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Backlash after Aussie state announces tribute to Queen: 'Huge mistake'

A Melbourne hospital will be renamed in honour of the late Queen and the move has sparked a backlash with a petition circulating against it.

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews tweeted about the decision to rename Maroondah Hospital to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital "as a mark of respect to her unwavering commitment to healthcare and our community".

He also announced the hospital will undergo a $850 to $1,050 million redevelopment and expansion, with construction starting in 2025.

An image of the late-Queen Elizabeth II next to a screenshot of a TikTok where a young Greens member criticises the decision for Victoria to rename Maroondah Hospital in Ringwood, Melbourne to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital . Source: Getty and TikTok
The Andrews Labor Government will rename Maroondah Hospital in Ringwood, Melbourne to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital. Source: Getty and TikTok

"This redevelopment means the growing eastern suburbs will have a hospital to keep providing them with the best possible care," Mr Andrews said on Twitter.

"Hospitals, healthcare and the healthcare workers Victoria needs."

People oppose changing Aboriginal name

While some thought it was a "beautiful tribute" to Queen Elizabeth II, most thought the renaming was a "huge mistake".

"Maroondah Hospital is the only hospital I can think of in Victoria with an Aboriginal name," Surgeon Dr Neela Janakiramanan said on Twitter.

"Inclusive healthcare starts from the signage on."

"Or we could name it after Uncle Jack, or Archie Roach, or anyone else who actually created positive change for our country," Dr Linda McIver said.

Another person even suggested naming it after "someone from a medical field that deserves it instead of someone that was born into a 'royal family'".

Greens member Matt Morgan shared on TikTok how ironic he thought the name change was.

"It’s 2022 and the Victorian Labor government is renaming an Aboriginal-named hospital after a dead British monarch. Isn’t that the opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing right now?" Mr Morgan said.

Others agreed, saying "they could’ve renamed literally any other hospital".

"Give the funding to Maroondah (because it desperately needs it) and then change Mitchum or Box Hill or something nearby," one person commented.

Another pointed out that "respect for the Queen" can still be shown without "disrespecting Aboriginal people".

Petition already reaches almost 1500 signatures

A petition against the renaming of the hospital in Melbourne kickstarted on Sunday and has already gained significant momentum.

While in support of the development, petition organiser, Maroondah Action, has called the renaming "regressive" when the state of Victoria is currently undergoing the treaty process with the 'First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria'.

"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/to occur."

Senator Lidia Thorpe also agreed with the sentiment.

"This is not what Treaty looks like, Dan," she said on Twitter.

"Maroondah is a Woiwurrung word meaning leaf, which symbolises Maroondah’s green environment. What an insult to now colonise us, again."

If an Andrews Labor Government is re-elected, the hospital development and expansion will include a new emergency department (ED), operating theatres, day procedure facilities and specialist care spaces.

It will also feature an expanded medical imaging unit and two six-storey in-patient towers, housing more than 200 extra beds.

The new ED will have an extra 14 treatment spaces and deliver more modern and comfortable spaces for patients and staff.

Member for Ringwood, Dustin Halse, highlighted the need for such an investment.

"I know first-hand how hard our nurses work — and I couldn't be prouder that a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will build the hospital our community needs, and our healthcare workers deserve," Mr Halse said in a statement.

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