Albanese Supports ACT Government on Calvary Hospital Acquisition

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has intervened in the increasingly bitter dispute over the ACT Government’s forced acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, insisting it is not driven by religion. The Labor leader, himself a Catholic, has stepped into the Calvary controversy following the action taken by the ACT Government compulsorily acquire the hospital on July 3rd. There has been a furious backlash to the takeover from Calvary management, the Catholic Church, the Canberra Liberals and federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. Mr. Dutton has called on the Albanese Government to intervene to reverse the acquisition. Members of the Church have echoed the call. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Australian Medical Association are also concerned by what they regard as a lack of consultation.

However, the ACT Labor-Greens Government insists the full integration of the public hospital network was needed as it moves to establish a new $1 billion hospital in Canberra’s fast expanding north. Mr. Albanese said he backs the territory government’s move. “The ACT Government are expanding their public hospital service delivery and restructuring healthcare provision as a result,” he said. “It is not seen as providing any precedent by the ACT Government and should not be by anyone else.” The compulsory acquisition of Calvary Hospital by the ACT Government has far-reaching implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Australia.

The ACT government asserts this decision has nothing to do with religion arguing that negotiations with Calvary had broken down because they had been unable to reach an outcome that met the health needs of the Territory community. Reading between the lines, this compulsory acquisition is because Calvary Hospital and the ACT government had a fundamental disconnect over the definition of healthcare. For the government, abortion is non-negotiable, whereas Calvary Hospital relies on institutional conscientious objection to refrain from participating in abortion based on a view that it is ethically wrong to intentionally end a human life.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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