Commentary by Michael Watson, MD
OMNS (Dec. 28, 2022) The purpose of this article is to bring attention to the silencing of doctors by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. AHPRA has publicized opinions on Australian doctors' Facebook posts and the sharing of information regarding early treatment for COVID. Doctors questioning vaccines or who provide medical exemptions are also promptly investigated, and suspended, and considered to be dangerous to the public.
This attack by AHPRA is an attack on human rights and free speech. There is an unfortunate lack of transparency and honesty from AHPRA, and doctors have had to endure severe persecutions. All health professionals have the important and basic human right to express their views. Yet in Australia, it seems that an accused criminal has more rights in law than an accused doctor. People and doctors should be allowed the legal and moral right to question government directives and public health messages without reprisal. Government should not get in the way of the doctor-patient relationship, otherwise the public will not have confidence that their physicians are doing right by them.
At this point, we believe hundreds of doctors have been suspended and not allowed to practice for advocating for the health and safety of their patients.
The punishment is the process, because the panel and deliberations, often tie up the doctor for at least 18 months. This is a further way of gagging the doctor. Some doctors have been suspended for several years and still have to wait for the final day of reckoning, where they will have to appear before a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to defend themselves.
From the start, doctors under scrutiny are classified as criminals who are a danger to the public even when they have never hurt or harmed a patient. These doctors are not allowed to work in any health situation, so it is more and more difficult for them to survive as their financial security has been whittled away, and they do not have an income.
Doctors have been labeled by AHPRA as a serious risk to public health and safety and that their actions and public statements undermined confidence in the public health messaging in relation to COVID-19 vaccines. These doctors are well trained and have done years of study and research, and specialize in many aspects of medicine. Nonetheless, they have been punished, reprimanded, separated, controlled, and pushed out of the medical arena.
The Official Line
The rationale for the official line on why the AHPRA has set about in this confrontational method for maintaining public health of Australia is apparently that having the public believe government policies are keeping them safe is apparently more important than convincing data or evidence to demonstrate safety.  This has culminated in what appears to be the legislating of these joint statements through the recent passage of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law that prioritizes Public confidence over public health and safety.  It appears censorship is how the Ministers of Truth (sorry, "Health") in this country have decided they are going to achieve their goal of public confidence. This seems dangerous and dystopian to many medical researchers and doctors who are actively looking for new and more effective ways to treat viral infections.
Not only is this legislation a dangerous disgrace but likely a constitutional infringement on our right of political communication as outlined by Constitutional Law Professor Augusto Zimmermann at our recent WA symposium.  Publishing his statements in an article in "Quadrant" entitled the Menace of Medical Censorship in Australia, Professor Zimmerman concluded this law is unconstitutional:  "Because it suppresses freedom of political communication by censoring and punishing dissenters through serious threats to careers and livelihood, as a means to undemocratically control public debate and general perception through enforced medical censorship."
The need to follow science
The problem, of course, is that the official line apparently doesn't follow the current science about: (a) the problem of deficiencies in essential nutrients that contribute to serious illness from infections; (b) that the body's response to vaccines for specific viruses can cause disease and tends not to reliably enhance its response to other related viruses; (c) that public health is not only about creating a pool of vaccinated people, but about enhancing the immune response to viruses of the population as a whole. Thus it helps to allow the immune system to be exposed to whatever viruses are present in the environment -- as long as the individual is not in serious danger.
Nutrient deficiencies are a major cause of failure of the immune system to prevent a serious infection, and also can cause the multiple organ failure and sepsis that occurs in the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19 pneumonia. The problem is not just a diet deficient in essential nutrients such as vitamin Bs, C, D, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium -- which often happens in our "modern lifestyle" from processed fast food. [5-15] In any serious infection such as viral pneumonia, the body's resources can be quickly depleted fighting the infection, which can cause deficiencies of the very nutrients the body needs to successfully engage the immune system and fight the infection. [16-18]
At the ACNEM IN Conference in 2020 Dr. Richard Horowitz gave a detailed description of the pathophysiology of severe COVID-19 infection and outlined the similarities between the cytokine storm that occurs in both COVID infected patients and many patients with Lyme disease and chronic fatigue-type syndromes.  As well as outlining the details of cellular pathways and the innate and adaptive immune responses involved, he provided a practical management protocol based on well- researched supportive nutrients that boost immunity, enhance endogenous antioxidant systems and lower inflammation.
Horowitz urged us to reconsider the "one cause one disease model" and emphasized the need to transform the health system by making a paradigm shift to a new "multifactorial model of chronic disease". This model appreciates that there are multiple causes of dysbiosis resulting in immune dysregulation and chronic inflammation. that result in a variety of downstream "disease" effects specific to each individual. He concluded by saying that by identifying and treating the root causes of the chronic disease epidemic we will be able to advance the health-care system, lower costs and improve the quality of care.
The body's response to vaccines
The recent RNA vaccines do not always produce the effects they were supposed to when first developed. Covid-19 vaccines can and have caused disease. [20, 21] But in addition, they are to a large degree specific to the epitopes (the specific binding sites) on the proteins they express -- and cannot protect against other related virus variants that instead express different protein epitopes. That is the job of the empowered immune system, which continually generates new antibodies that can protect against other new virus variants. This function, of course, depends upon adequate levels of the essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals) that the immune system requires. Naturally-acquired immunity is generally more long-lasting than immunity generated by vaccination.  And vaccination can allow break-through variant infections, in which some vaccinated individuals become super-spreaders. 
Public health: enhance the immune response in the population as a whole
Because vaccinations can cause harm and are not able to reliably protect individuals against new virus variants, it seems likely that a different policy is needed for medical authorities to protect the public. Since adequate doses of supplements can prevent or attenuate severe virus symptoms and disease, quite likely a limited vaccination campaign would be greatly enhanced by a comprehensive education about and distribution of the essential nutrients that are most helpful in preventing new virus variants from taking hold. Supplements of vitamin Bs, C, D, with magnesium, zinc and selenium, along with well-tested advice about a diet that maintains health without causing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, or arthritis, would help people world-wide to develop natural immunity without severe viral disease such as Covid-19-asscociated pneumonia. [5-18] In particular, vitamin D stands as a single predictive marker of the likelihood of contracting Covid, for hospitalization and of severity. 
The Doctors Who Have Been Attacked:
Dr. Valerie Peers has been a GP Obstetrician for 45 years and a GP only for the last five years. Her qualifications are MBBS 1967 and DRANZCOG 1973. She has operated her clinic since 1973 and had local hospital appointments until the early 2000s. Then she did limited part-time Obstetrics at a regional hospital for 14 yrs. Her general practice covers a wide range of interests, with women's health, mental health & sports medicine center stage. She also does office surgery.
She was suspended under AHPRA on the fourth of November 2021 as a danger to public health because she was issuing vaccine exemptions to distressed workers who were seriously impacted by the inhumane mandates decreed by the Victorian premier in late September 2021.
All exemptions were issued for a temporary period on the appropriate IM011 Medicare forms for acute medical illness except for a number with a history of vaccine anaphylaxis, and these were permanent exemptions.
AHPRA alleged all exemptions were fraudulent and without due process. Therefore, the doctor had 12-24 hours to submit a defense to an 11-page letter and 250 attachments.
The Department of Health then issued three hefty fines for no QR code, despite successful quarantines at the clinic.
The fines were $1817 each for no QR code on two dates 2 weeks apart, & refusing to submit unredacted files to an authorized officer for the Health Care Complaints Commission.
Since confidential medical files had been demanded, she redacted them to protect patient information.
Because of this, a prohibition order was placed on the clinic for two months. The two-month prohibition order was related to no Covid-safe plan in writing, despite a record of low case numbers during Covid and two well-managed quarantines.
It was lifted the day after the VCAT hearing, she suspects, by design, to smear her name. VCAT operates as a government echo chamber. Lip service was given to her defense. No evidence was shown for the ruling as a threat to public trust in the medical profession, but she declined to pay all fines & later, they were all lifted.
Dr. Sally Price has had a practice over more than 30 years, including over 20 years in functional, nutritional and lifestyle medicine. She has three fellowships which are FRACGP, FACNEM, and FASLM.
An anonymous social media follower, not a patient, objected to some social media posts and created an AHPRA complaint. This person was not harmed by the posts. This follower was perfectly able to "unfollow" but evidently did not. Instead of AHPRA viewing this as a vexatious complaint, they opened up a case against Sally. This was despite her pristine record over the 30-year practice. As a result, she had to defend herself to AHPRA using her indemnity organisation, and undertake 10 hours of "re-education."
This demonstrated to her, via the AMA code of ethics, that warning people about a health threat or red flags of problems in the community as well as wastage of funds by the government were actually valid ethical actions according to the AMA code of ethics.
The investigation burned her out, and she elected to take some time off from medicine; 3-6 months off was planned.
During her time out, with the help of psychologists and her own investigation, she discerned that the AHPRA position statement made it literally impossible to both follow the Code of Ethics for doctors as well as abide by AHPRA position statement. This then puts a doctor in a double bind - unable to follow the code of ethics and threatened with action from AHPRA. Hence this amounts to Moral Injury, by making it impossible to practice with integrity.
The AHPRA position statement suggests that the only science is AHPRA approved science, that patients should be treated en mass, and forced into compliance with the "biggest human experiment ever." However, it seems impossible to provide informed consent when gagged by the position statement. Hence all vaccinations given by any doctors could be seen as assault & battery - in regards to lack of informed consent - since consent is impossible in an experiment for which long term outcomes are still being evaluated. A 17 % uptick in deaths from all causes, mostly "unexplained," and concerning trends in infertility doesn't bode well for the experiment.
Besides assault and battery, doctors would not be following the code of ethics if they did not refuse to vaccinate anyone who was under coercive control by their source of employment or the government into accepting the "treatment." The AHPRA statement threatens doctors doing anything outside of its guidelines.
Dr. Price is deeply concerned re the loss of freedom of speech of doctors and the current trauma experienced by the public, created by the government. Due to her moral injury she has found it impossible to return to work under AHPRA regulation which makes it impossible to work ethically with compassion.
Dr. Philip Stowell comes from a family of four doctors over three generations, and has been working as a GP for almost 45 years in the United Kingdom, Algeria, and Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. Despite his love of medical practice he felt impelled to surrender his registration at the end of the year because he was left dumbfounded, ashamed of, and questioning the sanity and motivation of the authorities, agencies, politicians, and leaders of his profession. He believes that they have all neglected their honour bound duties. He believes that they have behaved in ways that have destroyed the main tenet of democracy, freedom of speech, and have severely attacked the freedom of clinical medical practice, particularly over the past two and a half years. Individual doctors appear to have forgotten or have devalued 'Primum no nocere' ("first, do no harm"). Their readiness to kowtow to what is obviously global propaganda is embarrassing on one hand and shameful on the other.
He does not believe in the current medical paradigm. He feels the profession has sold out its honor and integrity to vested interests and hence his retirement.
Dr. Robyn Cosford is an integrative medical practitioner of 35 years with an honors degree in medicine. She was also a researcher at the University of Newcastle School of Biological Sciences and a conjoint lecturer.
She's a lifetime member, lecturer, and fellow of the Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine and fellow and life member of the Australian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
She has been investigated on three occasions by the system, first because her consultation profile was atypical: she did long patient consultations. This was passed on the basis that most of her patients were not local, and following examination of the files, it was acknowledged that she did take detailed histories.
The second investigation was triggered by a complaint from another GP regarding whether continued antibiotics were necessary for a male child who was asymptomatic after a new urinary infection, where the new urine test was clear. She was supported in her approach by a local pediatrician and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
Despite showing that her approach was correct, she was reprimanded by AHPRA.
On the final occasion, a doctor filed a complaint regarding a child whose mother had refused a tetanus injection. The mother had given Robyn 's name as the treating doctor. She was accused of being a danger to the public by advising the mother not to vaccinate her children. This was proven untrue: the children had not been her patients, and the children were already unvaccinated when the mother became a patient. Robyn was also providing scheduled vaccination at her clinic.
Despite being cleared of the invalid accusation, AHPRA referred her to the Medical Board, who undertook a 'fishing expedition' whereby they took 30 patient records of their choosing from her clinic, apparently looking for evidence to reprimand her. She also underwent an oral examination by them, but they could not find evidence of wrongdoing.
The Medical Board still stated they wanted to keep an eye on her and still access and review her on an ongoing basis. She was notified that she would be reviewed in 12 months time and that she had to computerize her system in the interim so that her files could be accessed remotely.
As a result of the COVID debacle, she has decided to resign rather than have further problems with AHPRA or the Medical Board. She now does (unpaid) lecturing and videos, and serves on numerous committees.
Dr Robert Brennan had a career as a government psychiatric medical officer, always in good standing with AHPRA before the pandemic. He was suspended from practice for approximately nine months following his promotion of a mid-2021 open letter criticizing government health policy, including the ethics and effectiveness of lockdowns and masks and the claim that the vaccine was "safe and effective." The letter went to great pains in stating he was not "antivax" and that vaccines, in the general sense, have been helpful in other contexts.
The position was simply that the Covid vaccine rollout was made without due diligence and open debate. The complainants statements were uncritically taken as of value in the proceedings that followed.
In suspending Robert, NSW medical board referred to the AHPRA position statement that questioning the government health policy was the grounds for disciplinary action and referral to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission. Although his registration was restored, the suspension caused irreparable damage to Robert's career.
Despite this, he does not regret the public stance he has taken.
And I, Dr. Michael Watson was suspended for Facebook posts that I put up between 2018 and 2019. I was concerned about the well-being of the community. My posts included criticisms of the medical system, iatrogenesis, dealing with the side effects of drugs and vaccines, and the problems caused to patients by hospital treatment. Apparently, AHPRA considered the use of vitamin C and D to help treat any viral infection as sacrilegious! I was concerned about the pros and cons of chemotherapy, late term abortion, euthanasia and matters concerning the "cancel culture." I have excellent references from doctors, and practice managers and nurses who have worked with me over the past several years, as well as from my patients.
One of the reasons I was suspended was apparently because I criticized Big Pharma and was concerned about the degree of persecution doctors had already suffered from AHPRA. If any doctor dares to give a personal professional opinion about matters that they think that the Australian public needs to know and need to be warned about, AHPRA comes down on them.
I didn't say anything wrong or attack in any way any members of the community. I have an unblemished record in general medical practice, with no harm to any patient or any adverse report from any known patient in my almost fifty years in medical general practice!
Despite this I was considered to be a danger to the public and my crime was defined as worse than striking a patient.
In early 2020, I was processed under an AHPRA medical immediate action and I was assumed to be guilty and then instructed to apply to the tribunal to prove my innocence. I was advised by my medical defense organization to appeal at VCAT.
A few months later in 2020 at VCAT, (a kangaroo court) I was attacked viciously by the barrister. I was considered to be guilty. VCAT acted as respondent and I was the criminal already accused and I had to prove myself to be innocent.
I've been suspended for 30 months so far. This is similar to deregistration because I have been unable to earn money and have been in a situation where I have been forbidden to practice in any health situation.
This has been an intrusion into my doctor patient relationship. My mission in life is to help people and to help patients and I have been prevented from doing that because of expressing opinions which have no effect on my patients' health or well-being. In fact, the people I was talking to on my Facebook pages were not my patients and were under the headings of peace organizations.
I am now in limbo, with no due process for months on end. This is equivalent to deregistration.
These motives by AHPRA seem purely political, because evidently they do not want me to express any opinion that might go against their political code, guidelines and position statement. This amounts to an abuse of human rights and abuse of privilege by AHPRA.
The way I have been treated is demeaning and disgraceful. An accused criminal has more rights in law than an accused doctor. I have been presumed guilty until proven innocent. AHPRA seems to have a complete lack of transparency and honesty.
I have been used as an example to other doctors.
There has to be more freedom in medical practice, and AHPRA has to be completely reviewed so that they stop their bullying and harassment of doctors causing indescribable suffering, even some physicians committing suicide.
(Editor's Note: To provide him with a measure of protection from further persecution, Michael Watson, MD is not the actual name of the author of this article. That man, who is indeed a highly experienced Australian physician, is just as described. He has been barred from practice for over two and one half years.)
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