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Day to Day Politics: Hanson Vs Cassidy. Round 1.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

1 I knew prior to the interview that Barry Cassidy (ABC Insiders) had never interviewed Pauline Hanson so I had sort of formed a view as to his approach. It was as I thought. He allowed her to relax by giving her time to reflect on her 20 or so years in politics, although the reality is that she has been around politics that long but not in politics.

As I anticipated he wanted to cover a broad range of topics. I have read criticisms of Cassidy’s interview saying that he didn’t drill in hard enough but I tend to discount them because Cassidy is in my view always fair. This might upset those who like a bit of blood on the dance floor, but subtlety is more his style.

And of course Cassidy had to feel his way. Interviewing people of intellect can be hazardous but interviewing someone with of little of it can be equality so. Particularly one who expresses with quivering speech and limited vocabulary.

She ummed and ummed her way through various topics without putting her foot in it until Barry hit a higher octave. When she started to wax lyrically about the virtues of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cassidy had had enough and questioned her praise for one who was responsible for the deaths of 38 Australians. She was also enthusiastic with her praise for one Donald Trump who wants to make America great again at the expense of everyone else. He is very popular with the American people, she said.

She had dipped her toe into the waters of nonsensical response and didn’t handle it well.

Even the Prime Minister, normally loath to criticise her was forced to rebuke her asinine liking of the Russian dictator hiding behind the red guise of a Clayton’s democracy.

“I respect the man. He is very patriotic towards his country, the people love him, he is doing so well for the country. So many Australians here want that leadership here in Australia.”

Cassidy hit back:

“Vladimir Putin’s Russia is subject to international sanctions, to which Australia is a part, because of his conduct in shooting down the MH17 airliner in which 38 Australians were killed. Let’s not forget that,”

Mr Turnbull said Mr Putin’s Russia was responsible for the “shocking international crime” of shooting down the MH17 airliner – killing 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens – and was not worthy of the Queensland senator’s admiration.”

Cassidy now had his back up and was no longer spoon-feeding her. When he asked her about her statement some years back about being swamped by Asians she became befuddled and her answer confusing. Cassidy reminded, or rather divulged to her that half of all Australians were born overseas or had a parent who had, she seemed stunned.

It got worse. Then came the revelation that she is also a vaccination denier. She questioned the safety of child vaccinations, refusing to retreat from comments in which she linked vaccines to autism despite no credible scientific evidence of a connection. She said that parents should “do their own research” and “make an informed decision”.

Seemingly she thinks a parent’s research is better than a scientists.

“What I don’t like about it is the blackmailing that’s happening with the government. Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship,” she said.

The Prime Minister was forced to comment. He had said she would not be a welcome presence in the Parliament during the 2016 campaign but had been loath to censure her since.

“The health of our children, the health of the nation, depends on vaccination and that has to be as close to 100 per cent as possible,” he said. “It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated.”

Now that Cassidy has his first interview with Hansen out-of-the-way, might I suggest round 2 will be some way off.

2 When Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinski, Jeff Sessions said lying under oath was a “high crime”, worthy of immediate removal from office. Now that Sessions has been caught lying under oath, he says he simply wasn’t clear in his answers to Congress. That’s like if Bill Clinton said, “I didn’t lie! When you asked if I had sexual relations with her, I thought you meant that day!”

3 The National Accounts were summarised by this question from Bill Shorten in question time last week.”Yesterday in Question Time, the Prime Minister said that he supports the decision to cut penalty rates. Today’s National Accounts confirm that corporate profits had their biggest increase in 40 years and that wages and salaries had their largest fall in over 20 years. Why is it that, under the Turnbull government, when companies receive record profits, they get tax cuts and, when wages flat line, workers get pay cuts?”

From my American friend Ben Williamson:

”One thing idiots like Trump and those who follow him don’t realize when they bash major Pulitzer Prize winning publications as “fake news” is that unlike conservative media, real news journalists have a LOT to lose by getting caught lying. As we’ve seen often, if you tell a whopper or completely fabricate a story on Fox News, it’s no big deal, and you’re often even praised for it. If a journalist from CNN, NBC, ABC, CSPAN, or even MSNBC gets caught making up “fake news”, they are immediately forced to apologize, and are then fired or forced to resign. Real journalists from real news outlets would be putting their careers completely on the line for a fabricated story, and while it has happened (rarely) over the years, they are always caught and branded for it. If you want to really be able to tell the difference in a real news outlet and a fake one like Fox News or Brietbart, see how they punish those who get caught lying, if they do at all.”

4 The Ombudsman reports that the largest amount of complaints comes from internet NBN subscribers not getting the speeds they pay for.

On this day in 2016 I wrote:

1 What a shocker of a week it was for the Coalition. The Treasure and the Prime Minister made fools of themselves by trying to link the BIS Report with Labor’s Negative Gearing policy.

2 As dramatic as that was I think Tony Abbott’s declaration of war with Malcolm Turnbull will have enormous repercussions down the track. Abbott has done himself no favours with colleagues with his National Security leak to Greg Sheridan and The Australian. You might even say that Turnbull may never, while he is surrounded by the methodology of Abbott governance, the negativity of it, be able to introduce the positive innovative style he talks about.

And we had this nauseating spectacle of Turnbull praising Abbott’s leadership at Howard’s 20th Anniversary while Abbott is shirt fronting him. Shades of Rudd you say. Well yes except Rudd had some public support whilst Abbott doesn’t. There can only be one inevitable conclusion if he continues. History shows that he will destroy Turnbull, himself and the party’s chances of winning the election.

That won’t worry him of course because wrecking is in his DNA.

3 Friday I watched the PM at a press conference waxing lyrically about the roll out of the NBN. On Monday, another Government leak highlighted massive delays in Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN.

4 Has there ever been a more crass candidate for the Presidency of the United States? Donald Trump as if to say that size is important in potential Presidential aspirants assures a debate audience that he is well endowed. Really, what a prick.

My thought for the day.

“Have you ever had a coffee with someone and you have had little to say but later on reflection felt like it was just the best conversation ever.”


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  1. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, John. It’s interesting that Pauline’s approval of both Trump and Putin is based on their popularity, ‘He is very popular’ (Trump), and ‘… the people love him’ Putin’. That’s populism for you.
    About vaccination, she says that parents should ‘do their own research’ and make ‘an informed decision’. Actually, if it wasn’t Pauline’s mouth that these words were coming from, they might seem pretty sensible. You say, ‘Seemingly she thinks a parent’s research is better than a scientists.’ The trouble is that science is an unfolding affair. Many mistaken views have indeed been held by scientists in the past, and no doubt are being held now. The earth was once considered by every scientist in the world to be flat. Newton’s physics is now known to hold true only within a very narrow range, and so on. And it’s not so long ago that the 3% were the ones saying that climate change is real while the 97% were saying that it isn’t.
    It’s not exactly true that there is no evidence of a link between vaccination and autism and other disabilities. There are studies that say there is no link, and there are studies that say there may be. It’s important to bear in mind the dangers of pharmaceutical companies funding tests that ‘find’ that there is no correlation.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Kate, there are no credible studies linking vaccination to autism. Andrew Wakefield started the lie. He was funded by solicitors looking for something to litigate about – big bucks there.

    And yes, science is constantly evolving but it is the scientists (largely) who do that work – not mums telling anecdotes or researching online.

    Personal choice could threaten our herd immunity. That is not fair on the rest of us.

  3. Terry2

    If there are criticisms of Barrie Cassidy for not drilling down hard enough on Hanson I wonder what those same people would say about the Andrew Bolt ‘interview’ with Tony Abbott which was no more than a soap-box for Abbott to spruik his silly IPA inspired right wing rhetoric.

    Incidentally, I note that James Ashby has advised media in WA that Pauline will not answer questions on Putin, single mums or vaccinations : the media were warned by enforcer Ashby that any departure from the One Nation script and he will terminate the interviews.

    At a time when the right-wing are being all petulant about their rights to freedom of speech you may very well find the approach by Ashby and One Nation a little odd !

  4. Zathras

    There was recently a study released that found no correlation between the consumption of confectionary and obesity. Obviously it will be redone and investigated but it was irresponsible to release it until it was confirmed.

    The initial report that suggested a link between vaccination and autism has been totally discredited and withdrawn but some believe it’s true.

    Likewise, the recent Pizzagate stories have also been totally discredited and disproven as deliberate lies but 11% of Trump supporters continue to believe them.

    Some people think Elvis is still alive too. Some think the moon landing was a hoax but that wrestling is real.

    It’s when such beliefs become official government policy that we should be worried about.

  5. Kaye Lee

    If I was a WA journalist the first question I would ask would be about a banned topic. Pauline uses the media to promote her profile but they are not hers to dictate to. Let Ashby terminate every interview. That will show the public what Hanson is really like – unable to justify her stance.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Measles is extremely contagious and remains one of the leading causes of death among children overseas.

    According to the World Health Organisation, 134,200 people died from the virus last year.

    There were four cases of measles reported in Sydney in December. That is worrying.

    In Arizona, they had over 22 cases reported in two months last year and were considering calling a state of emergency.

    “Despite studies involving more than 95,000 children showing that vaccines aren’t linked to increased risk of autism, anti-vaxx groups continue to perpetuate that myth online – along with a range of other arguments against immunisation, which have been thoroughly debunked time and time again by the scientific evidence.

    But why does it matter if some people choose to forego vaccinations if everyone else is protected?

    The reality is that no vaccine is 100 percent effective for everyone, and not everyone can be vaccinated. Newborns and people with compromised immune systems – such as those going through chemotherapy or with autoimmune conditions – aren’t able to be immunised.

    Thanks to something called herd immunity, as long as around 95 percent of the population is vaccinated, these vulnerable groups will stay protected due to the fact that the virus isn’t able to take hold and spread in a region.

    But when those overall immunisation rates fall, the disease can quickly break out – which is what is happening now.

    In fact, measles is so contagious that 90 percent of unvaccinated people will catch the virus if they’re around an infected person.”

  7. helvityni

    Cassidy’s interview was just fine, it was civil. There was no need for the ‘ gotcha’ moments, Pauline undid it all by herself, there was nothing MORE to see as there is not much to see…

    Even so , it’s sad that we can’t find better politicians, it was all a bit embarrassing, the other guests on the panel did not discuss her performance, maybe like myself, they too felt almost a bit sorry for her….

    My advise to the interviewers; be tough with Abbott, Turnbull, Pyne, Dutton , and try to slow down Morrison and to stop Michaelia from shouting……Bishop seems to get the kid-glove treatment, why?

    They already are TOUGH with Labor and the Greens.

  8. michael lacey

    The plane disaster so many questions still not answered?

  9. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, I believe the original article appeared in the Lancet, which is probably why it achieved the publicity that it did. Nevertheless, as long as studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies, we need to entertain some doubt. I, for instance, have a kernel of doubt about how vaccination drugs could possibly be the only group of drugs that has no significant side-effects, At the same time, I am reading this morning about how the CSIRO has now turned its Basic Healthy Diet on its head, so that now we must have lots of (healthy) fats and hardly any carbs. These are just a couple of the sorts of considerations that have taught me the value of doubt. Have there been any studies into the incidence of autism in unvaccinated children as compared with vaccinated children?

    Like you, I’m a mum who researches all sorts of things online, including science. And like you, although I recognise that I am perfectly capable of mistaken thinking, as are we all, I trust myself to be able to question and assess the work that others have done.

  10. Kate Ahearne

    Just one more point about vaccination. There are many different vaccines. We lump them all into the one basket, but they are as different as the diseases they are designed to combat.

  11. johnlord2013

    Hansen in the interview also suggested that parents have their children tested prior to injecting. No such test exists.

  12. Matters Not

    The earth was once considered by every scientist in the world to be flat.

    Not since the 6th century BC!

    Although there are still some who still believe that nonsense because of some teachers who perpetuate that myth about brave Columbus and the like. And there are those who still believe the earth is flat. But I wouldn’t call them ‘scientists’.

  13. Matters Not

    Hansen, as I have argued previously, ought to be given more rope. Indeed as much as she wants but with the provisio that she is questioned by journalists. (I think there’s still one or two out there, but they are very hard to find.)

    Cassidy led the way. Who will follow? Surely there must be people in the MSM who aspire to be more than providers of ‘click bait? But maybe not.

    Re ‘no such test exists’ should be the basis of the very first question(s) today. Call out Hanson and Ashby. And continue to do so. The voters in WA must recognise that Hanson is just a carpetbagger from QLD.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Kate, I think this is a very important issue.

    The hype about mistrusting pharmaceutical companies is not (usually) about the drugs they manufacture but the patenting and marketing side of it. There have been cases of people falsifying their research before, but the vaccination debate has been exhaustively researched. It is too important and widespread for deliberate misinformation to be controlled by a company.

    There are unethical practices at times where sales reps might offer doctors inducements to prescribe their drugs. Their are certainly cases of evergreening patents by finding a new use for a drug or even by just changing a small element of the inert filler.

    But there is NO evidence of collusion to cover up a link between vaccination and autism and overwhelming evidence of the value of eliminating measles. If the disease disappears entirely then we won’t have to vaccinate for it anymore.

  15. Terry2

    The Prime Minister’s comments on housing affordability were verging on an argument in favour of Labor’s policy on negative gearing. Turnbull is saying that we need to see more money going into new housing development – presumably, as opposed to the current churning of existing stock by investors hooked on negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax concessions – so why not adopt a bipartisan policy and only give tax concessions to new home builders,
    or would that be a bridge too far ?

    ‘Have to feel sorry for Michaelia Cash who is “mortified” at having forgotten that she bought a $1.4 million investment property in November last and forgot to declare it. Under the rules, knowingly failing to update the register of assets within 35 days can constitute a “serious contempt” of the Senate but as the Prime Minister pointed out, “she had been on holidays”.

    So, that’s alright then : but here’s a tip, have a look down the back of the sofa, Michaelia, you might find the deeds to a Gold Coast apartment or a ‘bolt-hole’ in St Kilda that had escaped your notice.

    No wonder they’re so keen to do all this investment while in office, you get very concessional loans and red carpet treatment when you are a government minister as Sussan Ley noted.

  16. Keitha Granville

    Of course there are some side effects with vaccines, no credible scientist or doctor has ever suggested there isn’t. But is undeniable that the diseases being prevented will cause DEATH in some people and serious long term disability in some. These are certainly far more serious “side effects”. Perhaps some of those who follow this foolish uneducated claptrap of anti-vax have no knowledge or memory of polio, of people forced to spend their lives in an iron lung, or with calipers on their legs. The autism link has been debunked so many times – to suggest that scietists are somehow pushing this at the behest of big Pharma is dangerous, and then to lump that to new advice about healthy diets is just nonsense.
    Science and health are evolving continually, of course they are, vaccines are evolving too. That means that the knowledge about their effectiveness in eradicating life threatening is continually improving.
    It is NOT acceptable for anyone to choose not to vaccinate and thereby threaten the lives of others – babies whose lives are at risk from whooping cough and measles, anyone with cancer on chemotherapy, anyone with compromised immune systems. You may NOT take away their options based on Chinese whispers and spurious notions about living healthy lives and letting nature manage these killer diseases.
    I am totally in favour of people who are unvaccinated being excluded from groups when an outbreak of any of these is detected.

  17. Kaye Lee

    MN there is a dermal allergy test you can do but they would only do it for high risk patients. You certainly wouldn’t put a tiny baby through it for no reason and I doubt it would be any use because they show allergic reactions to many things which they grow out of.

    They might do it if a child had a severe reaction to a previous vaccination.

    People with compromised immunity are sometimes advised against vaccinations but we can accommodate them if the rest of us do the right thing.

  18. helvityni

    Terry2, our PM understood and was most forgiving of Michaelia’s missteps. I it was kind of safe to come up and join in with the health professionals to tell Pauline off most bluntly; it’s as it always is with the Liberals, different strokes for different folks..

    Why not be tough with both of them….

  19. Matters Not

    KA re the myth of the flat earth, the ‘reinforcer’ in modern times is largely down to Emma Miler Bolenius, American Schoolbook Author, 1919 who wrote:

    “When Columbus lived, people thought that the earth was flat. They believed the Atlantic Ocean to be filled with monsters large enough to devour their ships, and with fearful waterfalls over which their frail vessels would plunge to destruction. Columbus had to fight these foolish beliefs in order to get men to sail with him. He felt sure the earth was round.”

    He didn’t ‘feel sure’ he bloody well knew it. As did Greeks such as Plato, Pythagoras, Aristotle, and many even before their time.

    But when I went to school I was taught the Emma Miler Bolenius ‘myth’ and I feel sure that it is still being taught today. More’s the pity.

    KL, I am reluctant to mention it but I know of one twin (believe it or not) who died after a vaccination. Thankfully, the parents had a younger sibling vaccinated. But it took some courage.

  20. helvityni

    …and of course it’s not “a good look”, if our politicians are openly buying investment properties, whilst we have so many homeless in this country…

    How are our officials able to contact our homeless people to tell them that the vaccinations of their kids are due…

  21. Kaye Lee


    While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is one too many, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risk, and many more injuries and deaths would occur without vaccines.

  22. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, I’m not suggesting collusion or cover-up. I am, however suggesting that there is room for reasonable doubt. We know, for instance, that autism was first identified shortly after vaccinations began. That’s an interesting co-incidence, especially as we don’t yet know the cause/causes of autism.
    Nobody wants measles to rage unchecked, but that doesn’t mean that there may not be any connection between autism and vaccination – or, at least, some vaccinations. We don’t yet seem to have the research about the incidence of autism in unvaccinated children as compared with the incidence in vaccinated children.
    It seems to me that we have to accept that it’s unlikely that there are no serious side-effects to any vaccinations. We also need to acknowledge that there are powerful reasons why statistical research has not been carried out into the differences between the incidence of autism and other serious disorders in unvaccinated and vaccinated children Who would pay for such research when the results could be utterly devastating? Whose interests would it serve? Imagine the uproar if a significant correlation were to be found between vaccination and serious after-effects! Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
    It also seems to me that we need to be conscious of the fact that we are making a trade-off when we vaccinate against measles. We recognise that the threat of measles is enormous, and that this enormity far outweighs any possible down-side. But that’s not the same as saying that there is no downside. Meanwhile, the incidence of autism continues to rise, and we still don’t know why.
    Remember thalidomide? That was a wonder drug until a correlation was discovered between it and babies born with horrendous deformities.
    I am not suggesting that we should abandon vaccination, but I AM suggesting that we don’t have all the information yet, and that we should not disrespect those parents who have serious concerns about it.

    Matters Not, My mistake. I should have said, ‘The earth was once considered by JUST ABOUT every scientist in the world to be flat.’

    Keitha, Your comment is just a bit too hysterical in tone for me to respond to it with any seriousness, Stuff like ‘ foolish uneducated claptrap’, ‘nonsense’, ‘Chinese whispers and spurious notions’ doesn’t really do it for me.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Re Michaelia Cash’s “oversight”, the government crucified David Feeney in the lead up to the election for doing the exact same thing.

    But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the issue was very serious, and “a lot to overlook” as Greens deputy Adam Bandt — whose party is seeking to topple David Feeney in his Melbourne seat of Batman — reminded voters that former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell lost his job over a much cheaper, undeclared bottle of Grange.

    Liberal frontbencher Alex Hawke said Mr Feeney “clearly had to answer questions about these issues”.

    Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Mr Feeney had admitted a mistake and would correct it, but “the more important point is that this exposes Labor’s hypocrisy”.

  24. Matters Not

    ‘The earth was once considered by JUST ABOUT every scientist in the world to be flat.

    Still wide of the mark! Have a read.

    The ‘Carcrash’ has done it again. On holidays and all that and forgot about the house next door. Makes you wonder about what they actually forget when they are doing their day job.

    Or is house buying their day job?

  25. Kaye Lee

    Kate, I am not sure where you are getting your information from but it is incorrect.

    “autism was first identified shortly after vaccinations began”

    Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, was the first person to use the term. He started using it around 1911 to refer to one group of symptoms related to schizophrenia. In the 1940s, researchers in the United States began to use “autism” to describe children with emotional or social problems.

    A licensed vaccine to prevent measles first became available in 1963, and an improved one in 1968. Vaccines for mumps and rubella became available in 1967 and 1969, respectively. The three vaccines (for mumps, measles, and rubella) were combined in 1971 to become the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

    “We don’t yet seem to have the research about the incidence of autism in unvaccinated children as compared with the incidence in vaccinated children.”

    “I’ve heard this claim several times. Ever since I found out that it is not true, I have been amazed how it just keeps resurfacing. I would like to put this myth to rest. I am aware of at least seven original research papers and one meta-analysis (looking at another 6 randomised clinical trials or RCTs) published since 2009 which look at myriad aspects of general health, comparing large unvaccinated and vaccinated populations…..the incidence of autism is unchanged in populations with or without the MMR vaccine ”

    Myth: No Studies Compare the Health of Unvaccinated and Vaccinated People

    As for the increase in diagnosis, a contributing factor to that is we have have expanded the definition to include a whole range of spectrum behaviours

  26. helvityni

    What I find hard to believe that anyone would take advise from Pauline on any issue, at any time…

    It was rather cringe worthy when she saw it necessary to tell the interviewer: I’m not a doctor (or was it a nurse)…

  27. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. I’ll have to look at this later. I’m going to be out for the next few hours.

  28. Matters Not

    Kl I was reluctant to mention about a death attributed to a vaccination because most people don’t appreciate the nature of ‘science’ and its limitations. People, general speaking, want the ‘truth’. Science will not give you the ‘truth’. Having said that, I should stress as strongly as possible – that as a way of ‘knowing’, science is far superior to ‘rationality’ or ‘faith’.

    Science is the best way we know to operate in the world.

    BTW, those articles you linked to were very informative. Some findings nevertheless might warrant further investigation.

  29. eefteeuu

    I wonder how many of us would be around today if nobody was vaccinated against polio, whooping cough, diptheria, measles, `flu, smallpox to name just a few of these killer diseases.

    Unfortunately some do react badly, some fatally, but surely the ratio must speak for itself.

  30. Matters Not

    helvityni you would be well advised to take Pauline’s advice re how to batter up flathead and fatheads who give her undue air time. Other than that …

    eefteeuu, on the upside – get rid of vaccinations and we solve the population problem. Rather quickly as well.

  31. Alan Baird

    A quality summary above from John Lord. Tom Switzer, a SM Herald “journalist” (really an opinionista) the other day called for Tone’s return which confirms amply the points made. The letters the next day told him that some weren’t entirely convinced. Tom is a thermometer for the extreme right and right now it’s febrile. Most of those on the extreme right have all the clarity of thought of the French aristocracy re-their long-term prospects prior to the Revolution. Michaelia Cash’s rendition of “Let them eat cake” would lack the required aristocratic tone unfortunately but she’s certainly got the attitood nailed. Oh THAT real estate! As a teenager would say, “Like I’ve had NO examples of fellow MPs getting into trouble THAT way, like.” And Malcolm holds his nose and Trudges (oops) on and on… like. Labor needs to have its new policies for a far fairer society dusted off and READY come an election win or they’ll go EXACTLY the same way because WE DO have plenty of examples of previous sleepwalking Labor govts of the past indulging themselves. Don’t look back far. Some are mere hours ago.

  32. helvityni

    If we take Paulines and Bob the Builders seriously, we are in deep trouble indeed…There are also whispers about Dutton, it’s supposedly his turn to be our PM….

  33. kerri

    Maybe we should send Pauline to the next country struck with Ebola?
    But another spanner in the anti-vaxx argument? And this is personal. It actually happened to me and I am still suffering for it!
    About 5 years ago we had moved into a small house whilst rebuilding. The neighbours were friendly and one informed me they were going to China for a month or so so not to be alarmed at her adult children monitoring their house.
    Long after they returned I developed a cough. A cough I could not assuage. It left me breathless. The thought did cross my mind that this was like descriptions of Whooping cough? Waking in the middle of the night and stepping outside to cough and try to breathe so as not to wake the family. I berated myself not to be hypochodriachial as I had been immunised. The neighbour approached me one day whilst we were putting out bins. She asked if it was me doing all the coughing. I made light of it and said yes but I think I am on the road to recovery now. She said it sounded like Whooping cough and that she had been diagnosed with Whooping cough after their China trip. But weren’t you immunised? Oh yes but the doctor had told her it was a different strain brought in from China! I have to mention, I have serious auto immune issues and the cough did not spread to any of my family living in close quarters as we were.
    So herd immunity needs to be world wide these days with many travellers coming and going from areas where different strains of disease occur. I have little faith in the eradication of disease but herd immunity is even more important in our ever smaller planet.
    I now have serious lung issues having never even taken a puff of a cigarette.
    Similarly my youngest daughter came down with Rubella before she turned one. She had not been immunised because she was not yet due to be immunised.
    Friends tsk tsked about immunisation. At the time the MMR was not recommended until after one.
    But it still meant someone’s non immunised child (or adult) had infected my child!
    Immunisation is a public duty. If you want to be part of our society you need to follow our rules.
    Besides if immunisation makes a dictatorship? Then what does mandatory pre nups make?

  34. cartoonmick

    She stands for so many things which I (and a majority of people I know) disagree with. They’ve been covered well here in the article and most comments.

    The main concern is she will influence so many peoples votes for all the wrong reasons.

    She is visiting WA to promote One Nations policies (?) and influence voters in the WA State elections being held next Saturday 11th March.

    The big question is,,,,, how much influence will she have ????

    This short YouTube vid looks at that question . . . .


  35. Lance

    What is it with these Qld type haysseeds ?
    ,Bjelke -Peterson,Barnaby Jocye ,Hanson ,Brandis –
    is it the changing climate?
    that allows these red neck mummbling morons to crawl from their cane toad lairs
    and proudly decree -“People have the right to be bigot’s”

    Considering the public execution that Campbell Newman was Caesar(esq)- like publicly disposed of
    is it too much to ask and call on our Northern ,Eastcoast Cousins to do the right thing
    and unshackle and free yourselves from the chains of this uneducated red haired , red neck mumbbling moron.

  36. Terry2

    The other day Tom Switzer’s ABC RN show ‘Between the Lines’ – one of Tom’s many contributions to conservatism on behalf of the IPA and the new ABC lineup – had as Tom’s guests Paul Kelly, John Roskam and Nick Cater .

    Three of the most conservative commentators around and with no counterbalance of even one impartial contributor as they discussed the future of conservatism in Australia.

    Our ABC is morphing into their ABC and whilst the Right always talk about balance, they don’t think it applies to them.

  37. Matters Not

    Terry2 – re that panel. No balance! No females! Should’ve made room for Rebecca Weisser and Daisy Cousens. And Rowan Dean as well. Then it would have been a real echo chamber. LOL

  38. Zathras

    Gee, I wonder what caused autism before vaccines were invented?

    The Lancet DID print the original story but then fully retracted it a few years later when evidence of fraud, data manipulation and conflicts of interest of the study’s author (who was later struck off the Medical Register) became known.

    Correlation does not imply causation –
    The rise in the rate of diagnosed autism is also the same as the rise in the rate of organic food sales. Coincidence?
    Windmills turn faster when there is more wind. Therefore wind is being created by windmills.

    Not that it’s exactly the same thing bit many years ago, Scientific American printed in it’s April Issue (for April Fools’ Day) a satirical story claiming that pyramids had the bizarre power to focus cosmic rays and slow down decay, sharpen razor blades and many other items.

    Enough people accepted this as fact to spawn yet another New Age Industry and there are undoubtedly still believers out there. No amount of data could convince believers it was a hoax. Dedicated anti-vaxxers are much the same.

    Remember there are a lot of professional people (journalists and politicians in particular) being paid a lot of money to keep other people frightened, anxious and angry.

  39. Max

    There is 0 evidence AT ALL that is exactly Russia that is responsible for MH-17 tragedy. Finger was pointed at Russia before engines managed to cool down. Bellingcat report is nothing more then a load of assertions. It was taken apart and discredited in Russia rather masterfully. Ukrainian intelligence took away the Air traffic control towers recordings immediately (Wonder why?), recordings from black boxes are classified top secret (What for?), investigation has long ago stalled, preliminary report is merely “missile explosion is what downed the plane”, noone explained why “intercepted rebel communications” were found to be little more then crudely pasted together, finally just what exactly do they think Russia stands to gain over that shoot-down. Putin might not be a saint, but certainly has way less unjust blood on his hands then our best ally USA, yet noone sanctioned USA over illegal invasion of Iraq, utterly illegal destruction of Libya, constant support of terrorists in Libya and Syria. Should I start counting the deaths from THEIR actions in Middle East?

  40. Kaye Lee

    “Our ABC is morphing into their ABC and whilst the Right always talk about balance, they don’t think it applies to them.”

    The other day the ABC was doing a story on the resurgence of the 18C debate.

    They interviewed a guy who is currently with the IPA whose name escapes me, then they showed a clip with James Patterson who went from the IPA to becoming a Senator and then they crossed to Tim Wilson who went from the IPA via the Human Rights Commission (so he had something to put on his CV other than media whore) while he waited for Andrew Robb to retire. Once again, no-one mentioning the other side of the story. Next show they had Chris Berg from the IPA.

    One just in for Barnaby…what a surprise

    Firstly…The Coalition has handpicked Western Australian mining lobbyist Vanessa Guthrie to sit on the ABC board, bypassing the independent nomination panel.

    Guthrie is the chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and until December was managing director of uranium developer Toro Energy.

    Along with Queensland rural leader and businesswoman Georgina Somerset, Guthrie has been appointed by the government to sit on the ABC board for a period of five years.

    And today….

    The ABC has announced a significant restructure, cutting up to 200 jobs to create a $50 million Content Fund and new positions in regional areas.

    Not to forget managing director Michelle Guthrie who worked at Foxtel, BSkyB, the Asian-based Star television network and Google.

  41. silkworm

    “Researchers examining 44 samples of 30 different vaccines found dangerous contaminants, including red blood cells in one vaccine and metal toxicants in every single sample tested – except in one animal vaccine.

    Using extremely sensitive new technologies not used in vaccine manufacturing, Italian scientists reported they were “baffled” by their discoveries which included single particles and aggregates of organic debris including red cells of human or possibly animal origin and metals including lead, tungsten, gold, and chromium, that have been linked to autoimmune disease and leukemia.

    In the study, published this week in the International Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination, the researchers led by Antonietta Gatti, of the National Council of Research of Italy and the Scientific Director of Nanodiagnostics, say their results “show the presence of micro- and nano-sized particulate matter composed of inorganic elements in vaccine samples” not declared in the products’ ingredients lists.

    Lead particles were found in the cervical cancer vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, for example, and in the seasonal flu vaccine Aggripal manufactured by Novartis as well as in the Meningetec vaccine meant to protect against meningitis C.

    Samples of an infant vaccine called Infarix Hexa (against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, poliomyelitis and haemophilus influenzae type B) manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline was found to contain stainless steel, tungsten and a gold-zinc aggregate.

    Other metal contaminants included platinum, silver, bismuth, iron, and chromium. Chromium (alone or in alloy with iron and nickel) was identified in 25 of the human vaccines from Italy and France that were tested.

    GSK’s Fluarix vaccine for children three years and older contained 11 metals and aggregates of metals. Similar aggregates to those identified in the vaccines have been shown to be prevalent in cases of leukemia, the researchers noted….”

  42. Kaye Lee


    I would be very hesitant to be quoting from CMSRI who are an organisation set up specifically to promote the anti-vaxxer message.

    “David Juurlink, head of the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, said the researchers appear convinced aluminum in vaccines is dangerous, even though the amounts are too small to have any ill effects.

    “The lines of reasoning used to support their various assertions are exceedingly thin, and in several instances, they draw inferences from their data that no objective reader could possibly draw,” Dr. Juurlink said in an e-mail.

    In 2012, the World Health Organization singled out two studies conducted by the UBC researchers suggesting a link between aluminum in vaccines and autism and said they provide no evidence of a causal link between vaccines and rising autism rates.

    Numerous peer-reviewed, high-quality studies have shown that vaccines are not linked to autism. Although they are not risk-free, the incidence of adverse events linked to vaccination is low.

    The studies were conducted by Christopher Shaw, a professor in the department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UBC.

  43. Kaye Lee

    “What’s particularly laughable is that Ginger Taylor uses numerous citations from Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher Shaw, both of whom could be generously described as real shills for the antivaccination movement. Very well paid shills in fact. There articles are based on ludicrous science, published in terrible open access, and some cases, cursory (or even non-existent) peer-reviewed journals. If these two antivaccine shills actually had real data, why isn’t it published in top notch journals that relish the publicity of cutting-edge science. Like Lancet. Or New England Journal of Medicine. I guess if you have bogus data published in bad journals, you get what you get.”

    The anti-vaccine movement has very deep pockets just like the climate change denier movement

  44. jimhaz

    Woody Guthrie would be rolling in his grave at these two with a same surname

    “Guthrie’s stance against fascism

    In Guthrie’s opposition to fascism, he conceptualized the ideology “as a form of economic exploitation similar to slavery…” he straightforwardly denounces the fascists, particularly their leaders, as a group of gangsters who set out to ‘rob the world’.” This recalled a protest strategy he had used “during the Great Depression, when social, political and economic inequality had been engendered by a small rich elite.” During that era Guthrie had “romanticized the deeds of outlaws such as Jesse James, Pretty Boy Floyd, Calamity Jane or the Dalton Gang both as legitimate acts of social responsibility and as ‘the ultimate expression of protest’, thus transforming the outlaw into an archetypal partisan in a fight against those who were held responsible for the worsening social and economic conditions”.

    In this Guthrie cast those opposing fascism not as mere outlaws in a fascist state, but as heroes rising “in times of economic turmoil and social disintegration” to fight “a highly illegitimate criminal endeavor intended to exploit the common people.”
    Guthrie joined his voice in portraying not only as “dumb gangsters” but he also “externalized the inhuman element of fascism by describing its representatives as animals that were usually held in very low esteem and were associated with a range of bad character traits.”

  45. Kaye Lee

    “You remember nanoparticles? They’re the contaminant that poisons everything, at least if you believe two Italians, Antonietta Gatti and Stefano Montanari, who published a paper that purported to show that vaccines were hopelessly contaminated with heavy metal nanoparticles. (Hey, that would make a great name for a band.) Unfortunately for them, the study was a hopeless botch that lacked anything resembling proper controls, experimental design, replication, or statistical analysis.

    Basically, what has happened to nanoparticles is what happens to so many scientific questions relevant to health when quacks get their hands on them. Questions about whether nanoparticles have adverse health effects are sensationalized, and then nanoparticles morph into an all-purpose toxic bogeyman that causes all manner of chronic disease, found everywhere and more toxic the smaller they are. Then, of course, there come the diagnostic tests to detect them. In that, Gatti and Montenari clearly know their audience and are ahead of their time—in quackery. ”

  46. silkworm

    What a load of hogwash that Insolence article is. That is the real pseudoscience.

  47. Kaye Lee


    Many people criticise the work of Gatti and Montenari, The research was paid for by the anti-vaxxers and their work has been discredited. It’s not that traces of things aren’t found in vaccines, it is that the concentration is so low it means nothing.

    Another view of the paper by the Italians which was only published in a dubious publication that charges people to publish their papers….

    Therein lies the most problematic issue with the data. The numbers are well below the level of biological activity, if these various chemicals even have biological activity (most don’t). For example, the authors found 1569 particles or precipitates in one drop of Cervarix (an anti-HPV vaccine). Sounds horrific right? Except that one drop of vaccine contains around 1.39 X 10^21 individual molecules. This so called contamination approximately 0.0000000000000000000719% of these so called contaminants.

    In that Cervarix sample, the researchers found aluminum hydroxide, one of those scary sounding compounds. Let’s say every one of those 1569 particles was aluminum hydroxide, it would mean that around 0.000000000001 ng of aluminum hydroxide in a vial of vaccine. That is simply biologically irrelevant. Even if the aluminum hydroxide was found, it’s level is so low, that the human body wouldn’t notice it. You breathe in more aluminum on a normal day than you would ever find in a vial of vaccine.

    Which leads me to another point. Where are the controls? What is the contamination in ultra pure water in a glass vial sealed with a cap? You’d probably find the same data if not worse, but I can only speculate because the researchers didn’t give me a comparison point, one of the basic standards for good scientific research.

    Another anti-vaccine article – bad journal, bad data

  48. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, Just a quick note further to yesterday’s discussion. I haven’t had the time or energy to follow all the links you suggested, but I did follow this one.
    Myth: No Studies Compare the Health of Unvaccinated and Vaccinated People

    This blogsite is run by a woman called Iida Ruishalme who is a cell biologist. Her blog is pretty suss (according to me). She tells us, for instance, that she used to be against nuclear power because of Chernobyl, but now she’s all for it (in spite of Fukushima). She also used to buy only organic vegetables, but she doesn’t anymore because now she knows that there’s just as much nutrition in veggies grown with chemicals. She sees no problem with monoculture. She thinks we have nothing to fear from glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-up, (and neither do bees, earthworms, water systems etc.). She believes that bees have nothing to fear from neonicotinoids, which are good because they are good for farming. As are GM crops, which reduce CO2 emissions.

    I do agree with you – It is really important that we be careful about our sources.

  49. Kaye Lee


    I absolutely agree that I wouldn’t just take that woman’s word for it but did you follow her links to the scientific reports that were published in credible journals?

    eg Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present – They estimate a total of 3 to 4 million deaths prevented in the US by vaccines.

    Ten Great Public Health Achievements—United States, 2001-2010

    …the current childhood immunization schedule prevents approximately 42,000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease, with net savings of nearly $14 billion in direct costs and $69 billion in total societal costs.

    Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents

    The lifetime prevalence of diseases preventable by vaccination was markedly higher in unvaccinated than in vaccinated subjects.

    Early-life determinants of asthma from birth to age 20 years: A German birth cohort study

    They concluded that the vaccinated have lower rates of asthma compared to non-vaccinated.

    The effect of vaccination on children’s physical and cognitive development in the Philippines

    …no effect of vaccination on later height or weight, but full childhood vaccination for measles, polio, Tuberculosis (TB), Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) significantly increases cognitive test scores relative to matched children who received no vaccinations. The size of the effect is large, raising test scores, on average, by about half an SD.

    Vaccinated versus unvaccinated children: how they fare in first five years of life.

    One child in the vaccinated group had a mild case of measles, whereas the stats for the unvaccinated children were as follows: 3 dead (from measles and tetanus) and 11 non-fatal cases of measles.

    There are plenty more references which proves the point that there have been many studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. It would be totally unethical to carry out formal clinical trials as it would require the control group to put their children’s lives at risk by not having them immunised (and consequently all the rest of us at risk by the loss of herd immunity). The stats show that one in a million people may have a severe reaction to vaccination which is why they make them wait 15 minutes after an injection and have adrenaline on hand. You put your child at far greater risk allowing them to play on playground equipment than you do having them immunised.

  50. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. No, I didn’t actually follow any of her vax stuff. By the time I got to it, I’d had enough of her, and didn’t feel that I’d be trusting any of her references, going on the ones I’d already seen. I did follow some of the earlier links, but they were all self-serving. When someone tries to tell me that GM is good because it saves CO2 emissions, and makes no reference to any other aspect of the case, I’ve lost all respect. It was her way of thinking that interested/frustrated me – I didn’t like the way she was able to rationalise just about anything.

    What has concerned me in this discussion has been the way people who are experiencing doubt about vaccinating their children are being bullied, harassed, guilt-tripped, belittled and so on. The blind faith in ‘science’ also concerns me. Which science? I noticed somewhere back in the thread that you were discounting some references because they were ‘anti-vax’ references published in doubtful publications. We can’t rely on these sorts of considerations, though, can we? After all, The Lancet is considered to be a reputable publication, and we know what happened to them. Grain of salt, I reckon. And I think it’s always relevant to ask, ‘Whom does this serve?’ In the end, though, when we follow any line of research, we have our own capacity to ask questions and to think logically about things. I don’t want to spend too much more time on this issue at the moment because there is so much going on in the world, and I seem to have so little time and even less energy to follow up on everything I would like to.

  51. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think anyone has been bullying. Some of us have assertively put the argument that this should not be a matter of choice because of the risk that poses to us all. I would not care where something was published if they linked to credible research – the anti-vaxx articles, without exception, do not.

    You ask ‘Whom does this serve?’ Andrew Wakefield, the guy whose autism paper started the false information, was paid by a law firm that intended to sue vaccine manufacturers. Not only that, he falsified data in a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link.

    “An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.

    According to BMJ, Wakefield received more than 435,000 pounds ($674,000) from the lawyers. Godlee said the study shows that of the 12 cases Wakefield examined in his paper, five showed developmental problems before receiving the MMR vaccine and three never had autism.

    “It’s always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science,” Godlee said. “But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues.”

  52. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, You really don’t need to go on and on about the Lancet article, It was a fraud. I’m not suggesting, and never have suggested, that it wasn’t. It is important, though, that we don’t make broad generalisations about ‘reputable’ and ‘disreputable’ publications. Clearly, the Lancet incident tells us that ‘reputable’ publications are vulnerable. What we do need to do is to look at the research itself – assumptions, parameters/limitations, and we need to ask, ‘Whom does it serve?’

    There has indeed been plenty of bullying etc., although not on this thread. (I did comment earlier on Keitha’s remarks – ‘Keitha, Your comment is just a bit too hysterical in tone for me to respond to it with any seriousness, Stuff like ‘ foolish uneducated claptrap’, ‘nonsense’, ‘Chinese whispers and spurious notions’ doesn’t really do it for me.’ Not exactly respectful of other people’s genuine concerns.

    I would like to look at the research, but rushing to Google and rushing through the links is not the way to go about it. So far, though, I can say that ‘ I would not care where something was published if they linked to credible research – the anti-vaxx articles, without exception, do not’ is a pretty big statement.

  53. Kaye Lee

    Yes it is a big statement that I stand by. If you can show me one piece of peer-reviewed research that shows that vaccines are bad I will stand corrected. I will point out that the Lancet printed a retraction (eventually) when the research was proven false, as any reputable journal would. I will also point out that the legal implications of covering up harmful side effects are enormous (though the tobacco industry tried it).

    The evidence of the benefits of vaccination is overwhelming and undeniable. The risks posed by non-vaccination make it a public health imperative.

    As with climate change, the science makes the denial argument untenable. It is incredibly frustrating that time and money is wasted opposing vaccination. Those research dollars could be spent on actually determining the etiology of autism and developing programs to assist kids and their parents, not to mention the huge cost and suffering from the diseases that we could eradicate.

    from helvityni’s link…

    “One in 10 parents believed that vaccines could cause autism, and a further 30 per cent were unsure — despite medical research showing no causal link.”

    We must stop this misinformation.

    PS I have to go on and on about the Wakefield report because there have been no other studies that have made similar findings. The whole myth stems from the hangover from that article.

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