Dan Andrews renaming Moorandah Hospital after The Queen sparks backlash
Daniel Andrews’ plan to change the name of a hospital to honor the Queen has backfired with some of his biggest fans.
The Victorian premier announced he would rebuild Moorandah Hospital in Melbourne’s east in a $1 billion tribute to Her Majesty if re-elected in November.
“The new Queen Elizabeth II Hospital will rebuild and renovate Maroondah Hospital from scratch,” he said.
Andrews said the change was “a sign of respect for her unwavering commitment to health care and our community”.
However, the announcement was met with sharp criticism from Aboriginal activists and left-wing voters because the hospital’s current name is an Aboriginal word.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews (pictured) wants to rename a Melbourne Hospital in honor of the Queen
Lidia Thorpe took aim at Mr Andrews, saying it would be an ‘insult’ to First Nations people to rename the hospital.
‘Maroondah’ means ‘throw leaves’ in the local Aboriginal dialect and is the name of the local council where the hospital sits.
Original author Claire G Coleman gave Mr Andrews the benefit of the doubt and offered to explain to him the problem of renaming the hospital.
‘Hi Daniel, you don’t know me but I’d like to offer to talk to you in person about why changing the name of a hospital from an Aboriginal word to the name of a dead colonizing monarch is a really bad idea. Get your people to contact my people,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Controversial Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe also weighed in, telling the Premier that “this is not what a treaty looks like”.
‘Maroondah is a Woiwurrung word meaning leaf, which symbolizes Maroondah’s green environment. What an insult to now colonize us again,’ she wrote.
Andrews is a strong advocate of a treaty between Indigenous Australians and the government, and is further along in negotiating a treaty than other states.
Some of those who oppose the move have setup one petition arguing that it would “impede the building of meaningful goodwill for genuine reconciliation with First Nations people”.
The announcement sparked a wave of backlash because the current name is derived from an Aboriginal word
The Labor government pledged to spend up to $1.05 billion on the new hospital.
This will include a new emergency department, operating theatres, day treatment facilities, specialist care rooms and two six-storey inpatient towers, adding 200 extra beds to accommodate an additional 9000 inpatients a year.
Construction would start in 2025 and create 2,500 additional jobs.
“The Queen was a long-standing supporter of Victoria’s health system,” Andrews said of her decision to name it after Her Majesty.
“As patron of the Royal Melbourne and Royal Children’s Hospitals, she demonstrated her devotion to patients and their care every time she visited their bedsides.”
Andrews promised in the 2018 election to upgrade the emergency department at the same hospital, but the project has been stalled for four years.
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II already has hospitals named in her honor in Brisbane and Adelaide, along with a medical center in Perth.
The announcement comes a day after Victoria’s opposition promised a $400 million upgrade to Maroondah Hospital if it wins the November election.
Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest-serving monarch, having reigned for 70 years, and she already has two Australian hospitals named after her
Controversial Indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe also weighed in, telling the Premier that “that’s not what a treaty looks like”
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy criticized the Government for its announcement and said he did not believe the hospital would be built.
“If he really wanted to spend $1 billion on Maroondah Hospital, he’s had eight years to do it,” Guy told reporters.
“I bet if he’s elected he’ll never build it.”
Sir. Guy also announced $108 million on Sunday for a new clinical medical research center at Box Hill Hospital, which, like Maroondah Hospital, is part of the Eastern Health network.
The funding will include an 800-space low-cost car park to accommodate patients and staff – with at least 400 spaces dedicated to the latter.
The opposition has previously stated it would scrap part of the Suburban Rail Loop and divert $35 billion earmarked for the project to the health care system.