A court decision that will allow the compulsory takeover of Calvary's public hospital to continue showed no one was safe from the ACT government, the territory's acting opposition leader has said.
Jeremy Hanson said the decision of the Supreme Court on Friday also showed no one could trust the government because it would "ram through" laws to take anything it wanted.
"After two decades in power the ACT Labor-Greens government are behaving like bullies," Mr Hanson said in a statement.
"Although they have given themselves the power to forcibly take Calvary, it doesn't make it the right thing to do."
A spokesperson for Calvary said the hospital operator acknowledged the orders made by the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon and would take time to consider the judgement.
The Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Christopher Prowse, said: "We accept the decision by the ACT Supreme Court as disappointed as we are.
"We now await the reasons for that decision. Thank you to all who have been so interested in this vital issue for the nation."
Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed the court's decision, which he said would allow the government to begin the formal transition process.
"The plan to consolidate our public hospitals and create a single network will allow us to better coordinate our health services, distribute resources effectively, strengthen the capacity of our workforce, plan infrastructure on a Territory-wide basis, and improve health outcomes for all Canberrans," Mr Barr said in a statement.
Mr Barr thanked current and former Calvary staff for their dedication and acknowledged the "valuable role" Calvary had played in delivering public hospital care.
Mr Hanson said the government's decision to compulsorily acquire Calvary Public Hospital Bruce was undemocratic and anti-business and had traumatised nurses and doctors, while also putting clinic services at risk.
"We reiterate the Canberra Liberals' opposition to this terrible outcome and the deceitful way it has been carried out," he said.
The federal shadow attorney-general, Michaelia Cash, said in a statement a Senate inquiry should examine the "outrageous" forced acquisition and "get to the bottom of this sordid affair".
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the decision, an important one for the people of the ACT, provided certainty for staff and the community and the government was committed to helping staff, patients and carers through the transition period.
The decision of the full bench of the Supreme Court was "fairly unequivocal in terms of the validity of the act" but it was up to Calvary whether they launched an appeal, she said.
However, the government would progress with the formal transition and would work towards the July 3 acquisition day, Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"We've done a range of contingency planning, working through right from a process that was quite obstructed to a process that was fully collaborative. This has been a week of delay that we would have preferred not to have, but we certainly are confident that from here on if the transition process progresses in the way it should ... we will be able to meet the July 3 deadline," she said.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the government would also work as quickly as possible with Calvary to reach a final decision on the future operation of Clare Holland House and associated palliative care services.
"I am conscious that Clare Holland House staff continue to face uncertainty, but I can assure them that our conversations with Calvary reflect the feedback that we have already heard and we will engage with them directly as soon as possible," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
The Australian Christian Lobby, which had led protests against the takeover, said the decision showed Australians were vulnerable to totalitarianism by law.
"It is a sad reality that if this takeover goes ahead, as now seems likely, Canberra will lose its best hospital to the hurt of Canberrans. When rampant anti-life sentiment rules, we all suffer. However just as the first Calvary signified life through death, this loss may be the beginning of a new determination to resist totalitarianism and work for freedom for faith and conscience," the lobby's ACT political director, Rob Norman, said.
"When it takes possession on July 3, the large blue cross atop the hospital will be removed, together with the pro-life ethics that have been the hospital's bedrock for the last 44 years."
Mr Norman called on ACT residents of faith to remember the Calvary decision at the next territory election.
The Canberra Liberals had criticised the government's decision to bypass usual parliamentary processes to pass laws to enable its takeover of the Calvary public hospital.
The government intends to build a new northside hospital on the Bruce site, and used its numbers in the Legislative Assembly on May 31 to pass laws to allow for the takeover of the site on "just terms".
MORE A.C.T. POLITICS NEWS:
The ACT Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Calvary's application to stop what the hospital operator had called a "hostile" takeover.
Justice David Mossop announced the decision on behalf of a full bench of the court at 2pm on Friday afternoon.
Calvary had asked the court to declare legislation passed to enable the takeover of the Bruce hospital invalid, describing the proposed acquisition as "anything but just".
Canberra Health Services chief executive Dave Peffer had told the court Calvary's involvement in the territory's public health system was inefficient.
Mr Peffer said in an affidavit the split model of the system had resulted in "inefficiencies and restricts the ability of the public health system".
Calvary national chief executive Martin Bowles said, in his affidavit, the government's public statements and approaches to Calvary staff had "caused confusion and considerable distress among staff".
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