Firstly, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your assistance over the last 2 days since we first started looking into the frightening and anti-choice actions of the government in instituting legislation that can possibly take even more rights away from parents and place our children at ever-greater risk of forced medication. So many of you forwarded the last email to friends and family and I was contacted by many, many people who had never heard of the AVN but who were motivated enough by getting that email to want to help. Even though some people told me that they received some angry responses from those who don't really want to know about this issue, the majority of you who shared the last message were met with shock, concern and a deep-seated need to be involved in ensuring that our rights and the rights of our children will be protected. (My apology as well for not being able to write back to everyone personally - I tried, I really did - but time is finite and jobs seem to be infinite at the present time!)
I will not repeat what was said in the last e-newsletter but if anyone wants to have a look at it for the full story, please click here. Remember, keep forwarding this message far and wide by using the link below or simply by hitting forward in your email program. Anyone who receives this and wants to subscribe, just click on the link to the left that says Join Our List.
Below, I have highlighted the jobs that will require volunteers. If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 02 6687 1699.
Now, I spent most of yesterday contacting members of the Federal Parliament and the Department of Health to try and get as much information as possible about how these two policies - The Healthy Kids Check and the Healthy Start to School - came about. It turns out that the legislation that enabled these potentially discriminatory requirements to come about was in the following Bill:
Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Regulations 2010
This legislation came into effect on the 1st of July, 2011 and even though it passed through Parliament, not one of the policy advisors I spoke with yesterday had ever heard of the Healthy Kids or Healthy Start to School policies. Never you fear though - they have heard of it now!
This Bill (linked above) is 597 pages long. We urgently need to know what is in it but to be perfectly honest, I don't have the time to read through the entire thing myself. What I am hoping, therefore, is that 20 people (or more) to come forward who can read up to 50 pages each (the more volunteers we get - the fewer pages we will each have to read) before the end of this week, highlight anything they think is of interest or relevant to health rights, vaccination, mental health testing for children, etc - and forward that to the list of people who have volunteered to be readers. Together, we can nut out where this Bill needs to be changed so that we can implement step two which is lobbying Parliament for changes to protect our rights and to overturn the requirement for parents to subject their children to what virtually amounts to an oversight of their parenting and their health choices before they are allowed to get the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement.
The form that I sent in the last e-newsletter is not actually the letter that has been sent to families. It is, instead, the 'template' of questions that doctors are supposed to ask parents in order to say that they are good enough parents (eg obedient to policies on feeding, behaviour and vaccination) to receive the Family Tax Benefit Supplement payment. I have not had the time to do a very close search yet of the policies, but it appears that children MUST receive their vaccinations up to the age of 4 years old AND submit to the 'health check' before their parents are eligible for this money. Now remember, vaccination is NOT compulsory in Australia - so anything that requires parents to vaccinate in order to receive a government entitlement has to be illegal. What the further implications are - other than loss of this payment - for refusal or failure to submit to this rule are unknown at this time.
We are going to be in Canberra in September to lobby politicians regarding this legislation. If there are any lobbyists on this list who feel they would like to help, please contact me at the contact details listed above.
Now, as I said, the form I sent out with the last newsletter was the template for doctors. We have been able to obtain the letter that is being sent to parents and attach a copy here. As you can see, there are no exemptions listed though the representative of the Department of Health that I spoke with yesterday said that there are exemptions. I will get more information on that as soon as possible.
One of our members (grassroots assistance is the BEST way to get information out there - never for a moment doubt your own power to fix this broken system) sent me some information that she had just received from the CCHR (Citizens Committee on Human Rights). The CCHR has been lobbying for years against forced psychiatric treatment and medication - a huge problem in Australia and around the world. In much the same way that doctors are considered the final word in what treatment our children do and do not get even if that means ignoring the wishes and knowledge of their parents, psychiatrists are also considered to be omnipotent when it comes to conditions which we have no laboratory test for and which, when it comes down to it, are often diagnosed in a purely subjective manner.
CCHR found out about this legislation well before the AVN did and have prepared an information flyer as well as an exemption form which they hope will help parent who are faced with mandatory mental health screenings (due to come into effect next year).
I am attaching the information sheet here and the exemption form here. Please read them and forward to friends and family. CCHR have printed up tens of thousands of these forms so if you have a group, associations or other organisation and would like to get some to share, I am sure they will be very happy to send them to you. Just contact them on the number on the form.
That is all I have time for right now. Please keep your eyes open for another email message by the end of this week. We will be starting a letter-writing campaign and will announce that here along with giving you some ideas on what to include in your letters and who to target. Keep forwarding this to friends and family and share on your facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites.
Together, we will be able to overturn these requirements. We did it together when a group of parents from the AVN went to Canberra to amend the Childcare Payments Act to include a conscientious objection clause; we did it again a few years later when we were successful in lobbying for a non-health professional's right to report reactions to drug and vaccines; today, we will do it again when we ensure that Parliament is held accountable for the legislation they enact. Ours is a government for the people of Australia - not for the multinational corporations and medical lobby groups.
With your help, we will remind our elected representatives to do their job and protect our rights. Together, there is no force that can overcome us!
Thanks so much,