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The Australian Government has a long history of covering up for Big Pharma

Big Government protects Big Pharma.

Earlier this week the Finance and Public Administration committee released their report into the Vaccine Indemnity Bill. While unfortunately it did not get up there was a recommendation that the government review the vaccine injury compensation scheme. While it’s only a small part of the solution it’s at least a step forward.

I therefore moved to get Community Affairs to investigate the Vaccine Injury Scheme. In particular the fact that it takes 282 days to process a payment and less than 200 of the 3803 claims to date have been paid out on.

Unfortunately Labor voted against their own recommendation.

There’s not much more to say. You’ve heard it all before.

Senate on 21/03/2024
COMMITTEES – Community Affairs References Committee – Reference

Senator RENNICK (Queensland) (11:37): I move:

That, noting the recommendation of the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee report into the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Vaccine Indemnity) Bill 2023 that the Australian Government review the COVID-19 Vaccine Claims Scheme, the following matter be referred to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 December 2024:

The current Federal Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Claims Scheme, with reference to:

(a) the eligibility criteria;

(b) the time in processing the claimants’ applications, noting that as of 30 August 2023 fewer than 200 of 3803 claims had received compensation;

(c) differences between Therapeutic Goods Administration assessments and specialist assessment reports included in vaccine injury claims;

(d) the adequacy of the compensation in relation to the person’s injuries, mental health and lost earnings;

(e) the risks that inadequate support and compensation for vaccine related injuries may exacerbate vaccine hesitancy; and

(f) any other related matters.

I’d like to speak to this motion today because I think it’s about time we called out Australia’s history when it comes to dealing with victims of drug rollouts approved by the government. This is symptomatic of a long history of gaslighting of injuries. This goes right back. Just earlier this year, the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, came out and apologised to the victims of thalidomide. Unfortunately, they were hollow words, because those people were injured 60 years ago. Why did it take 60 years for the government to apologise to the people injured by thalidomide? It was too long. But there are more people in this country that suffer every day from government neglect in terms of quality assurance of the rollout of drugs in this country.

We’ve got the infected blood people. In the 1980s, tens of thousands of Australians—in particular, children and haemophiliacs—were infected with AIDS and hepatitis C because the Red Cross and CSL refused to heat-treat the blood to make sure that the AIDS virus and hepatitis C were sterilised from the blood. The reason, as we found out in a Senate inquiry in 2004, was because CSL didn’t want to lose yield on the blood products. As a result of that negligence, we have had, for decades, thousands of Australians suffer in pain and slowly die. If you want to read a story about it, I suggest you read Bryce Courtenay’s April Fool’s Day, where he wrote about his own son, who was a haemophiliac who caught AIDS. Being a haemophiliac requires a lot of blood transfusions. He went through a lifetime of suffering until he turned 18 or 19, and then one day he got a blood transfusion that contained AIDS. Of course, he rapidly died within a matter of years after that, and his father and his mother had to fight the government. The New South Wales government, I do believe, did pay out some money, but it was a battle the whole time through.

We’ve also got people who suffered mesh injuries in this country. They too are still suffering today. They are fighting to get justice from the government for the injuries that occurred to them. I can speak on behalf of my own Uncle, who in the early 1950s came down with an illness and was given a sulfa drug that made him blind. A seven-year-old boy was turned blind for the rest of his life, and he was given no support by the government. My grandmother had no support from the government for the drugs that were given to him. He’s battled through life. He’s got a law degree, having done it through braille, and I’m very proud of him.

It sickens me, the way that people in this country and are treated by government and that politicians, who are meant to protect the people, refuse to acknowledge the damage that they have done to Australians who thought that they were doing the right thing. They were told the vaccine was safe and effective. They were told that there was going to be a vaccine injury scheme that would protect them and look after them if they were injured by that vaccine, and that is not the case. Just yesterday I spoke to a person injured by the vaccine. We actually had to turn the lights off in the office because he couldn’t keep his eyes open from the brightness of the light. He’s not actually applying through the vaccine injury scheme, I should add; he’s applying through Comcare because he worked for the Australian health department and they are gaslighting their own employee.

If we aren’t here to protect the people, what exactly are we here for? The whole point of a liberal democracy is to protect the individual and their families from the unrestrained authority of the big end of town. Whether it’s the health bureaucracies, big corporations or whatever, we are meant to protect the people.

Let’s talk about the big corporations. Let’s talk about the fines that these pharmaceutical companies have paid over the years. In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline paid a fine of $3 billion. It was a criminal fine for off-label promotion and failure to disclose safety data. There were civil fines for paying kickbacks to physicians making false and misleading statements. Our good friends Pfizer paid $2.3 billion in 2009 for off-label promotion and kickbacks. In 2013 Johnson & Johnson were fined for off-label promotion and kickbacks. Eli Lilley in 2009 were fined for off-label promotions. Abbott Laboratories, in 2012, were fined $1.5 billion for off-label promotion. You can look up on Wikipedia the 20 biggest fines by pharmaceutical companies. The bottom one tops out at $345 million for a similar thing: Medicare fraud kickbacks. If you look at it all, you see it’s all kickbacks and misleading information.

The pharmaceutical industry has a history of putting their wallets in front of people’s health. We know that they’re driven by the monetary incentives, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have to put bread on the table. We understand that. But you should not trade out the safety of people when you do this. Drugs have been a wonderful thing. I accept that they have increased the standard of living in the Western world and other parts of the world. A hundred years ago, your average life expectancy was around 50 or 55. Today average life expectancy is 80. We have made much medical progress in that time, and that is something to be commended.

If we want to make sure that we keep trust in our medical system, we have two protect those who have been injured by medical products, and in the last three years we have seen gaslighting and double standards of the people injured by vaccines. I’ll touch on the gaslighting first. It is a disgrace. They’ve been labelled antivaxxers, cookers—you name it. They rolled up their sleeves. They believed in the government and the information the government gave them, thinking they were doing the right thing, and now the government has kicked them to the kerb. That is not good enough.

Then there are the double standards. When it came to COVID, heaven forbid! Anyone with a sniffle would have to go down and quarantine. We spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to protect people from COVID, which I accept is a risk, like any virus, especially to older and sick people. But for the majority of the working age people who were healthy it wasn’t a risk, and it didn’t warrant the unnecessary lockdowns and fear-mongering that took place. As a result of that, we’ve had massive implications for other parts of the health system, and I’ll just elaborate on that.

The Australian government bought 300 million doses of various types of COVID vaccines whilst at the same time saying that two doses were enough to protect you. Twenty-five million people times two is 50 million people. You could have bought three doses per person and had 75 million doses—a quarter of what we bought—for $8 billion. If we had bought a quarter of what we bought, we would have saved $6 billion. The Sunshine Coast University Hospital was built in the last decade. It cost $1.8 billion. We wasted the equivalent amount of money that could have built the equivalent of three Sunshine Coast university hospitals. All of this money that was spent on the COVID overreach—not all of it; I’ll take some of that back. A large part of it could have been spent on front-end services. It could have been spent on more nurses, more doctors and more ambulances, because, heaven knows, just about every state in this country is suffering under the weight of the mismanagement of the health system. I’m led to believe that. I’m shooting from my hip here, but I certainly know that’s the case in Queensland. We have got ambulance ramping that is out of control. In my own home state, we have maternity wards closing down.

There was an article in the Courier Mail a few years ago that said that, in towns where there was no maternity ward, the number of deaths per thousand births was 23 versus six in towns with a maternity ward. Now, the difference of 17 per thousand is probably higher than the death rate from COVID. Imagine if we had kept that $6 billion, plus the other billions we spent on masks and PCR testing! I seem to recall that the Western Australian government spent $600 million just on PCR tests. How many maternity wards could that have built? How many frontline nurses?

All I’m asking for here today is to honour the recommendation by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee that came out earlier this week in reply to Senator Babet’s inquiry into the vaccine indemnity scheme. This is the thing—this is coming off the back of the inquiry that looked into why pharmaceutical companies are given indemnities. I’ve just read out some of the fines that these pharmaceutical companies have been forced to pay because of the deceptive, misleading and unethical conduct they engage in. Yet we rollover and give them an indemnity. We give them an indemnity, and the least we could ask for is a no-fault compensation scheme, which is the recommendation from the Finance and Public Administration committee—to actually inquire into the vaccine injury scheme and to have a no-fault scheme.

There is a reason why that matters. I’ve got an insider from the TGA who played a big role in designing this scheme. I can’t say his name. He’s left it now because he doesn’t want to lose his job if he goes public. The whole point of that scheme was that, once an injured person got a specialist to say that the person was injured by the vaccine, he or she would be entitled to compensation. That is not happening. What is happening is that Services Australia makes these people wait, on average, 297 days to get a decision. Many of these people can no longer work. They are seriously ill. They have to do all the legwork of trying to book in to see a specialist, a cardiologist, a rheumatologist or whatever, and that takes a lot of work. It’s very expensive. You’ve got to get MRIs or something to back up your claim, and then they’re basically being neglected.

What’s happening though is Services Australia make these people jump that hurdle. Services Australia then refer it back to the TGA. And the TGA doctors are turning around and saying, ‘We are overriding the decision of the specialists who actually examined the patient.’ My insider tells me that these doctors at the TGA are not qualified to be overriding specialists, and I believe that. If you haven’t examined the patient, who are you to say this isn’t actually a vaccine injury? How would you know? I had a discussion this morning with some scientists who said, ‘Basically, you’ll never know while a person’s living because you can’t take tissue samples from living people.’ So we are operating in the dark here with regard to our ability to examine what’s really going on as a result of these vaccine injuries.

But let me tell you this: these people should not be made to suffer for following the advice of the government that said they would be protected. And when you look at the TGA’s track record on this, there have been 1,000 reported and, most importantly, the box that was ticked was ‘suspected deaths from the vaccine’. How many did the TGA recognise? Fourteen. Over 60 per cent of those reports came from health professionals. When you press the TGA and you say to them, ‘Can you actually prove that this death wasn’t from the vaccine,’ they say, ‘No, we can’t.’ They are playing semantics: when they say there have only been 14 deaths from the vaccine what they’re saying is, ‘We can only prove there were 14 deaths,’ but they haven’t examined the body.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the coroner didn’t get to examine the body either, despite that being the advice from at least one state government. The Queensland state government—you have to get on the ‘way back’ machine, because they’ve pulled this down—said if you suspected a person had died from the vaccine you need to refer it to the coroner. That’s not happening, but it should have happened because there was an increase of 10,000 actual deaths in the eight months after the rollout of the vaccine, from May 2021 through to December 2021—before COVID was widespread in the community. The TGA cannot explain that either.

There is plenty of information. We need to protect the people. I urge you to support this motion today and protect the people injured from the vaccine.

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