In a statement published yesterday he did not attempt to challenge the accuracy of serious allegations made in the articles and in subsequent letters to the Editor.
Criticism falls within two categories. It is against conditions at the Brisbane Mental Hospital, and it favours a review of the whole system of mental treatment.
RESULT: No comment from the Minister
A complaint was made that patients, for whom a boarding and treatment fee of £1/5/ a week was being paid by themselves or relatives, were required to do hard manual labour in the name of 'occupational therapy'— one party having had to dis-inter and rebury 4000 bodies from a cemetery.
RESULT: No comment from the Minister.
Protests were made that all patients at Brisbane were required to line up in the nude for weekly inspection and bath.
No comment from the Minister.
Still No Comment
RESULT: Dr. Stafford claimed there were no known homosexual cases among the patients.
No comment from the Minister.
- 'A half-way house for minor mental cases;
- Stricter classification of patients within the Brisbane Mental Hospital:
- Appointment of a visiting board, to include non-Government members and a psychiatrist not on the hospital staff;
- Revision of the system under which people are certified as insane and committed to mental hospitals.
Letters continue to arrive at The Courier-Mail office warmly supporting the critical articles. One correspondent says: —
'On the point of manual labour required from patients, I wonder if the public realises that some time back it was costing the taxpayer about £40 a week for warders' wages to watch the patients being worked on the golf course. Gailes is a private golf club.
"As 'occupational therapy' this tending of the golf course is little better than the work of those employed in digging up the dead and re-burying them.
'Complaints about the food are justified. Meals are cooked in a central kitchen, and by the time they arrive at the wards all except slops and liquids are cold.
'Your writer's suggestion for a visiting board for each of the four State mental hospitals is a good one, but only non-Government members should be on the board. Experience has taught that the system of visiting justices is farcical and a waste of public money.
The demand is for an open and public examination, with nothing kept secret.'
NEW STATEMENT BY MINISTER
'I do not resent criticism,' said Mr. Jones, 'and I am not attempting to 'white wash' anybody as suggested by The Courier-Mail.
'I think it only fair even at this stage that any letters of complaint lodged with The Courier-Mail should be handed to the department to enable a full investigation to be carried out.' 'If The Courier-Mail is not prepared to do this, then the inference is that the editor has resorted to the old newspaper trick of writing letters to himself and then handing them to a reporter for investigation.'
Source : https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/49320297