Victorian premier Dan Andrews has come under fire for his “tone deaf” proposal to rename a Melbourne hospital after the late Queen Elizabeth.
The Labor Premier announced that if re-elected in November he will redevelop, expand and rename Maroondah Hospital “in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” and “as a mark of respect to her unwavering commitment to healthcare and our community”.
“The Queen was a longstanding supporter of Victoria’s healthcare system,” the Premier said in a statement.
The $850 million upgrade, which includes in-patient towers housing more than 200 extra beds, a new emergency department and new operating theatres, has received mixed reactions.
While some people have welcomed the upgrade and rename, others are upset about changing the name because Maroondah is an Aboriginal-derived name meaning “throwing leaves”.
Dr Neela Janakiramanan, a Melbourne-based surgeon, responded to the news by writing, “Maroondah Hospital is the only hospital I can think of in Victoria with an Aboriginal name.”
“Inclusive healthcare starts from the signage on. The funding and expansion is much needed, but I hope such a beloved and inclusive name can remain.”
Noongah woman and author Claire Coleman wrote that “NO to Maroondah Hospital renamed Queen Elizabeth Hospital”.
She shared a change.org petition that as of Monday morning had been signed by more than 1,600 people.
The petition explains why organisers are against changing the name “especially at this time, when the state of Victoria is undergoing the treaty process with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria”.
It says, “This is a very regressive move and hinders building meaningful goodwill for genuine reconciliation with first nations people, on the current road to treaty and truth telling that is occurring.”
Others on social media shared similar views, with Claire Smith writing, “Surely this decision is on the ‘wrong side’ of history and ‘tone deaf’.”
“Bad move,” another wrote, noting that there are already hospitals in Brisbane and Adelaide named after Queen Elizabeth.
Another person put it simply, saying, “Dan this is not a good idea.”
Image credits: Getty Images
This article first appeared on OverSixty.