Is the Australian government illegally using data collected and held by the Australian Immunisation Register to deny entitlement to means-tested family benefits?

The following post is reblogged with permission kind permission of a brand new blog – tyrannical times which will definitely be a page to follow – make sure you subscribe! There are so many ways in which the Australia government, bless their little souls, have breached the constitution and federal legislation through recent No Jab No Pay legislation. This blog has raised just one more in a long line of issues – how can the government use information held by the ACIR for a purpose that was never intended and how that breaches our right to privacy. Were the drafters of this legislation really so arrogant they did not even consider this angle?

The question of the legality of the so-called No Jab No Pay law has never been far from my mind since the prospect of abolishing belief exemptions for childcare and family tax benefits first emerged in February last year, following the release of a Productivity Commission report containing such a recommendation.

However, notwithstanding the utter moral repugnancy of linking means-tested welfare payments to vaccination without provision for belief exemptions, it was always going to be a bridge-too-far to prevent this law from being passed using logical or moral reasoning, for reasons which I will not document here (readers familiar with the topic will already be aware of those reasons).

Consequently, the burden was always going to fall on pro-choice advocates to find a legal antidote to this poisonous, tyrannical law.

An obvious and critical aspect of the No Jab No Pay law is that it is dependent for its operation on the use of vaccination status data collected and held by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register during the past 20 years.

I have always objected to the government collecting information about my children’s vaccination habits – or rather non-vaccination habits – however, like most, I was never inclined to investigate further the legality of it doing so, for the fact that belief exemptions have been permitted since a vaccination requirement was first used to regulate eligibility to child care payments.  There was simply no need – at least that’s what I thought before last year.  No Jab No Pay is a potent lesson in why we should only permit the government to collect information about us on a need-to-know basis, otherwise, some day, in some way, it will eventually be used against us, as is being done now.

Contrary to what nanny-state proponents would have us believe, information privacy is something everyone should be concerned about!

“If you’ve done nothing wrong then you shouldn’t care about what information the government is collecting about you” they proclaim.

Well, up until 31 December 2015, conscientious objectors to vaccination weren’t doing anything wrong, yet from January 01 2016 we are now being denied entitlement to child-care and family tax benefits.

Privacy

The passage of No Jab No Pay necessitates a closer examination of the validity of the register itself, as well as the validity of the purposes for which the government is collecting and using information held by the register against a percentage of its citizens.

Just because the government has been collecting individual vaccination status information about our children for 20 years, doesn’t mean it has been doing so lawfully!

The register, the extent of personal information collected, and how information held by the register may be legally used should be a key focus for any lawyer charged with examining ways to restore our rights.  The register law may present an easier avenue by which to achieve this end than the actual No Jab No Pay legislation itself.

History and use of the Register

The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register was constituted by regulation in 1995, and subsequently incorporated into legislation in 1996, by amendment to the Health Insurance Act 1973.  The parliamentary digest for this amendment provides an overview of the proposed, narrow uses of information collected by the register.  Importantly, from its inception up until commencement of the Child Care Payments Act 1997, vaccination status data collected by the register did not include non-vaccination, nor could it be used for the purpose of regulating eligibility to child care or family payments.

Secondly, between late 1997 and 2015 – whilst vaccination status data collected by the register was used to regulate eligibility to certain child care and family payments following enactment of the Child Care Payments Act, and subsequently A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act – the data was collected and used on the basis that belief exemptions were in force during this period.  No Jab No Pay proposes to use vaccination status data collected for this earlier purpose (inclusive of the right to belief exemptions), for a broader purpose, namely, enforcement of a vaccination requirement without belief exemptions.

Get all the information

In other words, the government has been deceptively collecting vaccination status data about our children for the last 18 years on the basis that collection and use of that data for regulating eligibility to child care and family payments included an entitlement to register a belief exemption, but now intends to use the information collected to date for a broader purpose not inclusive of a right to register a belief exemption.  A classic bait and switch.

Evil bastards.

Constitutional bases purporting to authorise the immunisation register

The Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 passed late last year, purports to provide authority for the government to continue to keep an immunisation register, and in fact extends the children’s register to include those “children” up to 20 years of age.  Yes, adult “children”, and later in 2016, the register will become a whole-of-life immunisation register.  Are you feeling the warmth of that nanny state blanket yet?

Section 13 of the new Immunisation Register Act provides a list of constitutional bases (as found in section 51) on which the immunisation register may be authorised and as much as I would like for the immunisation register to be dead and buried altogether, have little doubt that one or more of those bases would support the constitutional validity of the immunisation register itself.  After all, a sufficient connection between the register law and one of those powers is all that’s required for the Commonwealth to have the necessary power to legislate in that area.

(a)  the provision of pharmaceutical benefits; or

(b)  the provision of medical services (without any form of civil conscription); or

(c)  census or statistics; or

(d)  external affairs, including:

(i)  giving effect to an international agreement to which Australia is a party; or

(ii)  addressing matters of international concern; or

(e)  a Territory or a Commonwealth place (within the meaning of the Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970 ); or

(f)  the implied power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to nationhood; or

(g)  the executive power of the Commonwealth; or

(h)  matters incidental to the execution of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament or the executive power of the Commonwealth.

However, it’s one thing for the Commonwealth to have the necessary legislative power to create and keep an immunisation register, but quite another to collect and use personal medical information for expedient purposes in excess of its authorised powers.

For example, under the census and statistics power, it would be entirely possible to argue that the collection and use of vaccination status data about individuals – identifiable by name, date of birth, address, and Medicare number – is well beyond the scope of that power.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Commonwealth has the necessary power to collect vaccination status data about individuals with a level of identifying information sufficient to regulate entitlement to means-tested welfare payments.  If it doesn’t, then it will lose the only effective carrot it has ever had by which to lift immunisation rates, and it will only have itself to blame for enacting such a draconian law.

Only time will tell.

Reactions to vaccination – are they really rare?

We are often told that vaccine reactions are incredibly rare – with only 1 in a million suffering any ill effects after their shots. I thought that I might share with you all the letter and two phone calls I received today regarding vaccine reactions. Perhaps the only thing ‘rare’ about reactions is having them either admitted to or reported by the medical community?

Dear Meryl,

Many years ago, my daughter contracted measles following her MMR vaccination. This was followed by meningitis / encephalitis, causing certain brain scarring.

Later in life, she had a baby and when the baby’s immunisation was due, I became concerned and contacted the Infectious Diseases Department at the Royal Children’s Hospital where I was told that this was an “at risk” baby because of her mother’s complications and would require special attention. But the local doctor here assured my daughter she would be fine.

It was then I heard of the AVN and phoned to tell them of my concerns. They were very helpful and suggested that I take note of all batch numbers, lot numbers and expiry dates of everything injected into this baby.

We purchased Infanrix (the purer form of the vaccine) and the baby was vaccinated in hospital.

Within weeks, the baby suffered many convulsions, spent time in hospital and became vaccine damaged.

It took 18 months to have her registered with the health department as suffering adverse events following immunisation – and this would never have been accomplished without being able to present them with all the information that Meryl and the AVN suggested that I obtain.

It’s been an ongoing and continuing battle with speech therapy, learning disability, paediatricians etc, but she is 12 years old now and really trying hard to learn.

Two more children born later have not been vaccinated and are perfectly well and healthy.

Thank you to you Meryl and the AVN for your continuing support. May others benefit from your knowledge and courage.

JH

Shortly after opening the mail this morning to find this letter, I received a phone call from a woman who has had a serious reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine. This woman who is in her 50s and has been incredibly fit, playing basketball 3 times a week as well as other sports and working full time. She got the seasonal flu vaccine in mid-April of this year at work.

She began to experience strange symptoms and a week after getting the shot, whilst at a friend’s christening, her sister and sister-in-law both asked why it was she was squinting. She answered that she didn’t know – she just felt that she couldn’t keep her eyes open properly. She was also continually blinking.

Within days, she was unable to drive her car at night because her eyes were so sensitive to light, she was blinded behind the wheel when another car approached.

Stranger still, being on the computer at work affected her ability to speak. If she would look at the monitor, her jaw began to spasm and she was unable to speak. The same thing happened when she watched TV and when she had to speak to people. If she kept her eyes closed, she was able to speak properly, but as soon as she opened her eyes, the spasming and problems talking would start (she had her eyes closed whilst speaking with me).

Her work had to let her go and right now, they are fighting to keep her off of workers’ compensation.

She called the company that had administered the vaccine and went through all her symptoms with them. After spending a long time with them on the phone, she asked the person on the other end what the next step was. Oh, they said, there is no next step. She asked who they would be reporting the reaction to and they said that they would not be reporting it at all. They also told her that 99% of people who get the flu shot are not affected by it. What about the 1% who are though, she asked? There was no answer.

At this point in the conversation, I mentioned that she was constantly clearing her throat and asked if she was aware of that.

Yes, she said – that started after the shot too. She always feels as though she has a lump in her throat and her sister actually looked down her throat and says she saw a lump there.

I asked if she had been given any medication after her reaction and she said that she had seen her GP when her symptoms first started and that the doctor did no tests but diagnosed her with a sinus infection and put her on antibiotics and a nasal spray that cost her $72! She said that this did her no good.

She began to have headaches constantly starting a couple of weeks after the shot and she had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. They told her that there was nothing wrong with her and that she should see a psychologist.

The headaches didn’t stop though so about 2 weeks ago, she was booked into hospital for an MRI. By this time, she was having a really hard time getting around – even on public transport. With great difficulty, she took a bus to the hospital and had the MRI. She took the bus home and as soon as she got off and was crossing the road to her house, she got a call from the hospital telling her to come back in because they wanted to the MRI again – only with dye this time!

A few days ago, she made an appointment to speak with her GP about the results of the MRI. The doctor could not make heads or tales of the radiologist’s report so while this woman was in the office, the doctor called to speak with the MRI operator who told her that there was a lesion at the base of this woman’s brain. The doctor asked what the next step was and the MRI operator said – nothing – that lesion appeared on the MRI that had no dye but on the next MRI, nothing was found at that location but an artefact. Neither the doctor nor this woman really understood what that meant.

This woman has an appointment to see a neurologist next month and we will be following up with her to see how she goes. We are also reporting her reaction to the government.

A couple of hours later, I received a phone call from another woman who has a 5-year old child with cerebral palsy.

This woman told me that her daughter had been walking and talking perfectly until she got her MMR vaccine at about 18 months of age. Within a few days, she started to limp and stopped talking. Slowly, she lost most of her muscle control.

She was put through a battery of tests and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

I told this woman that it was very rare for a child to develop cerebral palsy after birth since it was usually congenital and she said that she was aware of that. The doctor told her though that her daughter had the brain damage from birth and it just appeared after the vaccine was administered! One really has to wonder how they get away with telling these lies?

This little girl is now on botulin toxin to help her control her involuntary movements and the mother has 3 other children who she is being pressured into vaccinating though she does not want to.

I reassured her that vaccinations are not compulsory for any reason for children in Australia and that the decision to vaccinate is absolutely hers alone.

At this point, she told me that the reason why she was calling is because she wanted to get her daughter’s medical records but when she told the doctor that she would not be giving this little girl any more vaccines, the doctor refused to provide the records to her and said that the records were owned by the doctor – not the mother – so she was not entitled to them.

This woman is now looking for an ACNEM doctor who will treat her with more respect to help her take care of her family. She is also filling in an adverse reaction report form which we will report to the government.

Oh, one more thing. She said that the conscientious objection forms she filled in for her children have been lost by the ACIR so she needs to go back and get them done again. This happens all the time. So often that it is hard to imagine it is accidental.

I advised her to get the forms and to send the original AFTER making and keeping a copy. Then, when they get lost next time, she won’t need to make another appointment with the doctor and instead, she can just photocopy the form she has and send it off again. I suggest that anyone who is filling in a conscientious or medical exemption form for their children do the same.

Vaccination Dangers – No Thought Allowed – What the Immunisation Register Won’t Tell You

Just a bit of history – right on the cusp of the birth of the AVN. This article describes how the Australian Childhood Immuisation Register was created and why the government and the medical community choose to ignore vaccine reactions, attack those who question the safety of shots and downplay any risks which using scare tactics and untruths to make people think that their children are at great risk from these diseases – a risk that can only be alleviated by vaccination.

by Meryl Dorey
(This article was originally published in Living Now magazine)

Like most mothers, Jan Sinclair had hopes and dreams for her son Danny. Those hopes were cruelly shattered however a few hours after Danny received his routine four-month vaccinations.

He immediately fell into a deep sleep from which he didn’t awaken until 7:30 the next morning. When he did wake up, it was to begin a massive grand-mal seizure that lasted for more than 2 hours and that doctors could do nothing to stop. Today, Danny is permanently brain damaged, partially paralysed, has uncontrolled seizures and will need his mother to care for him for the rest of his life. He is a victim of the vaccines that he was given in a vain attempt to keep him safe from disease.
Genene Howell’s son, Benjamin, received a first DPT (diphtheria, pertussis & tetanus) and polio vaccine in the morning. For more than 24 hours, he cried continually and ran a high fever. By midnight the following night, he was dead. Genene’s doctor informed her that the death was caused by the vaccination and they should make sure their other children knew about it for future reference. Despite admitting that the vaccine had killed this child, the doctor did not report this death to the Public Health Unit.
Jan, Genene and the more than 250 families who have reported their child’s death or adverse vaccine reaction to the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) are angry about the one-sided coverage of this issue. They have learned the hard way that the propaganda being distributed by the government and the medical community is not based on fact. They know that the vast majority of children who are being affected by vaccines are never counted in the official statistics and suspect that the risks/benefits ratio used to coerce reluctant parents into vaccinating their precious children are based more upon increasing profits for the pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors than upon scientific fact.
The Australian government has instituted a series of draconian measures designed to force parents who have made an informed choice not to vaccinate their children into changing their minds by penalising them financially. There is a $4 billion deficit in the Medicare budget and yet this government has managed to find $100 million a year to bribe doctors to push, and push hard, to achieve a 90% vaccination rate among their patients for a bounty of $2,500.
This madness was precipitated by the case of a couple, Greg Beattie and Jacqui Butcher, who had taken their local council (Maroochy) to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunies Commission because their healthy unvaccinated children had been denied a place at a council-run child care centre. The assertion that unvaccinated children could place vaccinated children at risk was the council’s argument. Despite the fact that the expert witnesses hired by the Maroochy Council showed no evidence to prove this claim, whereas Greg Beattie brought reams of medical journal articles to refute it, their case was lost. The Commission did not have jurisdiction to decide a case such as this, but it was still used as a precedent by some schools and childcare centres to discriminate against children who were unvaccinated. A whooping cough epidemic was ‘manufactured’ by the government and the fear campaign began in earnest. One way or another, the Government intended to increase the number of Australian children being vaccinated.
Within days of Greg and Jacqui losing their case, headlines appeared about an whooping cough epidemic in Sydney including the deaths of 3 babies who were supposedly too young to have been vaccinated. This was very convenient timing – especially since the epidemic may never have taken place!
The CDI Bulletin (23/1/97) which tracks infectious disease reports, shows that for the period 8/12/96-7/1/97, when there was supposedly an epidemic ripping through Sydney, the entire state of NSW reported only one case of whooping cough. The three deaths from whooping cough were supposed to have occurred at the New Children’s Hospital but when an AVN member contacted the infectious diseases ward, they were told there had been no deaths from whooping cough. The final nail in the coffin was the information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which showed that there was only one case of whooping cough from November 1, 1996 to January 1, 1997 and no deaths at all.
With the emotional press reports, people flocked to health centres and doctor’s offices to get their children vaccinated through fear. AVN received many phone calls from parents who had children killed or injured by vaccines. They were angry about the biased reporting and misleading information given to parents by both doctors and journalists.
This campaign was engineered specifically to engender fear and anger in the community at large towards unvaccinated children and it was working We started to hear horror stories of people who were no longer allowed to visit family members because their children were unvaccinated; of people being barred from play-groups and public meetings as a result of their decision not to expose their children to the risks of vaccination.
The newspapers have been filled with angry letters and editorials about this situation. The editor of the Tweed Daily News said that: “For a child to die from a preventable disease in this day and age is not only tragic, it is almost criminal”. The Sydney Morning Herald (21/1/97) quoted Dr. Michael Wooldridge, the Federal Minister for Health as saying: “It’s more likely your child will die because of a meteorite falling from space than die from immunisation”. The 1997 Australian of the year, Peter Doherty (a man who doesn’t even live in Australia) said that allowing the ‘anti-vaccination’ lobby equal time to air its views is akin to giving equal time to murderers.
Assurances by the Government and medical community that: “the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks” are of little comfort to parents whose child has been killed or injured after vaccination. Despite this, the Government’s tactics had an effect on vaccinating and non-vaccinating parents.
The latest proposals by the Australian Government are to penalise parents who do not vaccinate their children by witholding a portion of the baby bonus, and by not allowing them to collect the childcare payments. These are both entitlements and should be untouchable.
Parents can register as conscientious objectors by signing a statutory declaration and visiting a doctor to be counselled on the risks of not vaccinating – without any mention of the risks of vaccination at great expense to the taxpayer and a bonus to doctors ($25.00 medicare fee).
Less than a year ago, the Government said that: “information from the Register will not be linked with other databases such as those from the Department of Social Security, nor will there be financial or other penalties for parents who choose not to immunise their children”. (Implementation of the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register). It has taken them less than 12 months to go back on their word.
All of this diatribe does nothing to address the legitimate concerns of parents whose children are being placed at risk every day by vaccines. A quick look at figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics will show that the questions we are asking about vaccines must be considered seriously. The majority of the decline in mortality from infectious diseases occurred years before the introduction of vaccines — the death rate from measles was down by more than 90% before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1970. Scarlet Fever, which used to kill a great number of children, has disappeared despite the fact that there has never been any vaccine against it.
The vaccines are also extremely ineffective. For instance, the whooping cough vaccine has just undergone clinical trials in Italy and Sweden with alarming results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (8/2/96). These studies showed the vaccine to be only 36%-48% effective, meaning that more than half of those who get this vaccine will not receive any protection at all. In a recent outbreak of measles in Western Sydney which was reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, it was found that 79% of those who were affected had been fully vaccinated against measles.
Vaccines cannot provide life-long immunity — only natural infection can do that — so even those who get some protection from a vaccine will only be protected for a short time, leaving them susceptible to many of these childhood diseases as adults – when the risks from the diseases can be much greater.
Vaccines contain many toxic substances which can severely affect and even kill vulnerable children and adults. The Queensland Poisons Control Centre has informed us that formaldehyde, which is contained in every vaccine, is extremely toxic and there is no safe level for the human body. Vaccines also contain mercury and aluminium compounds – also known to be toxic and to cause allergic reactions. In fact, vaccines have been linked with all kinds of auto immune disorders, such as asthma, eczema, autism, ADD, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Guillain Barre paralysis, cancer and chronic fatigue. Vaccines have also been linked with the development of epilepsy, permanent brain damage and death.
As evidenced by the AVN’s vaccination reaction register, the great majority of doctors never report adverse reactions when they occur so we have not got an accurate idea of how safe vaccines are. On January 20, 1997, we reported more than 200 serious adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths to Dr. Wooldridge. To date, there has been no response to our reports as the Government tightens its grip on Australian families, making it even more difficult for us to make informed choices for our children and ourselves.
It must be obvious that while questions exist about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, parents must be free to choose not to vaccinate. Compulsory medical procedures are unconstitutional according to Section 51 Part 23A of the Australian Constitution.
The decision to vaccinate must be made through conviction and not fear. If we speak out together, we will ensure our freedom to choose and the freedom of others to investigate remains. If we remain silent, our children will be placed at risk.
Meryl Dorey is the President of The Vaccination Awareness Network, NSW.

Lies, damned lies and shonky statistics

Below is the email I sent to ninemsn yesterday regarding the horrendous story they put out regarding a supposed decline in vaccination rates leading to an increase in diseases. Lies, damned lies, and shonky statistics at their worst. I have not heard back nor do I expect to. But so many of you sent me this story, I thought I would show you what i sent them. if you feel like writing, the woman’s email is brigid.delaney@ninemsn.com.au.

Dear Brigid,

Thank you for your time on the phone earlier. I am writing because the story that appears on your website at http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/1002130/disease-threat-as-vaccination-rate-drops is factually incorrect. I do show that it is an AAP story but still, it would be best to both check the accuracy of statements made in these stories as well as getting information from the other side of the issue whenever possible.

Below is a table showing the vaccination rates from 1989-1990 (there are other years involved here, but 1989-1990 is the range I would like to point out). As you can see, for pertussis (whooping cough), the rate of vaccination was only 71%. It is true that in 1989-1990, children vaccinated up to age 6 years were followed for this figure, but since children at that point of time got their last whooping cough vaccination at the age of 18 months, this cohort is comparable to the figures I will show you below this table for the current vaccination rate. Also, compare the rate of disease in 1991 (using the NNDSS data below) with the rate today and ask yourself why with only 71% vaccinated, we saw such a small number of cases, but now, with a supposed 83% vaccination rate (not a correct figure) we are seeing record outbreaks?

Below is a table showing the percentage of Australian children who are fully vaccinated against whooping cough as well as other diseases. Please note that both of these tables are produced by the Commonwealth Department of Health and are published in the Communicable Diseases Intelligence – a government publication.

As you can see, the rate for vaccination against pertussis has gone from a low of 71% in 1989-1990 to a high last year of 95.1%. The article states that the vaccination rate is now 83% for 4-year olds, but that is using data from the ACIR (the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register) – a database that is KNOWN to be incredibly inaccurate. In fact, the NCIRS (National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance) states that, “ACIR coverage estimates were assumed to be ‘worst case scenarios’, representing the minimum possible immunisation coverage.” http://www.ncirs.usyd.edu.au/research/r-acir.html

The ACIR relies on doctors to accurately report the vaccination status of their patient’s children and estimates are that as many as 25% of those reports are either incorrect or simply not submitted.

The figures from the CDI are much more accurate and rather than showing a falling rate of vaccination, they demonstrate that for all infectious diseases, Australia has record high levels of vaccination.

Below are the statistics on whooping cough infections in Australia. Please keep in mind that we have gone from a 71% vaccination rate to a 95% vaccination rate and have seen an increase in the number of cases of whooping cough from 318 across Australia to greater than 29,000 – the highest per capita incidence on record!

If the above table is too small for you to read, here is the web address where you can view it full size – http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/Rpt_3.cfm

My issue with this report (apart from the fact that only one side of this issue was discussed) is that it is completely inaccurate to say that Australia’s level of vaccination is declining. As you can see, we have greater than 90% vaccination across the board – well above the levels we have been told would cause herd immunity and see these diseases wiped out.

Instead, we are seeing increasing vaccination along with increasing levels of infectious disease. And the unvaccinated are being blamed when the majority of those who get these illnesses are fully and appropriately vaccinated against them in every study that the Australian Government has actually conducted on vaccination rates in outbreaks.

I would appreciate it if you would check into this and let me know what you are able to find out and if you would like to do a follow-up report, that would be fantastic.