On 12 January 2019 Cathy O’Leary wrote an opinion piece on an important health issue in the West Australian newspaper. This reporter has no qualifications in health yet she was asked to write an opinion piece to influence the public on the use of vaccines in the population – a topic that results in political legislation and parental decisions that are critical to the health of our children.
O’Leary presented her opinion piece with the title ‘No Jab No Say Anti-vaccination parents get no say in childcare and kindy policies that keep kids safe‘. This is a propaganda piece that openly attempts to influence public opinion on this health issue and she also states that it is acceptable to ignore the voice of the parents who have researched this issue or who have had experience of the deaths and illnesses that are being caused by vaccines.
This is a disgraceful piece of reporting that is masquerading as ‘journalism’. O’Leary has used emotional, non-objective and anecdotal evidence to frighten parents into using every vaccine that is marketed and that will have life or death consequences for many children. Whilst we are all deeply saddened by the experiences of Catherine Hughes and Toni McCaffery (2010) there are also many parents who have lost their infants to vaccines and the public is not being informed by the media about these children who will also never attend pre-school or achieve their potential in life.
O’Leary has not been transparent or honest in this article. She has not described the fees that the Department of Health is providing to Catherine Hughes and Toni McCaffery to promote their experiences of infectious diseases; or the awards given to Toni McCaffery by the industry associated Australian Skeptics Inc. for promoting her story. This financial conflict of interest within the health department’s campaign to ‘educate’ the public about vaccination needs to be exposed to the community.
This is called anecdotal evidence and it is not the evidence that is used to design public health polices for the whole community. The SAVN industry-lobby group was set up by the Australian Skeptics in 2009 to counter the grassroots community group called the Australian Vaccination Network. This is called ‘astroturfing’. And it was the Greens leader, Richard Di Natale who promoted SAVN in the Federal parliament with false information in 2013 to promote the No Jab No Pay policy that discriminates against healthy children in social services in the community.
The Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) was set up as an anonymous facebook group where academics and health professionals could be abused and ridiculed if they spoke about the risks of vaccines. Non-qualified individuals such as Ken McLeod and compromised doctors such as Dr. John Cunningham (a Melbourne spinal surgeon) – one of the leaders of this industry/medical lobby group – were prominent SAVN activists who were given a voice in the mainstream media and in the Department of Health to denigrate academic arguments on the risks of vaccines with false information.
Most of the Australian community is not aware of the six deaths to vaccines that have occurred in the last two years because the Australian media does not report these deaths to the public. This includes a one year old infant in Perth who died 3 hours after receiving 6 vaccines in July 2017 (he did not have any previously known health issues at the time) and an 18 month infant in NSW who died after receiving 7 vaccines. She had seizures for 150 days before she died in March 2018. Why are these deaths not being presented to the Australian community in the mainstream media?
There were also four deaths in Samoa after infants received the MMR vaccine; one in 2018 and three in 2017.
Cathy O’Leary’s article is not journalism it is biased propaganda designed to suppress public debate of vaccination. She has presented simplified and false claims about vaccines and manipulated the framing of this information.
Whilst Cathy O’Leary has stated that this is about “the majority of people who vaccinate their children being drowned out by a small minority who do not want to follow the rules to keep our society safe”, this is fundamentally untrue.
The reality is that this is about a majority of people who want choice in the number of vaccines they use and they are being drowned out by a public who has been manipulated by the media and a corrupted Health Department (that is using biased and false information) to support every vaccine that is added to the program.
This is why it is necessary to suppress the academic information that describes the historical control of infectious diseases – a public health issue NOT a medical issue. It is also being done by reporters such as Cathy O’Leary and Jane Hanson (News Ltd) who defame academics with false information in the mainstream media.
In O’Learys story she falsely claims that it is the ‘anti-vaxers’ that are using abuse and name calling yet her own articles abuse the educated parents who are asking for choice in vaccination by referring to them derogatively as ‘anti-vaxers’. She also claims that it is ‘anti-vaxers’ who “lie and threaten”. This is the sort of gutter journalism that Australians are now used to after a decade of suppressing the academic debate on vaccination.
The public is also being manipulated by the false framing of vaccination policies by the Australian government. Whilst it is true that vaccinations in Australia are NOT compulsory the Australian government has implemented social services policies that withhold employment, childcare facilities and significant financial payments to parents if they do not use all the 14-16 vaccines that are now mandated in these policies.
These policies were implemented in Australia when Scott Morrison was the Minster for Social Services from 23 December 2014 to 21 September 2015.
For many people they cannot choose a different career or not to use childcare facilities because they depend upon these services to live. It is a morally corrupt government that claims on the one hand that vaccines are not enforced on the community but on the other hand it removes the people’s choice in this medical intervention for participating in society.
The public’s voice on this issue has been removed from policy development and the Australian government has not provided any evidence for the need for these policies when the choice to vaccinate has always been voluntary in Australia’s history of controlling infectious diseases.
Politicians are not using scientific arguments to form government policy and it is time for Australians to join peaceful protests in all states to demonstrate that the public does not accept any mandatory vaccination policies in social welfare legislation and it wants a public debate of vaccination science.
Judy Wilyman PhD