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Friday, 19 May 1939

Mr LANE (Barton) .- In paragraph 21 of the committee's report the ideals which actuated the members of the Public Works Committee are' set out. That paragraph reads -

After mature consideration of all the evidence received, the committee is satisfied that all legitimate hospital needs of Darwin for the next tcn years will be met by providing approximately GO beds in the new hospital, exclusive of about sixteen that will be provided in the isolation blocks, which is allowing 12.6 per 1,000 for the anticipated population of fi.000-

It would appear that the committee refused to accept the advice of expert medical officers from Melbourne and Sydney who gave evidence before it.

Mr Blain - Conditions at Darwin are entirely different from those in the other places mentioned.

Mr LANE - I should say that more beds in proportion to the population are necessary at Darwin, because of the peculiar conditions there, than at either. Sydney or Melbourne. The paragraph from which I have quoted continues -

It was adduced in evidence that the design of the building is such that an additional 30 patients could be accommodated on the verandahs-

Those in control of many of the big hospitals in Sydney are trying to avoid placing patients, other than convalescent patients, on verandahs.

Mr Frost - There is no tropical hospital in Sydney.

Mr LANE - I realize that. I imagine that the arrangement of a hospital for Darwin would be entirely different in many respects from a hospital in either of the other cities mentioned. I have had a good deal of experience with hospitals, because for 35 years I have been a member of the board of a hospital providing accommodation for over 80 patients. The paragraph continues - while with but little crowding the isolation blocks could take 32-

If the committee's highest ambition is to provide for any necessary expansion by overcrowding within the present area of the hospital, it would appear that the members of the committee have no proper conception of what a hospital should provide. Paragraph 21 of the report concludes - so that in an emergency the hospital recommended could care for 122 patients, which is ten per 1,000 ot \ population ot 12,000.

On page 6 of the report, the reductions decided upon by the committee are set out. The statement shows that in respect of the central block a saving of about £7,000 is contemplated, whilst a laundry to cost about £2,100 is proposed in place of one originally estimated at £6,380. While it is necessary that a hospital should be built at once I should like to be satisfied that it would be possible to extend it" economically at a later date. Perhaps I may be pardoned for saying that I have not formed a high opinion of the abilities of the Public Works Committee in consequence of its activities in respect of Canberra.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member for Barton is not entitled to make such statements when debating a motion which deals with the provision of a hospital at Darwin.

Mr LANE - What I wish to say is that the Public Works Committee has not developed the idealism of hospital construction in relation to its proposal for Darwin any more than it has developed the idealism of city planning in relation to its activities at Canberra. It has formed the habit of introducing extraneous matters.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! The honorable member must discuss the motion before the Chair. It is obviously necessary for honorable members to confine their remarks to the matter under discussion and it would be unfair and improper for me to allow the honorable member for Barton to proceed along the lines he is at present following.

Mr LANE - If I can prove that the Public Works Committee has introduced extraneous matter into the consideration of this subject as it has done on other occasions, 1 shall establish a case foi a further inquiry. This subject should be remitted to the committee for reconsideration. Surely in discussing a matter of this kind we are entitled to refer, by way of illustration, to other inquiries by the Public Works Committee. The committee has failed to furnish a satisfactory report in this case as in others. I say no more about other reports.

Mr SPEAKER - It would be distinctly improper for the honorable member to do so.

Mr LANE - I have not referred to any other special reports.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! I shall not allow the honorable member to continue. He is not only persistently defying the Chair but is also ignoring the rules of debate. The honorable member will resume his seat when the Speaker is upon his feet.

Mr LANE - I intend to move dissent from this ruling.

Mr SPEAKER - I hope the honorable member will realize that no ruling is involved.

Mr LANE - I wish to move dissent from the ruling of the Chair on the ground that I have been prevented from discussing the motion in general terms, and have also been prevented from making a reference to other recommendations of the Public Works Committee.

Sir Frederick Stewart - I hope the honorable member will not proceed along that line.

Mr LANE - As honorable members seem to be of the same opinion, I shall content myself with saying that I have suffered in this way before.

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