The Senate has voted against forcing the ACT government to conduct an inquiry into its forcible takeover of the Catholic-run Calvary Hospital. Labor, the Greens and ACT Senator David Pocock voted down a proposed bill by 32 votes to 26.
It was sponsored by National Party Senator Matt Canavan who accused the ACT Government of “cynically hiding behind Territory rights” to deny the people their rights. He said the hospital staff and patients deserved better after what he labelled “one of the most remarkable abuses of raw government power in Australia’s history.”
The Canberra Times has since revealed that the ACT Cabinet signed off on the plan a year before it was announced. Senator Canavan said that was at odds with the information provided to the Senate inquiry.
The ABC reports that 11 midwives have left what’s now known as the North Canberra Hospital. ACT Opposition health spokeswoman Leanne Castley said: “What we’ve heard is the midwives are struggling. They’ve had enough and are exhausted.”
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith acknowledged the loss of so many midwives was a “substantial impact.” She said Canberra Health Services had since recruited several agency midwives who were expected to stay in their roles in the long term.