The Prime Minister’s weak capitulation to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government’s unprecedented acquisition of the Calvary Hospital in Canberra is a major disappointment.
Calvary Hospital has a long and proud history in providing quality health care in the ACT and surrounding areas.
Yet right now, the ACT Government is rushing legislation through the ACT Legislative Assembly to enable the Territory Government to forcibly acquire Calvary Hospital.
The new law will force Calvary Hospital to hand over its operations to Chief Minister Andrew Barr. The Calvary hospital had 76 years remaining on its lease, under an agreement made under the leadership of then Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. But last year the ACT Labor Government changed its mind. They decided they wanted to cut Calvary’s lease by more than 50 years, and when Calvary sought to stick to the existing deal, the ACT Government decided to forcibly acquire the hospital instead.
This is an extraordinary attack on freedom of religion and on the rights of private and religious health care providers to care for the sick. It sets a dangerous and unsettling precedent for every faith-based school, aged-care provider, or social welfare service.
The ACT Government’s legislated asset grab of Calvary Hospital sends a chilling signal to religious and private healthcare providers: if you don’t submit to ideological left governments, they will come after you.
The Federal Coalition is both amazed and aghast at the manner in which the ACT Government has gone about this process – with little consultation or contact with the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn who have successfully operated this facility for decades.
Such is the gravity of this extraordinary situation, the Federal Coalition is amazed that the Prime Minister has washed his hands of this issue.
The Prime Minister must reconsider and intervene.
This is a Territory law. The Commonwealth Government can and should intervene to override the ACT Government and make clear that it will not stand for this outrageous hostile acquisition.
The Prime Minister promised religious freedom would be a key priority of his. But under his watch, a Labor Government is preventing a religious organisation from caring for the sick, the frail, and the aged.
It’s a disgrace – and the Prime Minister and all ACT Labor Federal Members and Senators should stand up and put an end to the ACT Government’s shameful takeover grab of Calvary Hospital.