Simon Chapman, Will Grant & Jacqui Hoepner: the Wind Industry’s Health “Expert” Great Pretenders

atomic-bomb-e1355417893840

The fallout from Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study continues …

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It’s been nearly 2 months since Steven Cooper’s ground breaking Cape Bridgewater acoustic study exploded like a small, but rather effective nuclear device – putting him on the international stage – and Scotching, once and for all, the nonsense that wind farm victims’ complaints about sleep deprivation, and other adverse health effects, caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency and infrasound are simply fictions of their “climate change denying imaginations” (ie the so called, “nocebo” effect) (see our post here).

At the direction of Pacific Hydro and the Clean Energy Council (with Miles George as its head, now the political front for Infigen) the attack dogs over at the ABC’s “Ministry of Truth”, Media Watch (see our post here) launched a vicious, unwarranted attack: not only on Cooper, but on Pac Hydro’s long-suffering victims at Cape Bridgewater – asserting that Cooper’s study was “atrocious” and that the subjects of the study had conspired and colluded to fabricate the data that – according to America’s top acoustic experts, Dr Paul Schomer and George Hessler – proves the relationship between adverse health effects and turbine generated noise and vibration (see our post here).

Media Watch’s hatchet job depended on the “expertise” of several well-known wind industry shills, including a former tobacco advertising guru, and self-proclaimed wind farm health expert, who calls wind farm victims “wind farm wing-nuts” (see our posts here and here) – and a couple of journalist/academics from the Australian National University – Will Grant and Jacqui Hoepner. We’ll return to the “qualifications” of the ABC’s so-called “experts” in a moment, but first a little dissection from The Australian.

Sound advice on acoustics for Media Watch
The Australian
Simon King
2 March 2015

IN its stinging criticism of the research of acoustic expert Steven Cooper on the effect of the Pacific Hydro wind turbines on local residents and the reporting of it by The Australian and Today Tonight, the ABC’s Media Watch program failed to mention that its key expert was a paid advocate for the industry.

Such was the misrepresentation of the February 16 report that Mr Cooper is now considering legal action against the program and is pursuing action against the show’s expert, Sydney University’s professor of public health, Simon Chapman.

In making its case, as well as choosing not to use the opinion of qualified acoustic experts who supported the Cooper research, Media Watch championed the opinion of Professor Chapman, but in doing so failed to mention his conflict of interests.

A paper published in December 2014 by Professor Chapman, Ketan Joshi and Luke Fry titled “Fomenting sickness: nocebo priming of residents about expected wind turbine health harms” included the following conflict of interest statement: “Simon Chapman provided and was remunerated for expert advice on psychogenic aspects of wind farm health complaints by lawyers acting for Infigen Energy in the Cherry Tree VCAT case described in this paper. Ketan Joshi is employed by Infigen Energy. Luke Fry has no conflicts of interest to declare.”

The Cherry Tree VCAT case concluded in 2013.

Referring to the statement, Professor Chapman said on Twitter: “Expert witnesses have a duty to courts, not to those ‘hiring’ them.”

Professor Chapman also has no formal qualification as an acoustician or medical practitioner — his PhD is on the topic of “Cigarette Advertising As Myth: A Re-Evaluation Of The Relationship Of Advertising To Smoking”.

But Media Watch turned to his opinion to say: “Scientifically, it’s an absolutely atrocious piece of research and is entirely unpublishable other than on the front page of The Australian”.

Professor Chapman is so far ensconced in the pro-wind turbine camp that he has very publicly referred to those affected by wind turbines and those involved in the growing amount of evidence from the US and Canada that the vibrations caused by the giant blades can cause a range of conditions ranging from nausea, headaches to sleep deprivation, as “anti wind farm wing nuts”.

In a statement to the federal Senate on June 17 last year, Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan said: “It is fair and reasonable to encourage people to look behind the blatant campaigning done by people like Professor Chapman of the University of Sydney.

“Professor Chapman has been an outspoken critic of those who have dared to question the wind farm orthodoxy.”

When asked about Professor’s Chapman’s background, Media Watch host Paul Barry said: “We didn’t say that Professor Simon Chapman has given evidence on behalf of wind farm operators, for the same reason that we didn’t say Steven Cooper has given evidence on several occasions for wind farm opponents.

“It’s perfectly clear which side of the debate they line up on and why.”

Barry also pointed to the fact The Australian story published on January 23 said the Cooper study had been independently peer reviewed by Bob Thorne without making it clear Dr Thorne had done paid work for wind farm opponents.

Media Watch has not been the only one that failed to mention Professor Chapman’s past paid work for Infigen Energy. In a February 25, 2014 article published by The Conversation titled “Study finds no evidence wind turbines make you sick — again”, the disclosure statement reads: “Simon Chapman AO receives no financial or other material support from any company or person in the wind energy industry or agents acting on their behalf.”

This is not the first time Professor Chapman contacted Media Watch to push a view.

In 2006 he approached the program indignant over an article in the British Journal of Criminology — which was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald — which showed that the gun laws introduced in 1996 by the Howard government in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre failed to reduce gun homicide or suicides in Australia.

In the 1990s, Professor Chapman was a member of the Coalition for Gun Control.
The Australian

The two sets of reasons in the Cherry Tree decision (referred to above) are available here and here.

Cherry tree witness list

Infigen’s list of witnesses: not a tobacco advertising guru in sight.

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But – despite the tobacco advertising guru’s claims about being hired as “an expert witness” in the case – you won’t find any mention of him as a “witness”: Infigen never called him as a witness – “expert”, or otherwise. The guru would have never qualified as an “expert” on any issue in the case, even if it had called him: the effect of tobacco advertising on rates of smoking was, funnily enough, not a matter in dispute. Nor, in either of the sets of reasons given by VCAT, will you find any mention of the guru, in any capacity; or any mention of his “expert advice” – VCAT simply had no regard to his, so-called, “expert advice”.

In fact, the guru has never given evidence in any wind farm case – slipping into the witness box to go a few rounds with a skilled cross-examiner just isn’t the guru’s “style” – so much safer for the ego to pontificate from the coward’s castle of a sandstone Uni; or to spin the wind industry’s line, with the eager help of the ABC’s useful idiots, on The Drum, ABC Radio and the ABC’s other propaganda platforms (see our post here).

Then there’s the line from near-bankrupt wind power outfit, Infigen’s head propaganda parrot, Ketan Joshi that the guru: “was remunerated for expert advice on psychogenic aspects of wind farm health complaints by lawyers acting for Infigen Energy”.

That would be the first time in litigation history when “lawyers”, acting for corporate litigants, personally “remunerated” an “expert” witness – or anyone for “expert” advice – in relation to their client’s case.

Joshi – not the sharpest tool in the shed – might not understand the manner in which law firms operate, but we doubt it. There is no way on earth that a hard-hitting firm, like Herbert Smith Freehills, paid so much as a shekel towards the guru’s fees – Joshi’s boss, Infigen stumped up every last cent paid to obtain the guru’s waffle about the obvious health effects of incessant turbine-generated low-frequency noise and infrasound being all in the victims’ heads; and a “communicated disease”, exclusive to the English speaking world.

The guru’s “expert” study – that Infigen paid handsomely for, and that VCAT had no regard to in the Cherry Tree case – was a mighty “fine” piece of work; that made spurious claims – based entirely on what wind power outfits told him – that there were NO recorded complaints from neighbours at numerous wind farm operations around Australia – including Cullerin in NSW, where neighbours had previously lodged 322 complaints, including 93 with the wind farm operator itself (see our post here).

The guru’s late “admission” to have been paid as a wind industry advocate stands in contrast to every other “disclosure” statement he’s made on the topic, including this one (if it looks fuzzy, click on it, it’ll pop up in a new window, use your magnifier and it’ll look crystal clear – as to the “clarity” of the “disclosure”, well, that’s another matter):

Chapman fee disclosure fail The conversation

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The guru raves on about the PhD in Medicine he picked up for his thesis: “Cigarette Advertising As Myth: A Re-Evaluation Of The Relationship Of Advertising To Smoking” – and, on the basis of that “qualification”, purports to give remote, long-distance medical diagnoses – which he says applies to all health effects recorded and reported by wind farm neighbours all around the world. It’s like he’s using some kind of magic stethoscope, mounted in an orbiting satellite.

But the guru is not alone in pushing the envelope, when it comes to claims about being qualified as a “health professional”.

Two of the “experts” relied upon by Media Watch to justify its efforts to slam Steven Cooper’s brilliant study, are journalism and politics student, Jacqui Hoepner; and her PhD supervisor, Will Grant.

Relying on these highly qualified “experts”, Media Watch had this to say:

Paul Barry: Writing in The Conversation, the Australian National University’s Jacqui Hoepner and Will Grant also condemned The Australian’s front page story and the study it was based on, branding it:

“… an exemplary case of what we consider to be bad science and bad science reporting.”

— The Conversation, 22nd January, 2015

The Australian’s response (as covered in this post) was that:

And these two have no relevant qualifications. Grant has a PhD in politics, and Hoepner is a journalist. Neither has either medical or acoustical training or experience.

The Australian

In the middle of the furore that erupted among the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers, as The Australian attacked Media Watch’s woefully inaccurate and patently biased reporting, Jacqui decided to throw some “light” on her “qualifications” as an “expert” on the adverse health effects caused by turbine generated noise and vibration, in this curious little letter to the Oz.

Wind-farm qualifications

Last Monday, The Australian questioned my qualifications (“Legal threat on Media Watch report”, 23/2). I am not a journalist, pro-turbine or an advocate for the wind industry.

I have never received financial support from the wind industry. Where appropriate, I’ve challenged counterproductive actions by individuals or groups in this debate, including wind companies.

My only agenda is to investigate what factors contribute to the symptoms experienced by people living near wind farms in a way that are appropriate to my qualifications.

Jacqui Hoepner, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

Hmmm, where to start? …

It’s great to see that Jacqui is ready to challenge “counterproductive actions”. However, that leaves the question begging: “counterproductive” to what?

Perhaps a clue was given by the fact that she’s prepared to admit that she has an “agenda”. Although, if she’s not “pro-turbine or an advocate for the wind industry”, as she asserts, just what is she in favour of?

STT thinks a little clue as to what that “agenda” might be, is given by her fellow traveller, and PhD supervisor, Will Grant.

Will Grant

Wind industry shill, Will Grant: out for a little “troll”.

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Will turned up to the great wind power fraud rally, held in Canberra back in June 2013, wearing a giant foam hat – apparently in some kind of nod to Australian political maverick, and 10-gallon hat fan, Bob Katter.

Will was clearly hoping that the rally would turn into a media circus, like the “anti-carbon-tax protests” – where protesters waved banners and placards screaming “Ditch the Witch”, in a pointed message to then PM, Julia Gillard.

Will – you’ll find his manifesto here – was somewhat disappointed to find that the 380 or so who turned up in Canberra from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and as far away as Western Australia and Far North Queensland (see our posts here and here) were, as he put it, “disciplined and on message” – and, much to his chagrin, there wasn’t a “Ditch the Witch” placard in sight (see Will’s lament on The Conversation blog here).

The giveaway as to Will’s true motives pops up in this line from his article that:

“But these academic motivations mask the fact that I also like to quietly troll my political opponents, and this looked like an occasion for a little mischievous fun.”

That glimpse into Will’s true motives doesn’t turn up in his disclosure statement on “The Conversation”, funnily enough.

But the fact that he’s prepared to view wind farm victims as “political” opposition; and to “troll” them “for a little mischievous fun”, gives a pretty fair insight into his agenda, as well as the “unspoken agenda” of his PhD student, Jacqui Hoepner.

But, what of their qualifications?

Will Grant’s “PhD in politics” – awarded for a thesis titled “A Certain India An enquiry into a claim to national territory” – is hardly the strongest starting point for someone looking to investigate the health symptoms associated with, and caused by, incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound.

STT loves the tagline of the ANU unit Jacqui and Will hail from: the “Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science”; how very “Ministry of Truth” – and a fair clue as what this pair are really up to. From her online “bio”, Jacqui points to her undergraduate degree in politics and journalism:

jacqui hoepner at ANU

Again, not the most solid foundation, you’d think, for someone setting out to investigate – as she tells us in her letter – “the symptoms experienced by people living near wind farms”.

“The symptoms experienced” are either physiological, psychological, or a mixture of both (see our posts here and here).

Now, that narrows down the kind of “qualifications” necessary to investigate those symptoms: either the investigator holds a “medical” qualification and/or a qualification in “psychology”.

Although, to be fair to Jacqui, Will and the guru – qualifications in acoustics, vibration, or mechanical engineering would also hold relevance to the type of “investigation” that Jacqui’s engaged in. But that’s not what Jacqui’s been up to.

Oh no, Jacqui has been doing her darndest to infiltrate communities affected by wind turbine generated noise and vibration – in an effort to expand upon the nonsense “nocebo” story; and advance the “agenda” shared with her supervisor, Will Grant – and all the other wind industry spruikers and shills – that aims to maintain the great wind power fraud, at the expense and misery of hundreds of hard-working country people.

So, as a word of warning, if Jacqui Hoepner contacts you to find out what you think about the turbines thumping and grinding away next to your house, keeping you awake all night and otherwise making your life a misery on earth – STT suggests you delete her emails, hang-up the phone and generally refuse to “play ball” – remember her boss is hoping to “troll” you, and people like you, all “for a little mischievous fun”.

But there’s another element to this little game; and that’s where people like Jacqui hold themselves out to be qualified to investigate health symptoms suffered by people; whether those symptoms are physiological or psychological, or a mixture of both.

Most civilised countries have rules about people claiming to be qualified to deal with or investigate other people’s health problems. Some of those rules take the “game” of people claiming to be “health professionals” fairly seriously.

In Australia, that “game” is governed pretty strictly by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) – under what’s called the “Health Practitioner National Regulation Law” (see the link here) – which is set out as uniform legislation that operates in all States and Territories, including NSW (for the NSW’s Act click here), which deals with people claiming to hold qualifications as “health professionals” in section 116:

Claims by persons as to registration as health practitioner

(1) A person who is not a registered health practitioner must not knowingly or recklessly –

(a) take or use the title of “registered health practitioner”, whether with or without any other words; or

(b) take or use a title, name, initial, symbol, word or description that, having regard to the circumstances in which it is taken or used, indicates or could be reasonably understood to indicate

(i) the person is a health practitioner; or

(ii) the person is authorised or qualified to practise in a health profession; or

(c) claim to be registered under this Law or hold himself or herself out as being registered under this Law; or

(d) claim to be qualified to practise as a health practitioner.

Maximum penalty –

(a) in the case of an individual – $30,000; or

(b) in the case of a body corporate-$60,000.

(2) A person must not knowingly or recklessly –

(a) take or use the title of “registered health practitioner”, whether with or without any other words, in relation to another person who is not a registered health practitioner; or

(b) take or use a title, name, initial, symbol, word or description that, having regard to the circumstances in which it is taken or used, indicates or could be reasonably understood to indicate –

(i) another person is a health practitioner if the other person is not a health practitioner; or

(ii) another person is authorised or qualified to practise in a health profession if the other person is not a registered health practitioner in that health profession; or

(c) claim another person is registered under this Law, or hold the other person out as being registered under this Law, if the other person is not registered under this Law; or

(d) claim another person is qualified to practise as a health practitioner if the other person is not a registered health practitioner.

Maximum penalty –

(a) in the case of an individual – $30,000; or

(b) in the case of a body corporate – $60,000.

For the purposes of section 116, “health profession” is defined by section 5 to mean: “the following professions, and includes a recognised specialty in any of the following professions – … “(e) medical” and … “(n) psychology”. And “health practitioner” is defined to mean “an individual who practises a health profession”.

So, with Jacqui Hoepner’s wind farm health investigation limited to one about “symptoms”, which can only involve the physiological and/or psychological aspects of human health, if she contacts you to quiz you about your symptoms, you might like to contact AHPRA about what she tells you about her qualifications.

AHPRA is in the business of protecting the integrity of Australia’s health system, by preventing unqualified people holding themselves out as being qualified to investigate, diagnose or otherwise make public statements about the causes and effects of reported and recorded health symptoms: that’s the kind of stuff properly reserved for legally qualified medical practitioners.

So, if you get anybody suggesting to you that they’re qualified to investigate your symptoms, why not give AHPRA a call – or drop them a line? You’ll get the number, the email and postal address right here: AHPRA Contact.

Oh, nearly forgot, there’s a pretty solid case that what the ABC’s Media Watch has done – in holding out Grant, Hoepner and the guru as “experts” qualified to pass judgment on the adverse health effects caused by wind farm noise and vibration – falls smack-bang within section 116(2), by Media Watch using atitle, name, initial, symbol, word or description that, having regard to the circumstances in which it is taken or used, indicates or could be reasonably understood to indicate that:

  • another person is a health practitioner;
  • another person is authorised or qualified to practise in a health profession;
  • or to claim another person is qualified to practise as a health practitioner.

– when none of them hold any qualifications to practise in a “health profession”; or as a “health practitioner”, at all.

As well as being informed about Jacqui’s lack of health qualifications, AHPRA might also like to hear from the guru’s so-called, “wind farm wing-nuts” about Media Watch’s little “holding out” effort too? Why not drop AHPRA a line on both counts?

the platters

Oh yes, they’re the Great Pretenders …

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Salandra says:

    The fraud is unravelling and the unethical, deceptive and misleading conduct of proselytisers for wind being laid bare.

    Thanks STT for your ongoing pursuit of the truth.

  2. Beyond Bleu says:

    “Oh-oh, yes I’m the great pretender
    Adrift in a world of my own
    I’ve played the game but to my real shame
    You’ve left me to grieve all alone”

    Will, Simon and Jacqui you won’t be alone.
    AHPRA is there to help.
    And I am sure STT will lend a hand if you ask for it.

  3. Keith Staff says:

    Interesting latest developments re the Pac hydro saga at the
    Portland event. Lane Crocket is to leave the company.

    His disgusting performance at his summing up at the end of the
    evening was obviously put together by a bunch of lawyers.

    L.C had no morals otherwise he could/would not have said what
    he did. Hasta La Vista Lane.

    Shame on the whole corrupt industry.

    • Adiós muy buenas Lane.

      Crockett was very grateful to have Napthine in attendance at the Presentation of the Cooper Report, I’m wondering but it’s not too hard to see just where the next job will be. Is there the slimmest chance Lane has chosen the right path, you know, the one where you help people and repair the damage done… maybe….maybe

      Nah… no-one could say and do what he has done in public over the years and have any kind of morals, a conscience or sense of Karma. You know what they say about Karma….

  4. Martin Hayles says:

    STT,

    I do hope that there is work being done by those with the necessary legal qualifications with regard to these idiots of whom you write. I only wish I had what is required.

    Is it not the time and opportunity to go in for ‘the kill’ and really put the heat on Chapman, Grant, Hoepner, “their” ABC et al ?

    Up until now, with the might of Big Wind, these people have not had to display courage in any real sense.

    Perhaps, with more than the threat of legal action and the reality of such they may be looking over their shoulders and addressing their rear view mirrors with a tad more concern.

    Perhaps with this reality the educational institutions of which they are a part might at the least make them “shut it down or “shut the f#*@k up” or even condemn them.

    Having been at this now for more than a few years and having met, connected with, listened to and been listened to, I feel we are on the verge of something that will have world wide ramifications.

    Keep up the good work and let us never give in and never give up.
    You are an inspiration

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