Why Dan Andrews’ $1BILLION tribute to The Queen sparked furious backlash from even his most diehard fans
Daniel Andrews‘ plan to change the name of a hospital to honour 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 reelected in November.
‘The new Queen Elizabeth II Hospital will rebuild and refurbish the Maroondah Hospital from the ground up,’ he said.
Mr Andrews said the change was ‘a mark of respect to her unwavering commitment to healthcare and our community’.
However, the announcement was met with sharp criticism from Aboriginal activists and left-leaning voters because the hospital’s current name is an indigenous word.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews (pictured) wants to rename a Melbourne Hospital in honour of The Queen
Lidia Thorpe took aim at Mr Andrews saying to rename the hospital would be an ‘insult’ to First Nations people
‘Maroondah’ means ‘throwing leaves’ in the local Aboriginal dialect and is the name of the local council in which the hospital sits.
Indigenous author Claire G Coleman gave Mr Andrews the benefit of the doubt and offered to explain the problem with renaming the hospital to him.
‘Hi Daniel, you don’t know me but I would like to offer to speak to you in person regarding why changing the name of a hospital from an Aboriginal word to the name of a dead colonising 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 to tell the premier ‘this is not what treaty looks like’.
‘Maroondah is a Woiwurrung word meaning leaf, which symbolises Maroondah’s green environment. What an insult to now colonise us, again,’ she wrote.
Mr Andrews is a strong proponent of a treaty between indigenous Australians and the government and is further along in negotiating one than other states.
Some of those opposing the move have setup a petition claiming it would ‘hinder building 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 would include a new emergency department, operating theatres, day-procedure facilities, specialist care spaces and two six-storey inpatient towers, adding 200 extra beds to accommodate an extra 9000 inpatients per year.
Construction would start in 2025 and create 2500 extra jobs.
‘The Queen was a longstanding supporter of Victoria’s healthcare system,’ Mr Andrews said of his decision to name it after Her Majesty.
‘As the patron of the Royal Melbourne and the Royal Children’s hospitals, she demonstrated her devotion to patients and their care whenever she visited their bedsides.’
Mr Andrews at the 2018 election promised 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 honour in Brisbane and Adelaide, along with a medical centre in Perth.
The announcement comes a day after Victoria’s opposition promised a $400 million upgrade to Maroondah Hospital, if it wins the election in November.
Queen Elizabeth II is Britain longest serving Monarch who reigned for 70 years and she has two Australian hospitals already named after her
Controversial indigenous senator Lidia Thorpe also weighed in to tell the premier ‘this is not what treaty looks like’
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy slammed the government for its announcement, stating he didn’t believe the hospital would be built.
‘If he really wanted to put $1 billion into Maroondah Hospital, he’s had eight years to do it,’ Mr Guy told reporters.
‘I bet if he’s elected he’ll never build it.’
Mr Guy, on Sunday, also announced $108 million towards a new clinical medical research centre 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 previously stated it would scrap part of the Suburban Rail Loop and redirect $35 billion earmarked for the project into the health system.