Hello, Russell Broadbent here – Member for Monash.
We hear a lot about our nation’s need to improve productivity, and last week, the government received the final report of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.
In short, the Taskforce recommends a plan to address the nation’s financial and productivity woes by, and I quote, unleashing the full capacity and contribution of women to the Australian economy.
As if they’ve been slacking off all this time!
In short, there appears to be a push for women to give birth to breed more taxpayers, then shove the baby into childcare so they can return to full-time paid work …the only work that’s seems valued in our society.
My friend Barbara said she couldn’t be any more productive if she tried!
She said “I work five nights a week as an emergency nurse, visit mum who’s in aged care an hour away from home, and help my son’s family with the grand kids in the afternoon. I’m exhausted! Her eyes then welled up with tired tears…This isn’t the way life is meant to be!” she said.
The implicit assumption that we can squeeze more productivity out of women to help pay off our national debt is a short-sighted, short-term fix at best and a gross miscalculation of the value of unpaid, but essential work, the majority of which is performed by women!
What value do we put on parenting, volunteering and caring roles? Or rather what’s the cost of not putting a value on these roles?
Over the past four years, people have been pummelled like never before. You don’t have to look far to sense the deep pain and suffering of so many people …in fact there’s a palpable sense of despondency that I’ve never seen before.
As a nation we can do better – we mustdo better.
Maybe the 243 billion dollars raised from the stage 3 tax cuts could help boost Australia’s productivity instead of boosting the bank balance of people that don’t need it?
That’s justice, as I see it!
Hello, Russell Broadbent, Member for Monash
When the pandemic arrived on our shores in early 2020, we didn’t know what to expect.
But did you know that Australia had recently updated its Pandemic plan in August 2019?
So, in fact, we were well prepared. This plan was founded on 100 years of pandemic experience and tailored to the Australian context.
But what happened next, was not in that plan. Large-scale lock downs and school closures, mass vaccinations and masking, all these were not in the plan.
Our pandemic plan was effectively tossed in the bin!
Australia’s response seemed to copy other countries or was based on advice from the World Health Organisation – the WHO. However, many of the actions taken were not always in the best interests of Australia.
Do you think an international body is best placed to make decisions for Australia? I don’t.
But that’s exactly what’s being proposed as part of 307 International Health Regulation amendments which would see a future health emergency potentially controlled entirely by the WHO.
How is that best for Australia?
Yesterday I wrote to the Minister for Health expressing concern as to whether the amendments have been appropriately scrutinised by the government.
Since 2012, Australia has allocated over $212 million to the World Health Organisation. And recently Minister Penny Wong announced the Government would provide a further $100 million over the next five years!
Why are Australian taxpayers funding the World Health Organisation to take control of our emergency health response? Surely Australia is capable of doing this ourselves?
Our own national interest must guide all future health responses.
And that’s justice, as I see it.
On Wednesday 29th of November (2023) the Prime Minister issued a formal apology to the survivors of thalidomide and their families.
This apology is welcome news for those who have suffered terribly because of a man-made tragedy involving a drug made for morning sickness during pregnancy.
On the 29th of November 1961 thalidomide was removed from sale in Australia after being linked to in utero death and significant birth defects including children being born without limbs.
That’s over 60 years ago! This apology is long overdue.
In 2019 a Senate report found that if the federal government had acted more quickly when the alarm was first raised, up to 20 per cent of survivors may not have been affected at all.
The apology to the thalidomide survivors acknowledges the devastating effects of this drug and how the drug safety system had failed both parents and children.
For too long parliaments, governments and drug safety regulators let these people down while they suffered the consequences of this tragedy.
My heart goes out to those families and individuals affected by this failure, and I offer my heartfelt condolences for the suffering it caused.
This was a dark period in Australia’s history, and we must learn from it.
It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every, single, drug, approved for use on the Australian people is as safe and effective as it is claimed to be.
And that’s justice, as I see it.
I thank Dr Freelander for bringing this motion before the parliament and the Australian people. It's good to hear the expertise of the member for Higgins in the speech she just delivered to the House. The government must act to protect patient confidentiality and prevent genetic discrimination. Australia has a distinguished history of innovation in medicine—for example, the electronic pacemaker in 1926, ultrasound in 1961 and the multichannel cochlear implant in the 1970s, which my father's hearing benefited from. This innovative spirit is backed by our nation's global reputation for producing groundbreaking research. This reputation has been hard won over long decades through dedicated scientific inquiry, rigorous research and, above all, adherence to ethical principles.
In recent years we've seen increasing research in and accessibility to testing in the field of genetics. This field has the potential to help us take significant steps towards understanding the nature of genetically linked diseases—diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. In addition, this field has the potential to help us develop personalised prevention and treatment strategies, which would be a game changer for thousands of people across the world. Imagine for a moment, though, a patient who has had genetic testing done, whether it be for research or for personal preventative health measures, then being penalised by insurers for taking this step, through high premiums, lower insurance levels or not being able to access insurance at all. That becomes a deterrent to being tested.
Progress in the field of genetic medicine should not come at the cost of breaching the fundamental principles of privacy and confidentiality for individual patients. We must ask ourselves: are we truly committed to improving the health of this nation? If so, are we truly committed to protecting the rights of our citizens to privacy, confidentiality and the protection of their medical information? These are fundamental human rights. Australia's international human rights obligations demand that we do not discriminate on the basis of genetics. Article 6 of the UN's Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights requires a prohibition on discrimination based on genetic characteristics. Article 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities specifically refers to discrimination in the offer of life insurance. Meanwhile, Australia's Disability Discrimination Act 1992 prohibits discrimination based on genetic status. However, there is an exemption for insurers if an underwriting decision is based on reasonable data. How is that fair? How does that protect the confidentiality and freedom from discrimination of everyday Australians?
Australia is lagging behind our Commonwealth partners in numerous countries around the globe. Both Canada and the UK protect the genetic information of individuals more than we do and have taken significant steps to prohibit the use of genetic test results in life, income-protection, and critical-illness insurance. A review by the Geneva Association showed that 13 of the 20 listed countries protected the disclosure of genetic results to insurers in any circumstance. Australia is not part of that group. Who would have thought, in 2023, that Australia would lag behind the world on the protection of confidential patient information and the prevention of genetic discrimination? This nation needs to, first and foremost, protect the privacy of Australians, eliminate genetic discrimination and give people confidence to be tested so that they can participate in research and remove the barrier to Australia providing targeted health measures in future planning. The first action must be to remove the exemption of insurers in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Regardless, our Commonwealth, state and territory governments must work towards protecting the confidential genetic information and prohibiting genetic discrimination of the Australian people. I cannot make the case more clearly than I have today on behalf of the people of Australia. Big business may not like this, but I am still here about this nation's people.
Hello, I’m Russell Broadbent, member for Monash.
Today I’m continuing the series of stories about suspended doctors.
These doctors have been suspended from practice during the Covid years for so-called crimes including questioning the narrative, providing legitimate medical exemptions, and prescribing medications to treat covid.
Let me tell you about Dr Valerie.
Dr Valerie was suspended in November 2021 by AHPRA and the Medical Board under their immediate action powers.
The reason? Issuing Vaccine exemption certificates.
Dr Valerie tells me AHPRA alleged all of the exemptions were fraudulent and gave her only one day to submit her defence.
Medical files were demanded and, most shocking of all, her practice was raided by armed police!
One month after suspension, the medical board reviewed Dr Valerie’s case – in her absence.
They informed her the suspension stood, and that both AHPRA and the Medical Board considered she posed a serious threat to public health.
At a later hearing, Dr Valerie was told she was, and I quote, a ‘threat to trust in the medical profession.’
This is a doctor who has practiced for decades with no concerns whatsoever from the regulator or medical board.
Dr Valerie is still suspended and unable to work or support her patients.
What is going on?! This doesn’t sound like due process to me.
It’s alarming that members of the medical profession like Dr Valerie have been subject to such actions for simply writing vaccine exemptions.
Something is very wrong.
I have more stories to tell. In each case, the doctor has suffered tremendously through the suspension process.
These doctors tell me the process is the punishment, and many have given up hope of ever returning to practicing medicine again.
The voices of these doctors must be heard if we are to find out what is going on in our healthcare system.
And that’s justice as I see it.
Hello, Russell Broadbent here – your member for Monash.
Fire Rescue Victoria is the last firefighting agency in Australia enforcing Covid vaccine mandates.
On 20 October 2023 the Commonwealth government conceded the Covid-19 emergency response is over.
Meanwhile, there are still 30 mandated professional fire-fighters who’ve been locked out of their stations for more than two years because they refused to take an experimental vaccine.
This is senseless, it’s illogical and it’s inhumane.
But here’s the clincher. Fire Rescue Victoria’s own risk assessment acknowledges the risk of Covid-19 vaccination side effects - including myocarditis, pericarditis and thrombocytopenia - may lead to severe injury or even death.
So, the FRV is responding to an emergency that is officially over, by mandating an injection that doesn’t stop the virus, while acknowledging the injection itself may harm or even kill the recipient. If this risk assessment doesn’t vindicate the stance taken by these firies, what does?
FRV produced this Risk Assessment in May 2023, yet it took an FOI request for these FRV firies to get a copy.
This risk assessment 100% vindicates the firies who are still being threatened & punished for speaking out against the mandates. But it’s also a chilling admission for the colleagues who took the vaccine – especially those who are now on Workcover after suffering severe injuries following the jab.
This is a blight on our nation – it’s unjust and an absolute disgrace.
That’s just as I see it.
Hello. Russell Broadbent here, Member for Monash.
I was recently contacted by a number of medical doctors who have been suspended from practice or had their employment terminated during the covid years.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d expect that if a doctor was side-lined from employment, then it would be for something extremely serious which threatened their ability to provide safe medical care.
But as I’ve listened to these stories, I’ve become increasingly alarmed.
The reasons given for suspension or termination seem incredibly unjust.
Not only that - many of these cases have gone on for months and months, even years, with no resolution.
This terrible situation is impacting our healthcare system and medical profession.
Let me tell you about Beverley, an anaesthetist with over 40 years’ experience.
Beverley was bullied and harassed for months to take the Covid injections despite having a valid exemption.
She was also subject to an internal Human Resources investigation (which she won!) and multiple attempts to reveal her vaccination history.
When the mandates came into effect in October 2021, Beverley was forbidden from entering her workplace.
In December 2022, after her exemption expired, Beverley’s employment was terminated.
Beverley has worked in both private and public hospitals all her life, and says the reason given for the termination of her employment was ‘serious misconduct’ for not sharing her vaccination history.
You would think that after four decades of loyal service to healthcare, her employer would reach out.
But Beverley says at no point was she invited to meet face to face with hospital administration.
Despite efforts to reach out to her former employer requesting a reversal of the decision, Beverley has heard nothing and remains unemployed.
I am appalled and distressed by this story, and others like them, and wonder what this means for the future of our healthcare system.
Is this any way to treat our medical profession? We need to have all hands on deck as our hospitals struggle to care for the sick.
This is no time for side-lining valuable doctors.
And that’s justice, as I see it.
Hello, Russell Broadbent here - member for Monash.
The government’s suggestion of a new Biosecurity Protection Levy is a 'cash-grab on already struggling rural communities'.
This levy may appease people in the cities who can afford such luxury beliefs, but it will be at the expense of regional Australia.
In our regional electorate, we’re blessed with some of the most beautiful and fruitful agricultural land in our nation.
We have honest, hard-working farmers who continue to work day in and day out regardless of the circumstances…whether that’s attracting labour, managing debt and price fluctuations or simply responding to ever-changing uncertainties.
That’s why I honour our farmers and appreciate the essential value they make in our electorate, and our nation.
But it seems that government agencies have absolutely no idea about the life of our farmers and what working off the land looks like.
In short, this levy will 'bite the hand that feeds us'.
We must help farmers where we can and stand with the National Farmers Federation to oppose this poorly conceived policy idea now.
The Biosecurity Protection Levy needs to be re-considered.
It needs transparency and it needs to place the burden with those that create the risk - that way it doesn't have to be at the expense of our local farmers.
And that's Justice As I See It.
In speaking on this grave motion, I'd like firstly to identify with every word the member for Gellibrand said. I thank him for the way he represented his community and the people of Australia in the address he's just given to the parliament.
There are no words to describe the horror that Australian people felt on hearing the news of the Hamas attack on the people of Israel. A terrorist organisation was sent to kill as many people as possible, with absolutely no care for age, for frailty or for youth. It's an attack that seems, in Australia, incomprehensible to us as a nation. I saw how it affected my own family and community—how distressed they were. I know they would have all gone and projected themselves into the situation in that kibbutz where people went to bed the night before and woke up to gunshots at their front doors and in their homes. We saw the killing of innocent people, young people in their absolute prime at a youth get-together for people who wanted to dance and sing. Each one of us thinks of our own grandchildren, friends and family. That could have been us. Who knows where the next attack will come from?
But there are two perpetrators of the pain and death that's happening in the Middle East at this time. Hamas have not only attacked Israel in such a heinous way but, worse than that, have purposefully attacked the Palestinian people. They use children in kindergartens as their shelter. They use sick people in hospitals as their shelter, knowing that the leadership of Hamas will not be attacked if they use that cover. Hezbollah are the same.
I have been to Israel on two occasions at behest of the government of the day, so it was incomprehensible to me that there could be a break in the defences as there were. That's because I know the ability of the Israelis to protect their borders. I've been to their borders and I've stood there and seen firsthand when they point out where Hezbollah and Hamas are. Using the Palestinian people in this way, virtually as human sacrifices for their bent and twisted cause, confronts us in this country, where we're so used to freedom of movement and freedom of activity—freedom of everything. It's not possible that anything like that could happen; but it has, and I think the response of this federal government has been totally appropriate.
As the member for Gellibrand said, people are dancing on the graves of those poor people who have fallen. Our sympathy goes out to them and to those who have been kidnapped or injured. Can we possibly put ourselves in the place of how they feel, where an Israeli father says to the world, 'I'd rather my daughter be dead than kidnapped?' He said, 'Yes, she's dead', and he went on to explain how horrific Hamas can be with hostages. They're holding those hostages, and we've seen a Hamas fighter standing there with toddlers in his arms. That brought tears to the eyes of many around me.
I stand with Israel, as this nation does. I stand, especially, knowing that there are Palestinians even in this country who wish for the end of the state of Israel. That is not going to happen. They have every right to respond to protect their border and to protect their people, and that's what they will do with all the force needed. But the tragedy of that is that Hamas will use thousands and thousands and thousands of Palestinians who will be sacrificed for their aims, without any care whatsoever of their health, wellbeing or safety.
This is happening right now as we speak. As we speak, the Israelis are prepared to go into the Gaza Strip, probably one of the most heavily populated areas in the world, with few opportunities for those people to escape from the Israeli incursion. None of us can understand what we would be doing, what decisions we would be making now if we were in the shoes of those in Israel and in Palestine. How would our heartache and consideration be if it was one of us? How would you think and feel if it was your wife, your father? A friend said over dinner on Friday, 'Two of my cousins have been called up by the Israeli army, and they have easily gone.' The way he said it was, 'My family is about to sacrifice these two young men to the cause.'
The Israelis have put together more than 300,000 men and women, reservists called in. As we stand, Australia will do its best, and, I believe, the government will do its best to support wherever we need to support, whatever we can do. There will be humanitarian aid from this country for the peoples of Israel and the peoples of Palestine. But let me say: we will fight with every breath and every energy we have against antisemitism and Islamophobia, because this nation is better than those demonstrations we saw last week in Sydney. We're better than that, and Australians will always stand up for the right—the right for people to speak out, yes, and the right to be heard in that freedom.
Hello. Russell Broadbent here, Member for Monash.
Apparently, Australia’s GDP suffered a cumulative loss of around $158bn because of the Covid pandemic.
But what about the cost of human suffering and trauma that so many Australians endured?
Highly respected Human Rights Commissioner, Lorraine Finlay, recently said “the true cost of the Covid-19 pandemic is almost impossible to measure and the broader human cost of the pandemic, such as families being separated by border closures and lockdowns, Australians being unable to return home from overseas, and schools being closed was substantial”.
Even now, professional Victorian firefighters are still not allowed back to work if they’re not jabbed.
The human cost of decisions made by all levels of government continues to mount and we’ll be paying the price for decades.
But let me be clear, it’s the inhumane decisions made by state and territory governments that traumatised families and violated their human rights.
The stress and pressure put on parents with young children was unbearable. It was cruel and unnecessary:
When have we ever subjected children to vaccination for anything other than their own protection?
I’ll never forget the gut-wrenching stories of Nicole, a young birthing mum who was forced to wear a mask during labour. And young couple, Moe and Sarah, who were prevented from seeing their newborn baby for a week after his emergency birth, even though they tested negative for COVID-19 and were fully vaccinated!
It’s barbaric decisions like these which states and territories must be held to account for.
I agree with Ms Finlay’s assertion that “a royal commission should be the preferred option,” but for me, it’s the only option if we are to heal and understand why the human rights of Australians were so quickly and easily abandoned.
Today I want to tell you a true story a GP recently told me. A married couple, parents of young children, both highly skilled professionals with decades of training in the healthcare field. Both were mandated to receive the Covid injections.
Faced with the choice: ‘Jab or your Job,’ this couple knew one of them would have to ‘comply’ to put food on the table for their family.
Two years later, the one who was jabbed has suffered a heart attack, and chronic heart troubles, while the other is still mandated out of their job.
There are thousands of stories just like this around our country.
In 2020, our nation faced the looming threat of a pandemic. People were told ‘we’re all in this together’ and trusted the leadership as we prepared for the unknown.
We are three years down the track and there’s a lot more we now know.
We know that by mid 2020 public health experts calculated the infection fatality rate in the general community as 0.2 per cent, with the elderly most at risk.
We know the lockdowns did little to stop the spread of Covid and were associated with enormous costs for the population in terms health, education, finances and social wellbeing.
We know the mRNA vaccines did not stop transmission.
We know there were no cancer, immune, or gene toxicity studies done on humans before these vaccines were provisionally approved. In fact, Greg Hunt admitted we were “engaged in the largest global vaccination trial ever.”
The TGA’s safety system contains almost 140,000 reported adverse events and 997 deaths. And the Western Australian vaccine safety report shows a massive increase in adverse events - almost 24 times the rate for all other vaccines combined.
Meanwhile, the TGA says ‘it is not possible to meaningfully use the data to calculate the true incidence of adverse events.’
I’m wondering why, after more than 2 years of Covid injections, the true incidence of adverse events is still unknown? I would think it’s time the TGA sat down and did some sums. The Australian people deserve answers to these questions.
Hello. Russell Broadbent here, Member for Monash.
My office has been receiving many calls from constituents across the electorate about their surging power prices.
Some are turning off their heaters in the middle of winter just to get by. In a nation as lucky as ours, this is alarming to hear.
And with the Victorian Government’s recent announcement to ban gas in new homes from 2024, things are starting to look dire. The Government can’t keep their head in the sand about our energy crisis.
We need to be having open discussions about where we are heading in terms of power production. And looking into the prospect of nuclear energy is a discussion well worth having.
It is illogical for the government to set impossible net zero targets with no reasonable game plan. It is illogical to cut coal and gas without a viable replacement.
Sure, there’s wind farms and solar panels, but as Judith Sloan puts it, ‘destroying the environment to save the environment doesn’t really make any sense.’ Seems a logical statement to me.
At the end of the day, everyone deserves to be warm in winter. And nuclear power might just be our ticket to hitting net zero and combatting the surging power prices that are crippling our nation.
That’s justice as I see it.