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Massive censorship of federal Covid Inquiry responses, only 15 per cent visible to public



By Kurt Mahlburg, Daily Declaration


Among the 477 censored submissions was the Canberra Declaration’s lengthy report, which included whistleblower testimonies from Indigenous Australians who reported severe human rights abuses during the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.


Almost 500 submissions to a key Senate inquiry into COVID-19 abuses have been censored by the committee overseeing the probe.


Opened in October last year, the COVID-19 Royal Commission Terms of Reference Inquiry had promised to “allow all affected stakeholders to be heard”.


However, months after the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee produced its report, 477 of the 559 submissions made by members of the public have not been made available on the committee’s official website.


The trove of hidden submissions represents 85 per cent of the volume received by the committee.


Over 30 per cent of the submissions have been concealed entirely, with even the name of the submitting organisation or individual labelled “confidential”.


The Parliament of Australia website contains no evidence that those 173 submissions were ever made


Only 82 of the submissions—or less than 15 per cent presented to the committee—are visible to the Australian public.


Among the blacklisted submissions is the Canberra Declaration’s 40-page report, which included whistleblower testimonies from Indigenous Australians (below) who reported severe human rights abuses in remote communities during the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.


Submission Decrying Censorship Censored


Canberra Declaration co-founder Warwick Marsh has labelled the suppression of the documents “unprecedented”.


“I have been making submissions to parliamentary inquiries for over two decades, and in my experience, this censorship is unprecedented,” he told The Daily Declaration.


“It is an affront to all Australians that a committee tasked with probing the government abuses that took place during the Covid era would censor organisations like ours seeking to draw attention to those abuses.”


“Ironically, one of the abuses we decried was censorship itself,” Mr Marsh added. “What was in our submission that the committee wanted hidden from the public?”


The committee’s report, published in April, made no reference to the Canberra Declaration’s 17,500-word submission.


In email correspondence, Senior Research Officer Mervyn Piesse told The Daily Declaration that “the committee decided to accept the submission from  [the] Canberra Declaration confidentially” and “accept but not publish it”.


However, the Canberra Declaration has confirmed that they specifically requested the committee to make their submission available to the public.


The Daily Declaration has also reached out to Senator Paul Scarr, who chaired the inquiry and is seeking further information about the committee’s suppression of public submissions.


Transparency Declining in Canberra: Report


Australia has formally committed to promoting transparency and accountability in governance through a raft of international treaties, including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Open Government Partnership.


However, according to a report published last year by the Centre for Public Integrity, the Australian government is currently accelerating in the opposite direction.


“One of the most powerful tools for accessing government information is the Senate’s ability to order the production of documents,” begins the report, titled ‘Shrouded in Secrecy’.


However, “Senate production compliance rates have fallen from 92 per cent in 1993-96, to 20 per cent for the current Parliament,” its authors warn.


“The use of potentially bogus unilateral ‘public interest immunity’ claims to protect government documents from production in the Senate has rapidly increased under the current Albanese Government — averaging almost one claim per week compared to one every three weeks under the Morrison Government.”


A representative from the committee overseeing the COVID-19 Royal Commission Terms of Reference Inquiry has said they are “not authorised” to explain why hundreds of submissions into the inquiry were censored.


The Daily Declaration is awaiting answers as to why the committee declined to publish the Canberra Declaration’s submission with names and other sensitive details redacted, if such sensitivities were the pretext for the document’s suppression.


“Should they want to redact some of the witnesses’ details, that is okay,” Warwick Marsh told The Daily Declaration.


However, he also noted that the two Indigenous Australians whose whistleblower testimonies appeared in the Canberra Declaration’s submission were also co-signatories on that submission, and willing for their details to be made public.


‘Everyone Was Scared Into Getting the Needle’


Among the Indigenous whistleblower testimonies published in the Canberra Declaration’s submission was that of Professor Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu an elder from the Northern Territory community of Lajamanu and an Honorary Professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. His first-hand account is published below in full.


When Covid came, police came and they knew how to scare the Warlpiri people. Many doctors came. They knew that if they could get my father, the senior elder, to get the needle, then everyone else would get the needle too.


And that is what happened; it worked. Some younger people were scaring the living daylights out of people saying that if you did not get the needle, then you would not be allowed to go out, buy food or eat. Emergency rations were given out to make the whole thing seem like a serious emergency.


A well-known doctor put in place strategies, along with the police, to scare the people. The roads were blocked. Those of us who wanted to go to our outstation to get away from the danger were threatened with a $10,000 fine. The place was like it was invaded by an army made up of doctors and police.


People were lined up like a prisoner-of-war camp. If you were found to be Covid-19 positive, then you were taken away from the community and put in a quarantine camp in Howard Springs (over 800 kilometres away) near Darwin for two weeks. A relative of mine had no symptoms. His test came up positive. He was taken to the prison camp for two weeks. During the two weeks he did not develop any symptoms.


I asked the people in charge about how we knew that the community had Covid-19. I was told that it was in the sewerage water. Later, I made inquiries, and the people who looked after the sewerage treatment plant said that no one got samples of the sewerage water. It was all lies that they told us.


Since the roll-out of the Covid-19 injections, cruel lies based on lies have consequences that are now coming out in the open. Everyone was scared into getting the needle, and now people from lots of communities are suffering heart disease, miscarriage, stroke and cancer. Some of the men who were close to me are now dead.


I feel that they were not ready to go. The community needs them. Once you get the Covid-19 injection, you have to live with the consequences of the jab. One of my best mates and my brother passed away after getting the jab. Some of these who have died, died young. My young uncle is dying. My grandson’s grandmother is dying. We expect more of them to die later on.


The whole thing was on purpose and was a deception. The community was frightened by evil ways that were disguised as a health thing. The government deceived us, using the medical profession and the police. These evil people need to be stopped. They frightened the community into something so much so that we feel there is no hope for us now. Our only hope is the Christian gospel. The Covid-19 government response and injection roll-out was very cruel to our young people.


They must never be allowed to do this again.


‘Before the Injections, They Were Fit and Healthy’


Gloria Watkins is another Indigenous Australian whose testimony appeared in the Canberra Declaration’s submission. She wrote:


My name is Gloria Watkins. I am a Noongar woman from the south of Western Australia.

During the injection rollout, I endured many difficulties in my family life. My husband Martin had to have the jab due to his work obligations. If he didn’t get it, we would have lost our home. I was opposed to the injection and the mandates, and I began resenting my husband for going along with it. It was a conflict that nearly destroyed our marriage.


My son Martin (Jnr) had to have three injections due to working FIFO. He didn’t want to, but he had no choice because he might have lost his home also. Since having the injections, he has suffered mental illness and still today is suffering. He has since lost his job and is finding it hard to find other work. In the end, he might lose his home anyway.


My mother, cousins and uncle all took three injections, and since that time they have each had strokes and been in and out of hospital. My cousins have had numerous strokes and heart attacks as a result of the jabs. One of my cousins is still in hospital and we are not sure when he will be out. They are all now paralysed and have speech problems. Before the injections, they all were perfectly fit and healthy.


I also know of other Aboriginal people who have had strokes and/or heart attacks and have died. Our governments have a lot to answer to, and I pray something is done about this.

Speaking on behalf of the Canberra Declaration, Warwick Marsh expressed thanks to Senator Paul Scarr for the committee’s final report, whose recommendations and terms of reference he labeled “robust”.


However, Mr Marsh told The Daily Declaration that “it is important we get to the bottom of this”.


“What is really sad is that they are censoring Indigenous voices in this matter,” he lamented.

“So much for the Voice.”


Read the Canberra Declaration’s full 17,500-word submission here.


CLARIFICATION: The inquiry in view above is the COVID-19 Royal Commission Terms of Reference Inquiry, not to be confused with the similarly-named COVID-19 Response Inquiry.

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