New South Wales and Queensland - an industry on the prosperity of which those States may be congratulated. At the same time, I desire to show that the Tariff Commission has most wisely differentiated and made it absolutely clear that it is the production of grain spirit they are anxious to encourage. Conclusion No. 2 of the Tariff Commission is as follows : -
That one cause of the stoppage of the Victorian whisky distilleries has been the relative increase of Excise duties and consequent reduced protection by 3s. per gallon on malt whisky, and is. per gallon on blended whisky. Another factor has been the increased production of n.e.i. spirit in New South Wales and Queensland, much of which has been transferred to Victoria.
Conclusion No. 6 is: -
That the increased Excise on Victorian whisky has prevented it from competing successfully with cheap and inferior spirit.
But conclusion No. 9 is the important one to which I desire to call attention -
That, in order to equalize the conditions of competition in the struggle between the better qualities of Australian spirit and inferior imported spirit, it is necessary that there should be a substantial difference between the Customs duty on the imported article and the Excise duty on the local article ; that, at the same time there should be relative equality of opportunity and competition among Australian products and that cheaply produced spirits should not be allowed to supersede superior high-class spirits.
It will be seen that the Tariff Commission had this matter specially under their consideration, and Senator Clemons and the other members recommended that cheaply produced spirits should not be allowed to supersede superior high-class spirits, but - that cheaply produced spirits should pay a higher Excise duty than more expensive spirits : that spirits produced from molasses at gd. and is. per gallon should not be allowed to kill out the distillation of whisky from barley malt, which costs from 3s. 6d. to 4s. per gallon ; and that the consumption of cheap and inferior spirits should not be encouraged at the expense and sacrifice of spirits of higher grade, quality, and price.
The other conclusions which deal with this particular question, but which I shall not read, are Nos. 12, 13, 17, and 18. All these conclusions represent the compromise, by which I apprehend all the signatories to the report will loyally abide. The confessed object of the report is to differentiate between molasses spirit and grain spirit. Messrs. Joshua Brothers, ora whom this attack was made, possess one of the finest distilleries in the world - a distillery specially designed for the production of malt and grain whisky and wine brandy. That firm has dealt with molasses spirit to a trifling degree, but it is not at all in their line, and was never intended to have been dealt with bv them until the Commonwealth Tariff forced them to distil a second-class brandy in order to compete with brandies of similar quality admitted into Australia.
– joshua Brothers have been getting molasses in quantities from Queensland for years.
– I shall very conclusively deal with that point later on. At present I am saying that Messrs. Joshua Brothers were forced by the Commonwealth to deal with molasses spirit to a small extent. The aim of the report of the Tariff Commission is to alter the present state of affairs, and bring about the production of the acknowledged whisky of commerce. Let me give an illustration. We have had the question of margarine before us on several occasions ; and margarine is simply mutton fat boiled .down and flavoured. Whilst this product is perfectly wholesome, it is not butter; and it is a gross injustice to our dairy producers and dealers in butter that this inferior article should be sold as butter. Hence the Legislature has come to the rescue and declared that if people desire to sell margarine it must be sold as margarine. And so with molasses spirits. If a bottle were labelled “ Molasses spirit with whisky flavouring,” can it be suggested for a moment that there would be any purchasers? For the protection of the public it is essential that when they ask for whisky they should get what is known as genuine whisky, arid as the whisky of commerce. I think it was Mr. Fowler, a member of the Tariff Commission, who made a very apt analogy, when he compared rectified spirit with distilled water. That gentleman pointed out that while distilled water is scientifically pure, no one cares to drink it because we all prefer natural water with the so-called impurities’ of lime, salts, and so forth. We now come to the most dramatic portion of Senator Clemons’ remarks. The honorable senator, as reported, said that, in justice to Joshua Brothers, he believed that a small proportion of the silent spirit obtained by that firm was used in methylation, but that he had been unable to discover how much. I .asked Senator Clemons what means he had taken to discover how much ; and the honorable senator said that when Mr. Joshua was before the Tariff Commission, the members did not realize the important bearing of the molasses spirit. The fact remains, however, that Mr. Joshua was never recalled, and that no letter was afterwards sent to him requesting this information. Fortunately, I am in a position to favour the Senate with the information so anxiouslysought. Senator Clemons went on to say that nothing would give him greater pleasure than to have a statement as to how much of this silent spirit this firm obtained, and what proportion of it was used for human consumption. Probably Senator Clemons did not intend to convey -the impression that Messrs. Joshua Brothers were withholding information ; but the fact remains that such ah. impression was created. Mr. Saul Joshua, a member of the firm, was examined and cross-examined for, I believe, the better, part of three days ; and he said, “ My books are open to you, and I ask you to verify everything I have said by inspecting my books.” If I remember rightly, in answer to question 806, Mr. Joshua said. “ 1 implore you to look at my books.”
– And the Commission got an expert to do so.
– That was so, I believe. T direct attention to the evidence given at question 993, to show how frank, and honest Joshua Brothers were, although thev have been attacked in this matter. I shall first refer to the evidence given in answer to a few previous questions. There is this evidence at question ‘989 : -
Did you handle the whole of the 182,000 gallons of Australian spirit that came to Victoria in 1903? - Practically the whole of it.
I hope that I make myself clear when I say that the general impression from the remarks made on the other side was that a very large proportion, of the 182,000 gallons of molasses spirit had gone into human consumption.
– The Minister has today supplied us with the quantity that was methylated.
– The evidence continues - 990. Where did it come from? - New South Wales. 991. What spirit was it? - Sugar spirit made by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, for whom I am agent here. 992. What did you do with it? - It was principally methylated.
– That is wrong. Only 73,510 gallons were methylated in the whole of Victoria.
– Perhaps Senator Drake will permit me tq continue my quotation from the evidence- 993. And sold? - As methylated spirit. Some of it was rum, some of it was spirits of wine supplied to manufacturers; and a small quantity was tried in the manufacturing of cheap liquor. For instance, we were trying to make an article by adulterating the whisky with some of this molasses spirit, and selling it very cheap; but it was no good. Nobody would have it.
– Mr. Joshua himself says that molasses spirit is a very good spirit.
– I do not challenge the statement, that when it is rectified up to 67 or 68 degrees and it becomes a neutral spirit, we may speak of it as wholesome, but it is not whisky.
– It is what whisky has been made of.
– The honorable and learned senator will pardon me. It is not what whisky has been made of.
– It is what whisky has fraudulently been made of.
– Yes, fraudulently.
– Whisky is nothing but spirit and flavouring. In the case referred to the flavouring was wrong, and therefore the spirit did not sell.
– Senator Macfarlane hardly knows sufficient of the subject to enable him to say that. Here is the evidence which could have been obtained at any time by a mere letter. It is from Joshua Brothers, and is addressed to me - Dear Sir, -
In response to your request that we should furnish you with particulars of how we disposed of the 182,000 gallons of molasses spirit purchased from the C.S.R. Co., of Sydney, in 1903, we have pleasure in supplying herewith the information required, together with the figures relating to the two following years, which are extremely pertinent to the question.
We may add that if you desire it we will gladly show you our books in confirmation, or for that matter we would be prepared to make a statutory declaration as to the correctness of the figures supplied.
The balance was used in blending secondclass brandies, but only a small portion of it was sold. (See statement at foot.)
The attempt to use this class of spirit in whisky was an utter failure. Only 600 gallons were used in the three yeaTS ‘03, ‘04, and 05, of which the bulk is still on hand.
It will be seen that 600 gallons of whisky were made out of this molasses spirit which, according to Senator Drake, was going to revolutionize the world, and though the attempt to place it on the market was conducted bv hard commercial business men with skilled compounders and distillers in their service, it was such an utter failure that the experiment was not repeated. Senator Drake, who possesses such high admiration of this novel class of whisky-
– I have no admiration for any class of whisky.
– The bulk of the 600 gallons Joshua Brothers still have on hand, and I believe I am justified in saying that Senator Drake can rely upon getting it very cheap if his admiration for this class of liquor should induce him to make an offer for it.
– I say that the flavouring was wrong.
– That is to say that Mr. Joshua knows nothing about his own business, and Senator Macfarlane does know something about it. The honorable senator must see that Joshua Brothers, when driven by what I regard as the unfair and unreasonable Commonwealth Tariff, tried to make some kind of whisky and brandy out of molasses spirit, would use their very best efforts to produce an article from which they could derive a profit ; but, with all their talent, skill, and ingenuity, they failed to produce a commercial whisky or brandy which the public would drink. Where they have failed, Senator Macfarlane is not going to succeed.
– The honorable senator admits that a pure spirit is not unwholesome, and’ it must have been the flavouring that was wrong.
– That is not th.; question involved. I am not going to say that the molasses spirit rectified to 67 or 68 overproof, and flavoured with whiskyflavouring, is unwholesome; but 1 do say. from the evidence before us, that the public will not buy it.
– It is not whisky.
– It is not whisky, and the public will not buy it.
– Before the honorable senator leaves the figures quoted, I should like to have them correctly. He has accounted for 99,853 gallons out of 182,000 gallons, and that leaves a balance of 82,127 gallons.
– I am going to account for every gallon.
– I do not see what the 600 gallons has to do with it.
– I thought I had made it absolutely clear that 600 gallons of whisky were made from this ‘ spirit. There was left a balance in 1904-
– What was done with the balance in 1903 ?
– I shall deal with all the balances later on. I quote again from the statement -
– The quantity was coming down.
– Of course, as Joshua Brothers found it less useful to them. The statement continues -
Senator Drake will see that I have to account for balances at the end of 1903 of 82,127 gallons, 1904 of 28,726 gallons, and of 1905 of 3,364 gallons. The total of these three balances is 114,217 gallons, and I quote again from theletter -
Balances ‘03, ‘04, and ‘05 … 111,217 gallons. Sold as brandy in 3 years … 65,817 gallons. Balance on band, unsold … 48,400 gallons;
Of course, the brandy referred to could only be sold as second-rate brandy, and, strictly speaking, it was not brandy at all. I ask honorable senators could anything be more absolutely conclusive? Joshua Brothers, who are commercial men, being driven to resort to the making of so-called whisky and brandy from this molasses spirit, could do no more than that, because the public would not have it.
– Would not have what ?
– This second-rate whisky and brandy. It was not a mere neutral spirit. I made inquiries, and I find that the brandy was largely flavoured with wine brandy and the whisky with malt whisky, and, notwithstanding this, it was found quite impossible to induce the public to buy these liquors.
– The honorable senator does not expect the public to buy second-class brandy?
– Of course I do not.
– But Senator Drake does. That is the whole point.
– That is the point. I admit that people are driven to buy some inferior imported brandies and whiskies that, perhaps, are not wholesome.
– Who drives them ?
– They are driven to do so as one of the results of an unreasonable Commonwealth Tariff, which free-traders and protectionists alike have joined in a recommendation to remedy.
– Before the honorable senator passes from that matter, I direct his attention to the fact that he is speaking of Joshua Brothers all the time.
– I have done so because the attack was made upon them.
– I did not mention them. I spoke of Victoria. According to the Commission, and the information we got from the Minister of Defence to-day, during the three years 1903, 1904, and 1905, there were 327,000 gallons of spirits of Australian origin transferred to Victoria which were not methylated.
– I cannot deal with that. I am speaking only of what was done by Joshua Brothers.
– I did not refer to Joshua Brothers.
– It is a pity that the names of firms should be introduced into the discussion at all.
– I agree with the honorable senator, but, unfortunately, they have been introduced, and I am answering the challenge to produce a statement as to what Joshua Brothers did with the 182.000 gallons of molasses spirits received by them in 1903. I have supplied the information asked for. I wish honorable senators to realize my main contention, and that of the Tariff Commission, which is that grain spirit is not rectified to the same extent as molasses spirit. Grain spirit is rectified to something like 45 overproof. It must be so distilled that it retains its character, which is distinctly different from that of molasses spirit.
– Brandy is supposed to be made from grape spirit.
– That is what we are going to encourage, and that is the object of the Tariff Commission report. But my honorable friend, Senator Neild, did not happen to be in the Chamber on Fridav when Senator Drake in his very able speech, was dealing with the point that vast quantities of molasses spirit came into Victoria from Queensland and New South Wales. The impression conveyed was that whisky, could be made from it. I do not wonder that my honorable friend Senator Neild shrugged his shoulders because that contention is utterly untenable. My point is that the public will not buy the particular class of. spirit referred to by Senator Drake, because it is not whisky. If we attempted to label the bottles with the true character of their contents - namely, “molasses spirit with whisky flavouring” - it would mean disaster to any tradesman attempting to sell such a product. On the other hand, Senator Drake would he the last to suggest that the bottles should be labelled “ whisky “ when they contained a spirit made from molasses. The whole current of British and European legislation has been that the public must not be deceived, and that we shall, so far as we can, insist upon the contents of a package or bottle being truly described.
– The Tariff Commission recommends that thei distillers should be allowed to sell a blended whisky under the name of whisky.
– But the Bill does not.
– The Bill effects a great improvement.
– Of course it is an improvement. The Tariff Commission made a mistake in that respect, and when it was pointed out in another place it was at once rectified. Now we have to inquire - what is whisky? If. there is any doubt in the mind of any honorable senator, the opinions of the leading whisky distillers of the world should place the matter beyond question. There was a case before the Courts in England some time ago. when it was decided that, first of all, whisky must be distilled from grain, and, secondly, it must be made in a pot still. I believe that there was an appeal from that decision, but I do not know whether it has yet been decided. Many of us may dissent from the opinion that whisky must be made in a pot still, because undoubtedly the patent still will do the same work.
– It will do the same work, and do it infinitely better.
– The pot still may give celerity, but celerity does not mean perfection.
– Let us deal with the question - what is whisky ? Messrs. John Jamieson and Sons, Limited, of Dublin, who have been established more than 100 years, and are distillers of the most famous of all Irish whiskies, advertise their whisky as being made “ from the finest malt and corn.” The D.C.L. (Distillers Company Limited, of Edinburgh), who have distilleries in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cameron Bridge. Kirkliston, Alloa, Menstrie, Knockdhu, Dublin, &c, and are the largest distillers and whisky merchants .in the world, having a general output of 10,000,000 gallons, say, through their general manager,- Mr. Wallace -
The patent still has been in use- in Scotland for 60 or 70 years. Of the D.C.L. output only about 5 per cent, is made in pot stills. They use maize, rye, oats, and malt, and all or any of these were used in both kinds of still. They use maize in pot stills, and malt in patent stills, and vice versa. The patent still for making all malt whisky has been in use ever since its invention. It was a far more delicate appliance than the other, and with it you could retain or reject as much or as little of the impurities as was desired. Thirty-three per cent, was the average use of malt in the production of Irish whisky in Ireland by pot still. The maximum was 50 per cent.
Mr. James Barr, managing director for Dunville and Company, the famous Belfast distillers, stated before the House of Commons Commission of 1890-1 that -
Their manufacture was about 2,500,000 gallons per annum. They used both pot and patent stills. They used both malted and unmalted grain. But they did not as a rule make any pure malt whisky, and they had never sold any.
Mr. L. Malone, managing director of the Dublin Distillers Company, in his evidence before the same Commission, said -
They could turn out three and a half million gallons in a year. They used malt, barley, wheat, oats, and rye ; generally from two-fifths to one-half of malt. The demand for pure malt whisky grew less and less every year.
Mr. W. H. Persse, managing director of H. S. Persse Limited, Galway, said in his evidence in the case tried in England last year -
His family had carried on the business for ninety years. They used malt, wheat, oats, and rye in pot stills only.
Mr. James Talbot Power, chairman of Sir John Power and Company Limited, of Dublin, stated that -
Their distillery had been in existence for 114 years. The materials they used were malt, barley, oats, and rye.
What I have sought to show is that whisky must be made from grain, and not from molasses spirit - that if it is not made from grain it is not whisky at all. To describe what is really molasses spirit as whisky would be a fraud on the public.
– What is the meaning of the statement which the honorable senator has read that the quantity of whisky made from malt is decreasing?
– Pure whisky is made from malt; blended whisky is made from malt and grain.
– Whisky made from malted barley is that which receives the greatest advantage under this Bill, because it is thought to be the purest class of whisky. I do not pretend to quarrel with the Tariff Commission in its decision to give the highest protection to malted barley, though, at the same time,- there is no doubt that the public prefer the blended or mixed whisky
– Where the Commission made a mistake was in proposing to allow blended whisky to be made partly from any material.
– Senator Clemons referred on Friday to the case of Mr. Brind, and said that the Commission was anxious to help him. Mr. Brind is a very well-known and prominent Victorian distiller, who is able to produce grain spirit at a cost of something like 3s. 6d. per gallon. Of course, if it were possible to make a whisky or a brandy from molasses, as has been suggested by some honorable senators, Mr. Brind would be out of it altogether. But the Tariff Commission proposes to give an additional protection to grain spirit, in order to encourage the distillers to make it. Mr. Brind is one of them. To encourage the distillation of grain spirit, I repeat, is the object of the Tariff Commission’s report. Senator Clemons also said that all the spirits distilled in the Commonwealth could be made by 150 men. To answer that, I will quote from the evidence riven before the Commission by Mr. Saul Joshua -
S06. Are you willing to allow the Commission “to test your figures by examining your books with the assistance of an expert? - I implore you to do so. 807. While the distilling business was a going concern, what labour did you employ ? - Give us the figures for both the Victorian industry and your own business? - I understand that in 1900 there were 143 men employed in Victoria in distilling. In 1901 the number was 137; in 1902, 73, and in 1903, 34. In our own. business, prior to Federation we employed in 1898, on the average, 58-1 men - in ‘1899, 57.1, and in 1900, 64. In 1901 we employed 65.4. After the Federal Tariff was imposed we employed on the average in 1902, 33.4 men ; in 1903, 22.7, and in 1904. 20.5. Furthermore, an immense amount of indirect employment was given.
That evidence is conclusive, so far as Victoria is concerned. In 1900, 440,000 gallons of spirit were produced. To produce it there were employed 143 men.
– Did not Senator Clemons say that, the evidence of Mr. Knox showed that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company was able to produce 1,600,000 gallons of spirit per annum with twelve men?
– If Senator Clemons intended to convey that 150 men could produce all the molasses spirit required for consumption, in Australia he certainly was above the mark. I should be. prepared to believe that 150 men1 could produce sufficient molasses spirit to supplyhalf the world. But there is a vast difference between the production of molasses spirit and the production of grain spirit. I have made inquiries, and am told that to produce the whisky consumed in Victoria - 1,500,000 gallons - it would take over 400 men to do the malting alone, quite irrespective of the distilling. The labour employed by Messrs. Joshua Brothers, who were attacked in this connexion, is set out in the evidence -
Sio. How much money was spent in this industry in Victoria for labour, prior to the closing of the distilleries? - I have not got the figures for the whole industry, but in our business we paid away about £100 per week for labour
Si 1. In your letter to the Commission you say that between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum was disbursed for labour ? - That, is directly and indirectly. 812. Are you responsible for that statement? -Yes. 813. Do you stand by it? - Yes. 814. How much of that £30,000 and £40,000 was spent by your firm ? - Our labour bill was about £100 per week. Then- we probably paid £2,000 or £3,000 a year to the bottle-makers, of which about £2,000 went in labour. 815. Have you a written statement showing how this £30,000 or £40,000 is made up? - I will procure such a statement.
I believe that it was subsequently produced. When it is borne in mind that 2,561,000 gallons of spirits are imported, that in 1905 1,500,000 gallons were locally distilled, that the annual consumption of spirits in the Commonwealth is about 3,000,000 gallons, and that the production of 440,000 gallons of whisky and brandy employs the amount of labour I have stated, my. honorable friends will recognise that the production of the total quantity consumed would mean the employment of an enormous amount of labour.
– Does the honorable senator take notice of the fact that under the present Tariff there has been a considerable increase in the distillation of blandy spirit?
– Undoubtedly, and I am delighted with the result of the protection of 3s. per gallon. The object now is toincrease the protection to 4s. per gallon in some cases, and to continue the protection of 3s. per gallon to blended brandy.
– The honorable senator will notice that there is an undue preference given to grain distillation as against brandy distillation.
– No; but that point can be better dealt with in Committee. What I am now dealing with is the general impression that 150 men could do practically all the work connected with the production of the whisky required for consumption in Australia.. I have pointed out that if it refers to the mere distillation alone it does not include the large number of men who would be required to malt for the purpose of that distillation, or the enormous number who would be otherwise employed. In one industry alone 143 men are employed at an annual expenditure of ‘ .-£30,000 or £40,000. If that is.; multiplied by six or seven in contemplation of a period which, I believe, is not very remote, when we shall produce all the whisky required fi’r local consumption-
– And that would mean a loss of nearly ,£300,000 to the revenue?
– It need mean no loss at all. I am free to admit that when that day arrived there would certainly have to be a re-adjustment of taxation in this connexion, such as has taken place in the United States. Canada, Great Britain,’ and other countries.
– Where there is a difference of only 2s. per gallon between the duties.
– In some cases in Ame-‘ rica the Excise dutv exceeds the import dutv by twenty times. I believe that as good and pure a spirit can be produced in Australia as can be distilled abroad. When that time arrived, the increased output would certainly mean the employment of a very large number of men, and the expenditure of an enormous sum. Perhaps ,£180,000 per annum would be spent upon labour and raw material in the production of sufficient spirit to supply the requirements of the Commonwealth. That money, of course, would be distributed amongst coopers, case-makers, bottle - makers, printers, carriers, seamen, coal miners. The question of the farmer has also been mentioned. On page 21 of the second report of the Commission I find a letter which bears eloquent testimony to the value of the distilling industry to the formers. In his evidence, Mr. Joshua said -
When before the last Tariff Commission, I was asked if our business was of any importance to the farming industry, and I said not much ; but the question caused me to look into the matter, and I have since ascertained that our operations do affect the grain market. In this connexion, I would like to read the following ‘letter which we received on the 13th November, 1901, from our grain-brokers, Messrs. H. R. Carter and Co. : - “ In reply to your inquiry as to the. average price of F.A.Q. maize and thin English barley suitable for malting during the last six years, we beg to advise that the average price for maize for the last six years has been as. 10¼d., and barley for the last six years 2s. 2$d. This average has been carefully made up from Messrs. Dalgety and Co.’s weekly report, which they guarantee to be correct, and we are prepared to substantiate this if challenged. We may state, as representing a very large number of small sellers in the country, that your purchases of barley for distilling have been of great assistance to the farmers, often sustaining a falling market and helping to steady the price. This was proved last year, when there was a considerable quantity of thin barley carried over from the previous year, which caused a considerable accumulation of stock. Had you not taken the 7,000 or 8,000 bags of barley off the market as you did, we have no hesitation m saying that there would have been a complete collapse in the market.”
– But in proportion as the Bill would help the grower of barley would it not handicap the grower of sugar?
– Not at all. If my honorable friend had been present when I put the position - as reasonably, and, I hope, as conclusively as I could - he would have heard me state that the production of molasses spirit is a totally different industry, and valuable in a different sphere, but that it has nothing to do with the production of grain- spirit for whisky.
– And one cannot take the place of the other without fraud being committed.
– One is taking the place of the other now.
– I have just proved that it is not.
– It is in Victoria, at any rate. Otherwise, why is all the molasses spirit brought here?
– If my honorable friend had remained in the chamber all the time he would have heard conclusive figures on that point.
– Since Joshua ‘Brothers get 182,000 gallons of molasses spirit, and less than 50,000 gallons are methylated, what becomes of the balance ?
– My honorable friend’s figures are wrong. I have already dealt with this question at length. The point I am dealing with now is that, according to the evidence, on the purchase of raw material alone, Joshua Brothers spend between ,£15,000 and £20,000 in one industry. The value of wheat, of course, may be fixed in the markets of the world; but the distillers cannot import their barley, maize, rye, or wine, because the Tariff stands in their way. All those materials have to be purchased in the local market. Is this attack made on Joshua Brothers because, under the operation of the Tariff, they have lost £60,000? According to sworn evidence, their industry has .practically been dead since the Tariff came into force.
– Can the honorable senator show that they are not making a larger profit by buying molasses spirit ?
– My honorable friend will see that, during the operation of the Tariff, the firm have made a loss of £60,000.
– That is in connexion with their plant ; but their profit, as well as their turnover, is larger now than it was when they were distilling.
– My honorable friend is quite wrong. I have shown how the firm attempted to make whisky and second-rate brandy from molasses spirit, and how they failed. I have shown how they attempted to make second-rate brandy from molasses spirit.
– The honorable senator told us that they made 65,000 gallons.
– In three years they sold only 65,817 gallons. The balance on hand is 48,400 gallons ; but this they cannot sell. The Commissioners found that the industry has been practically dead, but my honorable friends want to make out that it is dead, and yet doing well. Their propositions are completely confuted by the figures I ‘have produced.
– Since the Tariff was introduced, the quantity of molasses spirit distilled in Australia has increased from 720,000 to over 1,000,000 gallons.
– It has very largelytaken the place of imported rum.
– That does not make all that difference.
– It makes a very substantial difference, because the importation of rum has largely decreased. I would impress upon my honorable friends that the recommendation of the Commission in this direction was unanimous, and that therefore it ought to carry weight with them. Its very design was the rehabilitation of the industry, the protection of the health of the public, and the provision of the best spirits which could be obtained. Suppose that it was rejected, what would take place? Joshua Brothers, with the other distillers in Australia, would be consigned to the production of the second-rate and inferior spirit in which they have been obliged, to a limited extent, to deal during the last three years.
– It is not inferior. Mr. Joshua himself says it is not.
– That would be the inevitable result of the rejection of the proposal of the Commission. I cannot too strongly impress upon the Senate that molasses spirit distillation and grain spirit distillation are two different industries, and that in respect of each industry there is a great opportunity for development. From the industrial stand-point, the molasses spirit industry has enormous prospects. The distillation- of spirit from grain and wine brandy offers such a wide field for operations that it ought to be encouraged. The value of the spirits imported in 1905 was £950,000, representing 2,560,813 proof ‘ gallons. Therefore, I say that the case made out on behalf of the industry must have been irresistible to have secured the conjunction of free-trade and protectionist members of the Tariff Commission.
– May I quote two passages from Mr. Saul Joshua’s evidence -
Public prejudice being in favour of pot-still whisky, it is so advertised, but you can work the patent still so as to get all the advantages of the pot still.
Beet and molasses spirit - if they did come in - are excellent spirits, and would not hurt anybody.
– I have said the same thing twenty times, over in the course of my remarks. My contention is that this spirit is not the whisky which the public require. If a bottle were labelled “ Molasses spirit flavoured with whisky “ the public would not buv it; and if, on the other hand, it were labelled “ whisky,” a fraud would be committed on the public. Under all the circumstances, the Senate is justified in regarding the recommendations of the Tariff Commission as well founded, and as truly setting forth the conditions which have been brought about because of an unreasonable, and what I call an unfair Commonwealth Tariff. I admit that the loss of revenue is a serious matter, and I am free to say that as soon as the local industry develops, a re-adjustment will become essential. What I contend is that we should endeavour to produce in Australia the whole of the spirits we require. I do not for one moment advocate that any of the taxation which at present attaches to spirits should be removed; but that, following the example of other countries, there should be a re-adjustment - that the import duties should be transferred to the Excise. We” should then have the advantage of a possible expenditure in the country of something like ,£160,000 to £180,000 per annum, in the manufacture of spirits under our own immediate supervision, and, at the same time, there would be fair and reasonable taxation, certainly not less than that which is at present levied on spirits through the Customs and Excise. I urge that the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, as embodied in the Bill, should be accepted, and I do so with the greatest confidence, because I believe the facts as disclosed by the evidence would justify such a course.
– While the import duty is 14s. per gallon on all spirits, the proposed Excise gives a. clear preference of 2s. per gallon to grain and grape spirit over molasses spirit. There is no evidence, so far as I can follow the report of the Tariff Commission, that molasses spirit is unwholesome, though the arguments of Senator Best and of other honorable senators, would lead one to suppose that it is deleterious.
– I said quite the contrary.
– The honorable senator said that molasses spirit was an inferior spirit.
– What I say is that molasses spirit is neither whisky nor brandy.
– Pure spirit is neither whisky nor brandy; “whisky” and “ brandy “ are distinguished by the flavourings, and not the spirit. If molasses spirit is wholesome, why should we differentiate? The truth is that molasses spirit is an article cheaply and easily produced, and there is a popular belief that such articles are of very little value. I am very much afraid that molasses spirit is getting a bad name simply because it is cheaply and easily produced.
– Because it is not produced in Victoria.
– I shall not say that. But molasses spirit is driving out a great deal of the grain spirit, and, therefore, the production of the latter is to be bolstered up at the expense of the production of the former. It has been contended by very many eminent medical men, and, so far as I can see, not contradicted, that one spirit is as wholesome as the other. Dr. Fiaschi, one of the most eminent medical authorities in Sydney, has said, in effect, that he can say nothing against molasses spirit, that brandy must be made from the grape, and that all spirits for consumption ought to be ten years in the wood. This gentleman has also said that he does not complain of spirit being made from molasses, but that good spirits must be made, and that if it be matured for so many years, its wholesomeness is increased.
– The words of Di. Fiaschi, as given in the Tariff Report are - 21186. Speaking generally with reference to the secondary products of spirits, you think that they should be left in a true brandy or a true whisky after the process of distillation ; not that they should be rectified out of the spirit, and afterwards added again. You do not believe in the doctoring up of spirit? - I do not. I believe in getting the best spirit by means of the pot still, and then ageing it.
– Hear, hear. I contend that brandy and whisky are appreciated because of their impurities.
– So-called impurities.
– Well, socalled impurities. I take it that the whisky and brandy made by Messrs. Joshua Brothers were not appreciated by the public because, being made out of molasses spirit, the production did not contain the proper impurities - it was not because the spirit was not right, but because the impurities were not there to give the flavouring which the public desired. As to revenue, it seems to me that” we ought to raise the Excise so as to decrease the prospective loss. In Canada, a difference of 2s. per gallon between Customs duty and Excise, has proved sufficient to secure the whole of the trade to the local distillers. Why. then, should there be a difference of 4s. allowed to the distillers of grape or pure malt spirit? I shall be glad in. Committee to support any proposal to increase the Excise dutv. I hope, also, that methylated spirit will not be so handicapped as to interfere with its consumption. I think it was Mr. Knox who, in his evidence stated that if spirits are methylated with certain substances, their lighting, explosive, or propulsive power was decreased. We are looking forward to the time when, as in America, methylated spirits will be used in hundreds of ways for the propulsion of machinery and vehicles, and when we shall not have to endure the unpleasant odour which motor cars now leave behind them.
– There is only one point on which I desire to offer a few remarks. I understand that Senator Best takes up the position that the two classes of spirit are not suitable for the same purpose - that molasses spirit cannot be used and placed on the market as whisky. In support of that contention, Senator Best brought forward some very incomplete evidence submitted by Messrs. Joshua Brothers, to the effect that they had made the experiment, and that it had failed.
– I did more. I gave the opinion, of the world.
– I am going to accept the statement of the honorable senator for the purposes of my argument. If it be a fact that molasses spirit does not enter into competition with the other spirit - if it is not possible for molasses spirit to enter into competition with the spirit manufactured bv Joshua Brothers - what are Joshua Brothers afraid of ? What does it matter to Messrs. Joshua Brothers whether there is, or is not, any Excise duty on molasses spirit?
– Why are we afraid of margarine ?
– For the simple reason that manufacturers use margarine as a substitute for butter - as Messrs. Joshua Brothers have been using molasses spirit as a substitute, and are, I suppose, prepared to do so again.
– If the honorable senator proposes to reduce the Excise on molasses spirit, I shall be prepared to support him.
– I am glad to hear the honorable senator say that. One of the principal inducements held out to the people of Australia to form the Commonwealth, was that there would be struck down all the barriers which separated the trade of one State from the trade of another - all internal barriers, were to be removed. If, however, we have a. differential duty which will handicap the production of one State as against the production of another, we shall have a reversion to the old principle of Inter-State Tariffs.
– It will mean a re-erection of the internal barriers.
– That is so. I can only regard the proposal to differentiate between molasses spirit and other spirits, assuming them to be used for the same purposes
– As ‘they will be. *
– If we are going to differentiate between those States which produce molasses spirits, and those States which produce spirits from other materials
– There is no differentiation between Victorian grain and grain grown in New South Wales and Queensland.
– No; but where a differentiation is made in the case of a product which is more largely grown in one State than in another, it. becomes in essence and in practice ,ai differentiation between State and State. *It does not matter whether molasses spirit can be produced here or not ; the fact remains that Queensland is the largest producer of the article, and New South Wales produces it in a minor degree. I may be told that Victoria, if she pleases, can produce molasses spirit; but the fact is that she does not. Similarly, grain might be grown in large quantities on the Darling Downs ;’ but for some reason or another it is not. and we have to take the facts as they are. We find one State producing an enormous quantity of one form of raw material from which spirits are made. Another State produces none of that raw material, but produces spirit from some of her substance ; and then I say that, if we impose differential duties with respect to spirit produced from these two forms of raw material, to all intents and purposes we re-erect the internal barriers which were supposed to have been removed bv Federation, and confer a favour upon one State while we handicap the other. I come again to the point from which I started, and on which I lay particular emphasis in my answer to Senator Best, because of the time the honorable senator has devoted to the matter. The honorable senator’s contention was that there is no conflict between the two forms of alcohol, one produced from molasses and the other from’ grain, for the simple reason that it is impossible to substitute the one for the other. If that be so, it should make no difference whether these prohibitive duties are imposed in the case of spirits made from molasses or not. If molasses spirit can in no sense come into competition1 with grain1 spirit, it cannot matter to the producers of grain spirit whether there is a differential duty imposed on molasses spirit or not. This argument is the more conclusive if I can accept Senator -Best’s full assurance that there can be no competition between the two forms of spirit, for the simple reason that the public will not consume whisky or brandy made from molasses spirt. If the public will not consume them, what can it matter to those who are producing spirits made from grain spirit whether the duty on molasses spirit is higher or lower? In the circumstances, I may well ask: Why this keen anxiety on the part of those interested in grain spirit to put an additional impost on liquors produced from molasses spirit? The reason is obvious that molasses spirit can be, is being, and will be, used for making whisky in spite of the evidence presented to the Senate and to the Tariff Commission.
– There is nothing in the Spirits Bill to prevent it.
– Absolutely nothing. Without wishing to be offensive to my Victorian friends, I say that the whole matter comes to this : that in this particular instance they take a purely local view of the question. They say that, as a result of the Federal Tariff, certain Victorian industries have been injured, to the advantage of corresponding industries elsewhere. That is exactly what was to be expected. The reverse has happened in the case of the ordinary manufacturing industries, and Victoria has been the greatest gainer from Federation, whilst New South Wales has also gained to some extent. To my mind, this proposal is absolutely destructive of all we understand by Federation and the Federal spirit. Whenever we find that as a result of Federation certain industries have been transferred from Victoria, to another State, Victorians apparently are prepared to say, “ We desire Federation, and its consequences, so long as they will benefit this State, but the moment the benefit goes to another State we should by some artificial legislative construction re-erect the original barriers, the effect of which will be to enable us to retain all that we have, and to get as much more as we can.”
– I did not intend to speak on this issue, but the extraordinary argument presented by Senator Millen renders it necessary that I should say a few words.
– As a Victorian ?
– No ; as a member of the Federal Parliament. The allegation has been made that this Bill is introduced in order to restore a Victorian industry, and the inference has been conveyed that if it had not been a Victorian industry that was to be restored, this action would not be taken at this time. To start with, the Bill does not deal with’ any particular spot , in Australia, but with the whole of the Commonwealth. It happens just now that sugar is made in Queensland and New South Wales, and not in the other States. That is merely an accident.
– An accident due to nature.
– No. We can make beet sugar in Victoria., and I am sure that in parts of South Australia cane sugar can be produced as well as in Queensland.
– No, not in any part of South Australia
– I shall not contest that point.
– It could be produced in the Northern Territory.
– Perhaps the honorable senator will answer this question : I understand that his contention is that as duties are levied on articles without reference to locality, my argument therefore fails. Will he say that, although in the imposition of the duty no reference is made to Queensland, the duty imposed on sugar is not a distinct aid to that State?
– It is undoubtedly, but it is an aid to Australia, and if, as might easily happen, the sugar mill at Maffra were to start working again, we should immediately feel the benefit of the dutv on sugar.
– It is not likely to start.
– We cannot say what is likely to happen. The fact is that at present molasses spirit is made almost exclusively im New South Wales and Queensland. It is urged that molasses spirit is as good for all the purposes for which spirit is used as grain spirit and wine spirit. If that contention is correct-
– And it is not.
– Then the argument is sound that there should be no differentiation.
– The Excise Bill provides that in the case of blended whisky 75 per cent, may be silent spirit produced from grain.
– I purpose dealing with the facts as thev are. ‘ The allegation is that molasses spirit is as good for all the purposes for which spirit is used as grain malt, or wine spirit. If that allegation is correct, and is based upon fact, the argument is sound that there should be no differentiation.
– Hear, hear. I claim the honorable senator’s vote.
– That allegation is proved .to be incorrect.
– If it is correct, the honorable senator must see the position I take up.
– I am coming to Senator Millen’s argument, but I wish to clear the ground as I go on. If I can get my honorable friends opposite to admit that molasses spirit is not as good for all purposes for which spirits are used, as are grain, malt, and wine spirits, we come then to another phase of the question. This is a Bill to protect the production of spirit in Australia.
– Of “spirits” without differentiation between one and another.
– I rose to show why there should be such a differentiation. This Bill is to protect the production of spirits in Australia, and protection, is introduced, if at all, because it is necessary. That will, I think, be assumed. It has been shown indisputably that molasses spirit does not require the protection .that is required for grain, malt, and wine spirits.
– This will be the first time the honorable senator gave a vote in favour of a low measure of protection.
– I say to Senator Millen that I should be prepared to give as much protection as possible to every form of Colonial production. I am, however, dealing with the Bill as it is presented to us, and I feel certain that Senator Millen will not support a reduction of the proposed Excise dutv on molasses, though he would like to increase the Excise dutv .on other spirits. If there is any need for this Bill, it is to protect, and it has been proved indisputably that spirit produced from molasses does not require the protection which is required by spirit produced from malt and wine.
– But is it a correct principle to handicap the’ raw material from- which the desired product can be made at the least cost?
– The honorable senator forgets my first proposition - that if molasses spirit is as good as any other for all purposes for which spirit is used, there is no need for differentiation. I propose to snow that it is not as good. Before you can put grain spirit on the same footing as molasses spirit, you must distil it up to a very high percentage of alcoholic strength, when it will have lost all the properties which make it valuable for whisky production. That is to say, you1 can. by distillation, make grain spirit as bad as molasses spirit. But that is no reason why we should make it as bad.
– This is a new plea for impurity.
– The question is, what is impurity? I heard a very interesting illustration on the point, which I present to the Senate. At Mount Lyell, they mine for copper, and they find that the copper is impregnated with impurities which have to be removed. Those impurities are gold and silver. Experts take the precaution to refer to them as .” so-called impurities.” You can get pure alcohol, but pure alcohol is not whisky.
– Is that why the Government propose to keep spirits in bond for two years; - in order to get the gold out of it?
– I am dealing with the matter from my own, point of view. I am urging that pure alcohol is not whisky, brandy, or rum.
– You do not destroy your copper bv taking the gold and silver out of the copper ore.
– You make it less valuable, though not less valuable as copper, I admit. We are dealing with the production of spirits which go into human consumption. .Without arguing whether whisky is a good thing or a bad thing, there is a large number of persons who require it and who are prepared to pay for it. When we are legislating with respect to the means by which they shall be furnished with it, we should take every precaution to see that they get what they pay for. Senator Best gave the illustration of butter and margarine. It is as wrong to give a person butter who asks for margarine as it’ would be to give him margarine if he asked for butter. People are deceived and defrauded if they do not get what they ask and pay for. What this Bill provides is that those persons who like pure whisky, brandy, and rum shall have the means of obtaining those commodities as produced in Australia; and that those people who like blended brandy and whisky, shall be able to obtain those commodities also. I fail to see how the persons now engaged in the production of molasses spirit will be injured unless, as has been insinuated, it enters into a commodity that is sold for what it is not.
– That is what I say.
– If that be so, what we want to do is not to alter the differentiation, but to insert some provision to prevent that fraud. True whisky, the experts say, is made from malted grain. But a large number of people do not like pure whisky. They like a blend made from malted barley and grain. If they gel what they ask for there is no fraud.
– But it ought not to be sold as whisky.
– It is to be sold under a name that is easily understood. If people want it they ought to be able to get if.
– If I like a blend containing molasses spirit, why should I not be allowed to get it?
– I do not see why the honorable senator should not.
– The honorable senator is trying to crush out that industry.
– If the industrywas not crushed out with a protection of is., I fail to see how it will be crushed out by having a protection of 2s. I think it can easily be shown that the molasses spirit is likely to fulfil its proper mission in becoming an article of industrial consumption. There is an enormous field for development in that respect. We have seen that an enormous quantity of molasses spirit purchased by Joshua Brothers has been sold as methylated spirit.
– What figures show that an “ enormous “ percentage of it is sold as methylated spirit?
– If I remember rightly, Mr. Brind stated that he did not believe that any considerable proportion of molasses spirit entered into the production of whisky or brandy.
– So far as I have read the Tariff Commission reports, no figures are given to show what proportion is used.
– That information was not asked for by the Commission, but I have produced it to-day.
– In answer to a question before the Tariff Commission, Mr. Joshua said that the molasses spirit purchased by him had been principally used for methylation..
– That is .not correct, because we know that in one year only 73,000 gallons were methylated out cf 182,000 purchased-.
– The figures quoted by Senator Best showed that a great proportion was methylated. In one year 11,000 gallons were sold as spirits of wine. A considerable proportion was sold as rum, which is the legitimate use of molasses spirit as an article of human consumption.
– In 1905, 133,000 gallons were not methylated out of 182,000 purchased. .
– It rests with the honorable senator to show what has become of it. The point - 1 urge is that molasses spirit receives under this Bill ..such an additional protection as under existing circumstances is shown by the evidence to be adequate. Grain spirits also get an additional protection ; not as much as molasses spirit, but sufficient to reestablish the production cf grain spirits in Australia instead of our importing them from abroad. The spirits that we are now getting from abroad are to a large extent cheap and inferior. The probability is that this Bill will lead to’ the production of better Australian spirits. The people who consume brandy and whisky will get what they ask for instead of getting adulterated stuff. What is distilled in Australia will be made under Customs supervision, and therefore the consumer who is now being badly treated, and is probably being injured in his health, will have an assurance that such will no longer be the case.
– We make provision for labelling under Government supervision, and we. may depend upon it that when that supervision exists people will not buy the stuff that is not. properly labelled. Therefore we do get an assurance that the consumers of these articles will not be treated in future as they are treated now. In addition, the Bill tends to develop an industry that has, immense possibilities, not merely in the production of whisky and brandy for drinking pur- poses, but in the production of alcohol as an article of fuel.
– Whisky makes a few-ill !
– I believe that the whisky we get at present makes a good many fellows ill, but the whisky they will get under this Bill willmake fewer ill. The world is looking forward to obtaining a more convenient and readily-appliable fuel, and the production of alcohol from such material as molasses, corncobs, and other thingsthat in themselves are a nuisance, will lead to profit and to expansion of trade in these directions.Formerly the material from which molasses spirit was made was a source of trouble and a cause of loss. That is to say, it had to be disposed of by the expenditure of labour. It was a. trouble to the sugar refiners. Now that it is being turned into spirit it is yielding a fairly good profit, because it can be produced for 6d., and is sold for 9d. per gallon. It is converted into a source of profit and usefulness instead of being, as it was, a nuisance and source of trouble. The Bill will probably lead to the development of the distilling industry throughout Australia, and to an anxious quest for other such waste material which may be converted into useful commercial products. I look forward to a very much larger development in distilling in the not distant future in the direction of industrial alcohol.
– Not distilled from grain.
-It will be made, I believe, from maize cob, which, I am told, is very rich in alcohol. At the present time, it is a very great trouble to the raisers of maize, because it is difficult to burn, and is absolutely useless as manure. But it is quite possible that if we develop, by further protection, the distilling industry, we may have in that and other directions an increased source of profit and an increased power of development in other departments of industry. Therefore, I hope that the Bill will be carried. I trust that the difference of 4s. per gallon between the highest class of locally made spirit and the imported spirit will be maintained. I am not particularly wedded to the difference of only 2s. between the lowestclass of locally made spirit and the imported spirit, but I would urge upon those who are afraid that we shall lose revenue by the Bill as it is, that it would be a greater departure to go still further and lose 2s. more on each gallon of molasses spirit distilled, as we would require to do in order to remove the differentiation without injuring the protection on the other spirits that are admitted by all the experts to be necessary to meet the wants of the people. So far as I can see, all the experts agree that in order to make whisky or brandy, the distiller must have malt, grain, or wine, that no matter how he may try, it cannot be made from silent spirit; and even if it could be so made, I go the length of stating that if there were still some persons who wanted the other, we would have no right to force upon them the product of silent spirit. The question of whether it is wholesome or not has been raised. Tomatoes are probably as wholesome as raspberries. It is said sometimes that raspberry jam is made from tomatoes. But any person who sold as raspberry jam the product of tomatoes would leave himself liable to a prosecution for fraud, and properly so, too, because, although they may be as wholesome - perhaps more wholesome - tomatoes are not raspberries. In the same way, silent spirit is not whisky. It is absurd, therefore, to say that the Bill is introduced merely to bolster up a Victorian or other State industry. It applies to the whole of Australia.
– It contains no guarantee that the public will get a good quality of whisky.
– I am prepared to go to any length with my honorable friends to provide that whatever may be sold shall be that which it professes to be.
– Strike out “ 25 per cent.,” and insert “whollv.”
– No. If the distillers choose to distil from molasses only, I see no reason why they should not do so, but it should be made imperative on their part to call the spirit what it is.
– We have no evidence that spirit distilled from molasses is more hurtful than spirit distilled from grain.
- Senator Higgs produced some medical testimony, but I am not urging that it is hurtful. There is a decided difference between spirit distilled from malt and silent spirit.
– ComDare two things which are comparable - whisky and rum.
– I should say that rum is quite as wholesome as whisky.
– Why give a larger measure, of protection to the whisky; distiller than to the rum distiller?
– Because it has been shown that rum can be made with the present measure of protection.
– The honorable senator does not apply that argument generally to protective duties.
– It is stated that the distillers have so far overtaken the demand for rum that very little of that spirit is imported. If that be the case, there is enough protection. I have always said that protection is that which protects, and that when there is no importation then, there is enough protection.
– Would there not be enough protection with the Excise duty on grape spirit 2s. higher than that on grain spirit?
– I do not think so, because it has been tried. All I am urging is that a duty of 4s. per gallon appears to be necessary to protect wine and malt distillation, that a duty of 3s. per gallon appears to be necessary to protect grain distillation, and that a duty of 2s. per gallon has been proved to be ample to protect molasses distillation.
– The honorable senator is forgetting the main point, that spirit distilled from molasses is just as good for blending purposes as spirit distilled from grain.
– Suppose that it is, it is given enough protection.
– Not the same protection as the other.
– The distillers of molasses spirit are being given a protection of 25. per gallon. With a protection of only is. per gallon they were able to enormously expand their trade.
– -The honorable senator is speaking of rum now. He is continually jumping backwards and forwards.
– I am dealing with the case presented by the honorable senator, namely, that there is no need to differentiate, because the two things are alike. I contend that they are not alike. Of course, they can be made alike by incurring unnecessary expense in connexion with distilling spirits from malt, wine, and grain. By the expenditure of more money it would be possible to make those spirits as little valuable as molasses spirit, but in the condition in which they are ordi narily placed on the market they are more valuable commercially, and they are not at all like molasses spirit, rectified up to 67 or 68 overgroof. Therefore, there is no argument that the two things should be dealt with alike. The strongest argument of all is that, with a protection of is., the molasses spirit industry has developed enormously. It is now proposed to increase the protection to 2s. per gallon, and yet it is said that the Bill is taking away some of the protection. That is so utterly illogical, and, to my mind, absurd, that it ought not to require any argument to refute it.
Senator Col. NEILD (New South Wales) [6.13]. - After listening to the pathetic appeals which have been made on behalf of legislation in the interests of a firm who have given to the world manifest evidence of their inability to conduct their business on, I shall not say sound lines, but in accordance with its interests, I desire to say a few words before a division is taken. It is notorious that, if Joshua Brothers had succeeded in flavoring their output so that persons would have bought it for whisky, we should not have heard of this proposal. It is based on the failure of that firm to flavour their whisky properly. ‘ I have never heard before of a Ministry trying to force through Parliament a Bill - or, rather, the fragments of a Bill - to benefit one firm, because we know that the whole object for which it was introduced was destroyed by a vote somewhere else. The fragments have been gathered up . and put before us in the interests of Joshua Brothers. It is well known that it is possible to go to almost any wholesale drug store or drysalter and obtain the necessary ingredients tomake a liquor with a specified flavour. Yet Joshua Brothers did not seem to know that. First of all, they put upon the market something which was called brandy, but which every one knows does not taste like brandy ; and it did not go down, notwithstanding the fact that 65,000 gallons of Queensland molasses spirit were used in its concoction. Having failed to place this concocted brandy, we find that a concocted whisky is put on the market, and we have a Bill brought in which only requires 25 per cent, of grain spirit to be used by the firm, and the balance can still continue to be spirit distilled from Queensland molasses.
– The honorable senator Has not read the Bill.
– NEILD.- I have read the Bill ; and, if the Minister thinks that I do not understand English, I shall seek a tutor, not in the direction of a person who is interested in passing the Bill, and whose knowledge of the King’s English is perhaps unconsciously tinged by his anxiety to place this shattered bantling upon the statutebook. We have had a pathetic appeal from Senator Best, and an even more pathetic appeal from Senator Trenwith, who is a total abstainer, I believe.
– Oh, no.
– I was wondering that the gentleman, reckoned amongst the enthusiastic advocates of temperance, should have such a large and intricate knowledge of the playful methods of making the particular tipples which he was so eloquently discussing. In any case, the honorable senator was as pathetic in his appeal on behalf of Messrs. Joshua’s whisky, as was Senator Best.
– How much of Joshua’s whisky is distilled from Queensland molasses?
– Certainly a very large proportion. The molasses spirit is bought for about 9d. per gallon, and sold for as many shillings per gallon. This is very profitable ; but it does not seem to satisfy the craving for inordinate returns, and we are asked bv legislation to make those profits larger. I imagine that Messrs. Joshua Brothers have got a bit of a scare since the passing of the Trade Marks Act. and that they are afraid of turning out an v more second-class whisky made from Queensland molasses spirits. The Government are, therefore, moved to bring in a Bill to do exactly what Senator Millen said- - to differentiate between the product of one State and the product of another State. If there ever was a Bill introduced into this Legislature which aimed distinctly at establishing such a differentiation, it is this Bill. I was not an enthusiastic supporter of Federation, and I opposed the Commonwealth Constitution Bill in- the form in which it was placed before the electors.
– The honorable senator was an anti -bil lite.
– I was an ant.1billite, but not an anti-federalist : and only to-day I have heard from an enthusiastic supporter of Federation, as presented in the Constitution Bill, that he is not at all sure but that I was right in the views I. enunciated a few years ago. But we have Federation ; and it is our dutv to maintain as far as possible, as between one State and another, uniform conditions pf manufacture and trade. There is now proposed a preferential duty in favour of Victorian grain spirit as against Queensland molasses spirit.
– And the grain spirit mav be made from the most rubbishy kind of grain, which cannot be used for any other purpose.
– I have yet to learn that spirit distilled from molasses is not just as healthy, if not more healthy, than spirit distilled from weevil-eaten grain. I would back molasses against weevils any day of the week, unless I required animal food. I have some little knowledge and experience of the sugar industry. My late father, Dr. J. C. Neild, was the first man in New South Wales to import and establish a complete sugar plant, but, as is commonly the case with industrial pioneers, he lost heavily in the venture.
– That is why we desire to protect pioneers of industry.
– If we can do so I shall be glad; but I do not know that the industry under the discussion cam be described as a pioneer industry. It seems to be a second-class whisky industry ; and now we are asked to bolster it up in order that those interested may make still larger profits.
– Messrs. Joshua. Brothers proved to the Tariff Commission’ that they had lost ^60,000.
– That was by distilling from grain of some sort or another; because it is evident that Messrs. Joshua Brothers cannot have lost money by buying molasses spirit at 9d. per gallon, and selling it at 7s. per gallon. They have been making a “ pot of money,” but they are not content, and are harking after the old dodge of making money two ways. They are not satisfied, but now desire legislative enactment, not only to enable them to make larger profits, but in order that other traders may be injured. In my opinion, that is not fair. We have adopted the present form of Federation, and, as I have already said, it is our duty to equalize the conditions of manufacture throughout the Commonwealth, and not to set up new artificial barriers as a stumbling-block in the growth of that “ Federal spirit “ of which we have heard so much, and of which so little exists:, and of which we shall see still less if this Bill be passed. This Bill is distinctly aimed at Queensland, and, inferentially, at a small corner of New South Wales, though the latter is scarcely worth mentioning. The Bill is eminently designed to further the interests of a single firm in Victoria. That fact is evidenced by the last interjection from Senator Trenwith. Whose business is being ruined ? It is the business of one firm; and this is a one-firm Bill. I was not elected on behalf of a great State, in order to pass legislation for the benefit of a single firm at the expense of a State and the Commonwealth.
– This Bill is intended to benefit also the Hunter River Distillery Company and other distillers in New South Wales.
– The Hunter River Distillery Company has not, I think, asked for anything at the hands of this Parliament. That company turns out an excellent brandy distilled from the grape - a brandy which any honorable senator, for either hospitable or .medicinal purposes, might well be satisfied to keep on his premises. I have a bottle at home now, and it is a good brandy. If I am induced to make remarks in this connexion, it is because of the apposite interjection of Senator Higgs.
– The Hunter River Distillery Company sent a witness, who asked for a monopoly of the term “brandy.”
– I do not desire to introduce the question of free- trade and protection ; but this Bill is just an evidence of the “ daughters-of-the-horse-leech “ principle which attaches to the establishment of Customs duties for the purpose of coddling, industries.
– This is a Customs Bill.
– It is supposed to be an Excise Bill, designed for the benefit of the whole of Australia, but it is a Bill which would not have seen daylight if Joshua Brothers had not been inordinately greedy.
– - Joshua Brothers are not the only distillers in Victoria.
– There is Brind.
– Apparently there is only one firm interested, because only one firm has been “ barracked “ for.
– Who “ barracks “ for Joshua Brothers?
– The honorablesenator knows that if I answered his ques-r tion truthfully, there might be a complaint that I spoke offensively,, and, therefore, I do not answer. Why is it that all the arguments this afternoon have had refer,ence to Joshua’s whisky? What about Joshua’s blandy? The brandy of the firm could not be touched upon, because it isnotorious that it has been largely made out of the very molasses spirit which it is now sought to veto.
– That is not so.
– If Joshua Brothers had only had sufficient “ save “ to ‘flavour their liquors rightly, we should not have heard of this Bill. I do not think that it is the duty of the Commonwealth to set up one State against another, and particularly it is not our duty to set up the interests of one firm, or even of twofirms, against the interests of one of the great national industries of Australia. If the sugar industry, with all its ramifications, were taken out of Queensland, there would be created an industrial gap which nothing would fill for many years to come.
– We have taken care that there shall not be that gap, by giving a substantial bonus, and I hope we shall continue to do what we can to keep that industry in Queensland.
– Another little “ sop to Cerberus “–keeping things going by playing off one industry against another. I suppose that next session we shall haveanother Bill of shreds and patches, the object of which will be to benefit some industry which has been injured by the Bill now before us. This measure is the most eminent example we could have of the mischief of tampering by legislation with the details of commerce and manufacture. The more we so tamper, the more difficulties we create; the result is inevitable. As I said before, this Bill is an outcome of the Trade Marks Act.
– It is the outcome of a Royal Commission.
– I was never infavour of the appointment of the Tariff Commission ; I regarded it as an absolute mistake.
– New South Waleswas represented on the Commission by twomembers.
– Very likely, but I am not such an inordinate New South
Welshman as to suppose that the presence of two members from my State would leaven the whole lump, and make the Commission perfect.
– Those two New South Wales members of the Commission did not recommend this differentiation against molasses spirits.
– Yes, both of them did.
– I find that, strangely enough, this document, which we are told is the report of the Tariff Commission, bears no signatures. There is nothing to show where the document came from, except an intimation that it has been printed and published for the Government of the Commonwealth by J. Kemp, Acting Government Printer for the State of Victoria, and a notification on the front that it is the report of a Royal Commission.
– The signatures are on the document I hold in my hand. The two documents were originally together, but were separated by the Government.
– The document I have is certainly addressed to the GovernorGeneral, but it is a complete document, and, as I say. it bears no signatures.
– What the honorable senator has is the continuation of a document which does bear the signatures.
– To use a common phrase, that is “ a black horse of another colour.”
– I explained how that occurred in my second-reading speech. The Government could not make public the recommendations as to duties.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– A small happening since the adjournment for dinnerhas proved the usefulness that very often attaches to adjournments. They afford opportunities for little explanations that tend to curtail debate. I am happy in having received some very valuable information from the Minister in charge of the Bill on a point which I proposed to discuss. My. mind being now at ease on the matter, it is not necessary for me to occupy the time of the Senate any longer. I have to thank the Minister for the information accorded to me, which has rendered any continuation of my remarks unnecessary.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
ClauseI agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Playford) agreed to-
That the Committee have leave to sit again after the Excise Tariff Bill is disposed of.
– -I moveThat the Bill be now read a second time. In submitting this motion, I wish to explain why I have adopted the course which has been pursued on this occasion. Honorable senators understand that the Excise TariffBill is really the more important of the two Bills now before the Senate. It provides for the Excise duties, whilst the Spirits Bill is merely a machinery Bill, and depends to a certain extent on the form in which this Bill is passed as to the provisions which it shall contain. I propose now to go on with the second reading of the Bill, to take it into Committee, and to get honorable senators to assist me in passing it through Committee as quickly as possible. It is not necessary to discuss it at length, because I dealt with the whole of the proposed duties in moving the second reading of the Spirits Bill. Honorable senators have done the same, as they have recognised that the two Bills are so intimately connected that it was more convenient to discuss them together. I wish to indicate two alterations which I intend to propose in the schedule, but before I do so I may answer a question which was raised by Senator Pulsford on the second reading of the Spirits Bill. The honorable senator asked how it ‘was that “ spirits, n.e.i. “ were not to be kept in wood for two’ years and matured. I point out that these spirits might be used for purposes other than human consumption, but if they are used for human consumption, then, in common with all other spirits used for that purpose, they must be matured in wood for two years under clause n of the Spirits Bill, which reads -
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.
With regard to spirits used for fortifying Australian wine, honorable senators will find that, under the existing ‘Excise Act, spirits used “ for fortifying Australian wine or for making vinegar” have an Excise duty of is. per gallon imposed upon them. It is proposed that that duty shall, in accordance with the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, “be reduced to 6d. per gallon. We ha<ve in this Bill provided for a duty of 6d. per proof gallon on -
Spirits for fortifying Australian wine subject to regulations. leaving out the words “ and for making vinegar” as used in the existing Excise Act. We think that it is better to follow the wording of the corresponding item in the schedule to the existing Act. It is, therefore, mv intention, in Committee, to propose the amendment of the schedule by inserting after the word “wine,” in item n, “or for making, vinegar.” Our attention has been called to the fact that we have made no provision for the manufacture of scents and toilet preparations. The manufacturers of these preparations, as honorable senators can imagine, desire that spirits used for such purposes shall be free. At present the import duty on perfume spirits is 25s. per liquid gallon, and .manufacturers of toilet preparations, if spirits were free, would have the whole of that amount as a protection for their manufactures. The Excise duty on rectified spirits is 13s. per proof gallon, which, at 60 overproof, the strength at which they are used for the manufacture of toilet preparations, is equal to 21s. per liquid gallon. So that the duty we propose of 10s. per liquid gallon will give a margin of 15s. per liquid gallon.
– The Minister has omitted to note that 10 per cent, must be allowed for evaporation, which brings the duty up to 23s. 7d.
– Very probably. I have given the figures supplied to me by the Customs Department. We think that 10s. per liquid gallon will be a fair duty, and I therefore propose in Committee to move that this item be added to the schedule -
– Does the honorable senator propose to deal with the variations between items 3 and 5 ? Item 3 provides for a duty of 12s. per proof gallon on blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain, whilst item 5 provides for a duty of only us. per proof gallon on blended whisky distilled partly from barley and malt, and partly from other grain.
– In the first place we provide for a duty of 10s. per proof gallon on brandy distilled’ wholly from grape wine. Then we propose a duty of ns. on blended wine brandy; then a duty of 12s. on blended spirits, distilled partly from grape wine, and partly from grain.
– The amount in the case of blended whisky is only us.
– Precisely ; and blended wine brandy pays us. also. The recommendation of the Tariff Commission is in that form.
– I wish to make a few remarks with regard to the matter of revenue. To my mind, this is a subject of very great importance. It is high time that the Senate took cognizance of the way in which revenue is being given up. I have no intention to consider the matter from the aspect of free-trade and protection. I am quite willing to allow the arrangement arrived at in 1901-2 to stand, and for the full amount of protection which was then given to remain, and even to be increased in certain directions- But it is the bounden duty of the Senate to give close scrutiny to matters which arise relating to the revenue of the country. We are giving up moneyvery easily. At the end of last year we surrendered between £60,000 and £70,000 for conscience sake in the matter of opium. That was justifiable, but still that revenue was dropped. Then I notice that we are spending a great deal of money to help the wine industry. The money collected under the duty of is. per gallon on spirit for fortifying wines reached, last year, £13,737. There is no Excise duty on wines, which are allowed to go into consumption free of charge. They compete not only with imported wines, but with other classes of stimulants, and people are enabled in this, way to consume a large amount of brandy without the payment of duty. The quantity of spirit used in the fortification of wines at the import rate of 14s. per gallon would have yielded over £’190,000. Instead of receiving that amount, however, we collected £13.737) showing that nearly£180,000 is given to the wine industry to assist in fortifying wines which are used to deplete the revenue derived from stimulants generally. We are producing at present about 6,000,000 gallons of wine, of which about 1,000,000 gallons are exported, leaving 5,000,000 as part of the ordinary consumption of wine in Australia. That quantity of wine is delivered to consumers . absolutely free of Excise, and it includes an enormous quantity of spirit. Then, as I pointed out last week, the proposals embodied in the Excise Bill before us must, if carried out. ultimately mean a loss to the revenue of at least £300,000. The question arises : Are we justified in throwing money away in this wholesale manner? Is there anything in the matter of labour from the protectionist point of view to justify it? Senator Best said this afternoon that, instead of the small number of hands that Senator Clemons has referred to, there must be at least 1,000 hands employed in producing spirits for consumption in Australia. Suppose, there were t.000 hands in the industry, and that each of them received an average of , £100 per annum, making £100,000. Are we justified, even from the protectionist point of view, in throwing away at least three times that amount in
Customs revenue in addition to other moneys that are surrendered? That is a point of view that is very little considered, and certainly no honorable senator has yet attempted to make any reply to it. I submit that it is a point of view that those who are anxious about the finances of their States must of necessity consider. Then, with regard to expenditure, the very next item on our business-paper is a Bill for the payment of bounties, which calls upon the Commonwealth for an expenditure of £500,000 in sums not to exceed £75,000 per annum. There we are again. When we find expenditure increasing in this way we ought to be additionally wary as , to the way in which we surrender revenue. [ find in the Bounties Bill itself reasons for apprehending still further attacks upon our funds. There are proposals in it for increasing the production of certain articles which now yield revenue to the Customs. I will refer toone, namely, coffee. It is said that we ought to be able to produce as much coffee as Australia requires. Very well ; suppose we do that. It is put in a very neat way, but what does it mean? It means a loss of . £20,000 or £30,000 per annum to the revenue. It is the easiest thing in the world to lose money. We have another measure which is promised - I was about to say threatened - for the making of a treaty with New . Zealand, under which a good deal of revenue will be surrendered. Goods which now pay duty are to be admitted free.
– The duties are to be lowered in favour of New Zealand.
– And they are to be increased towards the rest of the world to the point of prohibition ?
– We hope so.
– With regard to candles and preserved milk, a duty of 2d. per lb. is clearly prohibitive, and as such will destroy the revenue now being received.
– What is the honorable senator discussing?
– The question of revenue. I am drawing the attention of the Senate to the fact that we are letting a good deal of money go, and that we are to be asked for very much more.
– What have candles to do with this Bill ?
– The honorable senator requires to have a good deal of light thrown upon the question I think. I have already referred to wines. I find that in the year 1890, the Customs revenue received in the six States of the Commonwealth amounted to £133,000. In the year 1903 the Commonwealth collected £55,000 from wines. In 1904 we collected £50,000. Last year we collected £47,000. In this way the revenue of Australia on these items, which are so highly protected, is gradually slipping away. Last week I drew attention! to the fact that in 1874 New Zealand, alarmed at the ravages made upon her revenue by the local spirit industry, decided that she would close all the distilleries. She paid compensation to the owners, and closed all her distilleries; so that from 3874 to 1906, in spite of the fact that New Zealand is keenly protectionist, and has had protectionist Premiers, there has been no attempt to undo the policy then decided upon. On Friday I drew attention to the fact that of all the spirits now imported, whisky pays duty to the extent of no less than 61 per cent, of the -whole. We are collecting about £1,100,000 in Customs duties on whisky. It is this special item of revenue which will be depleted under the measure before us. I have pointed out before, and it is well worthy of note, that the development of the brandy industry has gone practically as far as it can go in Australia, and that future markets must be found abroad. The position of the brandy trade is practically assured in that respect. I should imagine that the keenest protectionist in Australia realizes that fact. Now we have a measure before us that will undoubtedly tend to build up a whisky industry which must deplete importation, and gradually take away a very large amount of revenue that is now collected.
– We are hopeful that that will be the result, and it will be time enough to deal with it when it happens.
– But the result is happening every day. No one supposes that the .£300,000 will be thrown away the moment the Bill passes. The loss will begin to accrue. I think the estimate of the Government is, that in the first year there will be a loss of from ,£75,000 to £90,000. I do not think that any estimate is given for succeeding years. I think that they estimate a loss of from £75,000 to £90,000, and, undoubtedly, that loss will be continued. Canada has a difference of only half-a-dollar - 2s. id. - per gallon between her import and Excise duties. Yet, with that amount of protection, it has annexed the major portion of the spirit trade.
– That is a terrible calamity.
– The honorable senator, I am sure, can readily see that if a difference of- 2s. id. per gallon will secure to Canada - a country much nearer to England than Australia is - the bulk of that industry, it does not need a difference of 3s. or 4s. per gallon to secure a similar result in Australia. When I suggest that a difference of 2s. per gallon is ample to meet that purpose, I think that he might be prepared to support me.
– We do not grow so much rye as they do.
– On referring to the returns of the British exports, I find that to Australia, last year, the export of British and Irish spirits totalled 1,600,000 gallons, whilst the export to Canada, with its much larger population, amounted to only. 600,000 gallons, again affording conclusive proof that, with the advantage of 2s. per gallon, Canada has been able to practically annex the industry. Therefore, I suggest to honorable senators that there is no occasion to throw away money which is needed, even to secure the object they have in view. The proposals embodied in the Bill give .more protection than even the Tariff Commission recommended. That is an important point. The four free-trade Commissioners were prepared to reduce the Customs duty on pure spirits by is. per gallon, while two protectionist Commissioners - Senators Higgs and McGregor - were prepared to go half way. So that six Commissioners are pledged to a policy reducing the proposed protection by 6d. per gallon, while the other two are prepared to increase the difference by another 6d. I do not think that any member of the Commission who has a seat in the Chamber will wish to go back upon that. Further, there is a recommendation embodied in the report that, if the arrangement general.lv suggested were made, pure spirit should be admitted and underproof allowed for.
– That would mean another loss of revenue.
– I am now referring to a suggestion.
– The honorable senator has been complaining of the loss to the revenue, and now he is grumbling because
– I am not doing anything of the sort, but trying to take care of the revenue. I am pointing out what members of the Commission were prepared to do as to the amount of protection. The position could be met either by reducing the Customs duty or by raising the Excise duty, but, as regards the protection, either means would bring about the same result. To reduce the import duty clearly means to lower the revenue, but to raise the” Excise duty means to protect the revenue, and, at the same time, to put the amount of protection given to the industry on those more moderate lines which commended themselves to the Commission. When we are in Committee I shall, with every confidence, suggest that the various items should be increased by, I will say, an all-round rate of is. per gallon, and, perhaps, in one or two cases, by is. 6d. per gallon.
– A loss of revenue to the extent of from ^60,000 to £80,000 a year - the estimate made -by the Government - is certainly not a matter to be lightly regarded. It would fall particularly heavily upon Queensland and Tasmania - probably the States least able to afford it - for this reason, that they, to a greater extent than the others, take Australian-made goods in place of imported goods which they purchased prior to Federation. That is seen in the InterState trade returns. It is shown by the extent to which people in Queensland, and also in Tasmania, I think, obtain their supplies through, and from, Victoria. I contend that any change in the Tariff that would increase the production of the local article as against the imported article would fall more heavily on those two States than on any others, and, by a coincidence, these are the two States, which, perhaps, are least able to afford any loss of revenue at the present time. Through you, sir, I wish to say to Senator Higgs, who made a chaffing remark the other day, that I am not talking in the interest of any particular distillery. I have the ordinary literature which has been supplied to every honorable senator, including a typewritten letter from a firm in Brisbane with regard to the duty on rum, which has not been touched upon yet. The particular subject I wish to draw attention to - the differentiation in the case of rectified or silent spirit, as against Queensland - was not suggested to me by any human being. I simply read the report of the Commission in order to find out what was the object of the proposal of the Government. I was then struck by the fact that the Bill would do an injury to the industry of distilling, as it exists in Queensland, and that caused me to bring the matter before the Senate on a previous occasion. In reading the _report, I was struck first of all by the consideration that, whereas this is recommended to us as a Bill to aid distilling in the Commonwealth, it appears from appendix B that from 1899 and 1905 inclusive, the production of spirits in the several States has more than doubled. In 1899, the quantity produced was 737,200 gallons ; in 1900, it was 743, 703 gallons; while in 1905, it was I’5o6)339 gallons. Here is an industry which has doubled its output under the present Tariff, and that is the one which we are told is to be legislated for. What have been the other results with regard to the operation of the Tariff? On turning to page 15 of the report, I find this statement -
After the ‘Commonwealth Tariff came into operation the small amount of protection given by that Tariff to locally-produced spirits was sufficient to exclude the German spirit, and little by little the trade has been drifting into the hands of the local producers.
That shows that from the protectionist point of view, the Tariff has been successful in excluding German spirit, and placing the trade more and more in the hands of local producers.
– That is, in the hands of those who were distilling from sugar, and a very good thing it was too.
– I shall deal with that point directly. On page 12 of the report, I find this paragraph -
All the witnesses were agreed that there has been under the Commonwealth Tariff a fair increase in the production of spirit from grapewine in Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales, and a great stimulus to the manufacture of spirit from molasses in New South Wales and Queensland.
So that from the point of view of the production of grape wine in Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales, there has been an increase under the operation of the Tariff, again showing that it has had a beneficent protective operation with regard to those States as well as Queensland and Victoria. It is perfectly clear, therefore, from the report that what has taken place is that the production of spirit has more than doubled, and, to a very great extent, the increased production of spirit has come from New South Wales and Queensland. On page 14 of the report, the Commission say -
From a return prepared for the Commission, showing the Inter-State transfers of spirit of Australian origin during a number of years, the following figures relating to Victoria are extracted ; the values given are those stated in the Inter-State certificates : -
State. Year, from other to other
States States into. from.
Victoria … … 1899 899 i9,707
Victoria … … 190211,50527,746
Victoria … … 1903 14,341 22,779
Victoria , … … 1904 17,916 24,871
Victoria … 1905 16,657 20,766
There we have the spirit of Australian origin transferred to Victoria, and the greater part of it, as is shown in other portions of the evidence, came “from Queensland. It has been suggested recently that a great proportion of this spirit may have been methylated. In reply to my question this afternoon, the Minister of Defence gave the quantity of spirits, including naphtha, which has been methylated in Victoria during a period of five years. In 1889 the quantity amounted to 57,658 gallons; in 1900, 65,023 gallons; in 1901, 64,048 gallons; in 1902, 34,323 gallons; in 1903, 73,510 gallons; in 1904, 68,198 gallons; and in 1905, 49.530 gallons. ‘The years 1903-4-5 have been quoted most often, and these were the years during which the spirit was coming in large quantities from Queensland. In 1903 there were 182,012 gallons brought into Victoria, 73,510 of which were methylated, leaving 109,000 not methylated ; in 1904 there were 172,709 gallons brought in, of which 68,198 were methylated, leaving 104,000 gallons not methylated ; in 1905 there were 182, 853 gallons brought in, of which 49,530 were methylated, leaving 133.000 unmethylated. In the three years 346,336 gallons of spirits were brought into Victoria, and not methylated.
– And the report of the Tariff Commission says that there is no evidence as to what was done with that spirit.
– That is so. Senator Best , gave us further information from Messrs. Joshua Brothers, who. I understand, had the sole handling of this spirit.
– Not the whole of it; they had the sole handling of the spirit received in 1903.
– At all events, Senator Best accounted for 30,000 gallonsas having been converted into spirits of wine in three years.
– There were 11,858 gallons in 1903, 9,710 gallons in 1904, and 9,584 gallons in 1905. .
– That is, about 30,000 gallons, so that, at any rate, there were 316,000 gallons of spirits which came into Victoria in the three years, and were not methylated. Senator Best has told us that 65,000 gallons were manufactured into brandy ; but even then there are 251,000 gallons not accounted for.
– There is rum and gin.
– It does not matter, for the purposes of my argument, whether the spirit was made into brandy, whisky, gin, or rum, the fact remains that 316,000 gallons were not methylated.
– Surely there will be a. record if it went into consumption ?
– I have already read the figures on that ijoint. but we cannot say exactly where the spirit came from. The fact remains that 316,000 gallons came into Victoria, and were not methylated.
– Will the honorable senator tell us what he desires us to infer from that fact?
– We have proved that the: production of spirit has been doubled ; and the facts I. have mentioned show clearly that spirit has been coming in from Queensland and New South Wales, and taking the place of the spirit previously distilled in Victoria. Is not the object of the Bill to reverse the process?
– Does Senator Drake think that that was the object of the Tariff Commission ?
– The Tariff Commission did not propose what the Government propose.
– Precious near !
– While the “Commission may not have been appointed solely on account of the statements of distillers in Victoria, one of the complaints made to Parliament was that this industry was being strangled. This industry was written about in the newspapers as being a strangled industry, which required relief, and the
Strang, nig consisted in that the distillers had left off distilling in Victoria, because the spirit could be distilled in Queensland more cheaply, and could be brought south to supply the place of the spirit previously produced here. If that be so, and this measure is going to give relief to the Victorian industry, it must be by reversing the process - by causing the spirit to be distilled in Victoria from grain, instead of being distilled in the northern State from molasses. I have never taken up the position that molasses spirit is unwholesome ; and I have not censured any’ firm in Victoria for using that spirit instead of any other. It is those who are supporting the Bill who seem to have taken up that position.
– Who said anything about unwholesomeness ?
– A great deal has been said about unwholesomeness. The contention is that the blended spirits of commerce are made, to a certain extent, of highly rectified spirit, from which the distinctive characteristics of the materials used have been eliminated ; and so long as spirit of that kind is allowed, we ought not to discriminate against the !spirit made from molasses, in face of the fact that all experts state that one spirit is just as good as the other. Grape wine may be distilled into brandy, malt into whisky, and molasses into rum ; and each is equally wholesome. When grape wine reaches a certain point of distillation, all the so-called impurities are eliminated, and there remains a spirit exactly like the highly rectified spirit from any other material, one spirit being as good as the other.
– The honorable senator does not object to the preference given to the grape wine brandy?
– I am not now dealing with that point. It seems to me that the evidence given by Dr. Fiaschi goes right to the merits of the case, with regard to the distinction between spirits made at a low strength, and spirits made at a high strength. Dr. Fiaschi says that pure grape wine brandy contains certain esters, and the latter is the material which is taken out of the spirit when it is distilled to a high strength. Experts call these esters impurities, but Dr. Fiaschi says that when he gives brandy to his patients medicinally he gives them brandy which contains those elements, because he desires to stimulate the heart, as well as. the nervous system. Doctors give all sorts of drugs to their patients, even, at times, poisons in small quantities, and Dr. Fiaschi advises the administering of brandy because it contains not only alcohol, but also those particular esters which experts call impurities. The same remarks apply to whisky. Evidently, with the use of the pot still, those materials are retained which give the particular flavour that some whisky drinkers like very much. I may say that I am not an. expert in these matters ; I am only repeating what I have read. We have had so many authorities quoted on one side, that it is just as well to hear the other side with regard to the product of the pot still as contrasted with the product of the patent still. I have here a reprint pf an article from Faulding’ s Medical and Home Journal for September, 1906.
– On whose authority is that article circulated? By whom is it signed ?
– It is not signed at all.
– Then the chances are that it is not worth anything.
– I never heard of the journal before.
– It is published in South Australia.
– The Minister says that the article is not worth anything.
– It is anonymous, and anonymous productions are not often worth anything.
– What about Dr. Fiaschi’s evidence? ,
– Dr. Fiaschi’s evidence is not anonymous.
– Dr. Fiaschi quoted! the report of a prosecution in London. Ithas been contended that whisky distilled im a patent still at high strength is less wholesome than a spirit distilled in a pot still ; but fEe writer of the article to which T have referred says -
The product of the pot still contains about 380 parts of impurities to every 100,000 parts of absolute alcohol. The early whiskies, made from malt, it may readily be understood, contained every possible by-product or impurity, since the people engaged in the manufacture did not understand enough about the purification of spirit to separate the good elements from the bad ones. People living in those days acquired a taste for whisky with impurities, and would! no doubt, have considered a pure or patent still whisky (namely, one free from any impurities, and really more wholesome), a very weak article. Also, because it would not have the intoxicating effect of the pot still whisky with its impurities, they might designate it as rubbish.
Whisky made in a patent still, at one operation, contains fewer impurities than a similar product distilled three times in a pot still. Allthe leading brands of whisky on the market are blends of the products of both the pot still “ and the patent still. People who live city lives are unable to drink the pot still whiskies of the Highlands, as they find that these spirits give them “a liver,” whereas the patent still whisky can be taken in reasonable quantities without any deleterious effects.
It is a question for the public to decide. If they want flavour in a whisky, which may have been kept in wood for two or more years, it means a” fat head “ in the morning. If they drink a mild-flavoured spirit, it will do them less injury, even if it has not been kept two hours in wood. As we know that patent still whisky is usually free from impurities, but that during its purification it is also deprived of its flavour, we suggest that the pure spirit produced by the patent still should be re-distilled in a pot still over malted grain or other materials necessary for producing the desired flavour in whisky, brandy, or rum.
The sale for human consumption of spirits made from wine, molasses, &c, in a pot still, whether kept for two or more years in wood or otherwise, ought, for the sake of the health of the community, to be absolutely prohibited.
These are the opinions of a writer in a medical journal, apparently of some standing.
– It is a journal issued by a private firm of chemists in Adeiaide.
– The writertakes the view that whisky distilled in a pot still with the impurities in it, is not so wholesome as a highly rectified spirit in a patent still. It is not for me to express an opinion; but it is perfectly clear that we are attempting now to confer a special benefit on people who are producing what is called blended spirit’s, or blended whisky, by allowing them to use 75 per cent, of rectified spirit.
– We do not say soSenator DRAKE. - That is exactly the point. Howeverthe facts may be twisted, my contention is that if distillers are allowed to use silent spirit, we should not discriminate as to the materials from which the silent spirit is made, because it is perfectly ‘ clear, from the evidence of experts, that it does- not matter whether it is distilled from grape wine malt, or molasses. ThereforeI say- that if we allow one we should allow the other. I have a little evidence to which I should like to refer on the question of the wholesomeness of molasses spirit. At page 8 of the digest of the evidence given before the Tariff Commission, honorable senators will find this evidence on the subject from Mr. Joshua himself
Messrs. Joshua ‘Brothers use both the patent still and the pot still. The patent still is slightly cheaper than the pot still. Public prejudice being in favour of pot still whisky it is so advertised, but you can work the patent still so as to get all the advantages of the pot still.
Mr Joshua does not believe that a gallon of potato spirit comes to this country. Beet and molasses spirit - if they did come in - are excellent spirits, and would not hurt anybody.
Then, at page10, there is some evidence extracted from Mr. Preston, distiller, of Abbotsford, Melbourne, who is one of the witnesses who said that he discontinued the use of molasses spirit, and it appears to me that the reason is here given -
He has not made molasses spirit lately, because he cannot possibly compete with Queensland, where the material is on the ground, and there is no freight nor cartage to pay.
There is the reason why distillers in Melbourne are not now distilling their spirit from molasses. It is not on account of any inferiority in the molasses spirit, but simply because they will not pay to bring the molasses down here, and it is in such abundance in Queensland that spirit can be distilled from it there more cheaply than spirit can be distilled here from any known material.
– They used to bring the molasses here, and distil their own spirit from it.
– Was Mr. Preston asked about the quality of that whisky?
– They never pretended to make whisky of that spirit.
– I have looked through the evidence as far as I can, and I cannot find that there is any witness who says that . spirit distilled from molasses is not as wholesome as spirit distilled from grain. If any witness has said so, the onus is with honorable senators on the other side to quote that evidence.
– Let the honorable senator refer to a witness, who says that it is whisky.
– They make whisky from it, and under the Bill before us 75 pur cent, of blended spirits may be rectified spirit.
– The honorable senator’s point is that we should not differentiate between molasses spirit and grain spirit used for a certain purpose.
– That is quite right. Mr. Preston also said -
Molasses spirit cost about is. 6d. ; the material had to be brought from Queensland, and the freight paid, &c.
I have already referred to the evidence he gave that with regard to molasses spirit he could not possibly compete with Queensland, where the material was on the ground, and there is no freight nor cartage t-> be paid. For the production of this particular kind of spirit, the southern States cannot compete with northern New South Wales and Queensland, for the reasons which I have indicated, and any suggestion that molasses spirit is bad, is rebutted bv the evidence of experts who have said that there is no inferiority in spirits made from molasses. I. object to the alteration of the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, which the Government have proposed in the schedule to this Bill. According to the recommendation of the Commission, item 3 of the schedule was worded in this way -
Blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain or other materials.
According to the Government proposal that item reads -
Blended spirits distilled partly from grape wine and partly from grain. and here is the important point - and containing not less than 25 per cent, of pure grape wine spirit (which has been separately distilled by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 40 per cent, over proof), the whole being matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be spirit so blended and matured, per proof gallon, 12s.
That allows 75 per cent, of the blended spirits to be rectified or silent spirit.
– Then the public will know that.
– How will thev know it?
– Because it will be branded in that way.
– The honorable senator does not see the point. Seventy-five per cent, of this blended spirit may be silent spirit. The Tariff Commission in their recommendation, instead of using the words “and partly -from grain,” use the words “and partly from grain or other material,” so that any kind of silent spirit might be used to make up 75 per cent, of the blended spirits referred to in item 3 of the schedule. As the item stands, 75. per cent, of the blended spirit may -be a spirit distilled from any low-class, damaged grain, rice, or anything else. It might be produced from any sort of grain, and all the evidence is absolutely overwhelming that spirit distilled from grain is indistinguishable from spirit distilled from molasses. In making the alteration to which 1 have referred, the Government have distinctly differentiated to the disadvantage of a raw material produced in Northern New South Wales and Queensland. Exactly the same remark applies to item 5. The item reads -
Blended whisky distilled from barley malt and partly from other grain, containing not less than 25 per cent, of pure barley malt spirit (which has been separately distilled by a pot still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent, overproof), the whole being matured by storage in wood for a period of not less than two years, and certified by an officer to be whisky so blended and matured, per proof gallon, us.
Again, it is perfectly clear that the blended whisky referred to in item 5 is to contain 25 per cent, of spirit distilled from barley malt by a particular process, but with regard to the other 75’ per cent, it may be a spirit distilled from any material and in any way. There is only the limitation that it must be from grain, and there is here again a clear discrimination, with regard to the 75 per cent, of blended spirit, against the spirit which is the product of molasses, and which has been so largely manufactured in northern New South Wales and Queensland within the last few years. I shall ask the Senate to consider that matter very carefully, and, in justice to the industry carried on in those States, to alter the schedule to the form in which the items I have referred to appear in the recommendations of the Tariff Commission. I hope that in discussing the matter we shall not deal with any false issues. I am not raising any question of comparison between this silent spirit and spirit distilled at a low strength from grape wine, malt, or barley. I say, however, that all the evidence is to the effect that silent spirit made from one material is indistinguishable from silent spirit made from another, and there should, therefore, be no discrimination.
– That is the opinion we held.
– Then I hope that honorable senators who are members of the Tariff Commission will assist me to have the alterationI have suggested made. If silent spirit is to be used at all, I say that the distillers should be allowed to use it whether it is made from the one material or from the other. All arguments used with respect to the cost of production are entirely by the way. It is absurd to suppose that we are going to have a protective system graded according to the difficulty of producing an article from certain raw materials. Some one might attempt to distil spirit from some material even less productive than grain, and he might then claim that he should get special protection on account of the advantages enjoyed by distillers carrying on their operations in a State producing in abundance a raw material from which spirits could be much more easily and cheaply produced. The fact that molasses spirit can be cheaply produced does not in anyway indicate that it is inferior. It is as wholesome as silent spirit produced from other materials, and it is the good fortune of Queensland and northern New South Wales that they should have in abundance the raw material from which spirit can be so advantageousily produced.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
ClauseI agreed to.
Clause 2 -
In lieu of the duties of Excise imposed by the Excise Tariff 1902 on spirits, duties of Excise shall, from the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, be imposed on spirits in accordance with the Schedule.
Provided that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine and spirits, n.e.i., which were on the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, in the spirit store of any distillery or in any Customs warehouse, may, until the first day of March, One thousand nine hundred and seven, be delivered at the rates of duly specified in the Excise Tariff
.- In view of the fact that a large additional measure of protection is to be conceded to those engaged in the distilling industry, I do not suppose there will be much objec tion to the request I have had circulated. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the clause the following proviso - “ Provided further, That if the distillers - (a) do not, after the expiration of one year from the passing of this Act, pay their employes a fair and reasonable rate of wages per week of forty-eight hours ; or
employ more than a due proportion of boys to men engaged in the industry.
The Governor-General may in pursuance of a joint address by the Senate and House of Representatives impose an additional Excise duty of one shilling per gallon on each of the items mentioned in the Schedule.”
The local distillers are to be granted a large measure of protection. If we have regard to the difference that obtains now between Excise and Customs duties, and the proposals of the Bill, we shall see to what extent the additional protection extends. In respect of brandy distilled wholly from grape wine, the local manufacturers at present have to.pay an Excise duty of us. per gallon, giving them an advantage of 3s. per . gallon over the imported article. Under this Bill the Excise duty will give the local manufacturers an advantage of 4s. In the case of blended brandy, under the existing Excise Tariff, the local manufacturers are paying 13s. -per gallon, and under this measure they will payIIS., giving them an advantage of 3s. as against is. previously. In regard to blended spirits, the present duty is 13s., and the proposed duty is 12s., giving the local manufacturers an advantage of 2s. as compared with is. With regard to whisky, the present duty is 13s. per gallon ; the proposed duty is 10s., giving the local manufacturers a jprotection of 4s. per gallon, as compared with is. as at present. With regard to blended whisky, the present Excise duty is 13s., and the proposed Excise duty isIIS., giving an advantage of 3s., as compared with is. In regard to rum, the present Excise duty is 13s., and the proposed Excise duty is 12s., giving an advantage of 2s., as against is. In regard to gin, the present Excise duty is 13s., and the proposed Excise duty is 12s., giving an advantage of 2s., as compared with is. In the case of spirits, not elsewhere included, no alteration is made; but with regard . to methylated spirits there is to be an advantage of 6d. per . gallon. At the present time the distillers are paving 6d., but under the proposed Tariff they will pay nothing.
– Is there a Wages Beard in this industry in Victoria?
– I am not aware that there is. But we are now dealing with the whole Commonwealth. It is probable that the whisky-distilling industry will be commenced in other States as well as in Victoria
– Who is to judge whether wages are fair?
– That. can be discussed afterwards. I wish to secure the recognition of the principle. The honorable senator knows what is a fair, and what is an unfair wage as well as any one.
– I do not, indeed.
– If the honorable senator would consent to leave the matter to those who have had some experience of Wages Boards, we should have no difficulty in fixing a fair and reasonable wage. There is no need for me to appeal to the protectionists to support the principle of my amendment, whilst those who are freetraders, and who contend that the advantages derived by the local manufacturers is too great, should vote for it in order that a share of the advantage may go to the workmen. An additional reason for this request is furnished by some remarks made at a meeting of the Chamber of Manufactures last night by Mr. J. M. Joshua, who is largely interested in the spirit business. He said -
I believe that a great deal more training should be given to the boys by the State, and then the employers would not be bothered with lads for live years. If the boys were given two or three years’ training in technical schools, they could then learn the rest of their trade in two years.
According, to this, Mr. Joshua believed that the State should be saddled with the expense of training boys in various trades and occupations, and that the employers should be freed from the responsibility or obligation of training their own boys. They would thus be advantaged by the instruction given to the boys at the expense of the whole people. He went on to say that, if the boys were instructed by the State, two years would be quite sufficient for them to become thoroughly conversant with any trade or occupation. Carrying that argument to a conclusion, it would mean that the State would be called upon to pay for’ the instruction of boys for the advantage of employers, and that after two or three years, and before the youths reached the age of manhood, they would be competent to do the work of men. Of course it is not expected that they would receive men’s wages. Such a system is hardly likely to be approved by honorable senators, but I draw attention to the remark, because it shows the direction in which certain employers would be willing to go. I do not know that there can be any satisfactory grounds for opposing my request.
– Suppose the distillers in one State paida higher wage than those in another State?
– Then we should have to see to it that the lower wages were increased to the level of the higher. I do not think there would be any difficulty in fixing a fair and reasonable rate, or in determining what is a reasonable number of boys and apprentices in any industry. That is a matter of detail.
– The honorable senator’s proposal would hit the just as well as the unjust.
– I do not know that it would hit any one who was acting justly. It is certainly a just thing to insist that those who receive protection shall pay their employes reasonable wages, and shall not employ an undue proportion of boys.
– The proposal means that the Excise duty would have to be raised is. all over Australia if one distiller paid an unfair wage. It would not be just to do that, because of the action of one man.
– I think the intention of my request is clear. What I wish to do is to get the principle of it embodied in the Bill.
– - I ask the honorable senator not to press his request. I suppose that we are all extremely desirous that every employer should pay a fair rate of wages ; but does not Senator Findley see the impossibility of inserting such a proposal in a Bill of this character? He does not define what a reasonable rate of wages is. What might be reasonable in one part of the Commonwealth, where provisions were cheap and house rent was low, might be far otherwise in another part, where the conditions were entirely different. Then, in regard to the employment of boys, he does not define what he means by ; a “due proportion.” But there is an even more fatal objection, and that is, as pointed out by Senator Drake, that it would penalize the whole of the distillers in the Commonwealth if one happened to pay an unfair rate of wages, or to employ an undue number of boy’s. Would that be fair? Another objection to it arises under the Constitution. It is quite clear that, if Senator Findley’s request were embodied in the Bill, it would be a dead letter. Section 55 of the Constitution provides that -
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.
In face of that, it is useless to discuss the request. If it were inserted in the Bill it would have no effect. The object is a good one - that, where additional protection is given, the least employers can do is to pay fair wages. We all agree with that. But a provision to that effect would be quite out of place in, an Excise Bill.
– - I am afraid that the section of the Constitution that has been quoted is fatal to Senator Findley’s proposal. I an] sorry, because I am heartily in accord with it. I believe that, nowadays, every one has come to see the reasonableness of the proposition that when protection is being granted to an industry, it should be shared by all the employes in that industry. But, inasmuch as the Constitution confines taxation Bills to taxation proposals, I am afraid that there is nothing for Senator Findley to do but to withdraw his request. It has been argued that if, because one distiller was not paying a reasonable wage, the Excise duty were increased in order to punish that person, all the other distillers would suffer equally. That objection, I think, could be easily overcome by providing that the additional duty should be placed on only the commodity coming from his establishment.
– That cannot be done until the Constitution has been amended ?
– If it cannot be done, then it is of no use to discuss the matter. Senator Drake has spoken of higher rates of wages being paid in Queensland, but, speaking from my experience, I am afraid that it is rather the other way about.
– That would not make any difference to the illustration he gave.
– If the Constitution would allow the Senate to dis criminate, it would be easy, I think, to distinguish between one distiller and the others.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [9.20]. - No doubt Senator Findley is very anxious to see that if the manufacturers in any industry get a measure of protection, a fair amount of that protection shall be given to their employes. I think that we are all in accord with the honorable senator on that point. Whether free-traders or protectionists we do not care to give a special advantage to a manufacturer unless he is willing to grant a fair proportion of the advantage to his. employes. But the honorable senator must see that no matter how he may exercise his ingenuity, he cannot, by a process such as he has suggested, determine what would be the proper rate of- wages to pay to the men, or what would be a due proportion of boys to men engaged in an industry. If that is desired, it will be necessary to adopt, as in Victoria, a system of Wages Boards, or as in other States, an Arbitration Court. If each House of the Parliament were called upon .to consider whether distillers were paying their employes a fair and reasonable ‘rate pf wages .per week oft forty-eight hours, it would open up an interminable debate. Although the Minister would be responsible for introducing the joint address, it would be open to discussion by every member of each House.
– Surely we would not take any longer than a Wages Board.
.- A Wages Board comprises only a few persons who hear the evidence and determine the matter, but Parliament would have no opportunity to hear evidence, and consider it as judicially as a Wages Board or Arbitration Court could do. Again, who would have to determine when a manufacturer was employing more than a due proportion of boys to men engaged in the industry? Would seventy-five men in one House and thirty-six men in the other House have to sit down and consider whether there should be one b’oy to every two or five men engaged in the industry ? Surely the honorable senator will see what a field for5 discussion his proposal would create. From a speech by a Victorian manufacturer, he quoted a recommendation that the State Government should take the responsibility of educating the boys in the various trades, and that when they had been educated up to a certain standard the boys should pass over to private employment. Surely the honorable senator can see that that would cast upon the State Government a burden which is not reasonable.
– I condemned the proposal.
– I am veryglad to hear that statement. It should be remembered that while in some industries there is a large number of apprentices, in certain industries there are not enough, and, instead of having expert tradesmen by-and-by, we shall have a few men who have been fairly trained, and a large number of men who will possess only a smattering of knowledge of their craft. I would put it to my honorable friends who support a system under which I believe one boy to every five men is supposed to be employed, that it would be just as well to consider the question of allowing a great many more boys to be trained as their forefathers were. The amendment, if adopted, would be detrimental, not only to individuals, but to the community generally. In its present form, it would be absolutely impracticable. I think that it had better be withdrawn.
– If Senator Findley is satisfied with the dictum of the Minister of Defence, no doubt he will pursue his request for an amendment no further, but I would suggest to him that it should be pressed, at any rate, to the extent of getting a ruling as to whether it is unconstitutional. The only reason which the Minister has given for holding that view is that it is contrary to section 55 of the Constitution, which says -
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.
– Read on.
Laws imposing taxation, except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise, shall deal with one subject of taxation only, but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.
– The request does not deal with duties of Excise only.
– That section was inserted in the Constitution in order to prevent “tacking.” The request deals undoubtedly with a matter of taxation. Clause 2 of the Bill does not deal with taxation, but relates to a matter of taxation, because it provides that brandy which has been in bond for a year may be cleared without paying the additional duties. The object of section 55 was to prevent a Government from bringing forward; as a taxation measure, a Bill which the Senate could not amend, and smuggling into it a provision which otherwise it could amend. But I am not prepared to admit that in a Bill imposing taxation we cannot insert any provisions we like in connexion with that taxation. For instance, suppose that Senator Findley were to leave out the introductory part of his amendment - that is -the affirmation of a principle - and to merely propose that -
The Governor-General may, in pursuance of a joint address by the Senate and House of Representatives, impose an additional Excise duty of is. per gallon on each of the items mentioned in the schedule - would it not relate to a matter of pure taxation? The introductory part of the amendment is merely the condition upon which the honorable senator says that the additional duty may be imposed. But it is clear that if only the second part were enacted, and he considered that proper wages were not being paid in an industry, he could come down here and submit a motion for a joint address to the GovernorGeneral on the subject. That would clearly be the better way to proceed, because it would be free from the objections so strongly urged to the request. As the proposal stands, it may be the affirmation of a principle, but, on account of its vagueness, it is nothing more. There is also the great objection, which I endeavoured to point out by way of interjection, that the distillers might be scattered all over the States, and if one committed a breach of the provision the Excise duty would have to be raised by is. all over Australia, and those who were observing what were deemed to be fair and reasonable conditions would thus be penalized. I have not seen legislation like this before, but, no doubt, the Excise duty would have to be raised on account of a jointaddress. I am not prepared to assent to the dictum of the Minister of Defence that the proposed amendment is unconstitutional, as repugnant to section 55 of the Constitution ; but a’ tax Bill must deal with a matter of taxation only. - if it relates to Customs taxation, it must not introduce Excise taxation, and vice versa.
– Does the honorable senator mean that only the words beginning “ The Governor-General “ should be left?
– It is clear to me. that if only those words be left, it could not be urged that the proposal is contrary to section 55 of the Constitution, because it relates directly to the matter of the imposition of taxation by means of an Excise duty. The other words simply vaguely state the grounds on which both Houses might be asked to agree to a joint address.
.- If the idea of Senator ‘ Drake were carried out, and only the concluding words of the proposed amendment were left, what a beautiful opportunity would be presented to a strong free-trade Government, if ever such a Government got into power, to increase the Excise duty, and thus decrease the protection afforded to Australian industries ! A catch vote might be taken in each House, and then the Governor-General - which, of course, means the Government of the dav - would have the power, as I say, to decrease the protection afforded to distillers. However, I do not think that this is the sort of trap into which the Senate is likely to be led.
Senator -Findley. - Is there anything wrong in faking away the protection to distillers if these distillers do not pay reasonable wages?
– But Senator Drake suggests that all but the last paragraph of the proposed amendment should be struck out.
– That will suit me if I cannot pass the other part.
– If it were certain that the proposed proviso would be put into operation only when distillers were not paying reasonable wages, I could understand the position.
– Supposing it were shown that the distillers were making overwhelming profits and destroying the revenue, would the honorable senator not be prepared to increase the Excise duty?
– That would not be done by a resolution of both Houses, but by an Act of Parliament. The proposed amendment would simply open the door to the decrease of the protection afforded toAustralian distillers.
– The protection is too much.
– We have had ample proof over’ and over again that, in the opinion of honorable senators opposite, all protection is too much if it encourages Australian industries.
– I have been endeavouring to see whether there is not a way by which the desire of Senator Findley, with which I heartily concur, can be achieved. I am afraid, however, that the proposal, if carried as presented, would not attain the honorable senator’s object, which is that unscrupulous or inconsiderate employers shall be compelled to afford fair and reasonable treatment to their , employes. Assuming that there were 100 distillers in Australia, and that ninety-nine of them were paying reasonable wages and observing conditions to which no exception could be taken, while one was violating the conditions now proposed; under such circumstances, the only possible action under the proposed amendment would be to increase the Excise duty, and thereby injure the ninety-nine just employers. And the suggestion of Senator Drake, while admissible under conditions that are possible, would, if carried out, have exactly the same effect. Having affirmed the principle that protection is a proper policy, I can see no objection to providing that, on a joint address from both Houses, the Excise duty ‘might be either decreased or increased.
– I do not think that that could be done under the Constitution.
– I am inclined to think that we could legislate in that direction, and, if we could, there should be the power to increase as well as to decrease the protection. The present proposal, however, would give power only to decrease the protection by raising the Excise duty. Parliament is to be given power to’ legislate by resolution, not for the advancement of Australian industries, but for their destruction or extinction. That is a proposal to which no protectionist could agree. As I have said, I cannot suggest any means by which, under our powers, Senator Findley’s desire may be carried out ; and, under the circumstances, I urge him to withdraw the request.
– As bearing out the view which I laid before honorable senators just now. I refer to page 678 of Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution - “One subject of taxation only.” - By the first paragraph of the section, laws imposing taxation must deal only with the imposition of taxation. If the section contained no other limitation regulating and restricting the exercising of the taxing power, there would be nothing to prevent the House of Representatives from sending to the Senate a Bill containing a number of separate and independent taxes. The section, however, goes on to enact that laws imposing taxation shall, with the exception of those relating to Customs and Excise, deal with one subject of taxation only. It is necessary to explain the object of this limitation. By the second paragraph of section 53, the Senate is deprived of the power to amend tax bills, but it may constitutionally reject them. In order to maintain its right to veto, in detail, each specific tax to which it objects, without thereby involving the rejection of other taxes, of which it approves, the Constitution prohibits the combination of taxation proposals; it requires each proposed tax to be submitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate, in a separate Bill. This procedure being followed, the Senate can exercise its discretion with respect to each tax, without being coerced to pass a tax to which it objects, in order to carry a tax which it desires. In this respect the Senate will have greater control over taxation than the House of Lords enjoys.
Cases are then quoted from the House of Lords, where there is a similar restriction; and, clearly, the object is to prevent what is known as “tacking.”
– It appears to me that the proposed amendment is unconstitutional, would be unworkable, and would lead to a great deal of trouble. I think it ought to be withdrawn. 1 understand the very object of protection to be to provide work at fair wages for the workmen engaged in the protected industries. Every one desires that where protection is afforded to an industry the workmen engaged in it shall get their fair share of the advantage afforded. But we cannot drag a question of wages into this Bill. Senator Drake made a very cunning proposal to strike out all the reason given for the proposed amendment, and leave in only the last part of it. It appears to me that in doing that we should be violating the ordinary practice in dealing with Customs and Excise taxation. We are all aware that when Customs and Excise duties are to be imposed, no one knows anything about them until they are submitted to Parliament.
– No one is supposed to know anything about them.
– That is more correct.
– I believe that in most instances no one does know, and certainly Ministers will not properly exercise their responsibility if any knowledge with respect to the duties to be imposed is allowed to leak out. But under a provision of this sort every one would know. If it were found that some distiller in a small way was not paying his men sufficient wages, every one would know that a proposal would be made to bring this provision into force for raising the Excise duties. One distiller would inform another, and we should have those who deal in liquor buying up all the spirits they could lay their hands- on, in anticipation of the increase in the duties. It is not possible to suppose that, because low wages are paid by distillers in two or three corners of the Commonwealth, the Excise duties shall be raised against distillers throughout the Commonwealth. The provision is absolutely unworkable, and let me point out to Senator Findley that I think it is also quite unnecessary. There is not throughout the evidence given to the Tariff Commission a single suggestion that distillers in Australia are not paving fair wages. In Victoria Wages Boards can be appointed to deal with the wages to be paid in this industry.
– What about Tasmania ?
– In two of the other States Arbitration Acts have been passed, and the Arbitration Courts in those States can decide what are fair wages in the industry. I point out to Senator de Largie, who reminds me that we have no Arbitration Court or Wages Board in Tasmania, that a little dispute between a distiller and his workmen in New South Wales would lead to the fixing of wages in the industry bv an Arbitration Court, and if thev were fixed at a rate considerably higher than the wages paid in the industry in Tasmania it would then be seen that fair wages were riot being paid in the latter State. But in such an event would any Government or Parliament dare to put this provision into force? It would be impossible to work it, and I believe that the Minister of Defence is quite right in saying that the proposed amendment is unconstitutional.
– It is quite wonderful to notice the unanimity amongst honorable senators who do not belong to the Labour Party when any provision is introduced for the protection of workmen. They are prepared to defeat the provision suggested by a sidewind, and quite apart from its merits. The honorable senator who has raised the constitutional objection to the request is the member of the Government who leads the Senate at the present time, and he has altogether forgotten that the Government, of which he is a member, has introduced a similar provision in a similar Bill dealt with in another place. In the Bill introduced in connexion with the imposition of certain duties of Customs on harvesters there is a provision that the manufacturers must sell their machines under certain conditions at a certain price. If Senator Findley’s proposal is unconstitutional, then undoubtedly the Government, of , which Senator Playford isa member, have been guilty of submitting a similarly unconstitutional proposal. But the unconstitutional act committed in connexion with the Bill imposing duties on harvesters is committed on behalf of men of property, who can afford to purchase harvesters, whilst Senator Findley’s socalled unconstitutional provision is designed to benefit the unfortunate workers in an industry. It is therefore to get no sympathy from a Government kept in power by the Labour Party. I say that the members of the Labour Party will very soon get tired of supporting a Government which has no sympathy with the workers, and that is prepared by a side-wind to defeat a provision intended to secure to the workers the proportion of the protection proposed to which they are justly entitled. I feel indignant that every attempt made to ameliorate the conditions of the workers should be opposed on technical grounds, where it is not opposed straight out.
– Yet the honorable senator sticks to the Government through thick and thin, whilst we oppose them.
– Honorable senators opposite have assisted to carry the proposals of the Government more than once, and they saved the Government on a recent occasion, which must be fresh in the minds of the Committee. I do not agree with the proposed amendment, because I think it is too vague and indefinite. It does not indicate what is a reasonable wage, or how- it is to be arrived at. It provides that there shall be only a “ due proportion “ of boys employed, butthere will be a hundred different definitions as to what a “ ‘due proportion “ is. Senator Gould might say that two boys to five men would be a fair proportion ; I might say that the proportion should be one boy to five men ; and Senator Findley might say that one boy to ten men would be a fair proportion.
I wish to see a provision of the kind inserted in the Bill, but it should be precise and definite if it is to attain the object desired.
– How does the honorable senator suggest that it should be worded ?
– I am not anxious to take the proposal out of the hands of Senator Findley. I am making these suggestions in the hope that he will so word his request that it will be satisfactory to myself and other honorable senators. I do not object to the principle of the request, but to the fact that as worded the provision is too vague to be effective. If it is made effective I shall be happy to support it. I strongly object to any provision proposed for the benefit of the workers meeting not only with the opposition of honorable senators on the other side, from whom we might reasonably expect opposition, but from the members of the Government.
– I thought the honorable senator said he was not going to support the proposed amendment?
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– The honorable senator’s speech indicates that very clearly.
– I did not leave that to be inferred. What I have said is that I do not think that the amendment is sufficiently precise and definite to be effective to obtain the object desired by the honorable senator who has moved the request.
– That is what I said also.
– But the honorable senator also raised what he considered to be a fatal constitutional objection.
– I might be wrong in that.
– I say that if the constitutional objection raised is fatal to the proposed amendment, it is equally fatal to the proposal of the Government in connexion with a similar Bill in another place.
– Then I am wrong, or the action of the Government in another place is wrong. I do not know which.
– Have the. Government one mind in the Senate, and another in the House of Representatives? What constitutes the corporate mind of the Government, or have they any corporate mind ?
Does not Senator Playford know perfectly well that in the Bill dealing with the imposition of Customs duties on harvesters there is such a provision as. I have indicated ?
– I do not know it.
– Senator Playford does not know what is in a Bill introduced and passed by the Government in another place?
– It has not been passed, or I should have seen it.
– Then the honorable senator has committed himself to the provisions of a Bill he has never seen ? It is quite evident that the present Government is not governed by caucus, and that its members do not consult together on measures to be submitted to Parliament.
– It must have been something introduced after the duties were agreed upon. I never trouble about a Bill introduced in another place until it comes before me in the Senate.
– Every one knows that it is a fact that under a measure introduced by the Government in another place harvesters, after a certain time, must be sold at a certain price. That condition has been put forward by Senator Playford’s colleagues as one of the chief justifications for the measure. I wish to know how this request, moved by Senator Findley, imposing a condition on behalf of the workers, can be any more unconstitutional than the imposition of a similar condition in a measure introduced in another place for the benefit of those who use harvesters? I object to this discrimination between different classes of the public. The workers are to be considered as outcasts and pariahs, whilst other people are to receive all sorts of consideration from the Government.
9-571- - I am rather surprised at the tone of Senator Givens’ remarks. He has been chiding, not only the Government, but the Opposition, because they are not prepared to support the proposed amendment which he has himself declared to be vague and undesirable. He has objected to the action of the leader of the Government in the Senate in Quoting the Constitutioni, but I should think that if any honorable senator believed a request made to be unconstitutional, it would be his simple duty to say so.
– How can a provision be unconstitutional here which is not un constitutional in a similar Bill in another place ?
– We are not called upon to discuss that question at present. Senator Givens says that he desires to do something to assist working men to secure fair rates of wages, but he is not prepared to say whether, he will vote for or against the request.
– I wish to see the amendment made effective.
.- Then why does not the honorable senator try to assist Senator Findley by suggesting how it can be made effective?
– I have made suggestions for the assistance of Senator Findley.
– Senator Drake, in dealing with the question, has pointed out what he believes to be a way in which the difficulty can be overcome. I judge from, the honorable and learned senator’s remarks that he does not think the request unconstitutional, but for certain reasons undesirable. If honorable senators believe that the amendment might be brought into conformity with the Constitution by the omission of paragraphs a and b, why do they not adopt that suggestion. If they are so anxious to insert a provision insuring that the employes in the industry shall receive a fair rate of wage, why do they not propose a request which will have that effect? Senator Styles tells us that he is very much in favour of assisting workmen, but he will not support a request of this character. Why? Because he alleges that it might be the means of increasing and not decreasing the Excise duties. But it is a reasonable thing, if honorable senators believe in any particular proposal or principle, and the amendment submitted will not carry it out, that they should propose something else which will give effect to what they desire.
– Has not a point of order been submitted by Senator Playford?
– No; no point of order has been submitted.
– I wish the Minister to be good enough to explain the difference between two dates mentioned in the Spirits Bill and in the Bill now before us. In clause 11 of the Spirits Bill, we have the proviso that - this section shall not come into operation till the 1st day of January, One thousand . nine hundred and eight.
In this Bill, we have it provided that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine, and spirits, n.e.i. - which were on the 17th day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, in the spirit store of any distillery or in any Customs warehouse until the 1st day of March, 1907, be delivered at the rates of duty specified in the Excise Tariff 1902
Will the Minister be good enough to explain the relation between those dates ?
– The information supplied to me is that we have not a sufficient quantity of spirit now in course of manufacture to supply requirements, and that, therefore, we propose to allow spirits in bond to be delivered, and to give importers a longer time for the delivery.
– Are those spirits supposed to be deleterious?
– Then what is the reason for causing them to be kept in bond for any time?
– Is not my request before the Committee?
– Yes. If Senator Pulsford wishes to move a request prior to Senator Findley’s, it will be necessary for that honorable senator to withdraw his request.
– I simply desire to have an explanation from the Minister in regard to the point I have raised. The matter of date is very “important. A certain date is fixed for dealing with imported spirits, and another date for dealing with Australian-made spirits. There does not seem to be that fair adjustment which might have been made.
Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia - Minister of Defence) £10.11]. - We can deal with thematter mentioned by Senator Pulsford when we return to the Spirits Bill. Under the existing law. spirits already imported can go into consumption’ without let or hindrance. We do not propose to prevent them going into consumption until a certain date has expired.”
– I desire to raise a point of order. The Minister of Defence has pointed out that under section 55 of the Constitution, Senator Findley’s request would be inoperative, even if it were inserted in the Bill. The section provides that laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and that any other provision shall be of no effect. I therefore urge that we are absolutely precluded from inserting in this Bill anyother provision, than relates to the imposition of taxation. What Senator Findley proposes does not deal with duties of Excise in any way whatever. Another objection to the request is that it is not within the title or scope of the Bill. The Bill is entitled-
A Bill for an Act to amend the Excise Tariff Act 1902.
In that Act there is not a single word about the matters dealt with in Senator Findley’s request. The Bill deals wholly with duties of Excise, and does not relate in any particular to conditions! of labour, wages, or the employment of boys. On the ground that the request is unconstitutional, and also that it is in conflict with our Standing Orders, I urge that it is out of Order.
– It has been frequently held both by the President and by the Chairman of Committees that it is not the duty of the Chair to decide a question as to the interpretation of the Constitution. In one case the President ruled -
As a general rule it is not proper for the President or the ‘Chairman of Committees to give a ruling on the interpretation of the Constitution, but where a ruling is absolutely necessary in order to carry on the business, it ought to be given. Such a case arose in the case of Senator Saunders. His right to vote was challenged, and the business of the Senate could not proceed until the question was settled.
Whether the amendment proposed to be requested is constitutional or not is a question which the Committee is just as well able to decide as is the Chairman. The second ground on which the point of order is taken is that the amendment is not relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. The object of the Bill is to impose certain duties, and the object of the amendment is to add a proviso that the duties shall only be imposed under certain conditions. Therefore, I rule that it is in order.
– I propose to dissent from the ruling, and I will place my dissent in writing
In the Senate.
The Chairman or Committees. - I beg to report that when in Committee on the Excise Tariff Bill Senator Findley moved that the House of Representatives be re- quested to add the following words’ to clause 2 -
Provided further, That if the distillers -
do not, after the expiration of one year from the passing of this Act, pay their employes a fair and reasonable rate of wages per week of fortyeight hours; or (i) employ more than a due proportion of boys to men engaged in the industry.
The Governor-General may in pursuance of a joint address by the Senate and House of Representatives impose an additional Excise duty of one shilling per gallon on each of the items mentioned in the Schedule.
Senator Gould took the ground that the proposed amendment was unconstitutional, and he quoted section 55 of the Constitution, which says: -
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect. Laws imposing taxation, except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise shall deal with one subject of taxation only ; but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.
Senator Gould also based his point of order on the ground that the proposed amendment was not relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. On the first ground I ruled, in accordance with a ruling which has been frequently given in the Committee and the Senate, that it is not the duty of the Chair to decide whether an amendment is constitutional or not, as it is just as able as the Chair to decide that point. On the ground of relevancy, I ruled that the proposed amendment was in order. The subjectmatter of the Bill is the imposition of certain duties, and the amendment proposes that such duties shall only be imposed provided that certain conditions are attached thereto. Senator Gould has dissented from the ruling in these terms -
I dissent from the ruling of the Chairman that the amendment proposed by Senator Findley in the Excise Tariff Bill is within the scope and the object of the Bill, and that it is not within the Chairman’s province to determine questions as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
– The latter part of the ruling has been laid down here halfadozen times, and it has been assented to by the Senate over and over again.
– Of course, sir, I am prepared to accept your statement on that point; but, still, I would point out that our powers are clearly laid down in the Constitution. It would seem that it is entirely beyond the province of the Senate to enact such’ a provision, because section 55 says-
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.
I submit that it is not so much a matter of interpreting a difficult provision in the Constitution-
– It is only a matter of degree as to whether it is a difficult or an easy question to decide. I should think that this is quite easy ; but, still, that is not the point. The honorable senator can hardly lay it down that it is the duty of the President to decide an easy question, and not to decide a difficult one.
– Suppose, for the sake of argument, that a Bill were introduced which clearly went beyond the powers of the Senate under the Constitution. Could we reasonably expect that measure to be proceeded with?
– Who is to decide that?
– I should think it would be for the President to say whether it was within our constitutional right to deal with the Bill, and, if not, to rule that it could not be proceeded with. However, sir, as you seem to be opposed to me with regard to that point, I do not propose to labour it. It is distinctly provided in standing order 194 -
Any amendment may be made to any part of a Bill, provided the same be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill, and be otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate. [ submit, sir, that the proposed amendment is clearly not relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. This is a Bill to amend the Excise Tariff Act of 1902. The only matter it deals with really is the amount of taxation which is to be raised by means of Excise duties on various spirits which are distilled within the Commonwealth, and the only departure from absolutely fixing the particular sum is contained in clause 2, which says -
In lieu of the duties of Excise imposed by the Excise Tariff 1902 on spirits, duties of Excise shall, from the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, be imposed on spirits in accordance with the Schedule.
Provided that spirits distilled wholly from grape wine and spirits, n.e.i., which were on the seventeenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and six, in the spirit store of any distillery or in any Customs warehouse, may, until the first day of March, One thousand nine hundred and seven, be delivered at the rates of duty specified in the Excise Tariff 1902.
When I turn to the Excise Tariff Act of 1902 I find that it contains no provision dealing with the rates of wages which have to be paid to individuals, or the conditions under which :labour has to be performed. Therefore, I submit that the proposed amendment is absolutely beyond the scope of the Bill, and cannot be dealt with by the Committee without an instruction from the Senate. Even then I very much doubt whether it would be in order to submit such a request.
– Ever since we have been a Senate, the rule has been laid down by myself, and adopted by the Senate, that the President or the Chairman of Committees is not the proper tribunal to decide on the interpretation of the Constitution. I cannot see how it can possibly be laid down that on an occasion when a matter is stated to be so clear and distinct, that there can be no difficulty whatever in arriving at a’ conclusion, the President is to give a ruling, but that he is not to be called on to give a ruling when there is some difficulty. I am not going to give from the Chair any opinion on the point raised. The Committee is quite able to decide it, and it seems to me, as has been stated, to be perfectly clear; but what that clearness is, I shall not further say. The other question is as to whether the amendment it is proposed to request is relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill. In his dissent from the ruling.. Senator Gould says -
I dissent from the ruling of the Chairman that the amendment proposed by Senator Findley in the Excise Tariff Bill is within the scope and object of the Bill.
That is not die test laid down bv the Standing Orders. That was the test in force at one time in the House of Commons, but it was found to be too restrictive, and was altered. The test is that provided by standing order No. 79. which declares that any amendment to a Bill in Committee must be relevant to the subjectmatter of the Bill, and standing order No. 24 r. which lays it down that the Committee shall not consider any matter which has not been referred to it. These are the standing orders which have to be construed in arriving at a decision. As I have stated repeatedly, it is merely a question of opinion on every particular occasion as to whether an amendment is, or is not, relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill. No rule can be laid down, because each particular set of circumstances varies - the subject-matter of the Bill is different, and the proposed amendment is different. I have already stated that I do not think it is my duty to dissent from the ruling of the Chairman, unless I am quite sure that he is wrong. I am not sure that the Chairman is wrong in this case, and therefore I uphold his ruling.
– I appeal to the Minister to report progress, and for two very strong reasons. In the first place, it is quite a surprise to me that this Bill should have been taken into Committee. I quite understood that after the second reading we were to proceed with the Spirits Bill. On that distinct understanding a number of pairs have been arranged,, and several honorable senators have gone away, quite expecting that the Spirits Bill only would be dealt with to-night. If the Minister of Defence thinks we ought to sit longer I must ask him, in view of the understanding arrived at, to report progress, and to proceed with the Spirits Bill. Then, in view of the fact that we have to meet again within the next twelve hours on the important occasion of a call of the Senate. I think I am. amply justified in suggesting that we should now adjourn.
– It is always understood that the leader of the Senate and the leader of the Opposition try to arrange as to the conduct of business. In the House of Commons and all legislative bodies that is done wherever possible, and things go on smoothly, or fairly smoothly. . I understand that in the absence of Senators Symon and Clemons, Senator Millen acts as leader of the Opposition.
– We have no knowledge as to that arrangement.
– There ought to be some representative of the Opposition with whom arrangements can be made. I am always quite willing to accede to the wishes of honorable senators on either side of the chamber, if I find it possible to do so. To-night Senator Millen suggested to me that as the Spirits Bill was a machinery Bill, it would be better to proceed with the Excise Tariff Bill, which was the most important, and get that finished first. I told Senator Millen that it was perfectly immaterial to me which Bill was proceeded with first ; and, regarding him as representing gentlemen opposite, I acted upon his suggestion. The result is that we are now engaged on the Excise Tariff Bill ; and I ask honorable senators to sit here until we have seen it through Committee.
– Senator Millen was, I think, referring to the second reading.
– He was referring, not only to the second reading, but to carrying the Bill as far as possible in Committee. There would have been no discussion on the second reading of the Excise Tariff Bill if Senator Drake had not repeated the speech he made on the Spirits Bill. Indeed, it was understood that we were dealing with the two Bills as one, and that the second-reading speeches should serve for both. I find, however, that I have “ fallen in “ in regard to the position of Senator Millen, who appears to be repudiated as the acting leader of the. Opposition. Am I to understand that gentlemen opposite have no leader in the absence of Senator Symon, but are a disjointed lot? If so, then it appears to me that after the manner in which I have been treated, the better course would be to pay not the slightest attention to any honorable senator opposite in these matters in the absence of Senator Symon.
– The pair book is a simple and complete answer to Senator Playford.
– I cannot allow any discussion or reply to the Minister to be made.
– Does Senator Pulsford say that my statement is untrue?
– No, but I say that the Minister is entirely under a misapprehension so far as Senator Millen is concerned. The pair book shows that Senators Millen and McGregor have paired on the Spirits Bill, and Senator Millen went away for the night quite understanding that no other business would be proceeded with but the second reading of the Excise Tariff Bill
– I told Senator Millen that I should go on with the Excise Tariff Bill as far as possible.
– The arrangement which Senator Millen has made with Senator McGregor is quite in accord with what is in my mind. While every honorable senator will accept the assurance of Senator Playford as to the arrangement made, I do not think any one will refuse to accord equal credence to what I say
– I should like to refer to what the Minister of Defence said in the early part of the afternoon. The honorable senator mentioned that he intended to go into Committee on the Spirits Bill, and it now appears that what he meant was that he intended to deal with the Excise Tariff Bill in Committee. I did not understand that, and I think that Senator Millen did not understand it.
– The honorable senator understood it thoroughly.
– Senator Millen would not have gone away if he had known that the Excise Tariff Bill was to be considered in Committee.
– Will honorable senators promise to be good to-morrow?
– We will promise not to unduly delay the passing of the measure to-morrow. If the Minister will consent to adjourn now, I think it will lead to more progress being made.
Senator Lt.-Col. GOULD (New South Wales) [10.41]. - If the Minister is disinclined to adjourn at the present time, he might consent to report progress after we have dealt with the clauses of the Bill, and before we deal with the schedule. Speaking personally, I am not aware of any arrangement having been made with the honorable senator. In saying so, I think I am voicing the opinions of honorable senators on this side generally. Senator Millen will be able to speak for himself on the subject to-morrow. It would be very much, better if the Minister, instead of himself nominating some one to represent the Opposition, would permit honorable senators in opposition to suggest one of their number who should be authorized to speak for them. However, I think the Minister might agree to report progress after we have dealt with the clauses of the Bill, and leave the consideration of the schedule until to-morrow.
– What are we to doro morrow ?
.- We have a call of the Senate for to-morrow, and it is unreasonable to ask honorable senators to remain here late, and then to come again at 10.30 a.m. to-morrow in response to a call of the Senate. If we had had any desire to delay business, Senator Playford will admit that, if I had seen fit, it would have ‘been perfectly competent for me to move dissent from the ruling which the President has just given.
– If honorable senators are up to those tricks, I shall move to suspend the standing order on that subject.
.- I am merely reminding the honorable senator that I might have adopted that course. I did not do so because I did not, under the circumstances, think it would be a fair way of treating the Government or the Senate. I suggest that it would be a fair thing to deal with Senator Findley’s amendment and clause 2, and then report progress.
– I think honorable senators might go a little further than that. They might agree to pass the whole of the clauses of the Bill, and the two first items of the schedule. I do not think there will be any trouble about those items.
– There will be a good deal of discussion on the first item.
– If there is going to be a good deal of discussion, I shall have to ask the Senate to sit on Mondays, and to keep a quorum to enable the Government to do a certain amount of business every night. If we are to go on as we are doing now, we shall be sitting here until Christmas.
– I hope that the leader of the Senate will not agree to the request of the Opposition. It would not be fair to members of the Labour Party, who help to keep a quorum, so that the Government might carry on their business. We know that it is the object of the Opposition to prevent the Government from doing their business. I wish to see the measures now before the Senate passed into law. and we know that other Bills have vet to come before us. I understand that . we have only this week and next week within which to do all the business. If that be so, we cannot be running away at 11 o’clock at night, but must be prepared to sit until 2, 3, or 4 o’clock in the morning, if necessary. If Senator Playford agrees to the request for an adjournment, I cannot (guarantee to assist him to’ keep a quorum to enable members of the Opposition to talk against time until 11 o’clock at night, and then approach the Government for an adjournment. If honorable senators in Opposition must talk, we should be prepared to give them the whole night for talking, and if that were done I think that business would be transacted in very quick time.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia [10.48]. - Senator Stewart has just given honorable senators in Opposition some advice. I do not know exactly whether he is supposed to be a supporter of the Opposition or of the Government, but I have a vivid recollection that only a few days ago he was himself building up a stone-wall against a Government proposal. I think that this is a reasonable hour to adjourn, and that the Government have made very fair progress. I hope that Senator Stewart’s advice will be taken only for what it is worth, and remembering his attitude of a few days ago, I should say it is not worth very much.
– Mr. Chairman-
-If the honorable senator proposes to speak I shall ask htm to discuss the question before the Committee.
– I do not wish to discuss that question, but to say aword or two on the matter which has already been discussed at some length.
– Then I hope the honorable senator will be brief. Senator HENDERSON. - I shall be very brief, and if my example in this respect were- generally followed by honorable senators, we should not now be discussing the . question before the Chair. I hope the leader of the Senate will see the wisdom of consenting to an adjournment at litis hour. I am prepared to give the Government reasonable support, and to assist in keeping a quorum, but I am not such a whale for work as to desire to be here night after night. I recognise that it is a reasonable thing for a man to beable to get to his bed about midnight, and the man who does not want to be in bed at midnight ought to be in gaol.
– The honorable senator does not like the “ dog watch.”
– I have always been opposed to the “dog watch,” and I am positive that if Senator Stewart had ever had to keep the “ dog watch “ he would not have spoken as he has done.
– If honorable sena tors will pass the clauses of the Bill, and the first two paragraphs of the schedule, I will consent to progress being reported.
Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 September 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1906/19060918_senate_2_34/>.