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Tuesday, 22 September 1942


Mr MULCAHY (Lang) . - When I heard so much criticism in relation to a trivial motor car ride from the Hotel Kurrajong to Parliament House I was reminded of the last general elections and the last Government. I recollect how a .member of the previous Government took a motor car from Melbourne in order to carry on his election eering campaign throughout Queensland. That happened at a time when stocks of motor fuel in Australia were so low that we had scarcely enough to carry us on for a month. Furthermore, there were very few gas-producers in the country at that time. I do not complain about Ministers travelling from their hotels to their offices in motor cars. Their time is too valuable to be wasted in slow travel, and therefore they should not waste even one minute in travelling by any slower means than a motor car or aeroplane.

I had occasion last night to visit the Canberra Community Hospital as the result of the tragic death of the child of an officer of a Commonwealth department. Local doctors who attended the child were assisted by some of the medical officers of the United States Army, which has taken over the new hospital building at Acton. In conversation with some of these doctors I was informed that the Government is about to expend £30^000 or £40,000 on improvements to the old hospital building. I was told also that that building was much more suited to the needs of the military forces than the new building. An American major said to me, " I do not know why they gave us the new hospital. That should be used for the people. We should have the use of the old building, which is more suited to our purposes than the new one ". I should like the Government to consider this matter with a view to effecting a change before it incurs this large expenditure on the old building.


Mr Jolly - Would that save the £40,000?


Mr MULCAHY - I believe that it would do so; at any rate, it would save a considerable sum. Some of the modern equipment in the new building is designed for obstetric work, and therefore is of no use to the military forces. I hope that serious consideration will be given to my proposal to make the old hospital available to the United States Army in place of the new building.







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