Russian Embassy Private Property Rights Upheld – While Australian Christian Land & Hospital are Confiscated by Government

13 June 2023

2.1 MINS

The Federal Court of Australia recently ruled that the Australian government could not terminate the Russian embassy’s lease in Yarralumla, despite the National Capital Authority’s reasoning that the embassy had occupied the site for too long without developing it.

The Guardian noted that there were also “reported fears from Australian officials that Russia was attempting to use the new site to enhance its intelligence capabilities.” Ukraine had expressed interest in taking over the lease.

The Federal Court ordered that the Commonwealth government was neither to re-enter nor take possession of the land, nor interfere with the Russian government’s “quiet enjoyment of the land”.

Double Standards

Meanwhile, the ACT Supreme Court has dismissed Calvary Hospital’s application for an injunction against a forced takeover by the ACT government.

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham asked pointedly during the budget estimates:

“Legal arguments aside, is it the government’s view that the Russian Federation deserves the right to build a new embassy in a prime location in Canberra given its egregious assault on international rules?”

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Jan Adams responded that “Australia is a rule-of-law country with respect for property rights”, to which Senator the Hon David Fawcett countered,

“Just to your comment, Secretary, have you ever visited Calvary Hospital here in the ACT? … I think then your comment about respect of the rule of law and property rights in the ACT is not a particularly good one given current events. I think the ACT government has shown that it is willing to do all sorts of things if it wants to get its way over property — regardless of precedent of law.”

Sen. Fawcett elaborated on Facebook:

“The ACT Labor government’s recent rush to pass legislation without due process to allow them to forcibly take over Canberra’s Catholic-run Calvary Hospital is deeply concerning in a nation that has long been governed by the rule of law.

The Prime Minister’s ill-considered support for this process is likewise disturbing.

While laws have existed in most jurisdictions that allow the resumption of land in certain situations, the ACT’s move to acquire in this manner Calvary is unprecedented.

➤ This measure was hastily legislated and allows the government to acquire the hospital’s property unilaterally and compulsorily — breaking the remaining 76 years of Calvary’s contract.

➤ The decision was reached and carried out rapidly — without due process or adequate consultation.

Despite the ACT government’s insistence that the decision has nothing to do with religion, public policy and law experts like Professor Andrew Podger (ANU) and Professor Joanna Howe (Adelaide University) have questioned whether the forcible acquisition was, at least in part, because the Catholic hospital would not provide abortions, a concern raised during a recent review.

The action shows a serious disregard for precedent of law concerning property rights and the rights of faith-based health providers to care for the sick whilst being true to their belief that all life should be valued.

These developments appear to be part of a wider debate about the rights of faith-based institutions including, for example schools, to preserve their distinctive identities.”

One has to wonder who is in control here, when Australians have fewer legal rights than foreigners!


Photo by Yan Krukau.

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  1. Jim Twelves 13 June 2023 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Jean, brilliant reporting of history in an unbiased manner. Thank you for keeping this assault on democracy before our eyes.

  2. Pearl Miller 16 June 2023 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Yes, great reporting Jean. ❤️🙏. For you and your blessed family.

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