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Archive for May, 2010

Flu vaccines – nothing to sneeze about | SEMINAR IN PERTH, JUNE 1st

Posted on the Australian Vaccination Network:

In Australia, childhood vaccines are not compulsory nor can parents lose any government entitlements if they choose not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively. Many parents feel great pressure and fear around this issue however and would like more information about what their choices are in relation to keeping their families healthy. To learn more about the actual risks of both diseases and the vaccines intended to prevent them, come along to this informative evening sponsored by the AVN.

Should Australian children be immunized for Influenza – what are the risks? In Australia, the influenza vaccine has been promoted free to persons 65 years and older for nearly ten years. In 2008 the Western Australian Government promoted the influenza vaccine free to children from 6 months of age to 5 years. The government encouraged parents to vaccinate their children. This talk examines the risk of flu to children, the effectiveness of the vaccine and the additional risks to children’s health of adding another vaccine to the childhood schedule. A schedule which now includes 12 vaccines before 12 months of age.
Judy Wilyman – PhD Researcher Murdoch University.

To date, more than 300 serious reactions to the current seasonal flu shot have been reported in children under the age of 5 with one child known to have died within hours of being vaccinated. All the indications are that this figure grossly underestimates the actual number of reactions. In her talk, Meryl Dorey will discuss how vaccines are intended to work and why it is that they often don’t. She will talk about the known side effects of childhood and adult shots and reveal that according to the Australian government, as few as 1% of vaccine reactions ever get reported, leading to a belief that they are perfectly safe.

This seminar is for anyone who is concerned about their child’s health. If you have heard about the recent upsurge in childhood allergies, asthma, eczema, autism and behavioural problems and want to know how vaccines are associated with these conditions in the medical literature, please come along.

Meryl Dorey – Media Spokesperson for the Australian Vaccination Network and Editor of Living Wisdom magazine.

Date:     Tuesday, June 1st 2010
Venue: Alexander Library, Perth Cultural Centre, 25 Francis St. Perth
Time:   6:30pm for a 7:00pm start
Cost:     $10.00 per person / $15.00 for two

click here to purchase tickets

WeAreChange Western Australia has no affliation with the Australian Vaccination Network or its members.
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Senator Ludlam: “The time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.”

This article originally posted at Stop the Filter.org.
By Andrew Middleton, House of Representatives Petition Coordinator

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (pictured, image credit: David Howe) has given a conclusive rebuttal to comments made by the Labor Government’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the Four Corners documentary, Access Denied, aired on the 10th of May, 2010. The documentary, still viewable online at ABC iView, reveals how an apparently well meaning attempt by [the Australian] government to protect children from video nasties on the net turned into a policy that critics say promotes censorship and reduces personal freedom.

During the documentary, the Communications Minister has the following pledge to the Australian public:

“If a majority of the Parliament in the future want to broaden the classification – meaning of material caught by the filter – well then, Australians should stand up and say ‘just a minute’, and I’ll be one of them.”

To which Senator Ludlam quoted and responded to, just two days later in the Senate:

“Of course, by that time it will be too late. That is the future of this filter: a majority of a future parliament, probably under pressure of some kind of moral panic-whatever that may be-broadening the filter to include a larger scope of banned material and Stephen Conroy standing there in the minority, saying, ‘Just a minute,’ shortly before losing the vote. Once the architecture is in place, the idea that future governments will not be tempted to expand its scope is impossible to entertain. The reasons are technical, as well as political.”

(Senator Ludlam’s full statement in the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film)

This is an important distinction made by Senator Ludlam in why he opposes the mandatory ISP filtering plan, and it’s one that all reading this should consider carefully. Later in the Parliamentary statement, the Senator had this important message relating to Mr. Conroy’s pledge, which is worth emphasising:

“In terms of the minister’s comments about people standing up and saying no if future governments proposed to increase the scope, and saying that that would be the time for Australians to stand up: the time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.

Scott Ludlam has good authority to speak as an Australian standing up on the issue of the Labor Govnerment’s mandatory web filtering proposal, having attended and spoke at both the December 2008 and March 2010 rallys held in Perth which were aimed at informing the public and expressing opposition to the proposal. Scott also regularly asks questions and makes statements in Parliamentary Question Time and Senate Hearing about the matter, along with making public statements on his blog and taking media interviews, as he happened to yesterday on the ABC’s Triple J program Hack.

Scott’s message to Australians in his May 12 Senate statement pre-empted the May 22nd National Day of Action, which occured in 3 locations around Australia on both sides of the continent. The campaign for these Days of Action were driven by the official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives, which now has around 6500-7000 signatures penned in total with 4400 already received by Principal Petitioner Melissa Short. It will be presented to the House of Representatives and put on the public Hansard record on the 21st of June, 2010 with the  Australian Petitions Committee accepting signatures no later than the 11th of June, 2010. With this recent extended submission deadline, the decision has been made to ask concerned and active Australians to continue gathering signatures, and for them to be mailed to Melissa no later than Tuesday, the 8th of June. The earlier sent the better, so they can be checked & counted before submission.

Review of the May 22nd Day of Action

BRISBANE

The Brisbane Day of Action was the most successful from the day in terms of petition signatures, with a massive 461 signatures acquired in just 3 hours. The Sunshine State delivered a beautiful day for Mel Short, Matt Anderson, Tim Hunt, Gregor, Ben, Eris, Fritz, Shonika, & Warrick to setup tables, petitions, and paraphenalia at Central Station, Brisbane, and ask the public passing by if they’re aware of the Government’s proposal, and if they’d like to sign the petition. The last person mentioned in that list, Warrick Fraser, edited the following video from the Day of Action in Brisbane and many thanks to him for doing so:

Warrick was also good enough to take some photos on the day too. Here he is on the video camera:

Table setup with petitions and information sheets:

Josh Meney’s “Censor This!” poster displayed:

A big thanks must also go to Matt Anderson for funding the printed poster and the table, and generally putting in a big effort in organising and promoting the Event.

MELBOURNE

In Federation Square, Melbourne, a fascinating piece of street theatre was carried out by Nicolas Wheeler:

Nicolas was shortly asked to move on by the Victorian State police and did so, but this photograph is testament to a statement made about the inevitable possibility of legal freedoms being reduced under the mandatory ISP filter. There is video footage of the moving on of the display and attempted interview with Nic by media crew below. Afterwards, Nicolas was joined by other activists to gain petition signatures, and in all nearly 200 were gathered. A super effort and many thanks, Nick and co.!

PERTH

Despite the inclement weather overnight leading into the Saturday, Petition Coordinator Andrew Middleton, Julian, and Daniel Kruppa still managed to find a couple of hours in the afternoon to campaign for petition signatures out the front of Fremantle Town Hall. 37 signatures were garnered from the sparse Fremantle crowd, with many viabrant conversations being had with people from all walks of life. Those who were aware of the issue, had a good understanding of the problems associated with the proposed mandatory ISP filtering plan which was pleasing. In particular, an exchange with an English tourist, who despite not caring what happened in this country, was eventually turned around to signing the petition after agreeing with us that what occurs in our political landscape is highly likely to effect England’s political landscape, and vice-versa.

Next two Saturday’s complete Trifecta of Days of Action

In keeping with Scott Ludlam’s urgings for Australians to stand up, locations this Saturday and next Saturday (May 29th, June 5th) around Australia will again have grassroots activists present with petitions in hand, and the more people & signatures the better. So if you’re interested in just coming down and signing the petition, joining a posted location below and help get more signatures, or starting an Action in your local area that you’d like promoting on this website and/or on social networking sites, please take note of the location details posted below and get in contact with the following organisers!

PRINCIPAL PETITIONER & BRISBANE ORGANISER:
Melissa Short

SEE PETITION CAMPAIGNING IN BRISBANE ON THE 6TH OF JUNE, IN THIS SHORT VIDEO:

Meetup.com Calander page:
http://www.meetup.com/WeAreChangeBrisbane/calendar/13669591/

ARTICLE AUTHOR, PETITION COORDINATOR & PERTH ORGANISER:
Andrew Middleton, wearechangewa@hotmail.com

Where: Outside the entrance to the Alexander Library, Perth Cultural Center (25 Francis Street, Perth)
When: Saturday, June 5, 11:30am – 2pm
Bring: Copies of the 14-box petition, available here. A clipboard and a pen (black or blue)

Facebook Event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125091344181741

Posted links on this article: (in order of appearance)

  1. 10 May 2010: Access Denied, ABC "Four Corners" documentary still viewable online at ABC iView
  2. 12 May 2010: Senator Ludlam's full statement to the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film
  3. December 2008 and March 2010 Perth rallys against internet censorship
  4. 3 May 2010: Senate answers shed some more light on filter, Electronic Frontiers Australia
  5. 26 May 2010: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Net Filtering, Senator Scott Ludlam
  6. 25 May 2010: Senator Ludlam interview on the Hack program, ABC Radio
  7. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives homepage
  8. 22 May 2010: Video footage of Brisbane's Day of Action
  9. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives printout
  10. April 2010: "Censor This!" poster produced by Josh Meney
  11. 22 May 2010, Federation Square Melbourne: Internet Censorship Strangles Freedom video
  12. 6 June 2010: Anti-Internet Censorship Petition Campaigning Video - Fortitude Valley Mall, Brisbane
  13. 30 May 2010: Meetup.com calander post for Brisbane's Day of Action this Saturday Sunday
  14. 5 June 2010: Facebook Event page for Perth's Day of Action this Saturday.
The personal views, beliefs and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of “Stop the Filter” or “WeAreChange Western Australia” as a whole.

Australian Anti-Internet Censorship Campaign Update

By Andrew Middleton (contact: wearechangewa@hotmail.com)
6th May, 2010

We start the update on the Australian anti-internet censorship campaign – mobilised due to the Labor Government’s proposed mandatory ISP filtering plan (see WeAreChange WA’s previous article on the matter) – with the above poster designed by Josh Meney, an Australian activist who put his artwork onto the web in the past fortnight free to publish. Thanks to Josh for pouring his creative energies into this striking and provocative poster. It joins a now burgeoning amount of fantastic artistic pieces that have been created about this issue.

Certainly those of us who wish to see the content on the Internet remain free from Government control for the Australian public – both now and in years to come – will need to continue to pour energy into this campaign as despite some speculation, the proposed mandatory ISP filter is still planned to go ahead by the current Labor Government and still has strong support from a small but influential assortment of political parties, ministers, and interest groups. An article in The Australian on the 29th of April titled, “Rudd retreats on web filter legislation,” states:

“KEVIN Rudd has put another election promise on the backburner with his controversial internet filtering legislation set to be shelved until after the next election. A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said yesterday the legislation would not be introduced next month’s or the June sittings of parliament. With parliament not sitting again until the last week of August, the laws are unlikely to be passed before the election.”

However, Prime Minister Rudd responded to the article by stating he had “no advice to that effect.” He later said when questioned if the legislation would be introduced this year: “Look, can I ask that you put that to the relevant minister. I don’t have any other advice to what I put to you earlier.” (source: ZDNet.com.au) ZDNet Australia had already that morning questioned the office of the relevant minister, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, about the reported delay.

“The government is committed to the cyber-safety policy, which includes [internet service provider (ISP)] level filtering of refused classification content,” Conroy’s office replied in a statement.
“A public consultation on improved transparency measures has been held and the department is now working with other government agencies to consider the submissions and examine whether the ideas can be used to enhance the proposed accountability and transparency measures. The department is also continuing to consult ISPs on the implementation of ISP-level filtering.
“Once these processes are complete the legislation will be introduced into Parliament.”

These type of listless responses should be of little surprise to anyone who has a remote interest in the Australian political environment in the modern era. For one, it’s typical handballing from Government minister to Government minister, as if these people don’t speak to each other about issues of social & moral importance such as this one. The Australian makes a simple observation regarding Parliamentary sittings and neither the Prime Minister nor the Communications Minister can give any sort of indication to the public as to the issue raised by The Australian. That being, a date for when legislation will be tabled for a policy this Rudd Labor Party successfully campaigned with at the last Federal Election held on the 24th of November, 2007 – nearly 30 months ago.

Secondly, the Labor Party Government currently has insulation batts, a health plan, mining industry tax plan, and ironically enough, a National Broadband Plan to win over the public on and push through Parliament prior to a Federal Election sometime this year. They will quite simply run out of time to table legislation for this proposal before then. Lastly, the best way to appear to be acting on an issue without actually doing anything, is by setting up Committees and public consultations regarding the issue. And once they’re complete, by setting up more. It buys valuable (stalling) time, as well as giving the impression to the public that the Government cares about what the people have to say on the particular matter, and is doing all it can to achieve the best outcome possible.

Whether the above points are agreed upon or not, the likely delay of the tabling of internet censorship legislation until after the election does not mean that us Australians concerned about this proposal should sit on our hands until after we’ve been to the polls, which mainstream media sources have said is likely – but not necessarily – to be called by Labor sometime in September or October of this year. Quite the opposite; this is actually a dangerous period for the internet censorship issue, as it threatens to lay doment and forgotten about in the face of media-saturated issues such as health, global warming/climate change/the emissions trading scheme, the economy, and recently, a proposed 40% tax on mining industry profits. Furthermore, while this writer doubts both the tabling of legislation prior to any Federal Election and a 2011 election, the incumbent Labor Government does legally/constitutionally have until the 16th of April, 2011 to hold the next election.

Thankfully, the Australian grassroots anti-internet censorship campaign rolls on around the nation in the months of May & June.

Corbett Show interview begins leadup to May anti-web censorship activism

Just yesterday (the 5th of May), Melissa Short (pictured below), the Principal Petitioner of the official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives – which expresses to Parliament that the majority of Australians’ are in condemnation of the proposed legislation and asks the House to “repeal all legislative action concerning implementation of compulsory content filtering of the internet in Australia” – was interviewed by James Corbett (pictured below) of the Corbett Report. In the interview, James & Melissa discuss the nature of the internet censorship proposed in Australia, how far along the Government is in implementing the content filter, and why Melissa decided to pursue this avenue of dissent against the proposal. Download an MP3 file (11.6megabyes) of the interview and a link to the petition from this page: http://www.corbettreport.com/index.php?i=Documentation&ii=316

(This is the 2nd time James Corbett has dedicated a show or interview to the Australian Government’s mandatory ISP filtering plan, with the entirety of Episode #82 from April 2009 dedicated to the issue. It’s available free to download with documentation here.)

The petition itself was pre-approved for submission to the House of Representatives on January 13th of this year, and Melissa reports a steady stream of petition signatures having come her way since then, with an unknown amount being possibly sent directly to Parliament or yet to be mailed. A central part of the interview is the announcement of the final deadline date for sending in signatures to Melissa, which is the 29th of May, 2010. Tabling to the House is likely to be on June 21st, 2010, however, the Petitions Committee requires petition forms to be received in early June for the 21st of June tabling, so please have signed petition forms (one signature will do!) in the mail, sent to the address provided on this petition by May 29th at the very latest.

Also mentioned by Melissa in the interview is the upcoming protest in Melbourne against the proposed internet censorship plan, organised by Suryavanshi Cosmos. Occuring Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, the event will be held in Federation Square of Melbourne’s CBD and starts at 11:30am. A copy of the aforementioned petition will be available to sign at the event. Find further details about the event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100265633350951

On the back of this initiative shown, activists in Brisbane and Perth have joined in by organising a campaign on the same day to acquire signatures for the petition addressed to the House of Representatives. Details for Brisbane’s Day of Action can be found on Facebook and Meetup.com. Perth’s Day of Action will occur at midday on May 22nd, with the meeting place being out the front of the Fremantle Town Hall. Contact myself at wearechangewa@hotmail.com for further details. Please do not bring partisan material to hand out to the public, this is an action solely aimed at preventing internet censorship. Please do bring printed out sheets of the petition, a clipboard, a pen, cameras, respect for the Police, and a confident, polite, and informative approach to members of the public. Hope to see you on the 22nd of May!

Fremantle Town Hall, the meeting place on May 22nd at midday, for petition signature campaigning.

Recap of key points in the article:

  1. Josh Meney’s provocative anti-Australian internet censorship poster.
  2. Australian Labor Government unlikely to table legislation before the next Federal Election, but legally have until mid-April to hold the next election. The campaign against internet censorship in Australia rolls on.
  3. Melissa Short is interviewed by James Corbett of the Corbett Report on the 5th of May, regarding the soon-to-be-tabled Official paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives.
  4. Anti-Internet Censorship actions planned for May 22nd, 2010 in Melbourne, Brisbane (Facebook/Meetup), and Perth (read last paragraph of the article).
Contact the author of this article: wearechangewa@hotmail.com