National Police Remembrance Day 2023

Friday 29 September 2023 is National Police Remembrance Day.

It’s a good reminder to pray for all who serve in the police services, and also Christian chaplains to the Police.

in 2018, Archbishop Glenn Davies wrote a prayer for the occasion.

Image: NSW Police Legacy.

Senate committee rejects call for inquiry into hospital takeover

“A Senate bill to force the ACT Legislative Assembly to conduct an inquiry into the takeover of the former Calvary Public Hospital Bruce should not pass, a committee has concluded. Source: Canberra Times.

The Labor-led legal and constitutional affairs legislation committee has said the bill “would undermine the independence” of the territory’s legislature.

But opposition members have dissented from the committee’s recommendations and have recommended the bill should pass. …

The opposition members accused the committee of not adequately engaging with concerns raised in 65 submissions and 7000 letters received by the committee in regard to the bill.”

– Report from CathNews with links to other news stories.

Photo: Calvary Hospital, Bruce, in Canberra’s north via Calvary Hospital website.

The Bishop of Bathurst on the Referendum

From Bishop Mark Calder on the referendum:

“I do not think it is the role of bishops or church bodies to encourage people to vote one way or the other, either in general elections or the upcoming referendum.

However, it is appropriate for me to urge us all to engage in the process carefully and prayerfully, seek out accurate and helpful information and then trust our wise sovereign Lord for the outcome.

To this end, I distribute a reflection from the Rev’d Neville Naden who many of you will know. And I share again, a statement arising from the national Anglican bishops’ meeting in March. I trust both these brief pieces are helpful and I commend the coming weeks and the outcome to your prayers.”

– Bishop Calder’s statement, and the two documents he mentions, can be found on the Bathurst Diocese Facebook page.

For ease of reading, the Rev Neville Naden’s short reflection is reproduced below –

A short reflection on ‘The Voice’, by the Rev’d Neville Naden 

Not long after the last election the Prime Minister of our country announced that he would commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. 

This statement involved a three-pronged approach to addressing the issues of First Nations People in our country. The first being a voice, then treaty and finally truth.

It was not long after this that I received an email asking the question, ‘Is a voice to parliament a part of God’s will for this country?’ to which I replied, ‘nothing happens outside of God’s will!’

Friends, as a follower of Jesus, and as I reflect on my Christian response to the proposed voice to parliament, two things are vitally important as I reflect in this space. 

Firstly, I need a healthy understanding of the sovereignty of God. That is to say that nothing in all of history happens outside His will. God either ordains things to happen or he allows it. (More on this a little latter)

Secondly, the very thing that underpins ‘The Voice to Parliament’ is a desire that people living in this country would reconcile with First Nations People.


As I reflect in this space, I too want to see reconciliation. Reconciliation is a good thing. However, is such a thing ever possible? If conciliation never existed between Fist Nations people and the wider community, how can we have reconciliation? 

Many of my people have asked the question, ‘How can we have reconciliation when unity has never existed in the first place?’ To have reconciliation there needs to be some kind of conciliation to start with. This then beckons the question, ‘Is reconciliation possible where unity never existed?’ The obvious answer is no. Certainly not outside the church at least.

God is the only source of a reconciliation that works. This reconciliation is possible because God has initiated it. 

In 2 Cor 5:17, we have that well known verse that says, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here’ Note the very next verse, ‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation’. 

True reconciliation is only possible because God makes it possible. He makes it possible by sending his Son into the world to give his life a ransom for many. 

It is this reconciliation that says, it is not what you do for me or what I do for you that brings about oneness unity. It is what Christ has done for both of us. It removes the human element.

The reconciliation that this country is trying to achieve will never be realised outside the church. Conciliation is the only possible outcome. The reconciliation that this country is working towards says, ‘If you do something for me and I do something for you, we can have a relationship.’ However, this is not biblical reconciliation.

Friends, we are called to a biblical model of reconciliation. The model that says, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. A reconciliation that says, its not what you do for me or what I do for you, it’s what Christ has done for both of us.


But what about sovereignty? Why is a healthy understanding of the sovereignty of God important in this space? 

The Bible declares that God is the only sovereign and he never gives His sovereignty to anyone. He only gives stewardship and custodianship of His creation to His created humanity. 

Someone once asked the question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Friends there are no good people. The only one (Jesus) who was good was crucified, buried, and risen. We are all deserving of God’s wrath. However, He chooses to have mercy on some and not others. 

When we read the Old Testament, we find in the narrative section many events whereby God is exercising his sovereignty. 

For example, Joshua 1:1-5, God says to Joshua, to get ready to go in and occupy the land that he promised to Moses. Note what He says, verse three I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.’ Here the Creator is exercising his sovereignty over his creation. The promises that he made to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; and Jacob, Genesis 28:10- 22, are continuing to be rolled out. Here we see God causing people to be displaced from their lands because of His plan for his created humanity. 

As we look back on the events in the Old Testament, we can see God’s footprint and handiwork all over the narrative. Once we get to the New Testament and we get to the end of the book of Acts we tend to think that God is finished with his creation. My friends, this is not the case. God is still rolling out his plan for his creation. We might not see it as clearly looking forward as we do looking back, but he is continuing to roll out His plan even when we cannot see it, nor understand it. 

Did God ordain Australia to be colonised by the British? Absolutely! If He didn’t, it would not have happened. This is not a popular thought, and I will probably get push back on this from many who cannot see God would ever allow that to happen nevertheless ordain it to happen. 

As was mentioned earlier, nothing, and I mean nothing, happens outside of God’s will. For if it did, God would not be in control nor sovereign. 

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming referendum, we can be assured that God’s will, will be done and regardless of which side of the debate we sit, we need to be OK with that. 

It is my prayer that we, the church, will not become embroiled in such activities. We need to stay the course when it comes to our core business, that of proclaiming Christ and a reconciliation that works.

The Rev’d Neville Naden,
Bishop’s nominated representative for Bathurst Diocese on NATSAIC
Indigenous Ministry Officer, BCA

02 September 2023


Vilification claims based on critique of drag queens event dismissed

“The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in its decision yesterday in Valkyrie and Hill v Shelton [2023] QCAT 302 (18 August 2023), has dismissed claims of vilification based on sexual orientation or gender identity, made against conservative commentator Lyle Shelton. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at one decision affirming free speech.

Freedom to preach, pray & counsel under attack in NSW

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Wendy Francis warns of the NSW government’s reported intention to introduce ‘conversion therapy laws’.

Watch here.

See also:

Report from The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 2023.

In another move, this one by the federal government:

Why bureaucrats can’t be left to censor free speech under Labor’s ACMA bill proposal – David Coleman, Opposition communications spokesman. The Australian. (Subscription.)

New ACMA powers to combat misinformation and disinformation – Australian government. Submissions on the proposal close on 20 August 2023.

Calvary Hospital update — Federal Senate Enquiry

Here’s a short video update on the Calvary Hospital acquisition from Tony Percy and the Catholic Voice Archdiocese Canberra & Goulburn.

“Our aim, as you know, is to make sure that this is the first – and the last – hostile compulsory acquisition done by an Australian government on a private institution. In this case it was a Medical Institution – Calvary Public Hospital – we want to make sure it doesn’t happen with our educational institutions whether they’re religious or otherwise…”

NSW Gay conversion law would ban suppression of gender identity

“The NSW government’s plans to ban gay conversion therapy will be expanded to include making it illegal to change or suppress a person identifying as trans or gender diverse.

Attorney-General Michael Daley has confirmed the government is pushing ahead with its own new laws, rather than backing independent MP Alex Greenwich’s bill later this month. …”

– Report from The Sydney Morning Herald.

“ACT government’s ‘takeover’ of Calvary Hospital ‘ideologically driven’” — Sky News

“The ACT government’s decision to compulsorily acquire Calvary Hospital should be ‘pertinent and front of mind’ for Australian Christians, says Australian Christian Lobby CEO Michelle Pearse. …”

– Video from Sky News Australia. Image: Sky News.

Is taking over Calvary Hospital a religious freedom breach?

“There has been a lot of controversy around the recent decision of the ACT government to compulsorily acquire Canberra’s Calvary Hospital.

One question that is worth asking is this: could this move be an unlawful breach of religious freedom rights? In this post I want to consider the possibilities. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Associate Professor Neil Foster suggests some avenues which could be explored.

Image: Diocese of Sydney.

Rebranding of Calvary Hospital Bruce to North Canberra Hospital

“Canberra Catholics and staff of Calvary Public Hospital grieved as the compulsory acquisition of Calvary by the ACT Government took effect on 3 July.

The ACT Government took over the Catholic-run hospital from midnight, ending a five-week battle to save it from the takeover — including a failed Supreme Court challenge.

Now named North Canberra Hospital, all of the crucifixes and other religious symbols were removed and staff given unbranded uniforms to wear. …”

– Report from The Daily Declaration. Photo: Australian Christian Lobby.

An open letter from Calvary

This open letter form Calvary Health Care was posted on Friday, in anticipation of today’s ‘hostile takeover’ of Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce, by the ACT Government –

“This Sunday marks the end of an era for Calvary. We have been a trusted healthcare provider for public patients in the ACT for 44 years, providing care from birth to end of life, and everything in between.

Since Calvary Public Hospital Bruce opened its doors in 1979, we have been there for significant moments in the lives of many patients and their loved ones. …”

Read it all here.


Canavan and Pocock call for Inquiry into the Calvary Hospital Takeover – Australian Christian Lobby.

Calvary Hospital media release after Supreme Court dismisses application

13th June 2023

Calvary is disappointed by the ACT Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the application challenging the validity of the Health Infrastructure Enabling Act 2023.

Calvary National Chief Executive, Martin Bowles, said the decision to mount a legal challenge against the proposed compulsory acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce was taken in the best interests of staff, the broader Calvary business and the Canberra community.

“The past five weeks have been harrowing for our Calvary Public Hospital Bruce staff and partners, our organisation as a whole, the wider community and even those working at Canberra Health Services,” Mr Bowles said.

“For 44 years Calvary has been a trusted local healthcare provider in the Territory and we were committed to the remaining 76 years of our contract. However, the ACT Government instead chose to legislate to end a longstanding commercial arrangement with us, even though we have not breached the conditions of our contract.”

This was despite previously providing an option to the ACT Government to transfer land, build a new hospital and ensure Calvary continue delivering the public health services.

“However, Calvary will comply with the legislation in relation to transition and we look forward to receiving a detailed and more realistic plan from the ACT Government,” Mr Bowles added.

Calvary stands by its actions since May 2022, entering negotiations in good faith and investing considerable time to reach a compromise with the ACT Government over the proposed new hospital.

“I want to personally thank our 1800 staff, who have remained dedicated to delivering outstanding care even during these trying times and Calvary will ensure they are appropriately supported throughout the transition period,” Mr Bowles said.

Calvary will consider the ACT Supreme Court judgement once it is made available.

– Source: Calvary.


Media release – dated 9th June 2023, from The Australian Christian Lobby:

“The dismissal of Calvary Health Care’s application for an injunction to stop the takeover of Calvary Public Hospital by the ACT Supreme Court exposes the vulnerability of all Australians to totalitarianism by law, according to the Australian Christian Lobby. …”

Government Takeover Scandal

In her latest video, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Wendy Francis discusses the alarming takeover attempt of the Catholic Calvary Hospital in Canberra.

In the last 12 months 35% of Australian Ministers considered quitting

“A little under 200 clergy took part in the survey and, while they work across the country, they were predominantly in NSW, married and male, with an average of 18½ years in ministry. More than 60 per cent of the respondents were senior ministers…

A senior consultant at the Centre for Ministry Development, Peter Mayrick, who gets alongside clergy to support them in their ministry, says that the issues of stress and burnout are ‘very real… and something we have to deal with’. …”

– Story by Judy Adamson at

Calvary Health Care starts legal proceedings

“Lawyers for Calvary Health Care and the ACT Government will have a full day in the Supreme Court to argue over whether an injunction can be granted to hold up the compulsory acquisition of the public hospital in Bruce.

The head of the northside transition team isn’t worried this will hold up the process, which is slated to be finalised by 3 July. …”

Report from Riotact, Canberra.

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