Calvary Hospital’s hostile takeover, a first in Australian history
The Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn has called for new discussions to “resolve difficulties respectfully” as the ACT government’s announcement to compulsorily acquire Calvary Hospital begins to reverberate around the country.
During a recent pastoral visit with hospital staff, Archbishop Prowse called on the government not to diminish Canberra’s dignity and respect for choice in health facilities.
“Calvary is part of the greatness of Canberra,” Archbishop Christopher Prowse said. “For 44 years, it has offered a touch of human transcendence – from conception to natural death.”
“If this goes ahead, it will be the first time in Australia’s history that a federal state or territory government has engaged in a hostile takeover of a church institution,” he said.
During the pastoral visit, the Archbishop thanked the Calvary Hospital staff for their invitation to visit and to listen to their concerns.
As he moved around the room, speaking to doctors, nurses and administration workers, the staff expressed a deep sense of shock and betrayal.
Many feared the government’s compulsory takeover would “erode the hospital’s core values”. They also said the lack of transparency and consultation with the ACT Government had “stirred up concerns for their future employment”.
“We feel voiceless,” expressed one staff member. “When we were told by the ACT government ‘not to worry about it,’ we felt patronised. Although we give 100 per cent to our work, we now have to navigate the uncertainty of our jobs and the lack of information.”
During his Sunday Mass homily at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Archbishop Prowse strongly denounced the government’s action saying that “the compulsory acquisition of Calvary Hospital should concern not just Catholics or other people of faith, but every ACT citizen.”
“What a terrible thing for us to set a national example here in Canberra as a hostile ACT government plans to takeover by compulsory acquisition our beloved Catholic Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce.
“Let us continue to serve Canberra’s health needs by withdrawing this poisonous legislation that aims to see the death of this wonderful Catholic health facility,” he said.