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Immigration Minister acknowledges defamatory petition about RFK Jr

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Petitioner Rod Cook – extremist mandatory vaccination and anti-free speech activist

It has come to our attention that a defamatory petition about Robert F. Kennedy Jr (RFK Jr), signed by only four people, has been tabled in the federal parliament, and received acknowledgement by the Minister for Immigration, the Hon. David Coleman.

The petition, which closed for signatures on 24 August 2019, states:

In July, Robert F Kennedy jr, AntiVax advocate is planning on visiting Australia and holding a public seminar on July 5 in Brisbane. We hereby ask the honourable parliament of Australia to deny Mr Kennedy jr’s access to Australia, to promote this public health attack on vaccines and vaccinations. It is clear that Australia is at the forefront in the world regarding healthcare and disease prevention. The access for Mr Kennedy jr to spread an unscientific message that is Anti-Vaccine, not only flies in the face of current vaccine and medical science, but is promoting a concept that will potentially:
• cause more people to stop vaccinating
• cause more public health expenditure on outbreaks (such as the current USA Measles outbreak)
• diminish Australia’s goals for herd immunity
• bring back previously eradicated diseases in Australia.

We therefore ask the House to block access for Mr Robert F. Kennedy jr from entering Australia to spread fake news and pseudoscience.

Source: Petition EN0951 – A petition from Mr Rod Cook

The Minister for Immigration’s response, which was read out in parliament by the Chair of Standing Committee on Petitions, Mr Llew O’Brien MP on 02 December 2019, states:

Dear Mr O’Brien

Thank you for your correspondence of 9 September 2019 regarding petition EN0951 concerning Mr Robert F Kennedy Jr. I appreciate the time you have taken to bring this matter to my attention.

Due to privacy legislation, I cannot comment on the particulars of Mr Kennedy Jr’s case, however, I am able to provide information on the provisions of the character test under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act).

The Australian Government takes very seriously its role in protecting the Australian community from unacceptable risk of harm from criminal or other serious conduct by non-citizens. The Government supports freedom of speech and freedom of religious and political beliefs. However, the exercise of this freedom involves a responsibility to avoid vilification of, inciting discord in, or representing a danger to, the Australian community.

In cases where a person is assessed as representing a risk that they may vilify or incite discord, or otherwise represent a danger to the Australian community, the Department of Home Affairs must assess the level of risk and balance this against Australia’s well-established tradition of freedom of expression. Non-citizens who wish to enter or remain in Australia must meet the character requirements under section 501 of the Act. There are strong provisions under the Act to refuse or cancel a visa where a person is found not to be of good character.

Thank you for raising this matter.

Yours sincerely

David Coleman

08 November 2019

Source: Hansard – House of Representatives on 2/12/2019

For the record, the AVN is not aware of any planned visits to Australia by RFK Jr at this point.

Who is the petitioner Rod Cook?

Rod Cook is a garden-variety, extremist mandatory vaccination activist, who can be regularly seen on Twitter and Facebook, denigrating freedom of choice activists and pretending how ‘sciencey’ he is.  He has also been been associated with various fake Facebook troll pages, such as Judy Wilyman doctor of PhD arts & crafts, which Facebook refuses to take down, and is very close to Light for Riley.  A perusal of his Twitter followers shows some of the usual suspects associated with the anti-choice, anti-free speech movement, including none other than Dorit Reiss, Newscorp hack Jane Hansen, and a swag of Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) trolls.

Misuse of executive power

This isn’t the first time that anti-free speech activists have petitioned the Immigration Minister to deny entry to international professionals critical of the vaccination program.

In 2014, they attempted to prevent Dr Sherri Tenpenny from entering Australia by leaning on the Minister, however, before the Minister had made a decision on her visa, Dr Tenpenny was forced to cancel her tour due to threats, and concerns about her personal safety.

As most readers would also be aware, Polly Tommey, co-producer of the documentary film ‘Vaxxed’, which exposed scientific fraud within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, was subjected to an unlawful search by immigration officials, and her visa unlawfully cancelled, when she was leaving Australia in 2017.  This followed our hugely successful Vaxxed tour, at which she was a keynote speaker.

The cancellation of Ms Tommey’s visa meant that she was banned from entering any Commonwealth country for three years, leaving her with no choice but to appeal to the court. The Federal Circuit Court, which upheld her appeal, found that the decision to cancel her visa was affected by jurisdictional error, being the misapplication of s 116 (1)(e)(i) of the Migration Act, 1958 (Cth), as there was no evidence available to satisfy the delegate in finding that Ms Tommey would be a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community.

In a similar misuse of executive power, Joan Shenton, investigative journalist and producer of the award-winning documentary film ‘Sacrificial Virgins’, which exposed the dangers of HPV vaccination, was prevented from appearing at our 2018 ‘Sacrificial Virgins’ tour, due to an excessive delay in the processing and issue of her entry visa by immigration department officials. Ms Shenton was finally issued with an entry visa in September 2018, a month after our tour was over.

That’s about it for now – just off to create an anti-No Jab No Pay petition, which I will get my cat, dog and parrot to sign.

Surely this will be sufficient to get the attention of the Minister…

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