Stand with Dr David van Gend: Stop the Medical Board from regulating free speech

Petition to Minister for Health Greg Hunt

 

Stand with Dr David van Gend: Stop the Medical Board from regulating free speech

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2,958 people have signed. Help us reach 5,000 signatures.

Stand with Dr David van Gend: Stop the Medical Board from regulating free speech

The Medical Board of Australia's proposed new Code of Conduct for Australian Doctors will give them unprecedented control over doctors’ private and political opinions. 

The Medical Board already has the power to deregister and prosecute doctors who are a danger to the public, but the new Code will extend this power well beyond the hospital and into the home— applying it to doctor’s private social media accounts. 

Already, we have seen the Board’s overreach with their current investigation of Queensland GP, Dr David van Gend, whose “offence” was to retweet a Senate candidate who objected to radical gender ideology being taught in school.

As reported by Miranda Devine in the Daily Telegraph, July 27th;

"The prosecutorial arm of the Medical Board of Australia, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) alleges van Gend may be guilty of 'discriminatory conduct' for twice retweeting Australian Conservatives candidate Lyle Shelton in April … Van Gend, a conservative Christian, retweeted these tweets without comment. That is the sum total of his offending … Three months later, he received the ominous 'notification about your conduct' from AHPRA."

Dr van Gend said, “The Board must not be allowed to give itself extra powers to censor and intimidate doctors who do not share its worldview.”

Devine warns that the “Orwellian revision” of the Code will “use the threat of deregistration to silence dissenting doctors who speak out — or even silently retweet — on contentious topics from euthanasia to gender reassignment in children.”

The Medical Board is not a Censorship Board. This is a clear overreach of the Board’s authority and will only serve to politicise and weaponise the health profession’s regulating body.

One passage of concern to doctors is Section 2.1 of the draft Code, which says the boundary between public and private is “blurred”:

"As a doctor, you need to acknowledge and consider the effect of your comments and actions outside work, including online, on your professional standing and on the reputation of the profession … Behaviour which could undermine community trust in the profession … may be considered unprofessional."

This gives the Board new power to harass doctors whose private political and moral opinions, in the subjective view of the Board, undermine “community trust” and “the reputation of the profession”.

Citizens who are doctors should be able to participate in public issues without fear of losing their livelihoods. 

Dr van Gend urges the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, to tell the Medical Board to stick to “regulating the medical competence of doctors, not their political correctness”.

Let’s stand with him and stand for free speech.

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Stop the Medical Board regulating doctors' free speech

Dear Minister Greg Hunt, MP

I am writing to you out of concern for the Medical Board of Australia's proposed new Code of Conduct for Australian Doctors.

Of particular concern is section 2.1 which states that:

“The boundary between a doctor’s personal and public profile can be blurred ... Behaviour which could undermine community trust in the profession … may be considered unprofessional."

With this clause, health care professionals could face losing their registration, or worse, for making comments on contentious social issues on private social media accounts.

It is, of course, important to foster safe communities but extending the Medical Board's authority to regulate doctors' personal social media accounts is not the way to do it.

Instead, it allows the Medical Board to be used as a political weapon against health care professionals. 

This is a clear infringement of freedom of speech and may leave health care professionals vulnerable to targeted attack from activists.

Please, I urge you to step in and block the Medical Board from this overreach in their proposed Code of Conduct.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Stand with Dr David van Gend: Stop the Medical Board from regulating free speech

Sign this petition now!

05,000
  2,958
 
2,958 people have signed. Help us reach 5,000 signatures.