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The first critic of the Anti-quackery Committee seemed to be Pauline Rose of Complementary and Ecological Medicine, who issued the call to arms below. (I only read the full version when someone posted it to a mailing list, but the first time I was aware of it was when a supporter of cancer quack Hulda Clark posted a truncated version to a Usenet newsgroup under the topic heading "The EVIL workings of Peter B". That's the price of fame, I suppose.) Ms Rose obviously has a vested interest in the unrestricted promotion and sale of medical quackery and fraudulent medical devices.
As would be expected, her diatribe was full of lies, half-truths and fabrication. My comments are interspersed.
COMPLEMENTARY & ECOLOGICAL MEDICINE
LEVEL ONE, WILLOUGHBY HOUSE
425 PACIFIC HIGHWAY, CROWS NEST,
NSW 2065 AUSTRALIA
PH (02)9436 2992 FAX.(02)9438 1417
The Nsw government under the direction of Craig Knowles has set up a special committee consisting of Chairman Professor John Dwyer and Cheryl Freeman and unidentified others. The purpose of this group is to outlaw any form of complementary medicine that is not accepted by mainstream medicine. To date it appears that we have no right of appeal to any decision that they unilaterally make.
Cheryl Freeman is not a member of the committee. She is an advisor to the committee (as I am). There is no suggestion in anything published by the Minister which suggests that acceptance by "mainstream medicine" (whatever that is) has any part to play in the review.
Already banned is homoeopathic vaccines, zappers and some other items I don't have the details on.
Ms Rose wrote those words on or about 11 November, 2002. The first scheduled meeting of the Dwyer Committee is 6 December, 2002. Only a liar would talk about what has already been banned when nothing could have been banned.
Also in the firing line is any form of frequency medicine, garlic, echinacea
If by "frequency medicine", Ms Rose means quackery that purports to use "energy fields" in the body to diagnose and treat ailments, then she is right to say that it is "in the firing line". Of course, if she can prove that it works she has nothing to worry about. That she is worried suggests that she knows just how much of a fraud it is. On the matter of banning garlic, only a mad person would think that any government would move to ban it, although a liar might talk about banning it in order to create panic in an uninformed audience.
They intend to change the law to stop any doctor involved in complementary medicine and initiate a public education campaign against alternative health.
Neither of these "intentions" has any basis in fact. Ms Rose must think that nobody will ever read the press release about the committee, where the truth is told. Perhaps she doesn't care about the truth.
Both of these people are members of the skeptics assn and are long term adversaries of complementary medicine.
There is no such organisation as "the skeptics association". There is an organisation called Australian Skeptics Inc (of which I am Vice President). Neither Professor Dwyer nor Ms Freeman is a member of Australian Skeptics, although we maintain close and cordial relationships with both people.
In my view this is like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken shed.
Our rights to practice could be lost literally overnight. I believe this is also a civil rights issue.
It is indeed a civil rights issue. Citizens have the right to medical care and advice which offers evidence of both safety and effectiveness. Any provider of "alternative medicine" which can provide such evidence has little to fear from the enquiry. One can only assume that Ms Rose's concerns are fuelled by her knowledge that there are things out there which are either unsafe or which do not work (or both) and she wants these things to stay on the market.
Getting information out of government is difficult but we have people working on this right now . We had a meeting of interesting people at the weekend and I am to represent bio-energetic health on the joint complementary group being formed to fight this.
Please network this with your own collegues and let me know the e-mails addresses of anyone else who wants to be on my mailing list.
We will be asking for your help, re petitions, emails, and money. Numbers count. This is a huge threat we need to all get involved.
The Dwyer group is funded by Dick Smith.
Dick Smith is an Australian millionaire, and has nothing to do with this. The committee is funded by the NSW Health department. (See later message below*).
If I haven't already spoken to you please email your support, or other comments. Prose@h...
If you are in bio-energetic medicine and not using a consent form then start now. Ask me if you need me a copy of one and I shall fax it.
From my first e-mail to a few in my own assoc. to today the response to this issue has been overwhelming. First I wish to put right an area in which I may have unintentionally mislead some of you. We have no evidence that Dick Smith has any connection with the NSW labour party or the Health Department. He may know nothing about this. His connection has been with the Skeptics. I'm sorry if my remarks were translated in that way.
Nice piece of weasling. Perhaps Ms Rose should have checked her facts before she started talking about Dick Smith. Speaking of facts, there is no such body as the "NSW labour party". There is a group named the Australian Labor Party who happen to hold power in the NSW parliament at present. The spelling "Labor" has been used by the party for more than 100 years.
Meanwhile, Our first meeting will take place on Tuesday and I trust we will form a careful and considered response. Once the full situation has been made clear I will let you all know as I realize how anxious everyone is. We have had many offers of help from so many and once an agreement has been made on the type of help needed then a formal request will be made.
The group formed to fight this NSW Labour Party initiative will comprise of delegates from all areas of Complementary Health. We need to be united on this. We have also had offers of help from other professions , other states and overseas.
This is not a "NSW Labour Party initiative", it is an initiative of the government of the day. Ms Rose is quite welcome to try to make the acceptance of fraud and quackery an issue in the state election next March, but I suspect she will get little support from any serious political group. Two politicians have showed interest so far, but neither is anyone of any influence. The main claim to fame of one of them is that he exploited a (now closed) loophole in the electoral laws to get himself elected; there is little evidence that he has achieved anything since. The other had his moment of glory when he was photographed on a beach wearing nothing except a strategically-placed handful of seaweed.
A number of people have expressed doubt that this is happening. Unfortunately it is and we need to be dedicated to protect our civil liberties regarding our freedom in this area.
I understand that many of you want more information than this but right now this is all I can send you.
Best wishes, Pauline Rose
Complementary & Ecological Medicine Specialists in Bio-energetic MedicineComplementary & Ecological Medicine Specialists in Bio-energetic Medicine
20 November 2002
A large meeting of representatives of most areas of natural health, Practitioners, involved companies, and patients groups met last night. While a couple of groups where unable to have an official spokesperson present they will be informed of decisions made and invited to support the group action. The views expressed regarding concerns about the suitability of the Dwyer committee and action planned were unanimous. The results remain confidential at this stage as this is not a secure e-mail list. Please just be assured that action is being taken and I'm sure you will hear more about that soon.
Whatever makes Ms Rose think that her mailing list is not secure? Why should she worry if she is only speaking the truth in her messages to the list?
A group of practitioners addressed the cross benches of parliament yesterday and had a very interested and supportive response. As a result of this action and the questions asked in the house regarding this issue last week there are already positive changes happening. FIRST VICTORY. Cheryl Freeman has been removed from the committee.
Ms Freeman was not removed from the committee because of any action of the promoters of health fraud who have been complaining. She has asked for a minimal involvement because she is sick of being rung up at all hours by crackpots and frauds whining about her being on the committee. She is still an advisor (which was all she ever was).
How can you help? A letter to your own member of parliament expressing your concern about the need for any inquiry of this nature given the safeguards already in place would be very effective. Remember there is an election early next year. Keep it short and express your own concerns be they professional, civil liberties issues or just the waste of tax payers money. We each need to do this. Don't leave it up to someone else.
A separate but related issue is the Discussion paper on complementary health. Submissions regarding this need to be in by the 15th January. There are a number of specific issues raised . Please take time to read this document . You may wish to discuss this with your own professional group regarding an appropriate response. go to www.health.nsw.gov.au/quality/files/compmed_paper.pdf
Thank you all of you who have e-mailed support. I shall keep you informed when and where I can.
27 November 2002
I have had a request from the Natural Health Alliance Committee (the new name of the group set up last Tuesday to represent the Natural health industry). Representatives from the committee have had a very useful meeting with quite a number of parliamentarians we now need to take this further.
Once again I'm going to ask you to e-mail your own MP and also the Minister of Health, Craig Knowles and the premier Bob Carr. Please read instructions below. "The change in tactics is due to the fact that Parliament sits for another 2 weeks and then rises for Christmas and given the election in March will go into caretaker mode till the election.
We need to bombard all the politicians with e-mails expressing our anger and distrust with this current government at the appointment of this Committee and a biased and prejudiced chair who has vowed to target complementary healthcare. We have to get hundreds of e-mails arriving daily - so can you please start putting together your strategy to mobilize your networks to get these e-mails flowing
Thinking who you can get to send a very strong message to the politicians over the next week- -
We need ALL practitioners, and industry members and hopefully consumers (not so easy but we should try) indicating that it will cost this government votes unless they remove the Chair of this Committee.
Professor Dwyer really frightens the quacks, doesn't he? Of course, if what they sell is safe and effective, they have nothing to worry about. So why are they worried?
These e-mails need to be independent and just expressing individuals and organizations concern about the way this has been done- asking why it has been done when over 70% of the population are seeking natural and comp medicine and paying for it out of their own pocket and paying GST as well"
A list of e-mail addresses can be found at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au click on members then on all members by name. you have all the information you need.
Thank you all for the thousands of e-mails I have been getting on this subject. While I can't reply to them all I do keep the committee informed of any special issues you raise. Pauline RoseComplementary & Ecological Medicine Specialists in Bio-energetic Medicine
From: Pauline Rose
Sent: Thursday, November 28, 2002 9:41 AM
Subject: Dwyer committee
The chairperson , Val Johanson CHC, of the Natural Health Alliance,
has put together this suggestion list which may help when writting you emails.
Letters in your own words are required but this will give you some background
and a framework. Thanks to those of you forwarding important information
and help. To the few of you who complain that I'm not doing enough work
on this I can assure you that the committee, all working practitioners,
are working as hard as time allows.
Complementary & Ecological Medicine
Specialists in Bio-energetic Medicine
The suggestions from Val Johanson can be found here. Please note the advice to write individual letters. It wouldn't look good if this appeared to be some sort of organised opposition, would it?
Ms Rose has also distributed a petition prepared by Ms Johanson. You can see it here.