Diluted Thinking

in Australian healthcare

AVSN: Vaxxed Tour 2017 Hawthorn screening

Overview

The second Melbourne Vaxxed event took place at the Hawthorn Arts Centre, 3 August 2017. The Q&A panel consisted of Suzanne Humphries, Polly Tommey and Meryl Dorey. This event was a lot more entertaining than previous ones, with Suzanne Humphries barely holding it together dealing with leaflets dropped off for the Vaxxed audience and, for the first time during this tour, a group of local health practitioners stood up to announce their assistance.

The Anti-Vaxxed Flyers

The livestream of this event kicked off with us seeing Suzanne Humphries clearly annoyed by anti-Vaxxed flyers she found in the foyer of the centre. To our great amusement, Humphries spent a considerable part of the evening obsessed with them. Many thanks to Mr John Cunningham and Patrick Stokes.

Note: the flyers left for the Vaxxed audience came from:
Vaxxed Counter-Flyer by Dawn Pedersen
What about autism? by the Northern Territory Public Health Network.

Gold dust

The highlight of the evening came courtesy of health practitioners from a local practice. Nerida James of the Natural Healing Centre addressed the audience.

"Hi, I'm Nerida James, naturopathy physician, chiro. I have a Natural Healing Centre where Dr Piesse works…"

"We can support you and we have been supporting about 600 families, thanks to Dr John Piesse."
[addressing the panel] "I think you might have met him today, he was at the seminar."

Shortly afterward, Dr John Piesse took the microphone to advise that:

"I'm a doctor who's been working hard for 18 months to try and help parents get exemptions from No Vax No Play/No Vax No Pay, with mixed success. It's been quite a journey…"
"What I'd like you all to know that with No Vax No Play it is definitely possible for a doctor to write a letter of contraindication; there are a few loops and hoops but any doctor who wants to learn about it can contact some of the people at the AVN, such as Tasha, and then we can contact that doctor and explain what has to be done."

"It's also possible with No Vax No Pay… I'd like to let you know there's been a case where a parent got a letter of intention from a doctor that was not backed by, registered with the department and went to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in NSW and challenged and won on appeal and had child support payments reinstated…"

"It's also possible - it's actually easier - for a doctor to get the No Vax No Play but the department is playing all sorts of games of deceit and harassment to try and stop this happening. For instance, I was told I didn't have the qualifications but we managed to extract in writing that, yes, I do have the qualifications and now they want to know my reasons. I don't have to give reasons because it's not required. In fact, it's a good idea not to because it's only just going to attract a lot of arguments and to-ing and fro-ing and questions, anxiety for the doctor. But so what I want you to know is, it is possible to get exemption with a doctor's letter of contraindication in the right form provided the doctor has the qualifications required by No Vax No Pay, or is a registered medical practitioner for No Vax No Play. So, there is hope."

Polly Tommey was beside herself with joy, announcing to the audience:

"Yes, you realise how lucky you are, Australia. This is a doctor standing up for you and your rights. You need to all rally around this man, and thank you so much."

Tommey continued praising Piesse at every opportunity, telling Tasha David, "That guy's amazing, getting up - what a lovely man." Tasha responded, "He is so brave and they are asking him right now; we do need to rally behind him."
Later, talking to an audience member, Tommey advised, "More doctors are going to come out and that GP that stood up [Piesse] - he is GOLD DUST - he is the first doctor in Australia that we've seen stand up and be totally unafraid", later adding, "He's an amazing doctor".

Before anti-vaccination parents stampede their way toward Dr Piesse, they should know that Tommey's gold dust doctor is a fine example of not all that glitters is gold.

Bulldust

Piesse made the news in 2015 for (allegedly) providing an alternative cancer treatment that nearly killed a patient, and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency investigating anti-vax doctor John Piesse for handing out medical exemptions for vaccination like candy, with Piesse describing the medical watchdog as "the Taliban" for its faith in immunisation.

The plot further thickens and the bulldust appears when we take a closer look at Nerida James and Dr John Piesse together. Piesse also practises out of Avni Sali's National Institute of Integrative Medicine but his appearance at this AVN/Vaxxed event was clearly in his capacity as a GP with Nerida James' Natural Healing Centre.

Nerida James is a high profile scientologist, reaching OTVIII well over a decade ago. In 2001 she founded the Australian arm of the Church of Scientology's notorious drug rehabilitation organisation, Narconon (more commonly known as Get Off Drugs Naturally), and is the current Australian President.

In 2013, Nerida James was awarded first place for the Most Productive and Expanding Narconon worldwide.
Scientology's Narconon/Get Off Drugs Naturally is highly criticised by mental health and medical professionals from around the world for its potentially dangerous and non-evidence based approach to drug rehabilitation treatments. It is also known as a predatory front for the Church of Scientology cult, as low-grade scientology teachings form part of the Narconon program.

On 5 May 2015, both the Get Off Drugs Foundation Inc. and Nerida James (President) were subject to a three year Enforceable Undertaking by Consumer Affairs Victoria for misleading or deceptive conduct and for false or misleading representations. Also refer to ABC News article Melbourne drug rehab centre fined for misleading claims its detox programs can completely cure drug addiction.

In 2015, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected an appeal by Scientology's Association for Better Living and Education (i.e. Narconon/Get Off Drugs Naturally) for a permit to build a new rehab facility in Warburton. Refer article Church of Scientology rehab centre rejected in Warburton (The Age).

In 2011, Church of Scientology, Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally were the subject of an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Refer Statement of Findings: Church of Scientology, Narconon, and Get Off Drugs Naturally

And where does Dr John Piesse fit in? Well, he's been actively involved with Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally since at least 2001, according to this glowing endorsement and promotion of Get Off Drugs Naturally:

[letter head - address shown is James' Natural Healing Centre]

Tuesday 20th August, 2013

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been associated through practice and visits to the centre with Get Off Drugs Naturally students and staff over the last 12 years.

During this time I have witnessed some remarkable results. The staff are dedicated and committed to assisting those with past substance abuse to regain their dignity and self esteem to achieve a more stable and trouble free lifestyle.

To any of those who would question the results and validity of the full Narconon program, I invite them to go and see for themselves and make an educated analysis.

I wish the Get Off Drugs Naturally Executives and Staff all the very best with their new venture and I offer continued support to all those seeking a better life.

[signed John Piesse]

Source: Get Off Drugs Naturally website http://www.getoffdrugs.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/John-Piesse-Endorsement.jpg

But we shouldn't be too surprised to see the Church of Scientology raise its ugly head at a Vaxxed event. Scientology's predatory front group for African-Americans, Nation of Islam, and the Vaxxed team jumped into bed together years ago. Major Vaxxed representatives, including Polly Tommey, Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree and Dr Brian Hooker, have appeared at anti-vaccination events in conjunction with Nation of Islam.
Long story short, it's perfectly ok to promote, endorse and support any group or individual - including cults - if they assist you in your anti-establishment, anti-science agenda. Public and mental health be damned.

For those of you who are keen to get involved in public health activism, this AVN/Vaxxed event provides you with some good complaint fodder.
Firstly, Nerida James introduced herself as a naturopathic physician/chiro. I cannot find Nerida James listed on the AHPRA website. Therefore, describing herself as a chiro is an offence under Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009, Section 113 Restriction on use of protected titles.
Secondly, glowing testimonials from audience members at the Vaxxed event imply that Dr John Piesse is still involved in questionable medical exemptions, including one woman boasting about her healthy unvaccinated children one minute, then stating Piesse is helping her obtain medical exemptions for them the next.

Q&A Highlights

Dr Suzanne Humphries: The Best Of

Herd immunity is a myth;

For babies too young to be vaccinated, the practice of vaccination puts these babies at even higher risk;

Measles vaccine puts pregnant mothers and their unborn children at greater risk than before it was used;

Woman who died of pneumococcal actually died from the DTaP vaccine;

Conspiracy central: lies, cover-ups and social engineering by government and medical establishment;

The fear of doctors should be higher than the fear of diseases.


Polly Tommey:

"…but I'll tell you something that is a fact.
Do not take your child that is vaccine injured - with any injury whatsoever - to any white coat, any psychiatrist or anyone who is mainstream medicine because all we have seen - or all I have seen in our travels around - is nothing but more severe death, damage from…"

"Stay away from them and trust the parents. The parents - as always - know what's happened to their child and what works for their children."


Polly Tommey:

"…your situation is horrific. People, you have to educate your children; it's one of the most important things, if not the most important, thing you can do."

"And be careful who you get together with to have babies because over and over and over…" [explains about spouses who have split up fighting over the vaccination status of their children].

"You have got to fight for that little girl. There is no school, no job, no house, no life worth that one vaccination that wrecks your daughter's life forever. We see it over and over again."

"So, get together with AVN, get together with one of those groups… and if that group isn't here for you, start it up…"

Dr John Piesse under investigation

The Herald Sun article Secret Melbourne cell of anti-vaxxer doctors under investigation (23 Aug 2017) covers Dr John Piesse and Nerida James offering help at the Hawthorn screening and states that multiple doctors are under investigation for dodgy medical exemptions.

For more information about Dr John Piesse and media articles about the investigation, please refer to my post Anti-vaccination GP, Dr John Piesse

For all media articles about the AVSN/Vaxxed Tour, please refer to my post AVSN: Vaxxed Tour 2017 media reports