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  • Lisa Jay

ACT Calvary Public Hospital –Labor Government Unconstitutional Acquisition?

The ACT Labor Government has initiated a compulsory acquisition of the Catholic owned, not for profit, Calvary Public Hospital in the week beginning 8th of May 2023. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr introduced legislation allowing the take-over of Calvary Hospital in Bruce.

The day after the announcement of the intention to the take-over of the hospital was made; an enabling bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly along with a motion to suspend the requirement for a committee inquiry.

The ACT President of the AMA (Australian Medical Association) affirmed the decision on ABC radio stating, “health care services should be delivered without being bound by ideology” declaring contradictorily his very own ideological stance.

Opposition legal affairs parliamentary spokeswoman Michaelia Cash had intercepted the decision by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to launch a takeover of the Catholic-owned and run hospital advocating to build a new state-owned facility. “The Religious Discrimination Bill would have ensured religious hospitals could maintain a faith -based ethos without compromising the delivery of medical services to the public,” she said. [Australian 18th May,2023].


Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Shadow Attorney General Michaelia Cash and Senator Anne Ruston have released a media statement Wednesday, May 31st stating that the Prime Minister must intervene in the Calvary Hospital takeover, referring to it as a disgrace.

The ACT Catholic owned, not for profit, Calvary Public Hospital has been overtly outspoken historically regarding the sanctity of life from conception to death.

The ethical dilemma of the practice of abortion is now presumed to be a patient’s right and choice on demand. This debate is not a new phenomenon. For decades globally, pro-life and faith groups have been active in contesting pro-abortion legislation in a concerted effort to protect the sanctity of life for all.

Jodie Pickard of the Pro-life movement Love Adelaide commented that, “The success of legislation overturning the Roe V Wade Supreme Court Case declaring that it is not a constitutional right to end life through abortion in the United States has effectively slowed the pro-abortion activists’ reforms; combined with a cohesive, well organised and activated global pro-life movement”.

Peter Dutton has called on Anthony Albanese to intervene in the ACT Labor government’s hostile takeover. [The Australian, 18th May; 2023] saying, “it was a “blatant” act of religious discrimination with national implications”. This appears to be a concern of precedence, if the acquisition is enacted then constitutionally similar actions in other states and territories may pave the way futuristically for more government take overs of this kind. Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher [commenting in the Weekend Australian May 20-21] said, “It’s no secret that the ACT government want to force Calvary Hospital to provide abortions now, and euthanasia and assisted suicide in the future,” he said.

Catholic leaders are warning of issues over property rights and could entail other real estate property other than hospitals. [Catholic Voice; May 2023] Father Tony Percy (the former vicar-general of the Canberra-Goulburn archdiocese and head of the Calvary taskforce) said, “It’s no secret that the ACT government wants to force Calvary Hospital to provide abortions now, and euthanasia and assisted suicide in the future,” he wrote on Tuesday. [Australian, 16th May; 2023]


The actions of the Labor Government are required Constitutionally to reflect “on just terms” under Common Law (Part V Powers of the Parliament, Section 51 xxxi).

A petition to protect Calvary Public Hospital has achieved approximately 20,000 signatures.

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