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Thursday, 11 February 2016
Page: 1469

Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (16:49): I want to tell the House again of the appalling situation that has arisen because of our failure to provide a national compensation scheme for those who take one for the team and suffer a rare adverse effect from a vaccination. We are one of the few OECD countries not to do so. I have raised this with the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for Health, and I hope that we can make some progress towards addressing this serious problem both for the specific family that I will talk about and for any family that suffers such an extreme reaction and permanent disability.

Ben Hammond, in 2012, received a booster of a whooping cough vaccine and had a rare adverse reaction. He now has a serious permanent disability. This is no-one's fault, but he cannot work and he and his family soon may lose their home. This family has been now labelled 'anti-vaxxer' as they seek to get some compensation, and they have been subject to some pretty awful trolling by the anti-anti-vaxxers and to some malicious reports to police.

On 19 January this year, a team of around 10 police officers from the Kalgoorlie Police Station mounted a dawn raid on their home. The search warrant was issued on the basis that there might have been drugs on the property. Following the raid, Tanya Hammond contacted me in distress. She described the raid. She, her husband and their three children were dragged from their beds. Ben has difficulty walking but he was forced out of bed and made to lie on the floor. The officers drew their weapons to intimidate the family. In the process of the raid, the officers totally ransacked their home. One of the officers took a selfie during the raid with the family's pet dog and one of the participants in the raid, bizarrely, bears a very strong resemblance to a person who has a history of making adverse comments about Tanya Hammond and her family on social media.

During the raid, the Hammonds were told that they were suspected of manufacturing and selling crystal methamphetamine. No such drugs or implements were discovered, although two cannabis plants and a smoking implement were found, as Ben uses this to help with the nerve pain from his injuries. Apparently then one of the officers returned to the property shortly after the raid to apologise for their treatment and to disclose to Tanya that he thought they had been stitched up by members of the public. Within 20 minutes of the raid a journalist appeared at the house and said that they were aware that this family had been suspected of dealing in crystal meth and that they had been charged.

Subsequently, they were contacted by a senior sergeant at the police station who advised that he had been asked by the district office to do an investigation into the conduct of this raid. It is completely and utterly unacceptable that the officer in charge of the police station that was responsible for that raid should take charge of reporting on his own officers, so this week I have written to the Commissioner of Police, Karl O'Callaghan, to ask him to ensure that there is a proper, independent investigation of the behaviour of the police during this raid and, indeed, of the persecution of this family who, very simply, are trying to get some justice and some reasonable compensation for the very severe trauma and loss that they have suffered, not because anyone is at fault but because they participated, and participated willingly, in the vaccination program that was asked of them.

I am deeply concerned and have raised this matter on a couple of occasions now with the Minister for Social Services. I do hope that we, as a community, can see our way clear to ensure that families like this are not left out on a limb into the future.