‘This is just the beginning, not the end’
Senator Pocock ‘scuttles’ Senate inquiry
The forced acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital will put the health system under enormous duress, according to the head of the Archdiocese Save Calvary taskforce.
Fr Tony Percy said the ACT Government would soon realise the transition from one organisation to another was more complex than anticipated.
“It is going to be a very big mess, and it is going to affect the health system dramatically,” he said.
Hopes of a Senate Inquiry briefly rose this week, as the coalition urged the crossbench to “give ACT residents a voice”. On Wednesday, Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan lodged a notice of motion on behalf of the opposition to refer the compulsory acquisition to the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.
ACT independent Senator David Pocock, however, abstained after seeking to draw a vote on an amendment.
“I believe there should be an inquiry, but it should be at the level of government that made the decision,” he said.
Senator Pocock’s amendment was not voted on and the vote for the inquiry was defeated on Thursday.
“This was scuttled today by Senator David Pocock,” Fr Tony said.
“He has been elected, of course, to represent the citizens of the ACT not the ACT Government. This is a remarkable action on behalf of the Senator, just as remarkable as the Prime Minister coming out and agreeing that the ACT Government should do a compulsory acquisition of Calvary hospital.”
Fr Tony said despite the setbacks, this was just the beginning, not the end.
“It is going to get much more political now because we want guarantees from all the ACT members of the assembly that this won’t happen with other institutions,” he said.
“And then we will go right round the country too. We are not going to have this type of behaviour.”
Fr Tony said thousands of people were still adding their signatures to the Save Calvary petition, highlighting the significance of the issue.
“This is a very important issue for all Australians. There’s no doubt about that, and I think everyone is perceiving that there is a real problem with this type of behaviour. It is a shock. Up until this point, people’s property rights have been respected, and now they are not. It’s quite a serious issue,” he said.
“People are becoming more aware of it, and they are saying this is a good way of letting the government know that there is a large body of people who are deeply concerned about this.”
Fr Tony said to have reached nearly 45,000 signatures on the petition was beyond anyone’s imagining.
“They’ve got a fight on their hands, not only with religious people but with people who are just seeing this setting a precedent everywhere,” he said.
“I think that’s why we are getting great traction. We are going to keep it right before the politicians’ eyes, particularly at election time.”