||Vote 1 Free Choice
Object to forced meds
|Themes:||Freedom of choice, especially the choice to be plague-bearers.|
||Upper House: NSW, QLD, WA
Lower House: Richmond
|Preferences:||To be updated when the how to vote cards are declared.|
Policies & Commentary
What a difference a day makes! We have gone from a party that is all about science to one that can be described most politely as pseudoscience.
Let’s start with their title and marketing, which is designed to be as emotive as possible. The idea of involuntary medication brings to mind images of a drugged and docile population, somewhere between an old-school asylum and something out of Aldous Huxley. Images of a mother bending over her infant with the caption ‘Hands OFF my baby!’ and of a young girl making a stop sign with her hand and saying ‘Hands OFF choice!’ add to the atmosphere. The government, IMOP would have you believe, is trying to control you, like some sinister, white-coated scientist in a 1950s horror movie.
(You know, the 1950s, when the diptheria-tetanus-pertusis vaccine was introduced and scientists were working on a polio vaccine culminating in a clinical trial involving 1.8 million children ‘carried out with the co-operation and assistance of hundreds of thousands of lay volunteers, along with medical professionals and local health departments throughout the USA‘.)
Anyway, IMOP’s rhetoric would have you believe that those sinister white-coated scientists are working hand-in-surgical-glove with the government, to control you. (Or maybe they control the government? That would be a twist!)
Lest you think I’m being melodramatic and unfair here, take a look at their preamble:
Australia’s newest political party, Involuntary Medication Objectors Party, is committed to giving a voice to the tens of thousands of Australians who have been ignored by the government and vilified by the press for their informed choice to reject the highly questionable government sponsored Vaccination Program.
Objection is also raised to the mass medication of the population by the Fluoridation of our water supplies…
The party needs your support to turn back this great tide of evil that strikes right at the heart of our hard won freedoms that make us uniquely Australian.
You are invited to join the Party and add your voice against this great travesty of justice and freedom.
Do you hear the people sing / Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not drink fluoridated water again!
Right, well, we might as well deal with the really easy target first, so let’s start by pointing out the inaccuracy in the very first four words of the first line, which is that this is not Australia’s newest political party – believe me, I would know. There were six registered last week, the last of which was ICAN. And this one has been around since 2016, which makes it about 90 in Australian Politics years. I mean, that was a whole Prime Minister ago. Maybe two. Maybe six. I’ve lost count…
As for the rest…
Mandatory vaccination lobbyists have been very successful at shutting down any legitimate conversation or questioning of medical and political practices by labelling such people as being “antivaccine”. We believe that it is appropriate and acceptable to criticise Government policies that are not evidence based.
Well, yes, it is appropriate to criticise policy that isn’t evidence-based. We’ll come back to that in a bit, but the trouble is, there appears to be absolutely no level of evidence that will ever be accepted by people who have decided that there is ‘genuine scientific uncertainty’ about the benefits and risks of fluoridation and vaccination.
But I’m super happy to avoid using the term ‘anti-vaccine’. How does ‘pro-epidemic’ sound?
Their candidates, unsurprisingly, all have backgrounds in natural health, holistic health and alternative therapies. Their most notable candidate is Judy Wilyman, who received a PhD from the University of Wollongong for a thesis titled “A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy”. Wilyman claimed that ‘This PhD provides evidence that all vaccines are not safe and effective and that the combined schedule of vaccines is doing more harm than good in the population through the increase in chronic illness’, and is full of strange claims about secret committees at the World Health Organisation.
It is worth noting that Wilyman’s PhD was undertaken through the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, under the supervision of a cultural studies professor and a sociologist, and while I would be the last person to denigrate the value of a Humanities degree (I am the proud holder of an extremely useful degree in Medieval History and French), the tools required for the humanities are not the correct tools for the job of assessing the efficacy of vaccinations. I’m sorry, but they just aren’t. It’s a completely different skill set.
Fortunately, there are people who do have that skill set. These people are called scientists. And, more specifically, immunologists. And four of them have written a commentary in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Vaccine, analysing Wilyman’s thesis. You can read the whole thing here, or a summary of it here. Spoiler: they aren’t impressed.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time on Wilyman here, given that she is only one candidate, but her PhD lends her a certain credibility, and I think it’s important to draw attention to the issues involved in it.
IMOP doesn’t really have a policy page, which is a great thing for my blood pressure, but they do have a bunch of FAQs. They answer questions like ‘are you a single issue party on vaccinations?’ and ‘are you against vaccinations?’, with lovely statements like these:
We are against the bullying, blackmail, discrimination created by our media and government and we reject the mainstream hysteria of today that the ‘science is settled’. Vaccination has been reduced to a ‘for and against’ false separation, for the purpose of suppressing legitimate criticism of taxpayer funded vaccination policies.
In recognition of the scientific uncertainties regarding the safety and effectiveness of mass vaccination, we believe that all decisions about vaccination should be a matter between citizens and their chosen medical practitioner, without intrusion by the state. We are concerned with compulsion or coercion by the state, a view shared by many medical practitioners and public health experts, who otherwise support the vaccination program. We are not alone in this regard.
Those poor, oppressed dears, just trying to fight for our freedom. Just not our freedom to not die from communicable diseases.
They argue that many medical practitioners who are pro-vaccination still share their concerns about making vaccination compulsory (ORLY?), and then make claims about how the pharmaceutical industry is clearly corrupt and can’t be trusted, because it’s motivated by money. (Did you know that all natural therapy consultations and remedies are completely free? Nor did I…).
Basically, IMOP is big on freedom of choice, and on providing ‘a voice for an ignored and vilified minority of Australians who believe it is their right to make their own health choices based on their experience and research.’
Which is all well and good, but vaccination is a health choice that affects other people. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose, and all that.
As for experience and research and above all evidence… look, it feels like I have to write an article about this every single time there is an election (see, for example, my article about the Health Australia Party last November). And each time, I hunt out a pile of evidence which of course is never going to be enough for someone who genuinely believes that vaccinations are evil and cause autism.
There are *so many* studies on vaccination safety. It actually drives me a bit crazy that there are so many, because every year, scientists are spending weeks or months on yet more studies to confirm what we already know – that vaccines are the safest way we know to prevent large outbreaks of disease. This is time they could be spending on other things – like cures for other diseases, or even, who knows, working on more personalised medicine that might provide alternatives to people who actually do have allergies or other risk factors that prevent them getting vaccinated. It’s a collossal waste of time and money and energy, and it is maddening.
So this time around, I’m just going to stick to articles from 2019. Because, guess what? There are so many scientific, peer-reviewed articles demonstrating the safety of vaccinations that I actually can do that.
Here, for example, is an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that followed 657,461 children for between eight and nineteen years, and found no association between vaccination and autism.
Here’s one on the safety of Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis), including during pregnancy.
This is the result of five minutes on PubMed, incidentally. There are a lot more articles about vaccine safety, but most of them are about things like what it’s safe to vaccinate cancer patients or other fragile patients with, or are safety studies of new, refined vaccinations. The science on vaccines is settled, but that doesn’t mean that scientists have stopped working to improve on what we have.
Let’s look at some other things that have happened in 2019.
Here’s an article from the ABC about a child who died of the flu in Victoria last month. I went to school with a girl who died of flu. She was twelve.
Whooping cough outbreak in Port Macquarie! My sister in law had whooping cough a few years ago. Thankfully, she recovered – healthy adults generally do – but she was sick for months. Also, woohoo, apparently whooping cough is evolving to resist antibiotics.
Measles outbreak in Australia! Probably caused by travellers and not antivaxxers, but measles is *really* infectious, so you need good herd immunity if you don’t want an epidemic. Also, measles is evil – for one thing, it re-sets your immune system to zero, making your memory T-cells forget every bacteria and virus they’ve seen before, so if you recover from the measles, you will spend the next 2-3 years catching every other bug that comes your way. And for another, it can kill you, either directly, or via a form of encephalitis that occurs years after the disease. One of my mother’s friends lost a son to that one, back in the 80s.
And my favourite – a prominent anti-vaxxer in Italy was hospitalised for chicken pox. Thankfully, he has apparently recovered and is doing well.
These infectious diseases are making a comeback, and a big part of that is people who are too irresponsible and selfish to vaccinate themselves and their children. And maybe your child is healthy enough – and lucky enough – to survive a preventable, infectious disease, but someone else’s child might not be. People who are immunocompromised rely on the herd immunity of those around them, and I’ve been reading so many Facebook posts from oncologist friends this year who are terrified and angry for their leukemia patients, whose immune systems are suppressed by their cancer treatment, and who are highly likely to die if they are exposed to one of these diseases. Like this poor kid, back in 2017.
I have no patience for IMOP. Their talk of personal freedom masks an extreme level of selfishness. Their choices have the potential to kill other people. Diseases like measles, whooping cough, even chicken pox are not trivial. Fortunately, they are trivially easy to prevent.
Don’t vote for IMOP. And please, make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations – this is looking like a really nasty flu season, apart from anything else…
Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively
OK, after all that, I think we deserve some light relief, and this rather… special… song by Switzerland seems to fit the bill on so many levels.
I mean, anyone who has been following the pro-epidemic movement for a while will notice that every time scientists manage to put one theory to rest, another one rises, as if from the grave. Vaccines are full of mercury! No they aren’t, but there are too many of them at once, and they overwhelm the immune system! Nope, it’s not that, but they are full of aborted fetus material! Well, OK, maybe not that, but hey, you just know that Big Pharma is hiding something…
Like a nightmare, neverending
Let me change your world
Also, vampires definitely like fluoride. How else will they keep their teeth all nice and white and pointy?