Legislation passes allowing ACT government to move ahead with plans to take over Calvary Public Hospital

“The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed a controversial bill giving the government the power to take over Calvary Public Hospital in as little as 33 days. …”

Report from ABC News.

See also:

Calvary forced into legal response to ACT Government’s legislation – Calvary, 30 May 2023.

Calvary to take legal action against ACT GovernmentCatholic Voice, 30 May 2023.

‘Favouring his mates’: Vicar reprimands PM over Calvary takeover – 2GB radio, 31 May 2023.

Image: Calvary.

Prime Minister supports Calvary compulsory takeover

“We now know that the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Anthony Albanese, as an elected representative of the country, supports the compulsory acquisition of Calvary Hospital. This acquisition is not being done according to the rule of law or on just terms.

Can anybody imagine the great Labor Prime Ministers, John Curtin, Ben Chifley, Bob Hawke, or Paul Keating, doing such a thing?What’s at stake here is not the Labor Party, not the Catholic church, but the rights of ordinary citizens to have proper land and property rights.”

Catholic Voice.

See also:

Anthony Albanese backs Calvary Hospital takeover two days before laws set to pass – The Catholic Weekly,

“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has backed the ACT Government takeover of Calvary Public Hospital, just two days before legislation is likely to pass the ACT Legislative Assembly. …

Australian Medical Association ACT branch president, Dr Walter Abhayaratna, wrote in a recent letter to the ACT health minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, that the takeover sets a ‘terrible precedent’ and that senior doctors felt disrespected, shocked, dismayed and angry at the rapid takeover.

Legislation to compulsorily acquire the hospital and land was introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly on 10 May, and will likely be passed by the Labor-Greens majority government this Wednesday, on 31 May.”

Albanese supports ACT Government on Calvary acquisitionCathNews.

Anthony Albanese intervenes to back ACT Govt on Calvary acquisitionCanberra Times (subscription).

Calvary on the cross – former Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews, at Spectator Australia, 27 May 2023,

“The belief that this proposal is about abortion – and euthanasia, which the ACT plans to introduce – is well-founded. Is the next institution to be acquired Clare Holland House, the praised palliative care service also operated by Calvary?

This is not a Catholic issue, nor even a Christian one. If the ACT government can acquire a well-functioning, viable hospital that is providing first-rate healthcare to the populace, what else can it acquire? Independent schools? Clubs with pokies? Greyhound and horse racing tracks? The premises of organisations that oppose its political views? This is a dangerous precedent which should be resisted by everyone who values the freedoms and toleration that our polity is built upon.”


Catholic Archbishop ‘shocked and stunned’ at ACT’s proposed takeover of Calvary Hospital.

“the beginning of the end of freedom of conscience in Australia”

“In this crucial episode, Wendy Francis, Acting CEO of ACL, exposes the alarming attempts by the ACT government to compulsory acquire Calvary Hospital. Freedom of conscience and faith is at risk, and we cannot ignore it.

If the government succeeds with Calvary Hospital, there is serious concern, shared by many, as to which institutions could be targeted next across the country. …”

– Wendy Francis of the Australian Christian Lobby speaks plainly about the ACT Government’s move to compulsorily acquire Calvary Hospital, Bruce.

“The Government is not God.”

See also:

Say NO to the forcible takeover of Calvary Hospital – Australian Christian Lobby. (And follow the link to take action, if you desire).

“Airbags on Pokies” — The Dean of Sydney

Sandy Grant, the Dean of Sydney, writes about the choice before NSW voters this Saturday –

“Friends in Christ, I encourge you to join me in this prayer for our State, with the election of a new Parliament this Saturday, 25th March:

Almighty God and Loving Heavenly Father, we humbly ask you to direct the hearts of those who seek election to our state parliament, and of us as we exercise our democratic freedoms. May we vote unselfishly for the common good. Protect politicians from the temptation of self-serving. Enable them to make realistic promises and help them keep their word. Uphold those elected to serve in the new Parliament through all the heavy demands that come upon them, that they may serve with integrity. May the decisions of our parliaments, state and federal, lead to the safety and welfare of this country, so that peace and happiness, truth and justice may be established among us. Amen. 

As you know, I have spoken strongly in favour of reforms to prevent and minimise harm from poker machine use, which currently sees people in NSW lose $8 billion a year. That’s about $23 million per day! And the worst losses are often in the poorer areas of our city.

I have been calling for reform for almost 15 years, since I first became aware of the dreadul damage done by poker machines on their users and families.”

Read it all at the Cathedral website.

Image: If only modern poker machines took bets of just 25 cents.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet — 2023 State Election Faith Groups Town Hall

The NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, was a guest at the 2023 State Election Faith Groups Town Hall in Parramatta on Wednesday night (22nd February 2023).

You can watch the meeting as the Premier responded to questions in the run up to the State election.

In response to a question on ‘conversion therapy’, he said,

“There is no place for harmful practices in our state. Since this issue was raised, people have raised with me examples of food deprivation, electroshock therapy. Well, those practices are wrong, and we will move to outlaw them…

At the same time, we will not ban prayer, we will not ban preaching. That is fundamental to freedom of religion in this state and in this country. We can do both. We can ban harmful practices and we can protect freedom of religion in our state…

It’s not one or the other, it’s respecting everyone’s perspectives in relation to this and having a balanced approach.”

A similar event with the State Opposition Leader, Chris Minns, is planned for next week. We’ll aim to post a link to that event as well.

Watch here. Thanks to Freedom for Faith for the video link and for the quote from the Premier.

Whose conscience deserves protection in Australia?

Yesterday, Associate Professor Neil Foster presented a short paper at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney – as part of a panel on “The Importance of Conscience”.

He’s made it available for download at Law and Religions Australia.

(Photo from a Sydney Diocese training day.)

This is the Make-or-Break time for Christian schooling

Steve McAlpine is alarmed at the recently-published recommendations from The Australian Law Reform Commission:

“If anyone was under any illusions that there would be a ‘live and let live’ attitude from the purveyors of the Sexular Age, then the recommendations of The Australian Law Reform Commission, in terms of how Christian schools should be able to staff themselves, will dispel such illusions. It’s quite a depressing first-up read.

Make no mistake, the ALRC has faith-based schools in its sights. And it’s only a matter of time before schools have to decide whether they will simply allow their identity to die the death of a thousand cuts.

And I’m not sure most staff in Christian schools get it. The ALRC, and state governments around this country are implacably determined to push the gospel of sexual diversity not only as something that schools must teach, but that must supplant the biblical framework. And not just in what they teach, but in who they employ to teach it.

This is a gospel issue. A rival gospel issue. There is a good news story wrapped up in sexual identity that the secular evangelists are promoting. And they have the time, resources, evangelists, and currently, the power, to ensure their gospel rings out across the land. …”

In his conclusions, he warns –

“Folks, this is the make-or-break time for Christian schooling. I don’t mean whether those schools whose shingle out the front claims allegiance to a denomination or has the word ‘Christian’ in it. I mean those schools that seek to offer an alternative vision to the Sexular Age’s vision of what life is about. If Christian schools don’t take a stand on what is the single-most hostile assault on biblical distinctives, then why bother?…”

– Read it all at The Gospel Coalition Australia,

 See also Neil Foster’s earlier post at Law and Religion Australia.

How could you make your views known?

Associate Professor Neil Foster points out –

“The ALRC has invited responses to this consultation paper, which should be provided by 24 February 2023.

In addition to formal responses, it has set up a web portal for ‘individual views and experiences’, and is especially interested in hearing from ‘those connected with religious educational institutions (including schools, early learning centres, colleges, and universities)’, although any interested parties can make their views known. It would be a good idea, I think, for those who support the work of religious schools and colleges to provide comments on this portal.” (Emphasis added.)

Removing fences: the ALRC Consultation Paper on Religious Educational Institutions and Discrimination Laws

“The Australian Law Reform Commission has now released a Consultation Paper for its current reference on “Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws”.

The paper, while formally acknowledging the importance of religious freedom and parental rights, will be a serious disappointment to those involved in religious schools and colleges.

It effectively recommends the removal of protections enjoyed by religious educational institutions which have been designed to safeguard the ability of these organisations to operate in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The “fences” protecting these bodies from being forced to conform to majority views on sexual behaviour and identity (and hence losing their distinctiveness as religious bodies) are to be knocked down, the ALRC says. But the paper offers no convincing reasons for this wholesale demolition of a structure which has served the diversity and plurality of the Australian community for many years.

Rather than supporting “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”, the paper’s recommendations would require a compulsory uniformity which would undermine the reasons for the existence of faith-based educational institutions. …”

– Assoc Prof Neil Foster shares his thoughts about an important religious freedom paper.

Richard Johnson’s Address to the Inhabitants of New South Wales


This Australia Day, give thanks for the Rev. Richard Johnson, Chaplain to the First Fleet and first Chaplain to the Colony of New South Wales.

In 1792, Johnson wrote a tract designed to be distributed widely in the Colony. He gives his reasons for doing so:  Read more

Evangelism in Tough Times?

Here’s the talk Phillip Jensen gave to mark the 10th anniversary of John Chapman’s departure to be with Christ.

His topic: “Evangelism in Tough Times”.

Looking at our context in Australia, he argues –

  1. These are not tough times.
  2. The has been no substantial change, and
  3. The difficulty evangelism faces is seduction and persecution.

It’s a challenging talk and is very much worth your time. Good to share too.

Recorded at Moore College, 22 November 2022.

Successful religious discrimination claim in foster-carer case

“Just before Christmas, a significant religious discrimination decision was handed down in the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster gives background to a decision handed last week.

(Image: Assoc Prof. Foster at a Sydney Diocese training day.)

Anti-Conversion Coercion in Tasmania

At AP (The Australian Presbyterian), David Robertson shares his thoughts on what he calls “The Canary in the Coal Mine” –

“The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) have produced a report for the Tasmanian government recommending new laws to deal with sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices (SOGI). This doesn’t sound as though it would be riveting reading – and for many people within and without Tasmania, it hardly seems relevant to their lives.

I read the report, mainly to prepare a short response. However I found it so disturbing and revealing that I have taken some time to respond in more detail. Why? Because it is a great example of how progressive ideology takes over the basic civic institutions of Western societies. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The report itself is 332 pages long. Which itself is a statement. Who is going to be bothered to read a report of that size on a subject which seems so inconsequential to most of us? If people bother with it at all it is likely to be within the comfort zones of their own interest groups – or they will just skim read it – note the various buzz words and either agree with the conclusions of the report, or just shrug their shoulders and walk away. Who cares? I do.

And so I thought I would share with you the main lessons to be learned from this report – lessons that can apply in many situations (e.g. The GRA reforms in Scotland, the compulsory trans ideology in the US, or the ‘diversity’ managers being imposed on the NHS in the UK, and corporations throughout the world). The message and the methodology is the same.

One of the main problems is the use of language. I am totally opposed to any form of conversion therapy which is coercive and harmful. Arguing against this report is not the same as arguing for conversion therapy. It is ironic that an ideology which is supposed to be against binary choices – only offers a binary choice. You are either on the ‘good’ side, the ‘right side of history’, the progressive; or you are an evil, hateful regressive. Although the report doesn’t put it in that language, the implication is the same. But life is much more complex than such simplistic binary views.

First, we will look at the sections of the report that deal with pseudo-science, the need for new legislation and the question of harm. Part two will look at the confused language, the question of consent and the definition of conversion. Part three looks at who the report is really aimed at and what its effect will be. …”

Part One: Pseudo-Science and Pseudo–Needs.

Part Two: The Emperor Has No Clothes.

Part Three: The World Turned Upside Down.

Faith-Based Schools in the Northern Territory threaten to close

“The Northern Territory parliament is currently considering amending the Anti-Discrimination Act so as to end an existing provision that allows ‘religious educational institutions to discriminate against staff based on their sexuality’. This would mean people who do not share the beliefs or values of a faith-based school or institution could no longer be excluded from employment.

In response, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Darwin, Charles Gauci, has said that he will consider closely all eighteen Catholic colleges and schools in the Northern Territory. Christian schools have also thrown their support behind this response, strongly suggesting they would follow a similar course of action. …”

– AP (The Australian Presbyterian) has this on the latest from the Northern Territory.


Northern Territory parliament passes anti-discrimination law reform amid fierce backlash – ABC News.

“The CLP has vowed to overturn the legislation if elected in 2024.”

A breakdown of the Australian National Church Life survey – with Peter Mayrick and Ruth Powell

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Sunday Church attendance across Australia is down, but decline has slowed.

The Australian National Church Life Survey results are out.  Worryingly the key newcomer indicator has dropped to 5.7%.

While evangelism is down, engagement in church based service groups is up. Mid week small groups are up.

We take a hard look under the bonnet of the top level results.

Ruth Powell is National Director for the National Church Life Survey.

Peter Mayrick is with Partners in Ministry and the Center for Ministry Development at Sydney’s Moore Theological College and is a board member of the National Church Life Survey.”

Watch or listen here.

The Pastor, the CEO and the Victorian Premier — The Pastors Heart

From The Pastor’s Heart –

“Four Victorian Christian leaders on the controversy that has erupted in Australian National Politics – around the chair of the Victorian based City on a Hill church movement Andrew Thorburn, over his appointment as CEO of the Essendon Football Club and then almost immediate resignation.

When faced with an ultimatum to choose between his church and his new position at Essendon, Thorburn chose his church.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun started the controversy by publishing quotes from two ten year old sermons from City on a Hill on abortion and homosexuality.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews described City on a Hill’s mainstream Christian views as appalling, intolerant, bigoted, hatred and wrong.

Our guests:

Watch or listen here. Well worth watching.

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