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Parliamentary opposition in Australia to WHO expansion of powers

Source: TKP.at, Thomas Oysmüller, 15 May 2024

A parliamentary cross-front is calling on the Australian government to reconsider its approval of the pandemic treaty and WHO reform.

There is resistance around the world to the new WHO treaties, which are due to be signed at the end of May. In Australia, 14 members of parliament have also written to the Prime Minister calling for Australia to reject the pandemic treaty and the new international health regulations.

Independence under threat

While it is said that criticism of the WHO plans is “conspiracy mongering”, official politicians around the world see it differently: whether the government of Slovakia, “Mr Brexit” Nigel Farage, 49 senators in the USA or now 14 top politicians in Australia – and that’s just a list from the “global North” – read more here.

The fourteen Australian senators and MPs express their “deep concern” to the Prime Minister as the government claims that the pandemic treaty and changes to the International Health Regulations (IHR) are “necessary to prevent future pandemics and other international health crises”.

However, the 14 May text sees the WHO plans as “posing a significant threat to Australia’s autonomy and independence on the global stage”.

The letter, which was signed by both “left-wing” and “right-wing” members of the opposition, continues:

“If the WHO treaties are adopted and implemented into Australian law, the World Health Organisation will have an unacceptable level of authority, power and influence over Australian affairs under the guise of declaring ’emergencies’.”

Opposition members tell the Prime Minister that they have received a large number of letters from concerned Australians and their concerns are absolutely justified. The planned WHO reform would transform the UN specialised agency from a consultative organisation into a supranational health authority.

Australian journalist Rebekah Barnett writes on her blog:

The letter also points out that the upcoming vote on the reforms later this month violates the WHO’s own guidelines. The final IHR amendments are to be circulated four months before the vote to give the 194 member states time to consider them (Annex 2, Article 55). However, the updated versions of the IHR amendments submitted in April 2024 were still at the draft stage and were still being negotiated by the working group last week.

This means that, contrary to WHO guidelines, member states have still not received the final versions of the documents and have only a few weeks to consider how the complex changes interact with the proposed WHO pandemic treaty and national law before voting at the WHA, which is due to take place from 27 May to 1 June.

“We urge the government to reject the IHR amendments and the WHO pandemic treaty at the 77th World Health Assembly,” the letter clearly states.

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