Victorian Health Complaints Bill passed in sea of confusion


I sat through the entire debate last night in the Visitors Gallery of the Legislative Council, and am onlymore confused than ever on many critical fronts, despite the Bill passing (with one minor inconsequential amendment) around 10pm.

After two hours of questioning by the Liberals and Greens to their partial credit, I didn’t hear any of my questions being put, but I will need to read the Hansard records carefully and dissect further for those still interested.

The best thing I discovered however was the bureaucrat (name noted below) who has had the strongest hand in this bludgeon of a weapon to attack natural health practitioners by stealth. 

The Labour Party spokesperson, Minister for Families and Children

and Youth Affairs Jenny Mikados was unable to answer most of the questions and repeatedly left her chair to approach one of seven female staff members of Health Minister Jill (“all vaccines are safe”) Hennessy, headed clearly by Ms Kathy Ettershank, Manager, Health Review, Health Review and Regulation Branch, Department of Health & Human Services.

Ms Ettershank provided the bulk of the answers to Minister Mikakos enabling a formal response to questions from the Opposition parties, led by theLiberal Party’s Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge.

I verbally confronted Ms Ettershank, and her widely excited female team, in the foyer of Parliament House after the Bill was passed, and asked why her team had consistently ignored my questions since 3 March, despite repeated attempts by me to discover who was handling my concerns expressed on behalf of natural medicine practitioners. She replied “Hasn’t anyone got back to you?”.

What a sick farce being a PUBLIC SERVANT. Does anyone out there think public servants are there to actually serve us? I was one many years ago and resigned in total disgust and disillusionment. I learnt one MAJOR thing about public servants from Graeme Samuel, former lots of things including ACCC Chairman and gun investment banker in his hey day. Public servants are very uncomfortable to have any contact with a member of the public, particularly face to face.

So finally a face, Ms Ettershank can be contacted on 0488 181014 or email for advice as to whether you may be covered under the Bill, and as towhat substantiation you are now required to hold in order to now treat your many satisfied patients usingyour significant clinical experience. Why? Unlike doctors who don’t have a mandatory code of conduct and who don’t have to substantiate their treatments, Victorian natural practitioners will have this liability when the new legislation commences possibly in early 2017. Yet to check if any test cases in NSW and Qld have occurred on what “substantiation” means – from my viewpoint, doesn’t really matter because we have no checks and balances to the Commissioner’s total power role, so it means whatever the Commissioner wants it to mean. SA has gone a different route, which I am describing in a new post.

Ms Ettershank is also on Linkedin at Kathy Ettershank’s Linkedin address  , where you will note her main appropriate health experience for replacing the words in the current Act, namely SERVICE, CONCILIATION and REVIEW, with the single word “COMPLAINT” is her 11 year stint with the Victorian Police Force between 1998 to 2009.

Good luck natural practitioners – I guarantee Kathy will know Carol Geyer who ran the failed AHPRA test case I assisted in over 66 days in VCAT with Carol’s partner in “crime”, the Rumpole of the Bailey, Dr Ian Freckleton QC, the renowned author of the main Expert Evidence textbook. I have a very long memory Carol and Ian.

I wonder if Dr Ian “Rumpole” QC will add a new chapter to his Expert Evidence textbook – titled – “How to still deregister a Natural Health Practitioner when all Expert Evidence over 15 hearing days of testimony completely wrecks your case”. 

The Answer (mine) Make sure you have the mobile phone number of the Senior Member of VCAT who heard this 34 day marathon hearing, Senior Member Davis, with whom you have had a highly successful 20 year involvement in taking on your important cases. Love to access those phone records one day, if they haven’t already disappeared in the bowels of Telstra.

I also asked Ms Ettershank why the office of the Attorney-General Martin Pakula is protecting Ms Beth Wilson, the real architect of the Bill from criminal prosecution. I allege Ms Wilson should be sanctioned  for her deliberate breach of the VCAT Act in 2013 by revealing the identity of the patient whistleblower on National media following the botched AHPRA case against a registered chiropractor, for whom I assisted his successful defence of a prohibition order.

Penalty – Three months jail is the real reason Minister Pakula’s team is nervous in mentioning Beth’s little time bomb matter. I have previously found Martin to be a very fair man. Not great news for Beth if Minister Pakula becomes properly briefed one day, as an honest briefing is a scarce commodity given Minister Hennessy was advised to tell the public all vaccines are safe.

Ms Beth Wilson, former Health Services Commissioner, was nauseously praised many times when the debate started last night, for her important contributions to this discriminatory Bill.

So back to my fresh questions from last night, to add to my unanswered questions repeated below. I will just stick to questions re AHPRA registered professionals because NO ONE deciding this Bill cares a single thing about natural health practitioners and their patients.

Q1  Whether AHPRA doctors, for example, can be banned by the Health Complaints Commissioner without a peer review process which is enshrined into two main levels of the AHPRA legislation. The first main AHPRA level includes 6 peer group doctors on the prosecuting AHPRA Medical Board, and then two peer group doctors sitting in the State Tribunal hearing to decide matters such as prohibition.

Q2 If yes to Q1, then can the Complaints Commissioner make the decision as to whether or not an AHPRA doctor providing a “health profession service” is doing so within the “practice of a health profession” as defined in the Health Complaints Bill. Should the meaning for the medical profession of  “practice of a health profession” be best designed by the AMA, an AHPRA Medical Board or Panel, or the new Complaints Commissioner in Victoria. Potentially, we could have three views on that fundamental decision, before we carefully look at the definitions the NSW, SA, and QLD state based health complaints entities have adopted?

 If the Complaints Commissioner in Victoria is truly intended to have this “determination of scope of practice power”, then the Commissioner must deem an AHPRA doctor to be a “general health service provider” and thus subject to the Prohibition powers of the Victorian Health Complaints Bill, sitting alone behind closed doors. Currently the Prohibition powers are limited to natural health providers, not AHPRA registered professionals. Confused. I hope so. I am. If you know all this stuff, then you start writing posts. I need a holiday.

Q3 If the answer to question 2 is yes, namely that prohibition can happen to an AHPRA registered doctorbefore a closed hearing of the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner, sitting alone, THEN does that interpretation bind the AHPRA Medical Board prosecuting the same “scope of practice” issue in an AHPRA prosecuted case, before another State based Tribunal hearing, comprising a senior legal member (possibly a Judge) plus two medical doctors as Tribunal members.

Q4 Must the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner, if he has the power to prohibit an AHPRA registered doctorhave legal qualifications when making these complex legal distinctions.  If yes, current Health Services Commissioner, Grant Davies, has just been cooked by his predecessor’s excessive zeal for natural blood – poor Grant, a genuine human being who does care, has nursing qualifications and a Bachelor of Ethics –insufficient for the top Job under Beth Wilson’s grand design plan for Big Pharma total domination in Victoria.

Bear in mind my own personal VCAT experience, whilst assisting one of my own natural medicine practitioners (of which I have over ten keeping me going mentally, physically and spiritually). I am also a patient of two other brilliant integrative doctors being constantly harassed by AHPRA for straying outside the mainstream drug cocktail “orthodox model” of treating disease under the disguise of  the Hippocratic Oath.

In the longest running health practitioner case in VCAT, we fought the Cochrane Collaboration Review peak medical evidence tendered by AHPRA, as grounds for prohibition. This case was cooked up by AHPRA head honchos as THE NATURAL MEDICINE ASSASSINATION TEST CASE with their Big Pharma mates ( read “Friends of “cherry-picking” Science in Medicine in Australia), despite my practitioner publishing online 906 peer reviewed scientific journal articles supporting the 71 medical conditions challenged by AHPRA over 66 hearing days.

AHPRA revised the original complaint of eight very detailed allegations on not less than 7 occasions (which BTW bore zero relationship to the patient’s actual complaint that he could not afford to pay the bill) .

Ultimately AHPRA “won” getting in reality the booby prize, namely a deregistration but NO PROHIBITION ORDER and my practitioner was found to be of GOOD CHARACTER – more than I could say about the lynching mob (whistleblowers inside the Victorian Government Solicitors Office welcome to call me and I will protect you). The practitioner did not need the registration certificate to keep practising his globally accepted hyperbaric oxygen therapy for neurological patients.

No place for faint hearts or zero legal qualifications when you are taking away the right to a career, so the Current Victorian Health Services Commissioner, Grant Davies, is about to be out of a job. Given his degree in Ethics, maybe he will become my prized whistleblower – how cool would that be.

I did post my other unanswered questions yesterday at Questions Minister Hennessy refused to answer

Here they are again.

Victorian Health (“all vaccines are safe”) Minister Hennessy, on the eve of passing the Victorian Health Complaints Bill, continues to refuse to answer my questions from 3 March 2016.

I believe most practitioners and their patients would be interested to know, regardless of whether the Health Complaints Bill is passed tonight (14 April 2016) in the Upper House, the Legislative Council.

This is my letter to the Minister comprising 13 unanswered questions!

Just as Robert Di Niro said today about vaccinations’ link to autism :”There is more to this than meets the eye” so I am sure you will discover the same behind Jill’s Bill, but only time will show you what I have been warning.

Happy to act bro bono for the poor first scalp.

On 3 Mar 2016, at 12:21 PM, Little Graeme> wrote:

I am assisting a number of natural health practitioners and have been asked to bring them up to speed with this wide ranging legislation before the Victorian Parliament.

1. Please email a copy of the consultation paper circulated in 2015, and where I can find any submissions lodged.

2. Were any of the natural profession’s own professional bodies consulted, and if so, is there any public record available?

3. How does the Code of Conduct differ in material aspects from AHPRA legislation, with its Codes of Conduct?

4. My reading of the Bill indicates it has no application to providers if they are registered under AHPRA? Do you agree?

5. Is this legislation enacted in any other Australian State or overseas jurisdiction in a materially similar way?

6. Who participated on the Advisory Panel referred to in the Hansard speeches?

7. Is it intended for other States to adopt similar legislation as I noted some references to National bodies considering its material?

8. Is there any precedent in the AHPRA legislation which reverses the burden of proof for criminal offences?

9. Have the professional indemnity insurers been made aware, and what is the government’s understanding of any likely premium rises as a consequence of these criminal offences applying?

10. Will the government be preparing a handbook to advise practitioners of their rights and obligations under this transformative legislation?

11. Will the government be supplying practitioners with the necessary codes of conduct and complaint forms mandated to be supplied to each patient?

12. How are all these practitioners going to be made aware of this new legislation given most are just single person operations without necessarily any professional body supporting their activities?

13. The Bill seemed to be silent on the issue of testimonials? Is this activity permitted?

Thank you in anticipation.

Graeme Little

+61(0) 402 90 47 49

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