Calvary Hospital Compulsory Acquisition; ‘a monstrous attack on democracy’
The planned compulsory acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital by the ACT Government is a monstrous attack on democracy, Fr Tony Percy said today as he called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to intervene.
The head of a new Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn action group, Fr Percy, launched the petition to ‘Save Calvary Hospital’ on 12 May. The petition is already approaching 18,000 signatures.
“Everyone needs to know there is so much at stake here,” he said.
“What we’ve got is an ACT Government that is actually suspending its own Land Acquisition Act, whereby you do compulsory acquisitions on just terms. They are suspending it and saying, ‘We’re gonna take the land, we’re gonna grab the property, we’re gonna rip up the contract and then we will do just terms after that.’”
Fr Percy said it was time for Mr Albanese to step in and urge the government to pull the legislation and negotiate in good faith with Calvary.
“We have got to have the prime minister exert pressure,” he said.
“His two great loves are the Rabbitohs and the Catholic Church. So, if the NSW Government was treating the Rabbitohs as the ACT government is treating the Catholic Church, he would be quick smart into the arena. He has got to get involved.”
The former Vicar General said the compulsory acquisition would set a dangerous precedent for the future.
“If you have a government that can just come in and treat with total disrespect a medical institution that’s been operating in place for 44 years and has 76 years of the lease to go – if they can just come in and do that, they can do it with anyone,” he said.
“They can go to educational institutions, and they can rip them apart because they don’t happen to agree with what they are teaching. This is a major attack on the freedom and dignity of the individual person and the individual institutions that arise because of it.”
Fr Percy said the takeover did not make sense from a health or financial perspective.
“We certainly know it’s not because they’re going to develop a better medical system, because we know that TCH is on its knees. Everyone is coming out and saying what a disgrace TCH is, and the government’s been in for 21 years and not done anything about it. So, it can’t be because they are going to deliver better medical services,” he noted.
“It can’t be because it is going to be financially better because we know that Calvary built a $350 million hospital for 342 beds. And when the government is saying we are going to build a 500-bed hospital after we demolish Calvary for a billion dollars, we know that’s going to be two billion. The government would be far better off commissioning Calvary to build their hospital at about a quarter of the price and save the rest of the money for public works across Canberra. So, we know it’s not financial.”
Fr Percy said he could not rule out the possibility of religious discrimination.
“People are talking about abortion, but people have to remember that abortion is not performed in the Canberra Hospital, the main hospital, except in exceptional circumstances, and neither is it performed in Calvary. So that’s a furphy,” he said.
“And yet, in the same report, the government put out on the 10th of April, they are saying the medical service offered at Calvary has too much of a religious overtone. Well, what does that mean? Do the people at St Vincent’s in Sydney ever feel like they have been religiously coerced? I doubt it. They get the best medical care precisely because of the religious convictions of the people, because the church has been doing this for 2000 years. The ACT government are only new players to the whole show. The Mater in Brisbane could be accused of the same thing. What about the Mercy in Victoria being accused of being overly religious in their service delivery? It is a total nonsense, but I do suspect that it has a sort of hatred for religion and a hatred for people of faith behind it.”
Meanwhile, the petition to save Calvary Hospital continues to gain pace.
“It is the biggest petition we have ever had,” Fr Percy said.
“It is to save Calvary and to give a clear message to not only the ACT Government but to the Federal Government and all the other state governments that no government acts like this and gets away with it.”
Religious intolerance and rank injustice. An assault on democracy.
This is the sort of reaction you might expect in say Russia or China or North Korea total communism
Australia has become increasingly communist, have you not noticed? government over reach into every walk of life.
This is indeed a pure barbaric act of a state against its own innocent citizenry. And one is bound to ask as to what such a stiff-necked government exists for???…and who is behind it? But prayer never fails. One day is one day. No human powers can overpowers God’s.
Never expected my country to go full commie.
Hands off Calvary Hospital!!!
Australia is a democratic nation, known for a “fair go”, ACT government hands off Calvary Hospital
The ACT Government will not care about opposition to their (in their minds) done deal regarding the hospital since it will just give the chief minister a smug feeling of satisfaction and his supporters the same – rosaries/ovaries etc.
What might make them reconsider is if ALL ACT government projects are met with opposition. People need to fight back even if there’s no hope of winning. Make the corrupt dogs earn it instead of just letting them walk over everybody.
Not much will happen before the next ACT election because the single good thing to come out of this government arrogance is that Andrew Barr may have signed his own and his stupid government’s political death warrant. Let’s hope (I almost wrote ‘pray’ but unlike Barr and his ministerial cohorts I am not religiously biassed) ALL Canberrans can rejoice when the time comes. Trouble is the only way it will happen is if we get rid of the public service and trade union bias against democracy and a fair go for all. Where are you Kate Carnell???
I support the Catholic nuns and priests involved in this action because for the last several years I have noticed a deterioration in the principles of the political parties towards democracy and ethical values of the society our Democracy was based on prior to 1986 when they overtook the English constitution our constitution was based on and we became a part of the Usa style of governance.unknown to most Australians and the situation ignored by Politicians, governor–general,police and Judiciary.We have to fight or Australia has had it.
We all need to pray to preserve and protect our Catholic institutions.
Many Australians including me came to this country because this is/was a free country where you could buy land and establish businesses without the threat of acquisition or takeover by government.
This is the most antidemocratic thing I have seen in my 50 years here.
How brave bold, and extremely foolish is the Government to think they can take what belongs to The God of Love and Mercy in placing these extra special Nuns and committed people who have loved and cared for ALL PEOPLES OF ALL FAITHS AND NON BELIEFS AS EQUAL TO GOD’s LOVING CARE each and every day of duty..SURRENDER TO THE WILL OF GOD WHILST YOU HAVE TIME.
I am wondering if the Catholic schools will be next. They operate on a lot of Government funding.
Do they realise there is an election looming?
The action of the ACT government is a sad indictment of their administrative decision making skills and how poorly it reflects what the community wants for its members. Maladministration pure and simple. They are not making best use of the ACT’s resources for the good of all. Arguably action for the few. Worse this action is an example of the persecution of faith communities, of all types, that we see currently throughout the world. That persecution is now present in Australia – a country that has often been at the forefront of democratic actions in the past. Vale the spirit of Gallipoli so recently lauded.
Any Government that uses its powers unlawfully should be challenged all the way to the High Court of Australia.
That’s why Australian Men and Women fought in wars and other conflicts to ensure their descendants were protected by DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES.
Tearing agreements apart is the conduct of foreign Governments – notably China & Russia.
The Victorian Government lovers of China, wanted to use China’s Belt Road – the LNP granted China the right to its own airfields on Australian territory and 100 year lease of Darwin Ports. Both Governments allow China to buy water rights; land and its produce which is then shipped to China. The Foreign Investment Board has it eyes in blinkers.
This takeover is merely another example of how far Australians tolerate the demise of their DEMOCRATIC rights. Thomas J MAHON
Words without positive action merely weakens the position of the Nuns and induces a situation whereby something offered by the jackboots may appear better than nothing.
It is time we realised we are ever increasingly losing what we hold dear! our basic right to democracy and the right to hold on to Christian values which advocates and includes all peoples, all faiths. We must teach our youth and the non thinkers to question, to discuss what we want to hold on to and share with our New Comers and our Indigenous as well as those who relatives came here in chains or by free will. Eileen