Committees – Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee – Reference, 27 March 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (17:48): I thank Senator Malcolm Roberts for this motion. Obviously I rise here in this place today to support the motion. I too spoke in my maiden speech about the ever-encroaching United Nations WHO and all their sister organisations. During the 2020 election campaign, the UAP brought to the people of Australia a serious concern. That concern of course was the ever-encroaching—the ever-growing—power of the WHO. Specifically, we sounded the alarm on the pandemic treaty. We did our best to get our warning out to the public. We allocated significant resources to an education campaign around the proposed treaty, which was swiftly dismissed by the majority of people here in this place and by the legacy media as just another conspiracy theory, just more misinformation, even though our nation was already heavily entangled in the early stages of this treaty via the intergovernmental negotiating body. Just another conspiracy theory, they said. Well, it’s now unfolding right before our very eyes. Not a conspiracy theory anymore, is it? It is up to us in this place to ensure that our nation’s interests are protected from any agreement which could impact the autonomy of our people and, of course, our nation and our sovereignty. It must be protected.

What have the past three years taught us? I’ll tell you what they’ve taught us. They taught us that secrecy and lack of disclosure erodes trust and produces poor outcomes. Like I keep saying in this place over and over again, we need transparency. The Australian people were shielded from the truth when they voted in 2022, and we must do all that we can to ensure that no treaty is signed off until the people have their chance to look at the issue and properly dissect and understand the implications. What have we learnt from the pandemic? We’ve learnt that transparency and accountability is the best way forward. That’s what we learnt from that. As Senator Roberts mentioned, and I’ll quote again, even Elon Musk tweeted just last week in response to a speech by Senator Roberts:

Countries should not cede authority to WHO.

I ask all of you here one question: who should control or guide our government response to the next health emergency? Should it be the WHO, an unelected international body with no accountability, or should it be the Australian people? Should it be us, democratically elected here in this place to serve the people? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course it should be us.

The Department of Health and Aged Care website states:

Once the new instrument has been finalised, the Australian Government will make a decision on whether to agree to it. Changes to the International Health Regulations may create new international legal obligations for Australia.

I urge everyone here in this place to consider the second sentence carefully. We must understand what the WHO wants to achieve, and we must ask our constituents if they are comfortable letting a foreign, unelected bureaucracy potentially take the wheel next time there is a public health emergency. I was elected to this place because the people of Victoria disapproved of the last pandemic response. Never again can we allow basic inalienable human rights to be tossed to the side. Never again can we threaten livelihoods, close borders, grant indemnity to big pharma or break up families. We must learn from our mistakes and not off-load our responsibility to unaccountable and, in my opinion, easily corruptible foreign bodies.

I’ll give you some examples. Bill Gates was the second-highest donor to the WHO in 2020-21, the start of the pandemic. Greater even than the United States, Germany was the highest, with US$751 million donated. In addition to this, the Vaccine Alliance, which Bill Gates created in 1999, has donated US$1.5 billion from 2016 to 2020. They also donated $452 million to the WHO in 2020-21. Basically, foundations supported or funded by Bill Gates donated in total over US$1 billion to the WHO in 2020-21. Gates said in 2010, in the now infamous Ted talk, that if we do a good job on vaccines we can reduce the world’s population by 1.5 billion or so. I’ll be clear and I will say that that comment may have been taken out of context, but it makes you wonder: is he all about promoting vaccines no matter the cost?

Senator Roberts: That he makes.

Senator BABET: That he makes—vaccines that he makes. Thank you, Senator Roberts. Now, Gates is also quoted as saying—this is what he has said—that he gets a 20-to-one return on any investment he makes on vaccines. Doesn’t that make you wonder what he’s up to, the guy who funds the WHO? Isn’t that enough to make you say, ‘Hang on a sec: maybe we should look at this’? I, for one, am opposed to the WHO pandemic treaty, and millions of Australians stand with me. Just like the lyrics to that famous song from the band the Who, ‘I’ll get on my knees and pray we don’t get fooled again.’ Thank you