by Dee McLachlan
This article is an update on the vax situation in Victoria, Australia. For the benefit of outsiders I note that our Federal Parliament passed a law making it mandatory for kids to get the full schedule of vaccinations, or be deprived of Centrelink (welfare) payments.
To date I have not heard of any lawsuits, although it seems that such discrimination against the poor might be sufficient to bring a case to court. Parents who do not receive welfare are able to make choices about having their children vaccinated.
The present article serves to lay out my correspondence (so far) with Victoria’s Minister for Health, and Ambulance Services, the Hon Jill Hennessy. Or should I say, my correspondence with her media coordinator, Ms Elisa Fernandes.
The Fate of One Doctor
Gumshoe News has also been reporting on the fate of a GP named John Piesse who has helped parents get exemptions (which is lawful now, but in the US is being curtailed). I repeat this quote from The Age, dated 31/8/17:
“Embattled anti-vaccination GP John Piesse has agreed to temporarily stop practising as a doctor after he was advised that his medical registration could be suspended… he was helping anti-vax parents sidestep ‘no jab, no play’ laws.”
I have never been in favour of financial coercion to manipulate people like this. The merits of mandatory vaccinations should be able to withstand scrutiny and open debate. I thus wrote to the Minister requesting an interview. (I have also asked Dr Piesse for an interview.)
I outline my correspondence with the minister’s office below:
To The Hon. Jill Hennessy MP [4 September, 2017]
Att: Media Coordinator
I would very much to video interview Minister Hennessy for our news site, Gumshoe News (based out of Melbourne) with regard to Mandatory Vaccinations.
We understand that Dr John Piesse is presently under investigation, and would like to hear from the minister, the government’s view on why vaccinations are essential for a safer society. And why the mandatory roll out of vaccinations has been a good idea. I would like to ask the minister on her thoughts regarding the vax – anti-vax polarity, and that maybe we should we consider each vaccine on its merits.
I would most appreciate the opportunity to interview the minister – and would limit the time to 15 to 20 minutes of her busy schedule.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, Dee McLachlan [etc.]
[Monday, 4 September 2017]
Hi Dee, I hope you are well.
If you would like to please send us some specific questions we’ll be able to get a response for you.
Elisa Fernandes, Senior Media Adviser, Office of Jill Hennessy MP
Many thanks, Elisa, [Monday, 4 September 2017]
These are some questions:
- Society has been divided into pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination. This has divided society. Many people purported to be anti-vax, say they are not against all vaccines. Thus, should each vaccine be looked at individually?
- What research and information does the Minister and the government rely on to affirm to us that vaccines are 100% safe?
- It is claimed that concerns about vaccines rely on unfounded and misleading research. What do you say to parents who believe their children have been affected and “injured” by vaccines?
- Have there been “vaccine injury” payouts to anyone in Victoria?
- Should the film VAXXED be banned in Victoria?
- Do you agree that foreign doctors and the likes of Kent Heckenlively be denied visas to visit Australia? (Minister Hennessy may not want to answer a Federal question)
- Should the likes of Dr John Piesse be allowed to practice medicine in Victoria?
Much appreciated. Sincerely [etc.]
[Wrote several times, 12, 14 and 18 September 2017]
Elisa, Let me know if you have made any progress re: an interview with Minister Hennessy, Many many thanks [etc.]
[Monday, 25 September 2017]
My sincerest apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Please see below response:
Quotes attributable to a spokesperson for Minister for Health Jill Hennessy:
“There is no debate around immunisation – the science on vaccination is clear: vaccinations save lives.”
“It is completely irresponsible for people – particularly clinicians entrusted with the health of our community – to ignore the science and encourage parents not to immunise their children.”
“The fate of Dr Piesse should stand as an example to rogue clinicians who tout lies about vaccination. The decision to suspend his license is long overdue.”
“The message purported by anti-vaccination movements is dangerous. We urge Victorians to refrain from attending anti-vaccination events and screenings, and instead look to those qualified for advice on immunisation and its benefits for their families and the whole community.” [my emphasis]
“The Andrews Labor Government will continue to support the proven benefits of vaccination and we urge parents to ensure their children’s vaccination is up to date.”
- By failing to vaccinate their children, parents are putting their kids and others in our community at risk of terrible diseases or death. Our ‘no jab no play’ laws for childcare and kindergarten aim to protect our community – the more Victorians we have vaccinated, the greater the protection for everyone in the community.
- Parents can get more information on immunisation from our Better Health Channel: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/healthyliving/immunisation. [End of email]
I then called Elisa, and in our discussion, I pointed out that the US has paid out $3.6 billion dollars for vaccine injury. As we use the same and similar vaccines, surely this is an issue that should be debated, or at least discussed. I posed the question, “Is there vaccine injury or not?” I again requested a time to interview minister.
[Tuesday, 26 September 2017]
Elisa, Thank you for talking to me yesterday.
And I thank you for saying that you will check if there have been any vaccine injury payouts in Victoria.
I understand that the Minister believes the science is clear, but, 1) Could the Minister indicate what study, or studies confirm this belief? 2) Indicate what lies were touted by Dr Piesse?
I do not see the anti-vax group as one entity. Even from my humble experience, this group is divided into a range of views: from people cautious of one vaccine (the MMR combination) to those on the extreme end, anti-all-vaccines. I see that the minister has lumped this diverse group, as if they had only “one message” (re: her comment, “The message purported by anti-vaccination movements is dangerous…”). 3) What is “the message” that she refers to?
I was brought up in South Africa where opposing views were banned. Surely all views should be aired, to test their validity? 4) Is the Minister in favour of any opposing views (films such as VAXXED) that may provide ‘checks and balances’ to present and NEW vaccines that are added to the mandatory list?
I again urge you to ask the Minister for a simple discussion interview, so that we can at least feel like we are living in a democracy.
Many thanks, Sincerely [etc. END OF CORRESPONDENCE]
This Must Stop
As readers can see, this is going nowhere. The minister has apparently been instructed not to talk. That in itself is outrageous. Australians must not let it continue.
Luckily, there is a helpful and indeed ancient “saying” applicable here. I mean the famous part of the Hippocratic Oath that requires the doctor to care for the welfare of the patient. In most medial schools, the graduating doctors take the oath.
An oath is an oath. If Dr Piesse believes a particular vaccine is harmful, he should not give that vaccination to a child. And the government should not be playing bully towards the parents.
Mary Maxwell has suggested to me that one does not have to wait till harm is done to file a lawsuit; it would be normal procedure for a worried parent to file for an injunction, seeking to restrain the government from forcing the policy of mandatory vaccination.
This would at least bring the judiciary into the controversy. In any event, the courts should be on record as to the constitutionality of this strange curtailment of our freedom.