Sunday, May 07, 2023

Un-informed consent

Julie Sladden

‘I had my shots but I’m not having any more’ is a phrase I’ve heard more than once.

A little over a year ago – I know, it feels longer – thousands marched the streets of Australia protesting the mandates. I was one of them.

In many cases, the mandates were facilitated through emergency powers enacted by the state governments. But some sectors (for example Universities) and employers (for example airlines) brought the mandates in all by themselves.

It makes me wonder, if the government and employers tried it on again, how many would march the streets in protest now?

This is an important question as none of the legislative powers that made the ‘mandate nightmare’ possible have been wound back. And only a handful of workers have successfully defeated the mandates.

Meanwhile, the mandate hangover continues…

I recently received a call from a worker who was ‘mandated’ to have a booster. They wanted to discuss options.

‘Just say no,’ I offered. A simple option, possibly not without consequence, but one I would place top of my list. Saying ‘no’ in the current climate is far more likely to be accepted than it was twelve months ago. And I know people who have successfully done so, without losing their jobs.

But there’s something more important at stake: who owns your body?

I asked the caller, ‘Do you really want to continue to work for an employer who is going to require you to have a jab every six months just so you can earn a living?’

It’s a question we should all ask because under those conditions, there is no bodily autonomy (that is, your employer owns your body) and it’s impossible to give legally valid informed consent. Being coerced into having a jab, to keep your job, is not informed consent. It’s the antithesis of informed consent.

In considering the requirements for legally valid informed consent – which can only be given voluntarily and in the absence of undue pressure, coercion, or manipulation – it becomes clear that anyone ‘mandated’ is unable to give informed consent. Why? Because mandates and informed consent are mutually exclusive. If someone is being told they have to have a jab to keep their job then informed consent is not possible, regardless of whether they are willing to receive it for those reasons.

Many understood this, and the seriousness of the new ‘no jab, no pay’ territory we were entering. Tragically, thousands of people walked from jobs and careers that spanned decades, in what might be the biggest government-enforced-mass-exodus of a skilled working population. Even more tragically, hundreds of thousands, perhaps more, were coerced into having the jab to keep their job. And let’s not talk about those who were injured or worse.

This, in a so-called ‘free’ country.

Informed consent was not just ‘impossible’ for the mandated. I have serious doubts about whether anyone in Australia gave informed consent to the Covid injections.

Let me explain.

During the Covid years, Australians were subject to politicians and medical technocrats who told us how miserable our lives were going to be if we didn’t get vaccinated. The disgust was tangible, and the message was clear. Somehow we allowed Australian authorities to subject us to the ‘largest clinical trial, the largest global vaccination trial ever’ despite treaties, agreements, and codes of conduct that are supposed to protect against such things. I believe the ’95 per cent’ Covid ‘vaccination’ rate was achieved through undue pressure, coercion, and manipulation of the Australian population.

Were you told you wouldn’t be able to attend weddings, funerals, birthdays, social events, schools, or community services if you didn’t get vaccinated? Undue pressure.

Were you told that you would be unable to work, return home, travel, visit sick relatives, enter a hospital, or obtain medical care if you didn’t get vaccinated? Coercion.

Were you told it was your duty, your social contract, and a way to ‘love your neighbour’ by getting vaccinated? Manipulation.

‘The vast majority of people taking vaccines did it under duress,’ said Dr. Peter McCullough on his recent visit to Australia. ‘They did it under duress. They had to try to keep their job or maintain their position … and my heart is broken that so many people have taken the vaccine, and so many have been harmed.’

This same pattern of pressure, coercion, and manipulation was seen around the world.

In the UK, the Lockdown Files revealed how the government employed military-grade psyop-style strategies to make sure they ‘frightened the pants off everyone’ into compliance.

‘You’ve got to look at the definition of coercion,’ explains UK Doctor of Psychology Christian Buckland. ‘The Encyclopedia Britannica states, “It’s the threat or use of punitive measures against states, groups or individuals in order for them to undertake or desist from specified actions… and those threats include psychological pressure and social ostracism.”’

Buckland continues, ‘This is really important because the (Lockdown Files) prove that psychological pressure was applied to the public. That means any consent to immunisation that was given, whether they asked you or didn’t, or if you agreed or didn’t agree … was not valid.’

‘So what?’ you may ask. Well, if consent was not valid then who is accountable?

Buckland explains, ‘One of the most important questions that is going to emerge from this issue is going to be one of accountability and liability for all the people who have been greatly injured or been left bereft, because of the Covid vaccine. Because they gave their consent for an injection that they couldn’t give consent to. There has to be some form of accountability, based on the fact that no one could give informed consent.’

This issue of informed consent is about so much more than bodily autonomy. It is inextricably linked to medical freedom… and more.

‘Your medical freedom is inextricably linked to your social freedom and your economic freedom,’ says Dr McCullough. ‘When that medical freedom is broken, and you begin to do things to your body for other reasons, outside of medicinal reasons, it infringes upon these other circles of freedom, and this can cascade down. We have to bring ourselves out of this.’

I agree.

We, the people, need to re-draw the line in the sand. The line where the government ends and our bodily autonomy begins. The ‘informed consent’ line.

Informed consent isn’t some optional extra in medical ethics. It is foundational in medicine and foundational to freedom.

Without it, we lose far more than the right to refuse an experimental jab.


Profits haven't contributed to inflation? Former treasury economist says it's not that simple

Last week, the Reserve Bank made another intervention in the bitter dispute about profits and inflation.

In its latest Statement on Monetary Policy, released on Friday, it dedicated a special chapter to the topic.

The chapter was titled Have business profits contributed to inflation?, and it concluded that excessive profit-taking hasn't been driving Australia's inflation.

It was quickly heralded by some economists as the end of the argument.

In the months-long battle between the orthodoxy (represented by the RBA), and those who think profit-taking has been part of the inflation matrix (represented by unions and the Australia Institute), the orthodoxy had triumphed.

But not everyone was completely convinced.

"Case closed? Not so fast," former treasury economist David Bassanese responded.

So where does that leave us?

The RBA's argument, for those up the back
Before we get to Mr Bassanese, let's recap the RBA's argument very quickly.

The bank's officials say if you ignore the extremely profitable mining sector (where prices are set in global markets), there's been little evidence of a broad-based increase in domestic profit margins in Australia recently.

They say firms have generally been able to pass on higher costs to maintain their profit margins through this inflationary episode, but there hasn't been an outbreak of non-mining firms increasing their margins.

They say aggregate inflation is being driven by the balance of demand and supply factors – rather than changes in firms' pricing power.

And they included a few graphs to illustrate their point.

This one shows how the share of national income going to labour and profits looks very different if you exclude the mining sector.

It also shows that, at the end of last year, the non-mining profit share was a little higher than in 2019, but it was still below its average level over the previous 10 years.

"If rising domestic profit margins were a significant independent driver of inflation, profits would instead have increased significantly relative to labour income over the past year," the RBA report said.

Despite the cost of living causing turmoil for regular Australians, many of our big companies have proven to have a special ability to rake in handsome profits by becoming price makers, writes Ian Verrender.

The bank's officials say detailed firm-level data also suggest that large non-mining firms' pricing behaviour has not changed much as of the September quarter 2022 (which is the latest available data).

They say the distribution of net operating margins, which measure the extent to which firms' revenues exceed their wages and other operating costs, has remained largely unchanged relative to 2019.

"This implies that these firms have increased their prices broadly in line with growth in their average costs," the paper said.

The bank's officials do acknowledge that, when looking at the 200 largest firms in Australia, some highly profitable companies (i.e., the top 50 firms) have been increasing their margins since 2019.

But they say that increase in margins is unlikely to have played a major role in this inflation, because the widening in margins has been ongoing since 2016 and the increase has actually been much less pronounced over the past year or so.

So, is it case closed?

Mr Bassanese, the chief economist for BetaShares, circulated a note on Friday afternoon that said "not so fast."

He said the RBA's analysis suggested so-called "price gouging" had not been an important factor behind the surge in inflation over the past year, but the reality wasn't that simple.

"For starters, the RBA does concede mining sector profits have increased, with energy producers effectively enjoying windfall profits last year due to global gas shortages and higher prices caused by the reduction in Russian gas supply following its invasion of Ukraine," he wrote.

Would a gas export tax push gas prices down for Australians?
Australia has blown its chance to use its vast gas fields to help the economy transition to renewable energy, says Ken Henry.

"Gas producers were effectively able to demand local consumers pay the same higher global price or risk having more local gas production redirected to export markets.

"Local gas production costs had not increased to justify higher local prices, only the price that could be received for their product outside of Australia. Accordingly, these increased profits clearly came at the expense of local firms and households, who have had to pay higher wholesale and retail gas prices which has also directly contributed to local inflation.

"This was not 'profit gouging' in a strict sense, but it does suggest much of the rise in local inflation through electricity prices was at least partly the result of windfall profits earned by gas companies," he said.


Former Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says new approach needed for youth crime

A respected former senior detective has called for an “out of the box” approach to tackling youth crime, including making parents financially responsible for their children’s crimes and sending repeat offenders to a rural training and education centre.

Former Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth, who headed the investigation into Allison Baden-Clay’s murder and has worked on six royal commissions, said Queenslanders are now “fearful” of what’s happening in their community.

He said he believes today’s youth crime crisis could be, in part, attributed to children born during the “baby bonus” era.

In a post Mr Ainsworth shared to LinkedIn, he wrote that tougher penalties did nothing to rehabilitate young repeat offenders.

“What about the introduction of a diversion centre in remote Queensland where recidivist offenders (youth) are sent,” he wrote.

“This centre (mobile phone/social media free) should host education, trade skills and respect for attendees.

“A highly disciplined centre that won’t cop crap from these kids. Who knows, kids in this type of establishment may enjoy the opportunities provided – shelter over their heads, education and close supervision.”

He also wrote that the accountability of parents and guardians needed to be at the forefront of legislative change.

“This has been talked about for many years including parents/guardians paying restitution for crimes committed by their children,” Mr Ainsworth wrote.

Mr Ainsworth told The Sunday Mail he felt terrible for frontline police who were doing their best to respond to repeat offenders with limited resources.

“What’s happening at the moment is certainly not working,” he said.

“The kids end up in a youth detention centre … they are mingling with other kids (and) coming out part of a gang.

“It’s getting to the stage where I think people are fearful of what’s happening in the community and we’ve never had this fear before.

“How do you address it? There has to be something new to try.”

The idea of a “diversion centre” was also raised recently by Russell and Ann Field, whose son Matthew, partner Kate Leadbetter and their unborn son Miles were killed by a teen in a stolen car.

In a recent interview with The Sunday Mail, Mr Field said recidivist juvenile offenders should be sent to a “re-education facility” where they are taught life skills.

“Somewhere where they can teach these kids how to write a resume, finish their education,” he said.

“Teach them how to get a job, teach them how to run their finances, teach them how to invest, so when they come out of these facilities … they go away with their head held high.

“If the parents aren’t going to discipline them and teach them respect … grab them and take them out of their comfort zone and drum it into them.

“It’s possible for people to go from their lifestyle to (being) something.”


Court approves controversial church development despite protest by residents

Not a mosque this time. A Lebanese Catholic church instead

Worshippers behind a proposed new church in Brisbane’s south have prevailed over residents’ concerns about its scale and impact in court.

St Maroun’s Maronite Church on Bunya Street, Greenslopes had already been given the green light to redevelop its existing church by Brisbane City Council before local residents appealed the decision in the Planning And Environment Court.

The proposed development involves the construction of a new hall and church building, involving a 12.5 metre tall bell tower, and the retention of dwellings which will be reused as parish residences.

An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
The new church building will be on the corner of Dunellan and Bunya streets.

A proposed childcare centre on the 3645 sqm site was later axed from the application.

A group of eight local residents took the council to court to appeal its decision to approve the new church development in July 2021. The church was a co-respondent in the case.

The residents expressed concerns about the bulk, height and scale of the development along with traffic and noise impacts.

They held an expectation that any redevelopment of the Church would be of a similar scale to that existing on the site, the court heard.

An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
They submitted the proposal was of an inappropriate scale and far exceeded community expectations for development on the site.

The group did not oppose improvements being made to the existing building to provide an updated church and agreed it was currently not fit for purpose.

The court heard that lack of space in the existing church building had forced people to worship outside on the verandas, lawns, staircases, in the car park and sometimes on the street during the course of church activities including weddings and funerals.

An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
An artist's impression of the development at the time the application was lodged with council. Picture: Supplied
The majority of the new church was to be no higher than 9.5 metres above the ground, with the highest parts of the building set back from the street.

When approving the development the council imposed a number of conditions including noise control measures.

But the residents argued the extent of mitigation measures required by the council conditions were indicative of a development that was of an unacceptable scale.

After hearing from expert witnesses, Judge Amanda McDonnell said she was satisfied the proposal was compliant in relation to character and form except when it came to scale, but this would not result in any adverse planning consequences.

Ms McDonnell was also satisfied that compliance with assessment benchmarks relating to amenity impacts could be met through appropriate conditions regarding hours of operation, the implementation of a noise management plan and the number of persons on site.

She ordered the development application be approved subject to conditions.

The matter was adjourned so the parties could agree on appropriate conditions.




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