By Michael Giles

MONASH MP Russell Broadbent isn’t vaccinated, and he doesn’t intend to get vaccinated “not with the vaccines presently available”.

And he says he’s neither encouraging nor discouraging his constituents to get vaccinated.

“It’s a personal choice,” he says.

In reality, though, as our highest-ranking public representative, he’s leading by example.

But it’s the wrong example if you take the word of leading Australian infectious diseases expert, Professor Sharon Lewin, the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. And as a much more credible authority on the subject, you’re bound to take her advice over Mr Broadbent and get vaccinated.

An infectious diseases physician and a Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne, Prof Lewin said today that the most important thing members of the community can do to combat COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.

She was commenting on Melbourne’s worrying spike of 1438 new locally acquired cases on Thursday, September 30, up 50% on the previous day’s 941 cases.

“As an example of the difference vaccination makes, 93% of Victoria’s 1438 cases were not vaccinated,” Professor Lewin said, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow.

Notwithstanding what the vast majority of medical experts say, Mr Broadbent revealed why he’s not getting vaccinated, despite being 70 years-of-age and potentially at high risk from COVID-19, in one of his regular videos in the subject, “Overcoming Fear”, published on his Facebook page recently.

“I’m uncomfortable with mass vaccination of the population, with the vaccine that is, according to Minister Hunt, being trialed across the world,” Mr Broadbent said.

“We have no knowledge of the side effects until they present themselves, and of course no idea about the long-term ramifications.

“The producers of the vaccines obviously share my discomfort because they are indemnified, that is, no one can sue them for unseen outcomes.”

But he denies that he’s an anti-vaxxer.

“How can a person whose had all the other vaccinations; the tetanus, Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Polio, flu and all the rest be called an anti-vaxxer?”

But this crop of vaccines, he says, are still being trialled.

“They’re different, they won’t be approved until 2023.”

Mr Broadbent also says there hasn’t been enough emphasis placed on a promising range of treatments. He’s especially interested in an Australian pioneered nasal spray, presently in trial.

He says he’s only asking the questions that many of his constituents want to ask.

That the COVID-response strategy should be robust enough for genuine debate,

In his video, he says he’s against mass vaccination.

He’s against vaccine passports, that is, the developing ‘no jab, no entry rules’, saying they’ll lead to public unrest.

And he’s against mandatory vaccination, especially as a condition of employment.

But how many people, given that the Canberra community will push past the 90% first dose mark at the weekend, for ages 12 and over, are really against getting vaccinated?

What, is it 5%, or less?

The Australian Government has listed the following as benefits of getting vaccinated:

* Protecting yourself against severe illness and death from COVID-19

* Preventing complications such as ‘long COVID’

* Protecting people who can’t be vaccinated due to medical conditions

* Protecting children while research continues to test the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people under the age of 12

* Slowing the spread of the virus

* Keeping hospitalisation rates at a level our health system can cope with

* Reducing the need for lockdowns in the future, when enough Australians are vaccinated

* Being able to attend events and travel in the future.

Despite saying his video is “authorised by Russell Broadbent Liberal Party Warragul”, he apparently doesn’t subscribe to these points made by his government.

Here’s how some people have responded to Mr Broadbent’s spiel:

  • Bruce Gillard: It was 66 years from the first powered flight by man to the moon landing. It is 66 years since the polio vaccination started. Technology has moved exponentially since then. Thousands of people will shortly be clogging our hospitals because of their ‘freedom to choose’. They did not have a choice to have the polio vaccine, drink drive, wear a seatbelt, wear a helmet, drive dangerously etc. Risk mitigation is the responsibility of all members of the community. Vaccination will be mandatory across the community because insurance companies will not wish to pay for the risk of people dying from COVID caught at work, the pub, at a sporting event, a concert, etc. It is disappointing that you, Russell Broadband MP, cannot stand up for your community, like Pope Francis: “Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good, and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable”.
  • Jan Moody: Agree 100% Russell. Thank you for speaking against the narrative.
  • Jennifer Knoll: Open conversation always achieves a positive outcome, unlike Dan Andrews who is basically dictating to the people of Victoria.
  • Tenby Pete: Not quite as outspoken as your LNP colleague for the Philippines, but getting perilously close.

Here is the link to Mr Broadbent’s video: https://www.facebook.com/russell.broadbent.94/videos/588499302273452/

See also a full transcript of the controversial video below:

What Russell Broadbent had to say

Here is a transcript from Mr Broadbent’s latest video, with some responses posted (above) from his website:

It seems of late that if you question the status quo around vaccinations, you are deemed to be part of the radical fringe of society. Australians do question things, especially authority, always have, always will. You know of my questions regarding vaccines, vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations. If you don’t, this is where I stay:

(1.) I’m uncomfortable with mass vaccination of the population, with the vaccine that is, according to Minister Hunt, being trialled across the world. We have no knowledge of the side effects until they present themselves, and of course no idea about the long-term ramifications. The producers of the vaccines obviously share my discomfort because they are indemnified, that is, no one can sue them for unseen outcomes.

(2.) I’m concerned about the vaccine passports, which will split this nation in two. If passports are imposed, just wait to see the effect on families, workplaces and neighbourhoods. It might seem an obvious solution now, but the division which separates loved ones and fractures society will be devastating. Those who choose not to be vaccinated pay the price. Some giving up their careers, others facing separation from family and other loved ones. It appears they’re not just a handful of people, and many of them are otherwise fully vaccinated.

(3.) Mandatory vaccinations. There are a range of views on how to manage the COVID virus. While I can understand why mandatory vaccination may seem an obvious path to follow, is it making a difference hopeful. Vaccination may give protection against a more severe case of COVID, but it doesn’t stop you from getting COVID or passing it on. And what about the variants, the variants to come. Is it time to reflect, at least reflect?

We seem to be following one path only without looking at other possible avenues of prevention and treatment. Why are we scared to look more broadly to ask the question, and then have the discussion?

I know the pandemic frightens people, but that should not stop us asking any question we want to ask. In fact, it should drive us to seek answers. Fear corrodes one’s health, COVID Or no COVID. It’s not helpful to label those who have different views ratbags. We need to engage in honest discussion about why people are choosing not to be vaccinated, including members of the health profession, and some members of the teaching provision I’ve just learned.

Wherever the nation is here and on these issues. it’s important that we put our relationships before divisions that this issue is causing. This is a time, if ever there was a time, to respect our differences be it friend, family, neighbour, work colleague, politician, and have the courage to ask the hard questions, and use this situation to help us mature as a compassionate and empathetic people who choose to move beyond fear. That’s just as I see it.

Authorised by Russell Broadbent Liberal Party Warragul.