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on manipulation ...

The Beagle Editor, Your readers, especially those residing in the Bega Valley Shire area might be interested in our latest media release: on manipulation ...

NSW Health has delivered the results of its survey of shire residents, allegedly conducted to determine “whether the majority of residents are in favour of, or are opposed to fluoridation of the drinking water supply”.

According to NSW Health, the survey results indicate that 66.2% of the shire’s residents support fluoridation of the shire’s drinking water supplies.

Having noted that, the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) believes that the so-called “NSW Health – Bega Valley Shire Survey”, dated January 2018, represents a clear & clumsy attempt by NSW Health to shepherd Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) into making a decision in favour of fluoridating the shire’s drinking water supplies while, at the same time, attempting to create the impression that there is strong public support for fluoridation.

The BVSRRA wishes to make it clear that it has no issue with manner in which the survey was conducted; nor does it question that the results reflect the views of a genuinely representative sample.

Having said that, the BVSRRA believes that the survey was a sham & that its results cannot be relied upon as a measure of public support for the fluoridation of the shire’s drinking water supplies.

While some will doubtless be impressed by the 28 pages of statistical analysis supporting its conclusion, none of that matters when the basic question put to residents is designed to influence their response. To make the point: the introduction to the survey states that BVSC wanted to determine “whether the majority of residents are in favour of, or are opposed to fluoridation of the drinking water supply”.

But the question put to those who were surveyed did not address that question, but rather a different & more subtle question aimed at producing a different response. Survey participants were are asked “Do you agree with adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply to try to prevent tooth decay?”

To try & make the point more clearly...

Residents & ratepayers will recall that the federal government recently conducted a nationwide plebiscite to ascertain the opinion of 16 million Australians on the legalisation of same sex marriage. The question posed was “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry - “yes” or “no”?

The BVSRRA believes that the question in the NSW Health survey should also have been a simple “yes” or “no” question, free of any suggestive influences: “Do you agree with adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply – “yes” or “no”?

To add further doubt as to the veracity of the survey & its result, the BVSRRA notes that NSW Health designed the survey question, while claiming that it had “been approved” by council. Quite apart from the fact that NSW Health have a conflict of interest & should not have had anything to do with the design of the survey question, the suggestion that council approved the question is simply a lie: the elected councillors who had resolved to commission the survey were not even informed as to the nature of the question until after the survey had commenced.

NSW Health has once again demonstrated its willingness to engage in outright deception of both the council & the public to achieve its ends.

The BVSRRA believes that BVSC should reflect its disgust with the devious & dishonest behaviour of NSW Health by rejecting the findings of its latest sham survey & voting against the introduction of fluoride to our drinking water supplies, which would then shift the onus & legal responsibility for overriding council’s decision back on NSW Health.

If NSW Health then elect to impose fluoridation on the residents of the Bega Valley, regardless of the strong opposition to the move, the implications of that decision will clearly be on its head & the heads of both the Minister for Health & the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance.

And finally, for anyone who may be inclined to give NSW Health the benefit of the doubt in this matter, the BVSRRA would suggest that an examination of the department’s behaviour over the South East Regional Hospital (SERH) scandal & its action in destroying the career of Dr Phoon, along with the orthopaedic services capability in the region, clearly demonstrates the lengths to which this unaccountable bureaucracy will go to achieve its ends.

John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association

#Opinion #Bega

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