by PAUL COLLITS – THE ACT Government’s forced seizure of Calvary Hospital reeks of a vicious Leftist ideology and its desire to end the lives of babies and the elderly alike.
A presentation by the estimable Fr Tony Percy – until recently Vicar-General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn – on the ACT’s recent acquisition of Calvary Hospital, was one among many outstanding speeches and papers delivered at the annual Samuel Griffith Society in Melbourne last week.
Fr Percy is a scholar-priest with old-school sensibilities and a robust Right-of-centre disposition.
Not to mention a healthy cynicism about the State and frank views on the ACT Greens-Labor Government. And superior communications skills (placing the Greens first is deliberate).
His presentation related to the long-planned and ruthlessly executed seizure-by-stealth of Calvary Hospital by the People’s Republic of Canberra.
John Howard weighed in on the Calvary takeover: “Former prime minister John Howard has come out swinging in defence of Canberra’s Calvary Hospital, saying the ACT Government’s forced acquisition is a ‘blatant assault’ on the principle of private ownership.
“Sometimes people say to me ‘Why do you keep banging on about the fundamental principles of liberalism, they’re not under attack in this country,’” Mr Howard said.
“ ‘Well, they’re very seriously under attack at the moment in the ACT. This attempt by the ACT to grab from the Catholic Church the Calvary Hospital is about as blatant an assault on the principle of private property ownership that I’ve seen in this country for many, many years’.
“He praised Calvary as a great example of Catholic provision of health care in Australia and criticised Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for not having the courage ‘to call out what the ACT Government is doing’ in its compulsory acquisition of the hospital by passing legislation to sever its long-term lease ‘without any real justification’.”
Naturally Albo sat this one out. As he does. It didn’t involve Aborigines, overseas travel nor the Rainbow Matildas.
Yes, many observers have pointed out that the ACT Government’s attack on Calvary reeks of vicious, Leftist abortion-euthanasia ideology in the city designed by Walter Burley Griffin – then destroyed by planners and pretend-politicians. All plausible.
And the attack on private property rights emphasised by John Howard is also on-message.
Several aspects of the ACT Government’s actions are becoming all-too-familiar. The brazenness. The calculated nature of the action. The ideological core of the decision. The assumption that they would simply get away with it.
They would just absorb any minor noise from the Catholics, and proceed without caution.
The Calvary attack happens to coincide with the ACT’s attack on judicial due process revealed by the appalling Brittany Higgins case.
The things both these cases tell us about the quality and morality of governance in our national capital are disturbing, in terms of what is left of democracy in that place.
There is a pattern here. Hence, I asked Fr Percy at the conference if he thought the hospital takeover could be situated neatly in a growing series of actions by an emboldened State run by a UniParty that no longer bothers to justify nor even explain its increasingly heinous actions. And never gets called out.
I also asked Fr Percy if this represented just one more case of what I take to be Australia’s biggest political problem – executive overreach.
“Never gets called out” is perhaps the key phrase.
If the political class ceases to fear voters, then the jig is up for the democratic process. There is, has been, a road to Calvary…
It is time to see the bigger picture, to join the dots, something that, sadly, the antagonists caught up in the specific attacks on our freedom don’t always do. This is understandable.
Interest groups are concerned with their own case of smashed rights and freedoms. They are not paid political theorists.
But those that see evil in the Calvary push need also to see the Brittany Higgins push. And how these events and decisions are systemically connected.
The perpetrators of the #MeToo movement are the same people determined to crush any resistance to the euthanasia-abortion State. The same people determined to enforce the COVID State. The woke State. The net zero State.
As the impressive IPA Legal Director, John Storey, pointed out at the same Samuel Griffith Society conference, there is a reason why the (Marxist) climate activists turn up at the (Marxist) Voice rallies, and vice versa.
If the past three years have taught us anything, it is that governments and their backroom ideological puppet masters will do anything if they can get away with it.
They endlessly push for the weak points, test the popular reaction, retreat marginally if need be, then have another go somewhere else.
If there is no push-back, then just push on. It seems almost impossible for any progressive government or institution to go too far.
The government puppets will never acknowledge error, malfeasance or guilt. They will deflect blame. They will obfuscate. They will cover their butts. At any cost.
They will double down. They will attack their opponents with every weapon available. They will rig the rules. Or change them. Or ignore them.
For the latest examples, see the Australian Electoral Commission. Or Daniel Andrews, on just about any of his many corrupt, illegal plays over the last nine years.
And politicians like Andrews, or Jacinda Ardern, always seem to get re-elected. Then retire at a time of their choosing and move to sinecures in academia or in the vast network that is “the international community”. Without any justice ever enforced.
The road to Calvary?
Fr Percy suggested there are green shoots (of push back) and, hence, a way back to accountable government.
He also pointed to the need for more effective opposition Parties. All true enough. But are these sufficient?
The green shoots Fr Percy has witnessed might turn out to be one-offs, the isolated, honourable exceptions that prove the rule.
And, in order to have more effective oppositions, like those led by the three great opposition leaders Australia has had, Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Tony Abbott, you have to have a core set of beliefs (that you actually believe in), a unified voice, and cojones.
Our current (all Liberal) oppositions are ideologically confused, (mostly) Leftist, bickering internally and lacking any go-forward, as we say in the rugby codes.
Yes, we need effective oppositions, but these other things have to come first. And on the matter of opposition, the micro and minor freedom Parties say wonderful things, but have made very little (if any) electoral headway, and are themselves (in some cases) beset by internal strife.
But there is something else that Fr Percy didn’t mention, a new trend that might, just now, be (re-) emerging.
That is the latent power of nimby self-interest. This might be the way back to policy normalcy and something adjacent to democratic governance.
Suddenly, at five minutes to midnight, communities and interest groups are noticing the actual impact that carpet-bombed wind farms and solar panel cities will have on the environment near them, and on their businesses and lifestyles.
The same with the Aboriginal heritage laws in Western Australia that were designed to oblige farmers to get permission and pay money in order to be able to dig two-foot-deep holes on their own land.
Not to mention London’s public spirited Ulez camera vandals. Governments are suddenly nervous, sitting up and listening.
This is how democracy used to work. It might, again. Make some noise. Push back. See what might happen.
Sterner tests will come when the inevitable Covid 2.0 policy madness is rolled out.
The Voice referendum will also be a good push-back noise test. These would be real green shoots, and Fr Percy, for one, would be very impressed.
Perhaps there might be a democratic resurrection after Calvary.PC