Who wants the WHO anyway?

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Australians have until 11.59pm Sunday 24 September 2023 to voice our objections to proposed changes to international law which would see the introduction of a new “pandemic instrument” (commonly referred to as a “pandemic treaty”) as well as changes to existing International Health Regulations.  (It seems the deadline has quietly been extended by a week!)

How many Australians have any idea of the extent to which we are about to give away our decision-making rights in relation to health?  (Let alone that just about everything affects health, and so actually we are about to give away our decision-making rights in relation to, well just about everything.)

Here’s 3 good reasons why we must scream blue murder.  Fill out the online Australian government consultation now! Scroll right down to the bottom for sample answers to the consultation questions.

Sovereignty

The consultation paper says:

Will these instruments affect Australia’s sovereignty or ability to decide its own approach to a future pandemic?
Australia’s sovereignty to make policy decisions in the best interests of Australian citizens will not be affected.
The pandemic instrument and amended IHR will not grant the WHO powers to override national laws or decisions, or impose public health measures such as lockdowns, mandatory quarantines, or mandatory vaccines.

The above statements may be true in a very technical sense. It is certainly true that the draft documents include rhetoric about respect for and preservation of nations’ sovereignty.  For example, in the pandemic instrument, Article 3 includes this at paragraph 3.2:

Sovereignty – States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the general principles of international law, the sovereign right to legislate and to implement legislation in pursuance of their health policies.In doing so, they shall uphold the purposes and objectives of the [pandemic instrument] and carry out their obligations under the [pandemic instrument] in a manner consistent with the principles of the sovereign equality and the territorial integrity of States and that of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other States.

…which may be ok at face value (the words in italics look ok!), but we must also look to the practical effect of the proposed changes (see the words in bold), and determine to what extent would Australia be obliged to follow decisions made elsewhere.

The words in bold, ie “…shall uphold the purposes and objectives of the WHO CA+… (the WHO’s lingo for the pandemic instrument)”  This means that Australia has the sovereign right to legislate its own health policies – but must ensure that those health policies are consistent with the purposes and objectives of the pandemic instrument.

In matters relating to a pandemic (or other public health emergency of international concern), Australian governments will be obliged under the International Health Regulations to make decisions which are in line with the (now binding) “recommendations” of the WHO.  Like Henry Ford, who said that customers could have any colour car they wanted, as long as it was black, Australian governments will be able to implement any health measures they like, as long as those measures are consistent with the WHO’s recommendations. This is not sovereignty in practice.  This is abdication of power and the undermining of democracy.  Health Ministers will say (and will be obliged by international law to take this approach): “Our hands are tied; we’re obliged by international law to make this decision.” 

Other documents produced for discussion globally reflect that this is in fact the intention.  For example, the Global Public Health Convention lists the following as the first of ten recommendations for “Global Accountability in a Pandemic Free World”:

The intent to override normal democratic processes during an emergency is clear.

As a Victorian, I can vote for the parliamentarians I prefer – but in an emergency, those parliamentarians will not be the decision-makers.  Under emergency law in Australia, it will be the Health Ministers/National Cabinet making the decisions, and those decisions will have to be in line with the WHO’s recommendations.  I will have been deprived of having any influence whatsoever over the decisions which impact my daily life in my jurisdiction in Australia.  I will no longer be living in a functioning democracy. 

It is therefore highly misleading to claim that Australia’s sovereignty will not be undermined by the proposed changes.  On the contrary, the proposed changes represent such a comprehensive attack on Australia’s sovereignty that on the basis of that issue alone, Australia must exit the WHO if we are to preserve our democratic system of government.

Censorship

We must object in the strongest possible terms to the proposed ongoing and increased censorship of “misinformation” and “disinformation” for three main reasons which are fundamental to our way of life:

  • Our democracy depends on free political discourse.
  • The advancement of science depends on free scientific discourse.
  • The practice of ethical medicine depends on the doctor being at liberty to advise their patients of evidence-based risks and benefits of a treatment, so that the patient can choose whether to give their informed consent.

Censorship of “misinformation” is therefore anathema to democracy, science and medicine.

We must not outsource decisions about what is “information” and what is “misinformation” to a global body. We must preserve our ability to make our own decisions – as individuals and as a nation. 

The existence of an emergency does not justify abandoning this principle.  On the contrary, it is more important than ever during an emergency that free discussion and debate can occur – on political, scientific, and medical issues, and indeed on every topic.

It is bad enough that we tolerate AHPRA, which is an agent of each State and Territory government, issuing edicts about what doctors can and can’t say about particular medical issues, and that our so-called National Law now requires doctors to consider whether the information they give to a particular patient might undermine the general public’s confidence in a particular treatment for the populace at large. What nonsense.  Doctors are unable to meet their legal obligations to their patients under that arrangement.  But it would be even worse if we allow the WHO to tell us and our doctors what we should and shouldn’t talk about in terms of risks and benefits of a particular treatment.

Accountability

The consultation paper includes accountability in one of Australia’s guiding principles in engaging in these processes:

Effective governance, accountability, and compliance mechanisms to support the implementation of the pandemic instrument and IHR.

The proposals remove accountability almost completely, for example in the following ways:

  • A single person, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, would have complete discretion to:
    • single handedly declare a pandemic or other “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on the basis of his or her sole determination of the situation;
    • ignore the advice of the expert committee constituted to advise on the situation – as occurred with Monkeypox;
    • declare an emergency without evidence and merely on the basis that there is potential for a pandemic or other emergency.
  • As described above under the heading Sovereignty, in an emergency (which the Director General can declare at whim), it is proposed that a “Governing body” would be granted authority that would supersede existing authority and regulatory structures.  (Presumably the WHO would be this “Governing body”, or at least one of the agencies comprising the Governing body.)  Who will the “Governing body” be accountable to (if anyone)?  How will an Australian citizen have any say?
  • The pandemic instrument includes a provision which authorises global bureaucrats to add protocols to the instrument which would be legally binding on member nations including Australia. There does not appear to be any requirement for member nations to adopt proposed new protocols before they become effective and legally binding. 

Process

These matters are of the utmost importance to Australia’s ability to function as a democracy.  Our parliaments should be debating them now, not at the last hour in 2024 once the negotiations are already completed.

The proposed pandemic treaty and amendments to the International Health Regulations are complex.  The documents are written in technical legalese, requiring careful and painstaking reading in order to understand them.  But when translated to plain English, their meaning is clear. 

Australians will feel badly jibbed if our politicians allow these changes to made to our system of government with minimal community debate.  A single consultation process via an online survey will certainly not suffice.   To enable parliamentarians and ordinary Australians to understand the implications, a concerted education and awareness-raising campaign is needed.  Good resources are available at Australiaexitsthewho.com, sovereigntycoalition.orgwehurtothers.comdoortofreedom.orgstandforhealthfreedom.com, and brownstone.org/articles/what-the-who-is-actually-proposing

Recommendations

The Australian government should:

  • Call for a pause in the negotiations to enable proper informed debate in our communities are parliaments.
  • Opt out of the 2022 amendments to the International Health Regulations, which would see all future changes fast-tracked, to enable proper debate in Australia.
  • Better still, immediately exit the World Health Organisation. I believe we can do much better in an emergency, and still be a responsible global citizen, without being a member of the WHO.  And having exited the WHO, we will have preserved our ability to decide our own destiny in all matters relating to health and more broadly.  Others may not agree with me – that is why our parliaments should be debating this threshold question rather than presuming that it is necessary to hand power to the WHO through the pandemic instrument and the proposed changes to the International Health Regulations.

Conclusion

Australians have given their lives in world wars, to preserve our freedoms.  We must not let our ability to decide our own destiny slip through our fingers.

Want to know more?

Australiaexitsthewho.com

sovereigntycoalition.org

wehurtothers.com

doortofreedom.org

standforhealthfreedom.com,

brownstone.org/articles/what-the-who-is-actually-proposing

Consultation questions and sample answers

Tell the Australian government what you think of the proposals to give the WHO more power before 11.59pm Sunday 24 September

1. How can international cooperation be improved to more effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to, future pandemics and other international health emergencies? 

The federal and State parliaments should debate the extent to which it is necessary to increase global cooperation on these matters.  That debate should be informed by evidence as to whether it was a lack of preparedness that led to bad outcomes in the COVID pandemic.  This is an important foundational assumption to grapple with rather than gloss over. It may be that a greater emphasis on local decision-making over health matters would lead to better outcomes.  The proposed increase in international cooperation comes with a massive pricetag – how much will the proposed measures cost Australian taxpayers?  Figures of $30billion pa (globally) have been mentioned.  Would Australian taxpayer dollars be better spent on State and Territory and federal health initiatives?

I strongly object to the World Health Organisation having more influence over Australian health policy. Australia should exit the WHO.

2. What issues do you think need to be prioritised to guide the world’s future preparation for, and responses to, future pandemics and other international health emergencies? 

1. Exit the WHO. Failing that, call for a pause in the negotiations on the pandemic instrument and International Health Regulations, and opt out of the 2022 amendments to the International Health Regulations, which would see all future changes fast-tracked, to enable proper debate in Australia.

2. Ban gain of function research.

3. Stop censoring doctors and other health professionals.  Reward innovation in medical treatments instead.  Amend the National Law which regulates health professions to remove the so called “paramount” principle of “confidence in public safety” and return the paramount principle to simply “public safety”.

4. Change TGA’s funding model so that it is no longer conflicted by receiving 96% of its funding from industry.

3. Is there any other information you would like to provide that might help to guide Australia’s engagement on a new international pandemic instrument and changes to the IHR? 

These matters are of the utmost importance to Australia’s ability to function as a democracy.  I strongly object to the proposed changes because they would undermine: our sovereignty, democracy, the advancement of science and the practice of ethical medicine.  Our parliaments should be debating them now, not at the last hour in 2024 once the negotiations are already completed.

The proposed pandemic treaty and amendments to the International Health Regulations are complex.  The documents are written in technical legalese, requiring careful and painstaking reading in order to understand them.  But when translated to plain English, their meaning is clear. 

Australians will feel badly jibbed if our politicians allow these changes to made to our system of government with minimal community debate.  Politicians who fail to raise the alarm will not enjoy success at the ballot box. A single consultation process via an online survey will certainly not suffice.   To enable parliamentarians and ordinary Australians to understand the implications, a concerted education and awareness-raising campaign is needed.  Good resources are available at Australiaexitsthewho.com, sovereigntycoalition.orgwehurtothers.comdoortofreedom.orgstandforhealthfreedom.com, and brownstone.org/articles/what-the-who-is-actually-proposing

This article first appeared on Libby’s Substack here.

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Author

  • Libby Klein

    Libby Klein is an ordinary Australian who just wants to be able to trust her doctor. Living through lockdowns in Melbourne Victoria, she started asking questions - and encourages others to do the same. Her day job is as a legal and governance advisor to charities and Not-for-profits.

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