Why was Julie Bishop’s boyfriend on the floor of the United Nations, asks Labor

Dear Prime Minister,

Why Julie’s boyfriend sits next to her since he is not a government representative?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA


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Why was Julie Bishop’s boyfriend on the floor of the United Nations, asks Labor

Date -September 30, 2015 – 8:14AM – Latika Bourke

Foreign minister Julie Bishop meets with her counterparts in New York during talks focused on global security and humanitarian issues. Courtesy ABC News24.

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Labor is accusing Julie Bishop of not taking her job as chief diplomat seriously enough, after her boyfriend was photographed sitting next to her in the official Australian section at the UN General Assembly in New York.

But the Foreign Minister defended her decision, saying it was within her discretion to allow her partner, David Panton, to attend the UN session alongside her. Ms Bishop also said, through a spokeswoman, that she regularly invites “friends” and constituents onto the floor of the United Nations.

The Foreign Minister has discretion as to who is invited to General Assembly sessions and has in the past invited constituents and friends to sit with her.

Ms Bishop is in New York attending high-level talks at UN leaders week. World leaders including US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are also attending the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.

David Panton sits alongside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as Pope Francis speaks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

David Panton sits alongside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as Pope Francis speaks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York. Photo: Reuters

But a picture showing her partner, Mr Panton seated next to her at the Australian section of the assembly in New York has raised eyebrows back home in Canberra.

“This is an important week at the UN and it’s critical the government treats it with the seriousness it deserves,” Labor’s junior spokesman for Foreign Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite said on Monday.

“It’s up to the Foreign Minister to explain if this is appropriate.”

Ms Bishop and David Panton, pictured with Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year.

Ms Bishop and David Panton, pictured with Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year. Photo: Edwina Pickles

“If there’s a legitimate reason for this then it needs to be clarified,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Minister said Mr Panton was not part of the Minister’s official travelling party and paid for his own flights to the United States.

The United Nations Protocol and Liaison service says a member nation’s delegation “shall consist of no more than representatives and five alternate representatives and as many advisers”. The Chief of Protocol requests a list of names for any “personal guests” of the head of the delegation.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and David Panton at the Midwinter Ball at Parliament House in June.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and David Panton at the Midwinter Ball at Parliament House in June. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Further, the document says: “During the general debate, seating in the VIP section of the General Assembly Hall and the blue seats in the rear and balcony seating in the Hall are reserved for the use of delegations addressing the General Assembly at that time.”

But a spokeswoman for the Foreign Minister rebuffed Labor’s complaint.

“The Foreign Minister has discretion as to who is invited to General Assembly sessions and has in the past invited constituents and friends to sit with her,” the spokeswoman said.

A source familiar with UN gatherings told Fairfax Media the minister’s decision to include her partner and non-diplomatic staff at the official Australian section was highly unusual as it is traditionally an area for government and DFAT staffers only. 

They also questioned the general practice of allowing personal guests to attend sessions, saying it could potentially lead to seats being granted to political donors

They pointed out that when former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr visited the UN for Australia’s successful bid to sit on the UN Security Council, his wife Helena was seated in the public gallery.

In opposition, Ms Bishop attacked Mr Carr for including Mrs Carr on nearly a dozen official trips. Her trips were paid for by the taxpayer, costing $120,000.

At the time, Ms Bishop questioned how Mrs Carr’s attendance on overseas trips could advance Australia’s interests.

“It is not common practice for a foreign minister or a secretary of state to travel with a spouse for the business part of a visit,” Ms Bishop said in 2012.

“I guess what’s quite concerning is it is against the government’s own ministerial guidelines.”

“They specifically state as a general rule a minister should not be accompanied by their spouse on official overseas travel and they can only do it with the prime minister’s approval,” Ms Bishop said.

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Dear Prime Minister,

Our foreign minister has reaffirm a commitment Australia had made to bid to join in the United Nations Human Rights Council about human rights and if that is the case, we must close those detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island without delay.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA


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Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 28/09/2015

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

The recent cycle of violence in Australia’s offshore detention regime is continuing as another two refugees report being raped and their cases have prompted another former centre worker to reveal what she witnessed on Nauru.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Tonight, 7.30 can reveal that the recent cycle of violence in Australia’s offshore detention network continues with another two women coming forward to say they’ve been raped.

The pair of refugees now lives freely in Nauru after Australia refused to accept them.

7.30 has obtained a chilling recording made in the moments after one of the attacks.

These two women are just the latest victims of sexual assault on Nauru and their cases have prompted another former centre worker to risk prosecution in order to reveal what she witnessed on the island.

Hayden Cooper reports, and a warning: this story contains distressing material.

‘NAJMA’: Hello?

POLICE OFFICER: It’s the police.

NAJMA’: Where?

POLICE OFFICER: Where are you? We are outside the RPC3.

‘NAJMA’: No, um …

HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: It’s the middle of the night and this 26-year-old Somali woman is lost and distraught.

POLICE OFFICER: Can you see the police car yet?

‘NAJMA’: I can’t see. I’m inside, in the rock (cave).

POLICE OFFICER: Inside the rock?

‘NAJMA’: Yeah.

HAYDEN COOPER: She had just reported being raped by two Nauruan men. This is the moment that police came to find her.

‘NAJMA’: Please, this man is coming back.

HAYDEN COOPER: ‘Najma’, as we’ll call her, feared that the police would not believe her, so she filmed with one phone while calling for help with the other.

‘NAJMA’: I listen shout, ambulance. Please help me.

HAYDEN COOPER: Her ordeal is not an isolated case. In detention and in the community, the rape and sexual assault of asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru is not uncommon.

DANIELLE SERRANO, FORMER NAURU SOCIAL WORKER: It’s a very real threat, it’s a very real fear. I think it’s very serious.

DANIEL WEBB, HUMAN RIGHTS LAW CENTRE: It’s becoming clear that Nauru, both inside the detention centre and outside of it, is not a safe place for women and not a safe place for children.

HAYDEN COOPER: This is where refugees are settled in Nauru outside detention, the Nibok and Ewa camps. ‘Najma’ lives here. She filmed the place for 7.30.

‘NAJMA’ (subtitle translation): This is where the Australian Government has brought us. This is where we are kept.

HAYDEN COOPER: Although deemed a refugee, she’s been told she’ll stay on Nauru unless another country will take her.

‘NAJMA’ (subtitle translation): I’m a Somali girl. I was brought here to be safe, but I have no safety.

HAYDEN COOPER: On August 21st at about 6 pm, ‘Najma’ was out walking when she says she was dragged into the bushes by two masked Nauruan men. She says they raped her, hit her in the head and left her in a cave.

It took four hours for Nauruan police to arrive.

POLICE OFFICER: We, you go back to Camp 5. You see the light there.

HAYDEN COOPER: She was taken to hospital and provided this statement to police detailing the brutal incident. She says she’s heard nothing since.

‘NAJMA’ (subtitle translation): No-one is doing anything about it. That’s the problem we have here.

HAYDEN COOPER: 7.30 understands it’s not the only recent alleged sexual assault in the community. This is the medical file of another refugee who has reported being raped. It reveals she’s in the early stages of pregnancy. The woman wants to come to Australia to have an abortion.

Inside the detention centres, there are similar stories.

WOMAN: He comes inside and the door, I think we lock when we are sleeping and someone come inside as we are sleeping and he switch off the light.

DANIEL WEBB: We act for several women who’ve suffered sexual assaults on Nauru who’ve been returned to Australia for medical treatment. These are women of different ages with different histories from different parts of the world, but what they have in common is they are all absolutely terrified of being sent back to Nauru.

HAYDEN COOPER: Figures prepared for 7.30 reveal the extent of the sexual violence on Nauru, both in detention and in the community. At least 23 men, women and children say they have been raped or sexually abused. Most of them are now in detention facilities in Australia, but some have been sent back to Nauru. Not all victims reported their abuse to authorities.

So is the island a safe place to settle refugees?

DANIELLE SERRANO: I don’t believe so, no. No.

HAYDEN COOPER: Danielle Serrano is going public for the first time. A former case worker for Save the Children, she spent almost six months working on Nauru.

DANIELLE SERRANO: I did not feel like it was a safe environment to be out and about by myself and I certainly don’t think it’s a safe environment for vulnerable women and children.

HAYDEN COOPER: She reveals that the Immigration Department has its concerns about the safety of women on Nauru. It repeatedly warned staff not to travel around the island alone.

DANIELLE SERRANO: It tells me that Immigration are aware. That they’re aware that the environment is not safe. That made me quite frustrated, to be thinking, “How come you care about my safety and our safety as staff and as women, yet this is on the island that you want to release women and children into?”

HAYDEN COOPER: Defying the Border Force Act and risking jail for speaking out, Danielle Serrano says she was aware of threats of rape directed at refugees while they were still in detention.

DANIELLE SERRANO: Some of the local guards had said to them that they were looking forward to them being released because of what they would like to do with them. So, yes, I am aware of instances where that fear was made known.

HAYDEN COOPER: In ‘Najma’s case, she has little faith in Nauruan police. It’s no wonder. In the past three years, detention centre operators have referred 50 incidents to local police for investigation. Just two convictions have been secured. 7.30 put several questions to the Nauruan police superintendent about rape and sexual assault on the island, but we received a reply from the country’s Australian PR agent. “Due to continued unbalanced and inaccurate coverage of Nauru by the ABC,” he said, “we will not respond to this request.”

Daniel Webb is a lawyer at Melbourne’s Human Rights Law Centre.

DANIEL WEBB: As much as the Nauruan Government might try and say otherwise, the reality is that the Nauruan justice system and the rule of law in Nauru is in complete disarray. Not only is Nauru an unsafe place for vulnerable women and children that Australia sends there, but the Nauruan justice system can’t protect them.

‘Najma’ is now stuck on Nauru with a five-year visa. Her future is uncertain.

‘NAJMA’ (subtitle translation): The Nauruan men have set up a checkpoint here. They charge us $5 to use the road. This is where we are assaulted. When we go to our cleaning jobs, the men come and harass us. …

… (Sobbing) I listen your shout. Please come help me.

HAYDEN COOPER: Her harrowing recording is just the latest evidence of the trauma on Nauru, a place where journalists are effectively barred and those who’ve worked there risk jail in Australia by talking about what they saw.

DANIELLE SERRANO: Professionally and ethically, I can’t know this and not say something. Every Australian needs to know that this is what our votes have gone for and this is what our taxpayer dollars allow. Are we OK with that?

‘NAJMA’: I listen your shout. Please, this man is come back.

You can read the Immigration Department response to that story.


Ms Bishop has also been able to reaffirm a commitment Australia had made to bid to join in the United Nations Human Rights Council, a subsidiary body to the General Assembly responsible for advancing human rights. 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/doors-open-under-new-pm-as-julie-bishop-attends-un-general-assembly-20150926-gjvgfc.html#ixzz3mtaOjT00



Racist abuse on a Sydney bus

Professor Gillian Triggs,

Human rights Commissioner

Dear Commissioner,

It is so sad that we still have racist amongst us in this lucky country and that racist must be prosecuted.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA


https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com (published)

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Racist abuse on a Sydney bus left Lindsay Li fearing for her safety


Lindsay Li was subjected to a racist rant on a Sydney bus.

LINDSAY LI was waiting for a lunchtime bus when she was subjected to a racist tirade so bad she feared a physical attack.

Ms Li was in Willoughby, on Sydney’s north shore, catching the citybound 273 bus at noon on Wednesday when she alleges a woman approached her, spat on her and then struck her with her trolley.

They both got on the bus where the woman turned towards Ms Li and began verbally abusing her, which Ms Li captured on her mobile phone.

Racist Attacks

Dear Commissioner,

We fully support CCCA’s media release as we must not tolerate this type of behavior in the 21st century and those racist attackers must be prosecuted.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA


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Leading Sydney neurosurgeon backs a call for Senate inquiry

Hon. Colin Neave

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Dear Mr. Neave,

Please refer to our message to the Qld Health Minister yesterday.

Both Dr. Teo and Haikerwal should be congratulated for speaking out publicly.

We consider AHPRA should be investigated for not doing its job thoroughly.

Since there was a Senate Inquiry four years ago, would another inquiry help?

Looking forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang

Unity Party WA


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Leading Sydney neurosurgeon backs a call for a Senate inquiry into the medical complaints process

ABC Corporation – Broadcast: 04/09/2015 – Reporter: Steve Cannane

After Lateline’s special report on French surgeon Richard Emery, who was forced out of Australia after receiving anonymous complaints and medical audits, renowned neurosurgeon Charlie Teo has supported a call by independent Senator Nick Xenophon for an inquiry.


EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Last night, we revealed the story of French spinal surgeon Richard Emery, who closed his practice and left Australia after he was the subject of repeated anonymous complaints and medical audits.

The story has touched a nerve inside and outside the medical profession.

One of the country’s most renowned neurosurgeons, Dr Charlie Teo, has backed Senator Nick Xenophon’s call made on this program last night for a Senate inquiry into the medical complaints process.

Charlie Teo has told Lateline that there is evidence of bullying in his profession that goes right to the top and that it’s destroying the lives of doctors and their families.

Today, Senator Xenophon added to the debate, describing the medical complaints process as being, “all about protecting a closed shop rather than the best standards of patient care.”

Steve Cannane reports.

STEVE CANNANE, REPORTER: He may have moved back to France, but the plight of Dr Richard Emery has now sparked calls for a Senate inquiry into the medical complaints process in Australia.

NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT SENATOR: I’ll be working on a Senate inquiry in relation to this. I’ve already had calls from some very senior surgeons around the country who say that what Dr Emery experienced is not unique and it raises some very disturbing questions about our health system.

STEVE CANNANE: Last night, Lateline revealed how Dr Emery was the subject of a series of complaints and audits that ultimately led him to close his practice and leave Australia. Those complaints came from surgeons who in some cases were his competitors.

Outspoken Sydney neurosurgeon Charlie Teo believes the complaints process is open to abuse and has backed calls for an inquiry.

CHARLIE TEO, NEUROSURGEON: I can tell you stories where it’s gone that one step further than Richard Emery, stories where good neurosurgeons – and I know this for – from first-hand experience – good neurosurgeons, good people, doing exceptional things, pushing the envelope and making the established neurosurgeons look bad. The established neurosurgeons then have bullied this particular person I’m talking about for more than seven years resulting in his death by suicide eventually. So, Richard Emery, as you heard, was on the verge of suicide. There’s another chap in Melbourne who’s on the verge of suicide. Others have had their families completely destroyed and their lives destroyed.

STEVE CANNANE: Charlie Teo says there is a culture of bullying in surgery that goes right to the top.

CHARLIE TEO: There are, unfortunately, people that I know who are very guilty of bullying and discrimination who are currently holding positions of authority in those bodies like the College of Surgeons and like hospital medical advisory boards and expert advisory boards and associations, and unfortunately, while they’re there, the culture’s never gonna change. So what I’d like to see, is I’d like to see a system whereby complaints have to be legitimate, they have to be for the greater good. Like Nick Xenophon said, they have to made in good faith.

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Mukesh Haikerwal is a former president of the AMA and the chair of Beyond Blue’s doctors’ mental health program. He believes the AHPRA complaints process is harming the mental health of doctors.

MUKESH HAIKERWAL, BEYOND BLUE: It’s part of the problem in the way it does its work, it’s part of the problem because of the way which it does mandatory reporting and it’s part of the problem because of the way it just jumps on people’s potentially vexatious claims and takes them all seriously without first investigating them. And that’s really got to be moderated and changed to give people more confidence in the system.

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Mukesh Haikerwal told a Senate Inquiry four years ago that he was concerned AHPRA’s notification system would lead to doctors losing their jobs due to claims made in bad faith. He says it’s time the process was reviewed.

MUKESH HAIKERWAL: So if we do have someone who has a problem, we need to be able to identify them, we need to be able to know that they’ll be dealt with in a way that is – the same way as we would like to be dealt with; in other words, some respect, with some thoughtfulness, and obviously, if somebody’s doing something that’s wrong, that needs to be rectified

STEVE CANNANE: No-one from AHPRA was available for interview. In a statement, a spokesperson said, “If a notification is not made in good faith, and assessment finds no risk to the public, the matter will be closed with no adverse outcome for the practitioner. If the Board has evidence that a registered health practitioner has made a notification not in good faith, it will investigate and take appropriate action.”

Dr Charlie Teo believes a simple change to the system could protect doctors from vexatious complaints.

CHARLIE TEO: I have thought about it and there are – I think there are ways we can get around it. Things like benchmarking. Now benchmarking simply says that, “If you’re gonna complain that my complication rate is high, can you please give me a jury of similar surgeons who do similar operations and show me what their benchmark is? Show me what my complication rate is compared to theirs and if it’s way, way higher, then I – I would concede. But if it’s the same as or lower than, then please, back off.”

EMMA ALBERICI: The Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley was in her electorate today and wasn’t able to speak with us. Her department did, however, respond to questions raised by last night’s story and you can read those answers on the Lateline website. The address is on screen now. (www.abc.net.au/lateline)

The serious issue of self regulation for surgeons in Australia is not working

Dear Minister,

We are telling the world that Australia is a democratic country but what happen with this French spinal surgeon Dr Richard Emery?

Doctors are there to look after their patient’s interest rather than themselves.

Those alleged surgeons, if prove to be true, must be prosecuted or deregistered.

You and ACCC should also find out from AHPRA as to why they are still investigate Dr Richard Emery who has already left the country. It is obvious that AHPRA is not working.

Dr Richard Emery was driven out of the country because he is not an Australian?

Self regulation is definitely not working in this case.

Looking forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang.


Unity Party WA


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The serious issue of self regulation for surgeons in Australia – does the system work?

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Broadcast: 03/09/2015- Reporter: Steve Cannane

A special Lateline report on a French doctor who left Australia after he was the subject of repeated anonymous complaints and medical audits – was he deserving of scrutiny or was his treatment professional harrassment?


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Tonight, a story that raises some serious issues for the medical profession. Does the system of self-regulation overseeing surgeons in Australia work and is that system open to abuse?

Our story focuses on a French spinal surgeon who arrived in Townsville in 2003. His problems began when he moved into private practice. Within a short time he found himself the subject of repeated anonymous complaints and medical audits.

The ongoing scrutiny undermined his capacity to practice and eventually his local hospital decided that without the support of his peer group, he could no longer operate. He became deeply depressed, contemplated suicide and ultimately left Australia.

The question is: how did this happen? Was he deserving of scrutiny or was his treatment professional harassment?

Reporter Steve Cannane has been trying to answer those questions.

STEVE CANNANE, REPORTER: Dr Richard Emery has what seems like an idyllic lifestyle. He and his family live 10 minutes from the beaches of the French Riviera and 30 minutes from the ski fields of the French Alps.

But 12 months ago, it was a different story. A series of complaints by a group of senior surgeons in North Queensland drove the French doctor out of Townsville and drove him to the edge of taking his own life.

CELINE EMERY, RICHARD EMERY’S WIFE: One day I came home and I got a text message saying, “Take care of the kids.” And I thought he was gone for a run. And when I got the message, I understood straight away that he had gone somewhere.

STEVE CANNANE: Tonight for the first time, Richard Emery and other doctors speak out about the culture inside the medical profession and how a group of senior surgeons in North Queensland was able to prevent him from making a living in Australia.

JOHN STOKES, FMR DIR., MEDICAL SERVICES, MATER HOSPITAL, TOWNSVILLE: One surgeon told me directly in private that I should run him out of town.

ROGER WATSON, CONSULTANT IN REHAB. CENTRE: He has doing things twice as fast and procedures the others couldn’t do and they got terribly jealous.

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Richard Emery moved to Townsville in 2003 when the city was in need of spinal surgeons. After five years working at Townsville Hospital, he decided to move into private practice. He says then he received a hostile phone call from Dr Eric Guazzo, a local surgeon who was then president of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia.

RICHARD EMERY, SPINAL SURGEON: And he basically said, “If you move to private practice, you won’t be able to pay for surgery in no time. So go back to France.” 

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Guazzo denies having had any conversation of this nature with Dr Emery.

RICHARD EMERY: I ignore what he said and move to private practice. And after three months, I was (inaudible) … from an anonymous complaint saying that my level of complication was far too high.

STEVE CANNANE: It was the first to be the first of many audits. Dr John Stokes is a former director of medical services at the Mater Hospital in Townsville.

JOHN STOKES: There were complaints about his blood transfusion rate and we audited that and it was normal. He came to work as a BMO. There were complaints about his use of item numbers and we audited that and it was no more abnormal than other surgeons use. There was complaints about his complication rate, so we audited a year of his surgery. And there were nothing out of the ordinary in the hospital related to his surgery.

STEVE CANNANE: After Richard Emery had passed these audits, another surgeon made a complaint about him to APRA, the national body that regulates all health practitioners. That meant another audit and being placed on conditional registration.

ROB KURU, SPINAL SURGEON: The colleagues locally felt that he wasn’t or that they weren’t experienced enough to comment on the type of work he was doing, so Richard arranged for that to be undertaken by surgeons who did a similar kind of work.

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Rob Karu and another surgeon, Dr Bryan Ashman, reviewed at least 18 months’ worth of operations.

ROB KURU: The data that Richard supplied to us when we reviewed the types of procedures that he was doing, they were appropriate for someone doing complex spinal reconstructive practice and the complication rate, we found, was in published and acceptable limits if you’re doing that kind of work.

STEVE CANNANE: So there wasn’t an unusual amount of complications?


STEVE CANNANE: But this wasn’t good enough for the local craft group of neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons. In February last year, Richard Emery attended a meeting with the group. He presented the results of all of his operations over the previous six months as part of a regular peer review process.

So Richard Emery’s presentation, did it have an unusually high complication rate attached to what he was saying?

JOHN STOKES: No. In my view, it didn’t and that’s supported by the view of the two AHPRA supervisors who had both seen the audit before.

STEVE CANNANE: Both Dr Richard Emery and Dr John Stokes say they can’t recall any major criticisms being raised at that meeting, but the craft group of surgeons used Dr Emery’s presentation as the basis for another complaint to AHPRA. Lateline has obtained a copy of that letter. It says in part, “We all feel that Dr Richard Emery’s rate of major clinical complication was well above what would be acceptable surgical practice. As a craft group we have had ongoing concerns with regards to Dr Emery’s practice, but the latest audit presentation is deemed unacceptable by us.”

The letter is signed by nine local surgeons, including Dr Eric Guazzo. One surgeon abstained.

Lateline has been told only five members of the craft group witnessed Dr Emery’s presentation that led to this critical letter of complaint.

Were all the people who signed that letter at the meeting? 


STEVE CANNANE: Is that a problem?

JOHN STOKES: It’s a problem for them.


JOHN STOKES: They didn’t see the audit, they don’t know what’s in it and they didn’t have a copy of the audit. Therefore, they can’t make a judgment about the audit.

STEVE CANNANE: Dr Richard Emery is disgusted that four of his colleagues would condemn his work without seeing his presentation. 

RICHARD EMERY: The audit is a private document which are not available. Unless they look at my computer without me knowing, they cannot have access to it.

STEVE CANNANE: Did Eric Guazzo see your audit? 


STEVE CANNANE: Dr Eric Guazzo would not speak with Lateline on camera, nor would any of the other eight surgeons who signed this letter of complaint. A statement from his lawyers said, “Dr Guazzo categorically denies conducting any conversation with Dr Emery, in 2008 or otherwise, in which he made any comments that could be taken or misconstrued as threats. Dr Guazzo has at all times conducted himself professionally and in accordance with his (legal and ethical) professional obligations.”

Dr John Stokes believes the audit process was used to target Dr Richard Emery.

JOHN STOKES: He wasn’t given a fair hearing. He wasn’t given help, which you expect out of audit. In fact, the audit that was finally done was used against him in what’s called – the term a sham audit, where audit is used to harm a person. The intention of medical audit is to improve care and this wasn’t used in an attempt to improve care.

STEVE CANNANE: Despite being appalled by the process, Dr John Stokes had to tell Richard Emery that without the support of his peers, he could no longer operate at the Mater.

JOHN STOKES: If something happened, a patient would reasonably be able to say, “Well, the hospital and yourself, Dr Emery, were practising without support.” So it’s an easy thing for doctors to do, to withdraw support and put a person in a regional centre at great risk.

STEVE CANNANE: So that then opens up the hospital to an insurance claim, does it?


STEVE CANNANE: Is that fair, that you can have your fate in the hands of people who potentially are competitors?

JOHN STOKES: That’s not natural justice.

STEVE CANNANE: Lateline has obtained an independent assessment of Dr Emery’s credentialing, written for the Mater Hospital by Dr John Quinn, a principal advisor to the Council of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. The report is highly critical of Dr Emery’s peer group.

JOHN QUINN, INDEPENDENT ASSESSOR (male voiceover): “To undertake, assess and monitor spinal surgery at Mater Hospital Townsville requires cooperation, collegiality, peer support and professionalism from all those performing such surgery. Regrettably, these qualities seem to be lacking at your hospital at this time. … this seems to be personality driven more so than scientifically or surgically driven.”

STEVE CANNANE: By March last year, Richard Emery had had enough. He’d been subjected to continuous complaints, medical supervision, restrictions on his practice, and now, his livelihood was being taken away from him. He headed to the top of Castle Hill, and in his words, was ready to jump.

CELINE EMERY: I knew he was running up Castle Hill from time to time and I really hoped that he was up there, I really did. Otherwise I’d – yeah. So I drove up there and couldn’t see him, I drove up and up and I – and I thought it was a question of time. I kept calling him. He wouldn’t answer. And I was really hoping it wasn’t gonna be too late. And I found him. I found him and thank God, he was just sitting, sitting. And I told him, I said, “It’s all OK. We’ll just go back home. Just go back home and everything will be fine.”

STEVE CANNANE: Earlier this year, Richard Emery and his Australian family moved to France. For him, life has improved, but the same can’t be said for the patients left behind. Michael Johnston was about to be operated on in March last year when Richard Emery’s privileges were taken away.

MICHAEL JOHNSTON, PATIENT: It was devastating, beyond belief. I’d waited 17 years to get my life back. We were two months away from it happening and it was taken from me. We were basically the carnage. We were just left behind.

STEVE CANNANE: Michael Johnston has a rare condition where the body attacks itself, leaving him with a spine that can’t support him.

MICHAEL JOHNSTON: I’ve got six grandchildren. The oldest is 17 years now. And I’ve never, ever been able to pick them up – ever.

STEVE CANNANE: Michael Johnston is a designer and an inventor, but these days, he can’t stand up in his workshop for more than an hour at a time.

MICHAEL JOHNSTON: I can’t live up to my responsibilities with my family. And I’ve always been a very proud man, what I’ve achieved in the workforce, and it’s all gone. And it’s not necessary. And nobody seems to care. Richard’s the only one that cares.

STEVE CANNANE: After previous operations that had failed, Richard Emery offered to repair the damage for free.

MICHAEL JOHNSTON: And he said, “I tell you what, I’m going to perform the surgery for you free of charge. This is my Christmas present to you. No expenses.”

STEVE CANNANE: There have also been repercussions for Dr John Stokes. He believes he’s been targeted for speaking out against unfair process.

JOHN STOKES: In that same year, I was notified to AHPRA vexatiously on two occasions. There is almost certainly a link somewhere in that. I’ve had a good, long practice in medicine without any complaints about me. And I suspect there was some ulterior motive of stopping me be director of medical services.

STEVE CANNANE: John Stokes was badly injured in a cycling accident that killed his friend Sue Bell. That accident was cited in a notification against him.

So they even tried to allege that you were brain damaged, didn’t they?

JOHN STOKES: Yes. That was the most hurtful thing of all. A good friend of mine died, who I tried to resuscitate at the roadside. And I survived with major injury, but she died, unfortunately. And that was used against me to claim that I was mentally incompetent and should be deregistered.

STEVE CANNANE: Since John Stokes recorded this interview, he’s been subjected to another complaint, this time to the Minister for Health.

Local Liberal MP Warren Entsch says he’s appalled by what’s happened in Richard Emery’s case and wants the complaints process overhauled.

WARREN ENTSCH, LIBERAL NATIONAL MP: If it’s shown that individuals are doing this and there’s no basis for it or it’s done out of malice or it’s done out of greed, those individuals that have made those allegations need to be held responsible for their actions. 

STEVE CANNANE: Warren Entsch was on the parliamentary committee that produced the report Lost in the Labyrinth, which came up with 45 recommendations around registration and support for foreign-trained doctors. It seemed to go nowhere with the then Health Minister Peter Dutton.

WARREN ENTSCH: Unfortunately, I really got – I got no real response, you know, other than say that my concerns had been acknowledged. Now that was in 2014. Since that time, I’ve written again, I’ve sent that letter to the new minister, Sussan Ley, and I’ve asked her to actually focus on this. First of all, we do need to get a response to those 45 recommendations, and secondly, I was hoping that we could’ve got kept Dr Emery in Australia. Unfortunately, he’s left. He’s now in France.

STEVE CANNANE: Even though Richard Emery has moved back to France, he is still under investigation from AHPRA. 

CELINE EMERY: Well, first of all, I’d like Richard’s name to be cleared, just for our own serenity of mind.

STEVE CANNANE: Celine Emery says she knows of other similar cases in other parts of Australia.

CELINE EMERY: The other thing is, we are aware that some other surgeons, foreign-trained surgeons, are in a similar situation and I wouldn’t want their families to be in the same situation as we went through.

TONY JONES: Lateline understands the ACCC is currently investigating the case involving Richard Emery. The commission wouldn’t comment on that investigation. We also contacted AHPRA, the Mater Hospital, the 10 members of the craft group and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for interviews. None was available.

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Media Release from MCC re Senator Lisa Singh

Dear Mr. Shorten,

We fully support MCC’s suggestion and failure to so we will not vote for Labor next time.

Eddie Hwang


Unity Party WA


https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com (published)

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa     (published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Save the trees – Please use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.


2 September 2015

Media Release from MCC NSW re Senator Lisa Singh

We are saddened and concerned to learn the dumping of Senator Lisa Singh

from the SMH report of 28 August 2015 which carried the header “Bill

Shorten’s hopes of more female MP’s ignored as union numbers used to dump

sitting senator”.

Progressive and modern political parties need talented people for political office

and to maintain gender balance in Parliament. Senator Lisa is a good example

and not only has she electoral appeal but is also a female of Asian background.

Despite her rank and file support, the Unions are using their strong influence

and power to dump her to the number four position on the senate ticket; which

is unwinnable. This action is a de facto sacking of Senator Lisa Singh for no

good reasons at all; except for a power grab.

The presence of a female from multicultural background among our elected

representatives would have a most positive effect on our relationship with our

northern neighbours.

The MCC NSW strongly urges you, Mr. Shorten, to intervene in this matter and

restore the status quo.

Dr Anthony Pun OAM

Chair, MCC NSW