Mistakes, traps, ethics, and integrity

– Greg Beattie

The federal election falls at the end of this week. While the economy, asylum seekers, and education have dominated the airwaves, something else has been brewing…

iStock_000014317717XSmallThe Australian Greens don’t want you to know it, but they are spearheading the push for compulsory vaccination in Australia. They believe there should be no parental choice. They argued vigorously in NSW parliament to have all conscientious exemptions and religious exemptions removed. Fortunately they were defeated (read Hansard here). Shortly after that, their health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale, made his now infamous speech in Federal Parliament calling for the disbanding of the AVN.  Read the speech here.

Surprised? I think most people are. In fact, disbelief is the reaction from many who have traditionally supported the Greens. But it gets worse. In a bizarre recent move, Di Natale confused things by issuing a statement saying neither he nor the Greens supported compulsory vaccination. Has the party changed its stance? Or is he playing a semantic game with the word ‘compulsory’? We have been trying to find out but despite being pressed, neither he nor party leaders, will answer the question. Click here and here to read Di Natale’s statement and letters we have sent asking for clarification.

Love them or hate them one thing is clear: when it comes to vaccination, the Greens are currently the most vehemently and vocally anti-choice political force in Australia. Ironically, it’s a stance they are unwilling to articulate to voters on the eve of this election.

But first a bit of history for those who have not followed the saga. It has now been more than two months since I last attempted to communicate with Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Greens, concerning Di Natale’s outburst in parliament. Two phone calls and three emails to her and not one breath of response! So I contacted deputy leader Adam Bandt three weeks ago and, again, no response. Click here to read all of the emails.

Obviously the issue is something they don’t want anything to do with. Why might that be?


Delete "MISTAKE"We all make mistakes. Just over two months ago Di Natale made a pile of them in parliament. Unfortunately, he didn’t check his story before opening his mouth. I won’t go over all the mistakes but I will mention a few.

He said the AVN claims “… the MMR vaccine causes autism, a claim they know has been thoroughly and comprehensively debunked”. The truth is the AVN says that evidence of a link has been published. And that’s a fact. In fact, since the original ‘Wakefield’ report, more than 80 studies have been published supporting this proposition. And numerous court cases for damages have found in favour of it after considering the competing evidence. Clearly it is a mistake to claim it has been “thoroughly and comprehensively debunked”.

There were a few more in relation to the actual vaccine debate, but the really worrying examples were the ones where he attempted to slander at a personal level.

He said “[former president] Ms Dorey is alleged to have called Chris Kokogei, whose child died of chickenpox, and said that his child died because his child was weak”. The truth is Ms Dorey doesn’t know this man at all and has never had any contact with him whatsoever.

He went further, claiming grieving families have endured “months of harassment from the AVN“. However there is absolutely no evidence of this. The AVN has certainly never harassed any grieving family, and never will.

He also said “To silence critics they take out apprehended violence orders”. Now that’s some imagination. Here’s the truth. Our former president, Ms Dorey, has an AVO against a man because of a series of depraved and threatening phone calls made in the middle of the night to her home. You can read more about this and listen to the calls by clicking here. The calls were traced by police to the man’s home. You may find this difficult to believe, but Di Natale actually named the man and thanked him:

“I am grateful to people like Daniel Raffaele…”

Yes, this all occurred in the same speech. It was obviously a mistake; one of gargantuan proportions. Surely he didn’t mean to do it, but being so ill-informed, he didn’t even know what the AVO was about, and that the man he was thanking was the subject of it. Again you can listen to the phone calls by clicking the link above.

As I said, we all make mistakes. Perhaps we don’t often make this many in one go, and perhaps we rarely let our carelessness extend so deep, especially when speaking from such a prominent platform. But we’re all different. The question is why did he get so much wrong when he had so much time to prepare his speech?


He had obviously been lobbied. It’s no secret there is an organised group (calling itself “Stop the AVN”) that formed for this purpose. Its members regularly use smear tactics in an attempt to turn people against the AVN. They’ve been doing it for years. They lobby whoever will listen. Enter Di Natale, who swallowed the stories, hook, line, and sinker. He then made his first mistake. He neglected to contact us.

But that’s part of what ‘hook, line, and sinker’ means, isn’t it? A person falls so completely for a trap that they make not just one but a succession of mistakes. Would you believe he has never contacted the AVN about these stories ever? Still he decided to give parliament a rundown on the organisation, based entirely on the stories.

So question number one is why did he not seek a response first?

The AVN has been a legally constituted consumer organisation and a registered charity for the past 16 years. We promote discussion and support consumers in their quest for information. We also strive to ensure that their right to make free and informed choices is never taken away. We’re publicly available via mail, email, fax and phone. Contact from members of parliament is always welcome: in fact, encouraged.


A lesson I learnt in childhood was “whenever you make a mess in life, clean it up before moving on”. Isn’t it true that we’re all judged ultimately, not by the mistakes we make, but by the way we clean up? There are always two options: clean up and move on, or just move on and hope no one saw.

When the Greens were made aware of their mistakes (again please read the emails) they had a choice: clean up the mess, or simply ignore and hope no one saw it happen. They took the latter option and that was the biggest mistake of all.

People historically see the party as ethical. Even those who disagree with Greens policies tend to think of its key players as possessing integrity. According to former leader Bob Brown, the party used the guiding principle of placing one’s self in the shoes of a person 100 years from now and asking, “Will this person thank me for my actions today?”

Graffiti wall with choice, street backgroundI think the Greens were relevant to many for these reasons, but what about the current crop of players? I can’t comment on them all but Di Natale certainly fell short. He knows by now he left a big mess and, in the process, impugned the character of many decent people. He was careless and used his position of influence in an irresponsible way. But, again, that’s a mistake. The real issue is that when it was brought to his attention, and an invitation was extended, he chose to run from his mess.

Christine Milne knows what happened, and rather than face the problem, and manage the clean up, she chose to ignore it. Her party has, via a monumental error of both fact and judgement by its spokesperson, publicly condemned an organisation of decent caring people. And when approached by the organisation’s president to discuss this, she has shunned the opportunity to manage a clean-up. Deputy Adam Bandt has now joined her. This type of behaviour is inexcusable from any political party, but from the Greens it is particularly disappointing.

Fast forward

Whatever damage has been done to their reputation through this is something for the longer term to address. It’s time to get back to the title of this article. Our federal election takes place at the end of this week. What the Greens need to do now, if they wish to salvage any integrity with pro-choice voters, is clarify where they stand regarding compulsion. And they need to do it quickly.

Do they still want to remove all parental choice, as they made clear in the ‘No jab, no play’ debate in NSW parliament? Or have they changed? Do they now support and  respect the right of parents to make choices on this controversial issue, without fear or favour? It’s time to come clean. Voters are waiting…

[This article is a follow-up from earlier posts:]


  1. I think it’s interesting that you use the term “pro choice” here, a term that’s usually used in the abortion debate. A mother has obviously the choice to do whatever she wants to her unborn baby, but once the baby is born the government wants to take over. If a government has decided “pro choice” before birth, then in my opinion this automatically means “pro choice” after birth. Double standards should not exist in politics, at least not in a democracy.

    Any kind of logic or common sense has disappeared from the vaccination debate. When politicians start to suggest a dictatorship or to ignore the constitution, then a country is in a very poor state.

    On top of that I would like to remind the politicians who suggested the above, that in other countries it has shown that compulsory vaccination does NOT increase the number of vaccinated children. So they want to sacrifice the democracy for nothing.

    1. In the case of the vulnerable,as carers we are given the responsibility of making a choice for them, that they would make for themselves if they were capable. What baby would choose to be aborted, and what child would choose to be filled with chemicals. Both are preying on the most vulnerable and totally defenseless little being in our society for either selfish convenience or financial gain. The Greens would save a tree but think nothing of saving a defenseless child…they are not green or pro- “life” at all 🙁

  2. I also contacted both Christine Milne and Richard Di Natale over the position of the Greens and expressed my disapointment in a party that I believed would have been THE one to have an ethical and freedom of choice stance! Until they rescind this position, I will not vote for them! This, and Kevin Rudd’s attack against Conscientious Objectors, has made me livid, and as a result I have written to both parties – with no response from either!

    1. Before voting, Google then read ‘Rudd undone by the enemy within’. He was his own enemy which led to his demise as PM in 2010. This article was published in The Australian. Quite lengthy. Note the 10 names at the bottom of the article of people whom I suspect contributed information for the article. I’ve just read ‘The Stalking of Julia Gillard’ (a just-published book). Rudd has apparently stalked Julia from soon after his ousting as PM and worked hard, along with some parliamentary colleagues and media folk to destabilize her and her government. Google also ‘Rudd + Captain Chaos’ and note especially that he was already being called that in 2008.
      In the book, it was mentioned that someone walking down the hallway in parliament heard Rudd (when PM the first time) telling an underling to say ‘I am a f…wit’. Go on, say it, ‘I am a f…wit’. We all make mistakes but that was pretty awful.

  3. I am totally over the government interference in our lives and the individuals that want to tell us or force us to do what they want. At present its already a case of getting your vaccinations or your child will be indirectly punished. If not vaccinated they will then be excluding from joining any and all government funded education areas such as preschools.

    Now today I hear on the media how the top 10% of drinkers has increased their consumption. They then stated that this could be curbed by raising the price and even stated that it has worked in the past. First of all it didn’t work and it was proved that when they raised the “taxes” on premixers to prevent binge drinking of the youth, it in fact didn’t do anything. Second, who are these idiots to tell us what to do in and with our lives.

    Just like smoking, raise the taxes does NOT make people quit. It only takes more taxes out of peoples pockets.

    Before anyone criticises, I do not drink or smoke so doesn’t affect me but there are many other interferences that do and these are just two of the biggest amongst general society. Its time for governments and minorities to get the hell out of our lives.

  4. Don’t go near the Greens they are not what they once were. Wikileaks at this stage as far as I can see will not support compulsory vaccination so that is where my vote will go . Amen

  5. There are two ‘fluoride’ articles that contain information relevant to the vaccination network: i.e. https://www.facebook.com/notes/anti-fluoridation-association-of-mildura/avoiding-the-mass-medication-trap-things-you-need-to-know/312645458881173 (note the importance of ‘informed consent’ which medical practitioners know means ‘informed consent to treatment’ (couldn’t vaccination be considered a treatment?). The other article contains quotes from various (official and other sources) relating to ethics and consent: https://www.facebook.com/notes/anti-fluoridation-association-of-mildura/final-nails-in-the-ethical-coffin-of-water-fluoridation/314696628676056 : Please read this information which took that author days to source and collate.

  6. CartoonMick, I’m new at this blogging and after hitting reply (to your blog) is left a message which I can’t see now. Here it is in briefer text. Before voting, Google and read ‘Rudd undone by the enemy within’ (the enemy within was himself). The article was published 2010. Google also any variation of ‘Captain Chaos + Rudd’. One 2008 article is particularly revealing. The Stalking of Julia Gillard (new book just out last month) is particularly revealing about the character of Rudd.

  7. Hear! Hear!

    Having followed this unraveling story closely in administration of my Facebook group “VACCINE” https://m.facebook.com/groups/202729753137755 of same intent as the AVN, I approached Josh Fergeus https://www.facebook.com/joshfergeus2012?ref=ts&fref=ts after his posting on his attendance at a dementia research breakfast and thus ensued discussion on the greens stance on pharmaceutical transparency (the greens claim pharmacutical transparency as a primary policy) yet the exstensive discussion was deleted after I took the discussion to private messages to get further clarity as Josh was not directly answering my queries and accused me of being aggressive and misrepresenting his stance (by askibg qyestions?) as a means to end our discussion (a common ploy)…

    I now have exstensive records of private message discussion on this matter with Josh which I hope to publish soon needless to say by default and their actions the Greens are well and truly against choice when it comes to vaccines despite their pointing to a one line policy quip to the contrary…

    Add to this fact the point of Scott Ludlum publicly calling anyone seeking to educate themselves about vaccines as lunatics (or words to that effect) in a reddit discusion, we have a very clear impression of the eugenics basis of the Greens “health” policies…

  8. “The Greens” gives the impression of being connected to nature and natural health systems. Vaccination is the opposite. Injecting toxic chemicals via a most unnatural route is surely not the policy of a true Green party.

  9. It is quite clear from an international perspective that the enviromentalist lobby have been completely useless on the vaccine safety front over many years. I have tried to raise these issues in the UK with the Ecologist and with the noted environmentalist journalist George Monbiot but you find – for instance – that people who are properly concerned about mercury emissions into the environment are not at all concerned about injecting it into babies. If a batch of unused thimerosal containing vaccines had to be disposed of it would suddenly become an environmental problem. It doesn’t occur to them that it is an environmental problem even if it is injected into babies since most of the mercury is eventually excreted (they are part of the environment), but as to the babies and what happens to them it seems to be a matter of indifference. I suppose we also saw this recently when the Gates Foundation and WHO cronies managed to persuade the UN to exclude vaccines from a global mercury ban.

    It seems to me both very stupid and very corrupt. Of course, mercury is not the end of the story but it is indicative of the moral insouciance of the vaccine lobby – it is not that there are no benefits to vaccines but the primary purpose is to milk the system, ruthlessly extending compliance while dodging liability.

    Why shouldn’t there be basic rules even for them?

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