Category Archives: local news

Irish Gardasil girl sues Merck and the state

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It is not surprising and indeed it is heartening to hear that a young woman from Ireland is suing Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE), the health minister, the education minister, the attorney-general and the state.

The woman who became ill after her Gardasil vaccination joins many other groups of women who are now suing the manufacturer of Gardasil and the state. There are six other cases over Gardasil before the Irish courts. A class action against the manufacturers of Gardasil began on August 4, 2017 on behalf of 700 Columbian women who in March 2014 were admitted to the hospital suffering new medical conditions following their HPV vaccination. And in Japan twenty-eight girls and women suffering side effects from cervical cancer vaccines that were recommended by the government are demanding compensation from the state.

In Australia to date there are over 4000 adverse events and one death from Gardasil reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. We really need to ask what the TGA is doing about this situation? What will it take for our health watchdog to take action?

As the Australian school year begins it’s time to think about vaccines, especially if you are a parent of a young teenager. From this year, Gardasil 9, the latest human papilloma virus vaccine will be given to all Australian 12 and 13-year-old students. But what do you know about this vaccine? Before you sign the consent form which in no way informs you or your child, please do some research and then decide what is right for your situation.

Gardasil 9 was approved for use in Australia by the TGA last year and is said to be protective against nine HPV types: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. This new vaccine supersedes the quadrivalent HPV vaccine – Gardasil, which has been given to girls and women since 2007 and to teenage boys from 2013.  For more on the possible adverse effects of this vaccine please read my article What parents should know about Gardasil 9 

And as you research this vaccine be ever mindful that there is no need for Gardasil 9. According to the VAERS reporting system this new HPV vaccine is already responsible for over 7000 adverse events. There is no need for Gardasil either, a very sore point for the women, girls and boys who have become so very ill after HPV vaccination that they cannot go to school or even look after themselves.

The reason this vaccine was hyped, developed and marketed was it was supposed to be a vaccine that would prevent cervical cancer. But there is no epidemic of this disease in western nations such as Australia. Cervical cancer is detected by Pap smears and to date this vaccine has not prevented a single case of the disease. As of this month there have been over 83,000 adverse effects after Gardasil vaccination recorded on the World Health Organisation’s website. These severe adverse effects are increasing; there is no letting up on the damage being done in the wake of this unnecessary vaccine. In June 2017 the amount of severe adverse events recorded on this WHO website was 73000. One has to seriously wonder why these vaccines are not stopped. What is the use of collating this long list of adverse events if there is to be no action.

When will we see a class action take place in Australia? Many girls still do not know where or how to report their vaccine damage. Here is the link where you can report your reaction. Of course many girls and their families do not even connect the vaccination with their newly developed disease so there is certain to be more damage which is not being recorded to the TGA.

What will it take to reverse this harmful and unnecessary vaccination program. Gardasil 9 is now part of the school vaccination program offered freely to all teenagers. We have to continue to spread the word about these HPV vaccines.

One thing is certain we are sure to see more court action as the injuries escalate.

 

 

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Why stop at poppies!

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It was common at the start of the 20th century to speak of ‘ Australian Ideals’. What are our values and ideals today? Perhaps those who so generously supported the 5000 Poppy campaign could use their goodwill to help Australia progress rather than feed its militaristic tendencies. And rather than answer the call to knit or crochet a poppy perhaps these resources could be spent on the many social problems of our time. Why stop at poppies! Continue reading

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Raw milk madness!

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The Herald Sun has reported that a three-year-old Mornington Peninsula child has died and four other young children have become seriously ill in recent weeks after drinking unpasteurised milk  sold in Victoria. The reports of this death and injuries were accompanied by screaming headlines in both large font and capital letters KILLER MILK, and the next day Cosmetic milk controversy: State in grip of toxic milk madness.

Let’s put this death into perspective. Was it the consumption of the raw milk that caused the child’s death? Was this a healthy child or was the child already unwell? Where are the mainstream stories that question this assertion?

Raw milk is sold in health food shops across the country as bath milk for cosmetic purposes although everyone knows that it’s really being bought to be consumed, not bathed in. The Herald Sun found the raw milk in health stores in Malvern, Carlton, Fitzroy, Balaclava, Thornbury, Elsternwick, Albert Park, Box Hill and Belgrave. As to the benefits of drinking raw milk: A new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has found that raw milk can actually help prevent colds, viruses and respiratory tract infections from forming in kids, as opposed to commercially processed milk which provides little or no health benefits.

The reporting of this story is a great example of over reacting, a classic case of media sensationalism done in the pathetic endeavour to sell more copy. And there are major ramifications: Already there are calls to ban the sale of raw milk. Even the Federal Government has weighed in and is saying it’ll crack down on the ‘killer’ bath milk and Daniel Andrews, the new Premier of Victoria says he’s not satisfied with the regulations surrounding the sale of raw milk.

Fortunately large numbers of raw milk drinkers have contacted the Herald Sun saying that they will continue to drink it because they believe that raw milk is healthier. And it is! Raw milk is unpasteurised milk straight from the organically pasture fed cow. Raw milk contains the delicate enzymes and essential bacteria which are destroyed with pasteurisation. It is the lack of these natural enzymes in pasteurised milk which makes it indigestible for many people.

For thousands of years, raw milk nourished and produced generations of strong, healthy humans. But now it’s illegal to sell nature’s real milk, the raw product and that is why raw milk  is being sold under pseudonyms such as Aphrodite’s bath milk or Cosmetic milk and found in health food stores  all over the country.

The story of why raw milk became illegal has its origins in the early years of the 19th century in USA which saw a rapid growth in the population with immigrants making their way to the cities. These new arrivals wished to access milk but with the cities a long way from the farms and lacking the transport and refrigeration this was no easy task. So they made do with the milk that was produced in the cities – a far from healthy product. Around this time the whisky industry was booming and the waste product of the distillery was swill or slop which was fed to cows that were conveniently housed next to the whisky distilleries. This waste product of the distilleries was obviously not a food that cows generally ate but it made the cows produce a lot of milk. These cows were sick, crowded, dirty, poorly nourished and forced to spend their short lives chained in one place, handled and milked by, often, very unwell people who poured the milk into dirty containers and sold it to the unsuspecting public. Very soon and not surprisingly the death rates of infants and children soared and it was generally recognised that there was a “milk problem”.

At this time microbiology was in its infancy. The belief in this new science which recognised germs and microbes as the cause of all illness, led to the call for pasteurisation, or heating, of milk to make it free of any potentially harmful bacteria, regardless of how it changed the quality of the milk. As the media and governmental spin continued, dairies found it easier to go with pasteurisation than to clean up their acts.

The mainstream media are once again negligent in their reporting of this young death and the alleged link to raw milk. Was this child healthy? Did he die from the consumption of raw milk? According to the vendors of raw milk in the municipality of Darebin there is no evidence that the very unwell child who died, died as a direct result of raw (bath) milk consumption.The milk that was tested found a toxin, not a bacteria. This toxin can be found in lots of other places.

Our food is increasingly processed and devoid of essential minerals and trace elements – goodness really. Pasteurisation of milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

A ban on raw milk is a knee- jerk reaction to media hype and shouldn’t take place!

 

 

 

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In search of cerebral content

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What happened to the opinion page? Remember The Age  when it was a broadsheet and there were three or more opinion pieces in the middle pages that bordered the letters to the editor. These were lengthy pieces of analysis  on topics relating to current public debate. Usually 800-1000 words of worthy content  engaging the reader and leading to enjoyable swapping of ideas and information among family and friends later in the day. Of course there are still opinion pieces  in The Age but these are poor replacements, and badly positioned so as not to be  easily seen and rarely read.

And as for ABC radio: Jonathan Holmes former host on ABC TV’s ‘Media Watch’ and now a columnist at The Age recently wrote about content in this digital era lamenting the fact that on Radio National, long-form, specialist journalism is being down-sized in favour of the radio equivalent of fast food. This is sad for those of us who like to read and listen to programs that make us think and not just designed to dumb us down.

Article%20Lead%20-%20narrow6376523111ysdvimage_related_articleLeadNarrow_353x0_11ypkf_png1417557002488_jpg-300x0And it’s not just radio, TV and newsprint that are changing for the worse, it’s the cinema too. Reflecting on her 28 years presenting ‘The Movie Show’, retiring presenter Margaret Pomeranz says: the big change has been how much money has come to dominate the industry, with studios bankrolling sequels but not taking risks on smaller films.

And then there’s the publishing industry – same problem, different product. This time it’s books and the wonderful ideas within that are at risk from technology giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple .

The blurb for  Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing written by Susan Hawthorne reads:  In a globalised world, megacorp publishing is all about numbers, about sameness, about following a formula based on the latest megasuccess. Each book is expected to pay for itself and all the externalities of publishing such as offices and CEO salaries. It means that books which take off slowly but have long lives, the books that change social 269norms, are less likely to be published.

Independent publishers such as Susan Hawthorne of Spinifex Press are seeking another way. A way of engagement with society and methods that reflect something important about the locale or the niche they inhabit. In  Bibliodiversity Hawthorne writes that Independent and small publishers are like rare plants that pop up among the larger growth but add something different, perhaps they feed the soil, bring colour or scent into the world.

We need to cherish our remaining newspapers, our beleaguered ABC , and nurture our book and movie industries from which we gain so much.  And in the words of author P.D James who died last week: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

And hang on to the dwindling hope that good content sees the light of day in a world where money, not thought, rules.

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Baby Gammy forces us to face some ugly truths about surrogacy

Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 8.28.24 PMGammy is six-months old, and one of the twins born to Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua. The 21 year-old mother of two was struggling to pay debts last year when she was offered the equivalent of $11,700 to be a surrogate for a Western Australian couple. When the intended parents learned that one of the twins she was carrying had Down syndrome they rejected him.

Ms Pattaramon has never met Gammy’s Australian parents, and their identities remain unknown. After the birth of the twins, the surrogacy agents removed the girl baby leaving Gammy behind with his Thai surrogate who has now issued a warning to other Thai women not to get into the business of surrogacy. “Don’t just think only for money … if something goes wrong no one will help us and the baby will be abandoned from society, then we have to take responsibility for that.”

Australia’s Prime Minister,Tony Abbott described the case as an “incredibly sad story”. He said: “I guess it illustrates some of the pitfalls involved in this particular [surrogacy] business.” Indeed it does, Prime Minister! The story has shocked the public who have responded so generously donating much-needed funds for the medical treatment of the child who has a congenital heart condition.

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Kajsa Ekis Ekman is no stranger to the pitfalls involved in the surrogacy industry. Ekman is the author of Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self in which she provides an analysis of prostitution and surrogacy that shatters the great wall of lies about these two institutions. The growing surrogacy industry requires that the ‘happy breeder’ sees herself as ‘a generous and self-sacrificing Madonna figure’, that parting with the child is unproblematic, and that the reward comes when the relinquishing surrogate sees the ‘smiles on the intended parents’ faces.

The idea that giving up the child who lived, grew, and moved inside you for nine months is easy, is untrue and strongly repudiated by Pattaramon Chanbua: “I chose to have him, not to hurt him. I love him. He was in my tummy for nine months, it’s like my child. I treat him like my other children, never think you are not my child and I don’t care for you, never.”

Ekman reminds us of the woman who gave surrogacy a face in the USA. In 1980 Elizabeth Kane became the USA’s first legal surrogate who declared she wasn’t doing it for the money but to help a childless couple. Kane was the surrogacy agency’s ‘perfect poster woman’ who said that she was not at all troubled by giving up the child. ” The joy I had received from seeing him in their arms would last a lifetime,” she said. However after the excitement of the pregnancy and the birth came the waning attention, and Kane became depressed. Kane explained her experience as a ‘terrible mistake’: “I now believe that surrogate motherhood is nothing more than the transference of pain from one woman to another. One woman is in anguish because she cannot become a mother, and another woman may suffer for the rest of her life because she cannot know the child she bore for someone else.” Kane later founded the National Coalition Against Surrogacy.

Pattaramon Chanbua has come to know and love the child she bore for the unknown western couple and appears to have family support to help her care for the baby. But I wonder how the Western Australian couple are coping with their decision to reject the child who wasn’t perfect. I’m sure they will be rather devastated in due time. Surrogacy has few winners.

Ekis Ekman will be in Australia later this month for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House where she will present Surrogacy is Child Trafficking. In India alone, this industry is valued at over US$450 million per year and whereas the sex industry is increasingly targeted by legislators as exploitation, the surrogacy industry retains a rosy image. I am confident that Ekman will do her best to stimulate discussion of this industry that is so emotionally charged and about which it’s difficult to critique in a society which increasingly believes that everyone has a ‘right’ to a child and must have their own.

Melburnians will have a chance to catch up with Kajsa Ekis Ekman when she Screen shot 2014-08-02 at 8.21.36 PMlectures at RMIT on September 3. Being and Being Bought is published by Spinifex Press.

 

 

 

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Every woman needs a safe home every night

 How do we stop violence against women? 
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This was the topic of a public meeting that I attended last week. 
The speakers were Trish O’Donohue, the CEO of Women’s Information, Support and Housing in the North, Phil Cleary, the  former independent federal MP & anti-violence campaigner, and Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councillor for Moreland. Continue reading

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From empowerment to Women’s Liberation


The tragic rape and senseless murder of Brunswick woman Jillian Meagher  reminds us that women are still  not free from male violence.   Continue reading

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Is the future hyperlocal?

I  look forward to the delivery of my daily newspaper. The thud as the bundle of pages strikes the driveway or lands in the bushes  signals the dawning of a new day. But sadly this comfort will soon be gone. But does this really matter?

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