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Wednesday, 13 May 1942

Mr DUNCAN-HUGHES (Wakefield) . - When speaking on Friday last I asked the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Holloway) whether the State Governments had been approached for their views on this subject. I received no reply and during the week-end I ascertained that the Sotith Australian Government had not been approached. I presume, therefore, that other State Governments had not been approached. The South Australian Government's view waa that its costs would be increased because hospitals would not have an ascertainable amount allowed to them in respect of oldage pensioners in hospitals and that it was only fair that they should receive their contributions from the time the pensioner entered hospital and not from 28 days afterwards. The point made by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) is a good one, namely, that many country hospitals which, under the bill are to be prevented from receiving anything definite from old-age pensioners, have had no opportunity to express their views on the proposal. No South Australian hospital in city or country, so far as I know, has expressed its view in favour of the change and that seems to me a good reason for voting against the clause. The Minister has said that he thinks that hospitals will benefit materially by the change.

Mr Holloway - I did not say that.

Mr DUNCAN-HUGHES - The Minister did not contradict the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) when he repeated those very words which he said the Minister had used. I do not think that the Commonwealth Government should impose added costs on either city or country hospitals at present - costs which they will not be able to carry without grave financial difficulty to themselves.

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