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Matt Canavan (Facebook/Senator Matthew Canavan)

The Senate yesterday voted down a last-ditch attempt to force the ACT to conduct an inquiry into the takeover of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce. Source: Canberra Times.

The Greens and ACT Senator David Pocock joined with Labor to vote down the bill, 32 votes to 26. Crossbench senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell did not appear to be present for the vote.

The Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government Amendment Bill), put forward by Queensland Liberal National senator Matt Canavan, would have forced the ACT Government to hold an inquiry into the controversial Calvary acquisition.

Senator Canavan said the outcome was “disappointing”.

“It’s disappointing that Canberrans won’t get a say on one of the most remarkable abuses of raw government power in Australia’s history,” Senator Canavan said. 

“The nurses, doctors and patients of Calvary deserve better treatment and the ACT Government has cynically hidden behind Territory rights to deny the people their rights.”

The Canberra Times revealed this week that the ACT’s Cabinet signed off on the start of work to draft a law to compulsorily acquire Calvary Public Hospital Bruce almost a year before the Government announced the takeover.

Senator Canavan alleged that these findings were inconsistent with information provided to the Senate and vowed to continue investigating the situation.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has denied she misled the committee, saying the drafting of the legislation did not begin until March.

In a report tabled last week, the Labor-led legal and constitutional affairs legislation committee wrote that Senator Canavan’s bill “would undermine the independence” of the territory’s legislature.

But members of the Opposition, in a dissenting report, “strongly recommended” that the bill pass, raising concerns for the Calvary Hospital takeover.


Senate votes down Matt Canavan’s bill to force inquiry into Calvary Hospital ACT Government takeover (By Lucy Bladen and Justine Landis-Hanley, Canberra Times)