ACT Government to Face Questioning Over Calvary Takeover

The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has been swamped with mail over the hostile takeover of Calvary hospital. Over 7,000 pieces of correspondence and 65 more detailed submissions, including that from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) have been received. This deluge has resulted in a month’s extension for the committee to report and establish a public hearing. As a result, the ACT Government will be called before the Committee, in the Federal Parliament House, to explain the takeover. This is a glimmer of accountability in a dark chapter of Australian history. To refresh our memory: The ACT Government embarked upon a hostile takeover of Calvary Public Hospital, ignoring its own Lands Acquisition Act 1994, and setting aside standing orders to avoid committee scrutiny. The bill authorising the takeover of Calvary Hospital was tabled on 11 May 2023, the day after the Government told Calvary Health’s CEO what it intended to do; delivering on a plan secretly developed inside the ACT Heath Department for months.

Despite Calvary Health challenging the compulsory acquisition before the ACT Full Supreme Court, the takeover proceeded as planned on 3 July 2023. It is not to be forgotten that Calvary Hospital refused to provide elective abortions, was criticized in an ACT Government report in April 2023 for its “problematic” religious ethos and it opposed euthanasia in the ACT. A few days before the 3 July takeover of Calvary Hospital, the ACT Human Rights Minister Tara Cheyne explained that she was considering allowing minors as young as 14 to access assisted suicide as part of the anticipated ACT euthanasia scheme. The Government is looking forward to rolling out euthanasia in all of Canberra’s public hospitals, including the newly compulsory acquired Canberra North Hospital (formerly Calvary Hospital). The Barr Government will soon face a grilling from the Senate Committee as to ideological motivations in taking over Calvary Hospital.

We join with our Catholic friends in contending that a takeover of this type should never have happened and should never be repeated by any Australian government. And by the way, the motion to provide the public hearing passed 31 to 30, with the vote of Independent ACT Senator David Pocock. He said Canberrans deserve to hear the reasoning behind the takeover. Amen to that. The largest single event in the resistance of the takeover was the webinar led by ACL CEO Michelle Pearse, with over 1,300 people participating. Correspondence and submissions, informed by the webinar, have brought salt and light to the ACT Government’s decision, and created the opportunity for a public hearing.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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