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No Jab, No Pay, Health Rights, Childcare

QLD Parliamentary Inquiry into allowing Unvaccinated Children to be excluded from Childcare

QLD ParlimentOn the 19th of August, 2013, then AVN President, Greg Beattie, gave a presentation before a QLD Parliamentary Inquiry looking into changes to the way in which unvaccinated children are admitted to childcare facilities. The intent was to exclude the unvaccinated or make it more difficult for them to attend.

The Committee Chair was Trevor Ruthenberg and he was both fair and competent in the way he managed the day.

The AVN put together a scientifically-based, well-referenced submission and was treated with great respect by most on this committee whose ultimate decision was, thankfully, not to go ahead with the intended legislative changes.

This last week, On September 10th, due to very similar changes being proposed in QLD, the AVN once again took the time to put together a submission and was called upon to testify.

We assumed that the procedure would be the same and that the Committee would, once again, treat all those who took the time to testify with respect.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I was there as an observer so I was able to closely watch both the previous speakers and the AVN representatives.

Altogether, were 12 speakers who were in support of government policies regarding the exclusion of unvaccinated children (actually, Professor Julie Leask, though an avid supporter of vaccination, was not happy with the bill in its present state and said – amongst other things – that it was unethical) and 4 speakers who believed in free and informed health choice. The AVN’s group consisted of Greg Beattie, Tasha David (current AVN President) and Brett Smith, a member of the AVN.

In addition, there was to be a presentation from Ms Rebecca Hansen-Smith, a QLD mother who has been researching this issue extensively and who gave an excellent presentation at the last Committee Meeting.

The AVN was told that they would have 20 minutes in total and they were to present after Prof Julie Leask testified by telephone hookup. They therefore prepared a 3-minute opening statement each (9 minutes in total) and allowed 11 minutes for questions.

Ms Hansen-Smith was also given 20 minutes and she was supposed to be the last speaker of the day, immediately following the AMA (there will be a very long blog about the presentation of Dr Kidd from the AMA within the next day or two).

The Committee members listened to the pro-medical speakers with great attentiveness and asked many, many questions – the majority of them, Dorothy Dixers.

When it came time for the AVN to speak, however, the Committee called Rebecca Hansen-Smith at the same time.

The AVN just assumed that their time had been extended to 40 minutes (which would have been fair) and the Committee just wanted them all to speak together since they were covering the topic from the same point of view.

Less than 2 minutes into Ms Hansen-Smith’s opening statement however (the Committee asked her to go first), the Chair interrupted, asking if she could please wrap it up! Of course, none of us expected this and Rebecca said that she still had important information she had prepared and wanted to get to.

The Chair said that the Committee was running overtime after the previous speakers so the AVN was going to have to cut its time short and also merge its time with another, unrelated person!

Of course, everyone was most upset about this. Tasha had flown in from Melbourne, Brett from Sydney and Greg had travelled from the Sunshine Coast. In their voluntary capacity, they had spent hours putting together submissions and opening statements and now, they were not going to be allowed to put them on the public record!

Greg’s opening statement (in the next blog following this one) was cut in half and neither Brett nor Tasha got to use their statements at all.

To add insult to injury, whilst the Committee had listened very intently to the pro-vaccine speakers, they chatted amongst themselves nearly the entire time the AVN and Ms Hansen-Young were presenting.

You can read the Transcript of the day’s testimony at this link – and as I said previously, I am going to be writing an in-depth analyses of several of these presentations, but I would just like to close by saying that the Committee showed extreme rudeness and disdain for those who were in opposition to the passage of this law.

This was a public hearing and they were the only ones representing the general public. Instead of listening to them and allowing them the requisite time they had been promised, they were ignored and their talks were cut short.

Lastly, when the final presenter of the day, Dr Richard Kidd from the AMA QLD rose to speak, he assured the Chair that he would be as brief as possible. The Chair replied, “We have made up time. Thank you.”

Of course they had made up time! They had cut the two health consumer talks in half in order to give that time to a medical lobby group.

I am hoping that they will at least be fair when determining the outcome of this legislation (and please do take the time to read Greg’s opening statement because it explains why this legislation cannot go ahead in its present state).

Only time will tell.

No Jab, No Pay? NO WAY! Please join the protest

The following information is taken verbatim from the website No Jab, No Pay? NO WAY!

If there is a peaceful protest being held within driving distance of where you live, please plan to add your voice to the calls for health freedom. Our rights are under threat like never before and everyone needs to get involved before this draconian legislation sails through Parliament. Thank you to the organisers for taking the initiative in bringing these events together. May they be well-attended and reported on fairly.

******************************

We are a group of individuals and parents who believe in freedom of choice and the right of all parents to make their families medical choices free from coercion, manipulation and blackmail! We have a nationwide peaceful protest marches being held across Australia on Sunday 21st June 2015, Please join us and stand up for parental rights and the human rights!

ADELAIDE:
Parliament House
10.30am
https://www.facebook.com/events/376557782536913/

BRISBANE:
Queens Park
11am – 1.30pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1623935994487637/

CANBERRA:
Parliament House
12 – 1pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1383841645277050/

MELBOURNE:
Parliament House
1pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/448134832015862/

SYDNEY:
Town Hall
1pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/456663717832508/

TASMANIA:
Launceston City Park
1pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1571459183115789/

PERTH
Synergy Energy Park Playground, Kings Park (Near Vietnam Pavilion)
12-2pm
weekly Sunday gatherings to discuss ideas up until the 21st at same time, same place.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1625533267664814/

We shall be heard…

Today’s post was written by Tasha David, one of the AVN’s committee members, who has had to endure the grief of having several children injured by vaccines – followed by two extremely healthy unvaccinated children. Her greatest regret is that she did not learn about the risks of vaccination in time to protect her older kids, and she wants to spare families from having to deal with the same grief her family struggles with every day.

The promises from both major parties and the Australian Greens to penalise families like her own for making an informed choice about what medical interventions their children should or should not have, have motivated her to write this post.  This is a ‘call to arms’ to help motivate the silent majority in Australia who believe that parents should ultimately be able to decide what is best for their own families and who would never force others to submit to a medical procedure which could cause harm or even death to susceptible children. 

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As I am sure you are all aware by now, Prime Minister Rudd announced that if he gets re-elected, he would be taking the Family Tax Benefit A Supplementary Payment away from families who are conscientious objectors to vaccination followed by removal of the Childcare Rebate.  When I heard this, the unfairness of it hit me particularly hard!  I felt really deflated and I couldn’t understand why after all we have been through, that this news story could get to me so?

After all, we made it through the time when the NSW Government tried to take away our children’s right to attend preschool and the “No Jab, No Play” hate campaign run by News Ltd.’s the Daily Telegraph. We survived Greens Senator Richard Di Natale’s vehement attack on the AVN and his support of those who have used harassment, violent pornography and death threats to attack our former President, Meryl Dorey.

Really, these kind of discriminatory statements have been thrown around so often by our politicians and in the media that it has become almost commonplace.  So why did this one bring me to the verge of tears?

It was certainly not about the money, even though this payment was created for the specific purpose of helping low income families with the costs of raising children – not the costs of raising vaccination rates.

So if it wasn’t that, what was it about then?

We Have No Voice

That’s when it dawned on me.  Our Government couldn’t care less about why 77,000 Australian families including mine, did not feel the recommended childhood vaccination schedule was in the best interests of their children!  They were willing to take away our children’s rights to the government entitlements that are offered to every other eligible Australian family, without even bothering to hear what we have to say.  The very people who are directly affected by this proposed legislation would have absolutely no input into it whatsoever.  Even criminals get a chance to present their side of the story before a judge passes sentence, yet we as law abiding citizens of this historically freedom-fighting nation of ours, are not even allowed to present our side.  I mean, you could expect this from a country that was living under some tyrannical regime, but from a democratic, first-world nation like Australia – surely not?

The other part of Prime Minister Rudd’s speech that cut me to the core, was when he said that he wanted to make sure that all Mums and Dads could feel confident that their children would be surrounded by vaccinated kids when they go to school.   I couldn’t help but think about the parents whose children are injured or killed by these vaccines. How are they supposed to feel?

Should we ask little Saba Button’s family if they feel comforted knowing that their child’s ultimate sacrifice made the parents of vaccinated children feel more confident? (1) I mean, isn’t that why people who believe in vaccination get their children vaccinated in the first place – to feel confident that their children are protected?  But now that’s not enough anymore, and our politicians are trying to coerce us into buying into their belief system as well.

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Educated Families Making Informed Choices

Let’s look at this objectively. A family who chooses to vaccinate selectively or not at all, tends to have spent countless hours of research on vaccination and their own family’s medical history before they arrive at that decision. But still, they are forced by government departments to go to a GP (if they can find one that is even willing to do it) for counselling on the pros and cons of vaccination (usually 99% on the pros and 1% on the cons) in order to get a conscientious objection form signed so that their children can get family and childcare benefits and the education that any other eligible Australian family would normally get.

Compare this to a family that makes the decision to vaccinate – whether they research a lot, a little or not at all. They are not forced to get counselling or get exemptions; they don’t even have to be excluded from school when their children have received live vaccines and their viral shedding can infect others.  They get to make their choice without fear of punishment or ridicule – without any accountability whatsoever.

Somehow, we have moved into a system where our Prime Minister has no problem putting the ever-rising levels of the ‘theoretical model’ of herd immunity above the wellbeing of the children who are sacrificed to preserve it. (2)

Prime Minister Rudd did not even mention or worry about these children once. But then, he and the other people pushing this agenda against pro-choice parents don’t really believe that these children – our children – even exist.

I don’t think I can fully express how it feels to know that my Prime Minister doesn’t even acknowledge that vaccine injured children like mine live in Australia; to know that he wants to punish families for wanting to protect their children from the same fate.

How could he forget little Saba Button who was permanently brain damaged or Ashley Epapara who died, and the over 250 other children who were rushed to hospital because of the flu vaccine in Western Australia? How could he forget the tens of thousands infected during the recent whooping cough epidemic, most of whom were fully vaccinated, who still caught – and theoretically spread it despite the vaccine? (3)

There is a risk whether you vaccinate or not, and there is no way to predict which risk will be greater for your individual child. So making an informed choice is the only responsible option we parents have.  How could politicians who are charged with protecting the people of this great nation want to take this option away from us?  How could they possibly believe that discrimination and persecution against loving and caring parents is a reasonable option?

The whole situation was beginning to weigh heavily on my soul and I was beginning to feel very dejected and overwhelmed, until my big brother sat me down and reminded me of some very important facts:

    Persecution has always followed those who stand for what is right; it is a rite of passage, a trial by fire. It is the adversity that builds character and shows you how weak or strong your resolve truly is.

The pro-choice families in rural Australia who are feeling isolated and alone and the families in suburban and metropolitan areas who are being browbeaten by GP’s as they desperately try to find a doctor willing to sign their conscientious objection forms, need to know that no matter what happens, there are organisations like the AVN in their corner giving them the support they need and fighting for their rights.  Even those who may decide further down the line that the ever-increasing recommended childhood vaccination schedule is just too much too soon for their precious little ones, need to know that there is someone who is trying to fight for their rights as well.

My brother reminded me that we can take heart from all those in history who have been mercilessly persecuted and never gave up; Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Mahatma Ghandi. Their principles and values burned within their hearts and gave them the strength to stand against overwhelming odds, and those same principles burn within you, the AVN and your supporters.  The strength of these principles and your commitment to them will cause the opposition – in its many forms – to pass over you, incapable of weakening your spirit but instead, firing you up and motivating you to be able to overcome anything.

In these words from my elder and much wiser brother, I found my resolve and I hope you can find yours too.

Our detractors think that we can be cowed; that they can wear us down with their insults and persecution; that our principles are only worth a couple of thousand dollars.  They don’t realise that they are, in actual fact, waking the sleeping giant; catching a very angry tiger by the tail. That they are lighting the very fires that they seek to put out!

Use that fire, that righteous indignation – and take control of your own destiny! Do not let the persecutors dictate how we raise our children.  If your member of parliament doesn’t want to represent your views in parliament, find a candidate who will and make sure that they know that you will no longer tolerate the unjustified attacks on your liberties – and especially on the liberties of your children.  Write, ring or even better go and see them. The ball is well and truly in your court – now go out there and play hard.

    “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

    ― Maya Angelou

“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment. ”

    ― Og Mandino

(1) http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/saba-button-the-girl-who-is-never-alone/story-e6frg13u-1226035296706

(2) http://www.vaccinationdecisions.net/resources/Questioning%20Herd%20Immunity%20Created%20by%20Vaccination.pdf

(3) http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/whooping-cough-strain-now-immune-to-vaccine/story-e6freuy9-1225828959714

http://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/sharp-rise-cases-new-strain-whooping-cough

 

What do members of the NSW Parliament know about the AVN?

NSW Coat of ArmsFor the last week, members of the NSW Parliament have been debating (if you want to call it that) the passage of a Bill (The Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013) which will provide the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) – a government body which already has an incredible amount of power – the ability to once again ‘investigate’ the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). The language used by some of our elected representatives during this debate was bizarre and shocking. As one mother of eight – six of whom are vaccine-injured said when a member of the hate group, Stop the AVN gleefully told her to watch an online video of the parliamentary debate on this bill:

It was hard enough to read the hansard, so I think I might just give the video a miss.  All I was thinking when I was reading these scornful and derisive comments, is these people do not even care that my children and thousands of other children have been hurt by vaccines.  They are just acceptable collateral damage to them, invisible, voiceless and expendable.  Why would you take such pleasure in sharing, what to me is really just a bunch of bullies gleefully putting the boot in to parents like me and the only advocacy group that my children have in this country?  Do we not deserve to have a voice in society, or are we just supposed to shut up and tend to our children’s wounds in silence?  In a lot of ways the AVN is a victims support group, a place for victims of vaccine injuries and deaths to come and find support and comfort.  A place we can share our stories so that other families can learn from our tragedies and we can finally be heard.  Why would you want to take that away from us?

And did I say bizarre? Read this gem from the Hon Paul Green:

“… I can remember immunising my own child but my wife would not let me do any more of our children after that. It is such a cute moment when the needle goes through the fatty thighs of a two-month old child. It is like a hot knife through butter as the needle slides in so sweetly.”

And this statement by The Hon Catherine Cusack, is a typical example of how poorly-informed some of these representatives are about the AVN:

I understand that NSW Fair Trading has ordered the Australian Vaccination Network to change its name. That order has been appealed and it is now being considered by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. I wish it well. I point out to the Health Care Complaints Commission and the Minister for Health that irrespective of NSW Fair Trading’s success it will not be enough. The network will continue its activities and the Government must do whatever it can to protect the lives of our defenceless babies and small children. I call on the Health Care Complaints Commission immediately to stop the Australian Vaccination Network spreading misleading information and I ask the media as a whole not to facilitate the dissemination of such dangerous messages to vulnerable parents who are already bombarded with confusing information and who somehow believe that the network’s role in the immunisation debate is evenly balanced. It is not.

What this amendment means

At the present time, the HCCC is one of only two bodies in Australia (to the best of my knowledge) which are not subject to subpoena or freedom of information claims. In other words, they have the power to make statements, carry out investigations and take actions without having to concern themselves with the sort of public scrutiny which other government departments normally work under. After all, government is supposed to represent the people and therefore, it should be accountable to them. Not so the HCCC however, and its arrogance and lack of accountability is obvious in its actions since losing to the AVN in the Supreme Court just over 12 months ago.

You see, the HCCC didn’t just lose their case – they had to admit that when it came to citing a small community organisation representing parents, many of whom have children who had suffered as a result of actions taken by the very doctors the HCCC was supposed to protect them against, they acted outside of the law (at a cost of potentially millions of taxpayer dollars). The Supreme Court stated in its decision that the HCCC had acted in an Ultra Vires manner when investigating or citing our organisation. In other words – it acted illegally.

Instead of going back and doing what it was set up to do – protect the public from dangerous doctors – the HCCC instead appealed to parliament, asking for more power specifically to get the AVN. This is not an exaggeration. It is a simple case of sour grapes, and the debate in Parliament and the statements made by representatives of both the Minister and Shadow Minister for Health as well as the head of the HCCC over the past few months have made this apparent. If the law didn’t allow the HCCC to attack community groups, well they would simply change the law.

But why? Why would an organisation comprising just over 2,000 members and representing a group of parents, many of whom had already suffered so badly at the hands of dangerous doctors, become a target for the very body that was set up to protect them?

It’s all about control – and the AVN is not the only target

When moving the second reading of this Bill, the Hon Melinda Pavey stated that:

This important amendment will mean that, if a health service provider is acting in a way that is likely to affect the clinical management or care of a client, even if there is no identified client who has been affected, then the Health Care Complaints Commission will have jurisdiction to investigate a complaint against the health service provider.

In other words, there doesn’t need to be any harm to anyone – just a suspicion that there might be harm. You are guilty until proven innocent and since the HCCC sets the definition of innocent – anyone who supports without question their drug and vaccine-based policies. Those of us who use or practice natural health or discuss the issues surrounding the dangers of drugs or vaccines is, ipso facto, guilty and must be stopped.

The AVN is the primary target but if they manage to squash us, you are next. Every chiropractor, homeopath, naturopath, Bowen therapist, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners, herbalist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, osteopath – the list goes on and on. Oh and, of course, all of their clients. Every one of you will be next – have no doubt about it.

Just read the recent articles about how Macquarie University has been pressured into dropping their chiropractic degree and just yesterday, it was reported that the so-called ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’ (more likely the opponents of anything that isn’t mainstream or drug-based) is now pushing to get insurance companies to allow an opt-out clause so that private health cover won’t encompass natural medicine.

So what are you doing to protect your right to practice healing? What are your associations doing? The time is very short and if you are silent now, there will be no one left to speak up for you soon.

Health consumers under the gun too

And it’s not just practitioners whose rights are threatened by this bill. The definition of a health service provider is now so broad – and the lack of a need for a ‘client’ or ‘harm’ so blatant – that anyone who discusses the issues of natural health publicly can potentially be cited by the HCCC. This can mean journalists, bloggers, teachers or even parents who discuss vaccination and natural health with other parents.

We could very well be in the final days of true democracy and freedom in health in Australia – and the eyes of the world are upon us, watching to see how we will handle these threats against not only our right to make informed health choices, but our ability to have a public conversation about the information surrounding health and natural health.

The ultimate victims, should this legislation pass, will be our children and our grandchildren whose parents sat by and did nothing while their legacy was ripped away from them.

Please don’t let that happen! No matter where you live in Australia, call and write to:

The Hon. Jillian Skinner, MP
Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9228 5229
FAX: (02) 9228 5877
Email: office@skinner.minister.nsw.gov.au

Dr Andrew McDonald, MP
Shop 18 Carnes Hill Marketplace
Corner Cowpasture & Kurrajong Roads
HORNINGSEA PARK NSW 2171
Phone: (02) 9608 8991
FAX: (02) 9608 0606
Email: macquariefields@parliament.nsw.gov.au

In addition, if you live in NSW, contact your local member of parliament. Go in to see them if you are able – but at the very least, call their office and ask them to vote against the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. Tell them that your vote for them and for their party will depend on them doing this.

Health practitioners – organise your patients to do the same thing – and contact your associations and tell them that your continued payment of fees will rely on them taking immediate action on this bill in order to protect not only the association, but your practice and livelihood as well.

You can also take 30 seconds to sign this petition that was started on Avaaz yesterday a few days ago and which has already gathered over 3,000 signatures”

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The AVN has stood firm for over 4 years under unrelenting attack by groups far more powerful than we are. We have done so because who we represent – the parents and children of Australia and those practitioners who are trying to help them – are too important to leave unprotected. Now, it’s our turn to ask for your protection – not just for us, but for what it will mean to everyone if the AVN were to be closed down by those who want to stop anyone who questions or is critical of drug-based medicine.

Wakey, Wakey – You MUST take action now!

16039428_sA couple of weeks ago, I wrote to you about the fact that human rights legislation was being considered in Parliament. This legislation could potentially block our basic rights to speak about and make decisions regarding our health. (I will be providing an update on this situation tomorrow)

Many, many of you wrote letters to Parliamentarians and some have even had responses indicating that the concerns expressed would be seriously considered. People power in action!

Now, on a related matter, an Australian homeopath, Fran Sheffield, is being taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for having the temerity to upload a page on her business website, Homeopathy Plus, referencing studies which indicate that the whooping cough vaccine could be less effective than we’ve been told. To make matters even worse, this page also states that people might want to investigate the homeopathic option for disease prevention!

Make no mistake – this action by the ACCC could be seen by some as an attempt by a government department to suppress debate on the vaccination issue. It might also the first step in restricting the practice of homeopathy in Australia – especially when considering this action in combination with the current inquiry (or should that be inquisition?) into natural therapies in Australia.

So much hinges on this case!

If this case were to be lost in the Federal Court, the results could be disastrous for all of us

There is the potential for a precedent to be set whereby the federal government could use a negative decision as a bludgeoning tool to prevent the AVN, health professionals or anyone else from openly discussing information critical of current vaccination policies (or any other natural healthcare option such as chiropractic, naturopathy, herbs, etc.). The internet and the media could then be censored further and people could be left with no option but to use mainstream medical doctors and drug-based therapies even if that would not normally be their first choice.

So though it might appear on the surface that this court case is only concerned with one practitioner in one particular modality, in actuality, this is an important battlefront in the wider war we are currently fighting to protect our rights to free speech and informed choice.

It is vital, therefore, that we join with Fran and Homeopathy Plus in opposing these efforts to tell us what we can and cannot discuss. If we don’t and the case is lost, an extremely dangerous precedent will be set.

A bit of history

Early last year, Ms Sheffield was first contacted by the ACCC because she had an article on her website which discussed the failure of the whooping cough vaccine to prevent an outbreak of whooping cough that has been raging through highly-vaccinated populations worldwide. She also provided information on homeopathic treatment and prevention. The ACCC said that she needed to remove the article or face potential prosecution. At that time, Fran told the ACCC she would remove the article to fact check it but if she found it to be correct, it would go back online. Her contact at the ACCC told her they would be watching and if the same or similar ‘claims’ were reinstated, legal proceedings could commence.

The article was checked, found to be factual and returned to the website in a slightly revised version. Because of ongoing complaints about a range of articles by people seemingly intent on suppressing information about homeopathy, Fran decided to start a private members-only area on her website for any information that could be considered contentious. Those who were interested would still be able to access the information they wanted while those upset by homeopathy would no longer be troubled. This section is where the new article was placed.

In contravention to the terms and conditions of the Homeopathy Plus website which they signed and agreed to, the ACCC entered the member’s area and copied and removed the revised articles and laid charges against Fran, her husband and Homeopathy Plus.

A few things are important to note:

  • The information in the article on the Homeopathy Plus website was correct. It was referenced and it is the same information that can be found on literally hundreds if not thousands of other websites across the internet, in newspapers, scholarly journals, magazines and on television sets.
  • This information was not controversial. It is well-known within the scientific community that the whooping cough vaccine is not working well nor does it protect for long if any protection is conveyed at all. There is evidence which indicates that the current vaccine may make people more susceptible to other bacteria which cause clinically indistinguishable illnesses (b. parapertussis) and that the shot may have caused a more severe form of the disease which is more likely to kill infants and children.
  • It is a fact, based on government figures, that we are seeing higher numbers of cases today with our close to 95% vaccination compliance than we did 50 years ago with very low levels of vaccination. These facts cannot be disputed – they are just not supposed to be told to the public, apparently.
  • The ACCC is not saying that Ms Sheffield or Homeopathy Plus have hurt or defrauded anyone – nor has anyone lodged a complaint to say they have. They are saying that they disagree with what she has said on her website and based on that disagreement, she has to stop saying it. They appear to be claiming that those who make statements the government does not like are not allowed to speak. Think about the implications of this abuse of power for a little while…

In their more recent correspondence with Ms Sheffield, the ACCC stated that according to their opinion, the page on her website which discusses whooping cough:

“…contain[s] representations which convey the impression that the current vaccine is ineffective in protecting against whooping cough and that homeopathic remedies are a safe and effective alternative approach for the prevention and/or treatment, of whooping cough.

“The ACCC considers the above pages to contain potentially misleading and deceptive

statements, which potentially create a false or misleading representation that: the whooping cough vaccine is of a particular standard or quality; and that homeopathic remedies for whooping cough are of a particular standard or quality and/or have a use or benefit.

“Consequently, the ACCC intends to institute proceedings against Homeopathy Plus! Australia Pty Ltd for alleged contraventions of sections 18, 29(1 )(a), 29(1)(b) and 29(1)(g) of the Australian Consumer Law.

“The ACCC will be seeking orders for declarations, injunctions (including an interlocutory injunction), pecuniary penalties and costs.”

Rights? What Rights?

Here, just as with the AVN, we see government departments making politically-charged decisions about what a person can and cannot say about the safety or effectiveness of a drug or vaccine. In other words, because the government supports full vaccination and opposes our right to use alternatives, none of us is allowed to discuss those alternatives without being subject to legal action. But are these really the actions of a properly constituted democracy? Should people living in a free land be afraid to speak their mind about issues they feel passionate about? Does the government really think it is appropriate to censor public debate on health issues? And lastly, should the ACCC which is meant to protect consumers against fraudulent businesses really be involved with protecting the government by revoking the rights of consumers to communicate freely on such a vital issue?

Ms Sheffield is not backing down – but she can’t do this alone!

Ms Sheffield attended court in Sydney on March 1st for a directions hearing. Her seriously ill husband, who is also a respondent in this case, was unable to go due to poor health.

The email notifying of them of the charges arrived late in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 20th, leaving them only 8 days to find representation and prepare. All of the court papers which were served on her were stamped “Fast Tracked” – something which is normally only done in emergency cases such as when a person’s life or health is at risk. Ms Sheffield felt that she was being treated like one of Australia’s Most Wanted for simply stating verifiable information which can be freely found in many locations.

Fran is totally unfunded and, had a barrister not come forward at the last minute to help, she intended to represent herself because she simply couldn’t afford to pay for legal help.

Throughout this process, she has tried hard to work with the ACCC and to take all reasonable steps to ensure that she complied with the law without giving in to restrictive and anti-democratic demands from government operatives. Now however, she has now reached the point where she has been pushed as far as she can go and feels it is time to stand up for her rights and the rights of all Australians.

Will you help?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke

The court date has been set for August 26th, 2013, but Fran must find and retain a solicitor to instruct the barrister by early this week. In addition, due to the importance of this case for anyone concerned with freedom and rights, Fran is actively seeking the assistance of a QC as part of her legal team. Conservative estimates are that she will need at least $50,000 to pay for legal and court costs – an incredible amount of money in one lump – but not so much if you split it up.

There are at least 600 homeopaths in Australia. Fran isn’t fighting for her company, Homeopathy Plus – she is fighting for the rights of all homeopaths and natural therapies as well as for those who choose to use natural therapies as part of their healthcare options. If every homeopath reading this were to deposit $50 into the fighting fund that has been started – and everyone can afford $50 – that would add up to $30,000 right there! Not a big ask – but a very big result.

There have to be at least that many people reading this who regularly use homeopathy (or other natural therapies which are likewise under threat). And remember, this matter goes well beyond what can and can’t be said by natural therapists but whether we have the right to question government information on vaccines. Can you spare $50 to help protect your right to free expression and choice?

Can every chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, Bowen therapist, Chinese herbalist (the list goes on and on) donate $50 to this very worthwhile and important cause? Can you do it this week? Can you let your patients, friends and families know and ask them to make a donation as well – no matter how small?

You MUST act today!

Make no mistake: by citing Ms Sheffield for making statements that the government disagrees with, the ACCC appears to be openly saying that Australians are not allowed to dissent from accepted opinion.

Not only that, but if the court decrees that a government department can punish Ms Sheffield for information held in a private, member’s-only section of her website, no association, business or group will be safe. This could set a precedent that can and will affect everyone in Australia. Criticise the government (or the medical cartel or any powerful interest group) at your peril.

This situation is outrageous and not what we expect from a democracy such as Australia. It is time to say “Stop!”

Please send your support today and post this information onto your Facebook pages; Tweet about it; put it up on Pinterest or on other social media sites. Send this to any email lists you may be involved with. Help spread the word in any way you can. Whatever you do, please DO get involved as without your immediate action and assistance … the rights we value will be taken away.

Send what you can – $10, $15, $50, $100 or more to the Fran Sheffield Fighting Fund’s to stop this dangerous precedent in its tracks.

You can pay in any of the following ways:

FAX your credit card details and the amount you want to give to 02 4044 0153 (international faxes: +612 4044 0153)

Make a paypal payment to fransheffield@homeopathyplus.com.au.

Direct deposit funds into the following designated account – be sure to email Ms Sheffield at fransheffield@homeopathyplus.com.au to let her know about your payment so she can send you a receipt.

Westpac Account: Fighting Fund

BSB: 032 627

Account: 198475

The legal team representing this important issue is still being put together. If you area solicitor, barrister or Queens Counsel and are as concerned as we are about this case and would like to help, please send an email to Fran at fransheffield@homeopathyplus.com.au

‘Anti Vaxxer’ the new dirty word?

 

The author of this guest-blog has asked to remain anonymous due to her fear of being targeted by the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN. She is the parent of vaccine-damaged children – some of whom are on the autistic spectrum. She found Peter Bowditch’s assaults against families of vaccine-injured children to be incredibly disturbing. As a result, she chose to write about her fears regarding where society is headed when parents who love and cherish their children can be abused because of their health choices. If you agree that nobody has the right to treat another individual in this way, please make a supportive comment on this blog page. It doesn’t matter whether you are pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine or somewhere in the middle – any decent human being would have to accept that harassment, abuse and discrimination are never justified. Oppose Peter Bowditch and the incredibly vile comments of those who support him by speaking up for the right to make our own choices on this and all health issues. If you are on Twitter, please use the hashtag #DumpBowditch on your tweets to encourage Mia Freedman of Mamamia and other venues where this man publishes his hate-speech to no longer allow him an opportunity for abuse. Feel free to drop them a line as well, telling them how you feel about this issue.

Our history is full of people using terms to incite hostility, fear and resentment against other groups, and now is the age of the ‘Anti Vaxxer’ – the title given to people who question the safety and in some cases the necessity of vaccinations.

If you look in the newspapers or on the internet, you will see that people who question vaccine safety are ridiculed, condemned and discriminated against on quite a regular basis.  You might think, “Surely this behaviour is not promoted by supposedly intelligent, rational beings in this day and age?”, but unfortunately you would be wrong.

Just look at this list of recent quotes from newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and blogs and articles from around the world…

“Parents who dodge vaccinating their kids are pocketing thousands of dollars”[1]

“…babies die because of the antivaccination movement.”[2]

“Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Autism Groups “Kill Children” — And He’s Right”[3]

“NSW paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall added this: “We’re appalled at how many kids are getting whooping cough because the chardonnay set and the alternatives don’t vaccinate their children.”[4]

When did raising your child with love, respect, a healthy diet, plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise, while limiting their exposure to toxins become a crime?

If you listen to what these people are saying, anyone who does not vaccinate their child is a money grabbing, disease causing, child killer.

So who are these supposed child killers’?

Many are parents who have vaccine injured/killed children; some are educated and health-conscious individuals who want a more natural approach to good health; and some are alternative practitioners, doctors or scientists. Do any of these groups sound like child killers to you? What they all have in common is something that most of us take for granted: the belief that everyone deserves the right to decide what the best health choices are for themselves and their families

I find the hostile attitude towards parents of vaccine injured children particularly astounding, as parents of children that have been killed or disabled have always been treated with an outpouring of compassion, understanding and empathy. If the death or injury have been caused by a vaccine however, they are somehow no longer worthy of these basic human emotions.

Instead, we get open hostility and contempt as seen in the case of Peter Bowditch who asks vaccine-injured parents if they get sexual pleasure from seeing dead babies!

And how does our society respond to a man who can say such vile things?  Well, apparently it is no big deal, as he still continues to write articles for the popular women’s and children’s website Mamamia!  Is this the kind of individual who should be writing about women and children’s health?

Another very disturbing aspect to come out of this portrayal of ‘anti vaxxers’ is that the media, government and medical vaccine advocates are working together in promoting an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. These groups are actively condoning discrimination and in turn, persecution of the Australian Vaccination Network, it’s founder Meryl Dorey and anyone associated with them.  Is this what our true Aussie spirit is about now?  Be there for your mate but only if he vaccinates.

Persecute

1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.

2. To annoy persistently; bother.

Discrimination

1. (Sociology) unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc.; action based on prejudice

Minority

a. A racial, religious, political, national, or other group thought to be different from the larger group of which it is part.

b. A group having little power or representation relative to other groups within a society.

We as a society believe that discrimination, harassment and persecution against minorities or any law-abiding citizen is unconscionable. Now however, it seems that it is acceptable if the minority or individual in question does not vaccinate to a government approved schedule.

What these harassers of ‘anti-vaxxers’ do not realise (or maybe they do) is that they are laying the foundation for persecution and repression of people that are just trying to raise their families in the healthiest way possible.

The path to repression begins with many small steps. It starts with the gradual wearing away of someone else’s rights through restriction of employment, public education, and government entitlements. Then comes ostracism whilst creating fear, hostility and resentment towards the group in question from the rest of society.  Not too soon after that, segregation comes in to the mix.

You may think that this is an unlikely scenario, but I cannot tell you how many times everyday mums and dads have told me to keep my children out of schools with vaccinated children; to stay out of public places where vaccinated people may be exposed to our disease-causing germs; some have even wished that all people who don’t vaccinate could be murdered or expressed a wish for their children to die from disease!

Countless times in history we have seen that ugliness in human nature breeds more ugliness.  Intolerance, discrimination, persecution, repression are all formed through fear and hatred.  Have we learned nothing from the past, or are we just so insecure that we always have to look for someone to oppress in order to make ourselves feel powerful and dominant?

If this type of hostility continues towards people who just want the right to make choices for their own families, what do we have to look forward to in the future?

 

 

 

 


[1] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-news/vaccine-dodgers-win-big/story-e6freuzi-1226426099974

[2] http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/category/antiscience/page/78/

[3] http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/02/bill-gates-says-anti-vaccine-autism-groups-kill-children-hes-right/

[4] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/doctors-warn-parents-to-keep-newborns-at-home-as-whooping-cough-epidemic-escalates/story-e6freuy9-1226055946293

 

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