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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1302

Senator DITTMER (Queensland) . - My distinguished colleague from Tasmania, Senator Wright, asks whether anyone is keeping a check on the expenditure on the Australian Capital Territory. I am certain that he is and that if the figure is buried he will find it. He says these things in his own inimitable way. In my humble way, I follow in his trail. I refer particularly to Division No. 852, which relates to health services. I have heard it said, as my distinguished colleague from Tasmania has heard it said, that the Canberra Community Hospital is a private hospital for the doctors of Canberra and that there is no provision for poor people. I know that not many poor people, except the parliamentarians, live here, but there are pensioners who live within the precincts of Canberra. The Canberra Community Hospital happens to be a hospital in which private doctors serve. They serve the people who go there. Is Senator Anderson, who is the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, prepared to tell me what is likely to be the position in five or ten years as people who are now middle aged grow old and receive pensions? What will be their position when they go to the Hospital? Will they have to demand the attention of a private practitioner? That appears to be the position there today.

What will be the position of the Canberra Community Hospital? It is provided by the nation at extraordinary expense for a limited population. An extraordinary amount of money is provided by the people of this country for a limited population, but many people are denied the legitimate medical services to which they arc entitled. I sometimes wonder what the responsibility of the Minister is. I just pose that question so simply and so innocently. I may follow it up. If I do not get a satisfactory answer, there is no doubt in the world that I will follow it up.

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