Australian Senators Calls for WHO Reform or Exit

April 28, 2020 Updated: April 28, 2020

The Australian Labor Party has said it supports the Morrison Coalition government’s calls to reform the World Health Organisation (WHO) after its failure to act transparently during the outbreak of the CCP virus in Wuhan, China.

In an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald on April 27, Labor Senator and shadow foreign minister Penny Wong said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) disinformation and efforts to obscure the origin of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, all the while blaming the worsening of the pandemic on other countries has “given succour” to its critics.

Before admitting to the outbreak in January, the CCP had denied the existence of the outbreak, which is widely thought be have been first reported in at least December 2019. Chinese genomics laboratories had completed sequencing of the viral genome, which was similar to the SARS virus, by Dec. 27 but the results were quickly censored by party officials. Doctors were warned, threatened, and later arrested for discussing and posting information regarding the outbreak online, accused of “spreading rumours” that would “harm stability.”

On Jan. 1, a Hubei Provincial Health Commission official ordered lab researchers to destroy samples; and on Jan. 14, authorities lied about the disease not being transmissible from human-to-human. The WHO disseminated this assessment in its official report in mid-January, despite evidence reported in the medical journal The Lancet in mid-Dec. 2019 that the virus was transmissable.

Taiwan had also warned the WHO on Dec. 31 of reports of transmissible disease in Wuhan that month, and requested further information from the United Nations body. It does not appear that the WHO acted on this information.

During this time, about 5 million people had already traveled out of Wuhan to other Chinese provinces and overseas destinations.

Now, at least 3 million people have contracted the disease worldwide, hundreds of thousands have died, and national economies around the world are in crisis.

Given how the pandemic unfolded, Wong expressed concern that the United Nations (U.N.) and the WHO were under threat by countries that will use it to “score political points and play out rivalries.”

Wong wants Australia to take an active role in rallying international support for reforming the WHO, a subsidiary of the U.N., which as a system has “served Australia well” in the past, she wrote.

Responding to Wong, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts (QLD) told The Epoch Times on April 27 that Wong was making excuses for the WHO and playing politics, which would exacerbate and continue “the problems she admits [to] in her opinion piece.”

Roberts said that the U.N. had facilitated the CCP’s dishonesty and propaganda, and that in his opinion, there is “no point” trying to reform it.

“It is time to exit the U.N. whose treaties, protocols, agreements, declarations, charters, and destructive policies have gutted our country’s independence, sovereignty and governance.

“The U.N. goes against western values and democratic principles, appeases the totalitarian Islamic ideology that contradicts Australian values, strengthens the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party, and gives voice and power to dictatorships that oppose fundamental human rights,” he said.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz (Tas) agreed with Wong that the U.N. and the WHO had served Australia well in the past, but questioned whether it continues to do so today after acting like the “ventriloquist doll for the Communist dictatorship in China.”

He said that without the fundamental reforms “so obviously needed,” the future of the U.N. is at stake.

“The U.N.’s Human Rights Committee is populated by representatives from totalitarian regimes,” Abetz told The Epoch Times via email on April 27.

“China was just recently appointed a seat at the Consultative Group of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, which appoints human rights investigators to examine global issues such as freedom of speech, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and health,” he noted, pointing to the CCP’s problematic human rights record.

China’s appointment to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council is seen as a conflict of interest due to its well-documented human rights abuses, including murdering of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs—which was concluded to be true “beyond reasonable doubt” by the independent China Tribunal in 2019.

While Wong would like to see Australia “avoid politicising the WHO” and “resist temptations to partisanship” in its efforts to reform the WHO, Roberts said he wants Australia to exit the U.N. and forge “meaningful direct relationships with individual nations.”

Abetz added that, “In an ideal world, there would be no politicisation of the WHO. But in reality, the WHO has been politicised by the inappropriate appointment of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yet championed by China.

“We cannot pretend otherwise,” he warned.

He continued, “Neither can we pretend that unfettered globalism always and only acts in the best interest of each individual nation.

“Like every other nation, Australia has an important role to play on the world stage, but it cannot simply sing the tune of massive unaccountable globalist institutions that erode sovereignty, and as we see now playing out with this pandemic, are highly susceptible to undue influence,” he said.

Follow Caden on Twitter: @cadenpearson