Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan has introduced a bill to force the ACT Government to hold an inquiry into its compulsory takeover of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce. Source: Canberra Times.
The sole purpose of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Amendment Bill 2023 is to make the Labor-Greens territory government hold an inquiry that would report back before June 30, 2024.
Calvary’s Catholic operators have said they would comply with the “hostile” acquisition to create a new North Canberra hospital after it failed in a legal bid to block it, but the federal Opposition has pitched itself firmly against the move.
Liberal leader Peter Dutton regards it as “unprecedented” while Senator Canavan has described it as a “midnight raid”.
The bill has been introduced, without going to any vote, in the Senate where the Opposition will be relying on all crossbenchers, including independent ACT senator David Pocock, to pass the bill. If successful, the bill would then be sent to the House where it faces the Labor majority.
Senator Pocock has not stated his position on the new bill, but last week he insisted, in the spirit of territory rights, any inquiry be held by the ACT Government not by the federal Parliament.
Without the ACT senator’s immediate backing for a federal inquiry, Senator Canavan’s attempt last Thursday to establish a Senate inquiry into the forced takeover was lost by two votes: 26 ayes to 28 nays.
Senator Pocock has written to the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr as well as the ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith asking for a territory inquiry.
New federal bill introduced to force ACT Calvary inquiry (By Karen Barlow, Canberra Times)