Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why do we need this blog?

With the increasing pressure by Australian medical authorities, government officials and media outlets to force the issue of compulsory vaccination, I have decided to establish a blog in order to update AVN members / supporters and other interested individuals about these serious threats to our freedom.

On this blog, I intend to post articles and information, links to sites of interest and information on actions which we can all take to avert what could be a major disaster - the introduction of compulsory vaccination in Australia.

I am also putting out a call to everyone in Australia (and overseas if you feel you would like to be involved and can help in some way) who would like to help organise lobby and public action groups to please contact me by email by clicking here. I will send you through an invitation to attend an online planning meeting (available to everyone who has access to a computer so if you're reading this - you're eligible to attend) where we can all discuss the best and most effective ways of raising the profile of this issue and of putting down the fear which the media has so effectively stirred up in the Australian community with their irresponsible and incorrect reporting.

Below is a debate in the NSW State Parliament which I came across last night while I was researching the recent calls for vaccination to be made compulsory. On checking the date of this debate (1997), I discovered that it took place a short time before the AVN's first lobbying trip to Canberra to oppose any such moves. I believe our quick action at the time is the only reason why there have been no similar debates in Parliament since that time.

Ms FICARRA (Georges River) [12.21 p.m.]: This motion is very timely, as previous speakers have said, because of the low rate of immunisation not only in New South Wales but throughout Australia. Since the beginning of this year six babies have died from the effects of whooping cough. It is clearly established in the medical and scientific community throughout the world that immunisation is the single most cost-effective means of preventing a number of serious diseases, and achieving high rates of immunisation in the population as a whole prevents the spread of diseases. The Opposition has called on the State Government to enforce existing laws which ban children who have not been immunised from attending school during disease outbreaks. The Opposition would like that regulation strictly enforced, and all teachers and parents should be aware that there are existing rules and regulations that should be enforced. Compulsory immunisation legislation would force parents who have been lazy, ignorant or ill informed to immunise their children; it would help to eradicate diseases such as whooping cough and measles; and it would prevent the cross-infection of children who have not been immunised.

Children have been the very innocent victims of the tragic and unfortunate circumstances that have occurred and that have received considerable media attention this year. Compulsory immunisation legislation would allow the State Government to target immunisation promotions towards specific groups. With only 53 per cent of children under the age of six years fully immunised, such drastic measures are needed to protect our children from complacency and laziness. Diseases such as whooping cough and measles have killed more than 220 people in recent years, despite the fact that they are preventable diseases and should have been eradicated decades ago. The only answer is to enforce compulsory immunisation across the country to protect children whose parents do the right and responsible thing. Compulsory immunisation would have many benefits, from helping to eradicate those diseases to preventing cross-infection.

I congratulate the Federal Minister for Health, Dr Wooldridge, who has shown a lot of political, social and medical sense in his campaign to improve our poor immunisation rate. He has set the target for raising rates to 95 per cent by 2001. Current levels have reached crisis point with the rate of 53 per cent being so low that the long-term health of the nation is now being put at risk. For example, Indonesia has an immunisation rate of 100 per cent, while in Britain the rate is 95 per cent. Diseases such as measles and whooping cough are in the process of being cleaned out in countries with a high immunisation rate, but are on the increase in Australia. Dr Wooldridge has foreshadowed a wide-ranging campaign to improve immunisation rates and there will be a trial of immunisation booths in shopping centres, weekend events where parents can have their children immunised, and Australia’s first immunisation research centre. The program has been allocated funding of $32 million in the next two years. Part of the focus of the campaign will be to redress the poor follow-up rates after the first immunisation. The driving force behind the program is Dr Wooldridge, who asserts correctly that the Commonwealth has to take the lead. His initiative reverses the former Government’s decision taken in 1987 to transfer responsibility for running the programs to the States.
Lynne Grimsey who ran the AVN Gold Coast branch in 1997/1998 and myself organised a group of about 5 mothers from the Coast to come down here to Bangalow to help with our planned trip to Canberra. We spent the entire weekend photocopying flyers (enough for every politician in Canberra) making phone calls to raise the $2,000 needed to send us there, finding a lobbyist who would help 2 clueless women to be as effective as they possibly could be and organising air tickets for the two of us to get to Parliament. Lynne had a friend in Canberra who was kind enough to let us stay with them for the entire time.

With the help of the Australian Democrats who let us use their office space as a base while we were in Parliament, Lynne and I spent every day - from about 7 in the morning until about 9 a night - walking the halls of parliament and meeting with everyone from the assistant to the Minister for Health through to representatives of the Independent parties and many front benchers from the Liberals and Senators from the Labor party too. We were there to represent the views of all AVN members who strongly believed that vaccination must never be compulsory and that anyone - whether they vaccinated or not - must receive the same government entitlements.

It was due to these efforts that you are now able to register as a conscientious objector to vaccination and that for the past 10 years, there has been more information available in the community (still hard to come by - but a lot easier than it was 20 years ago when my first child was born) about this vital issue.

It might be time for the AVN to make another lobbying trip to Canberra - and this is one of the things we will be discussing during our online meeting so again, please write if you would like to help.

Thanks and I will have more information on these issues soon.


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