Wind Industry’s Propaganda King – Simon Chapman Forced to Apologise to Dr Sarah Laurie for False & Malicious Taunts


Another self-immolation ….


Australia is blessed with a former tobacco advertising guru who is paid a packet by wind power outfits – like near-bankrupt Infigen – to pedal a story that the adverse health impacts caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound (such as sleep deprivation) are the product of “scare-mongering” – which, on his story, affects only English-speaking “climate deniers”; and that never, ever affects those farmers paid to host turbines.

This grab bag of nonsense is pitched up under the tagline “nocebo”. Now, that doesn’t sound altogether scientific, but nor does the term “anti-wind farm wing-nut”, used by the guru as part of his efforts to diagnose (without clinical consultation, mind you) those said to be suffering from “nocebo”. We think he uses a magic stethoscope mounted in an orbiting satellite to reach his long-distance, infallible medical diagnoses.

Mean, nasty and narcissistic, the guru – and his nonsense ‘nocebo’ story – were repeatedly excoriated by highly qualified experts who appeared before the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud:

Dr Bruce Rapley tells Senate: Wind Farm Nocebo Story “Nefarious Pseudoscience” & an “Insult to Intelligence”

Dr Bruce Rapley Slams Australian Medical Association as Totally Unqualified Wind Industry Propagandists

Dr Malcolm Swinbanks tells Senate: ‘NASA’s 1980s Research on Health Effects from Wind Farm Noise More Relevant Than Ever’

And, after the guru’s hand trembling appearance before the Committee, the Senate’s final report demolished what little remaining credibility he had with its findings (starting at page 18 of the Report) that:

Professor Chapman and his critics

2.1       Professor Simon Chapman AO, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, has been an outspoken critic of those who suffer ill-effects from wind turbines. In both his written and oral submissions, Professor Chapman cited many of his own publications in support for his view that:

…the phenomenon of people claiming to be adversely affected by exposure to wind turbines is best understood as a communicated disease that exhibits many signs of the classic psychosocial and nocebo phenomenon where negative expectations can translate into symptoms of tension and anxiety.

2.2       Several highly qualified and very experienced professionals have challenged this argument. Dr Malcolm Swinbanks, an acoustical engineer based in the United Kingdom, reasoned:

The argument that adverse health reactions are the result of nocebo effects, ie a directly anticipated adverse reaction, completely fails to consider the many cases where communities have initially welcomed the introduction of wind turbines, believing them to represent a clean, benign form of low-cost energy generation. It is only after the wind-turbines are commissioned, that residents start to experience directly the adverse nature of the health problems that they can induce.

2.3       The committee highlights the fact that Professor Chapman is not a qualified, registered nor experienced medical practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, acoustician, audiologist, physicist or engineer. Accordingly:

  • he has not medically assessed a single person suffering adverse health impacts from wind turbines;
  • his research work has been mainly—and perhaps solely—from an academic perspective without field studies;
  • his views have been heavily criticised by several independent medical and acoustic experts in the international community; and
  • many of his assertions do not withstand fact check analyses.

2.4       Professor Chapman has made several claims which are contrary to the evidence gathered by this committee. First, he argues that the majority of Australia’s wind turbines have never received a single complaint. There are various problems with this statement:

(i)        wind turbines located significant distances from residents will not generate complaints;

(ii)       many residents suffering adverse health effects were not aware of any nexus between their health and the impact of wind turbines in order to make a complaint;

(iii)      just because residents do not lodge a formal complaint does not mean they are not suffering adverse health effects;

(iv)      data obtained by Professor Chapman from wind farm operators of the numbers of complaints lodged cannot be relied upon; and

(v)       the use of non-disclosure clauses and ‘good neighbour agreements’ legally restricts people from making adverse public statements or complaints.

2.5       Second, Professor Chapman has argued that complaints of adverse health effects from wind turbines tend to be limited to Anglophone nations. However, the committee has received written and oral evidence from several sources directly contradicting this view. The German Medical Assembly recently submitted a motion to the executive board of the German Medical Association calling for the German government to provide the necessary funding to research adverse health effects. This would not have happened in the absence of community concern. Moreover, Dr Bruce Rapley has argued that in terms of the limited number—and concentrated nature—of wind farm complaints:

It is the reporting which is largely at fault. The fact is that people are affected by this, and the numbers are in the thousands. I only have to look at the emails that cross my desk from all over the world. I get bombarded from the UK, Ireland, France, Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany. There are tonnes of these things out there but, because the system does not understand the problem, nor does it have a strategy, many of those complaints go unlisted.

2.6       Third, Professor Chapman has queried that if turbines are said to have acute, immediate effects on some people, why were there no such reports until recent years given that wind turbines have operated in different parts of the world for over 25 years. Several submissions to the committee have stated that adverse health effects from wind turbines do not necessarily have an acute immediate effect and can take time to manifest.

2.7       Fourth, Professor Chapman contests that people report symptoms from even micro-turbines. The committee heard evidence that once people are sensitised to low frequency infrasound, they can be affected by a range of noise sources, including large fans used in underground coal mines, coal fired power stations, gas fired power stations and even small wind turbines. As acoustician Dr Bob Thorne told the committee:

Low-frequency noise from large fans is a well-known and well-published issue, and wind turbines are simply large fans on top of a big pole; no more, no less. They have the same sort of physical characteristics; it is just that they have some fairly unique characteristics as well. But annoyance from low-frequency sound especially is very well known.

2.8       Fifth, Professor Chapman contends that there are apparently only two known examples anywhere in the world of wind turbine hosts complaining about the turbines on their land. However, there have been several Australian wind turbine hosts who have made submissions to this inquiry complaining of adverse health effects. Paragraphs 2.11–2.12 (above) noted the example of Mr Clive Gare and his wife from Jamestown. Submitters have also directed attention to the international experience. In Texas in 2014, twenty-three hosts sued two wind farm companies despite the fact that they stood to gain more than $50 million between them in revenue. The committee also makes the point that contractual non-disclosure clauses and ‘good neighbour’ agreements have significantly limited hosts from speaking out. This was a prominent theme of many submissions.

2.9       Sixth, Professor Chapman claims that there has been no case series or even single case studies of so-called wind turbine syndrome published in any reputable medical journal. But Professor Chapman does not define ‘reputable medical journal’ nor does he explain why the category of journals is limited to medical (as distinct, for example, from scientific or acoustic). The committee cannot therefore challenge this assertion. However, the committee does note that a decision to publish—or not to publish—an article in a journal is ultimately a business decision of the publisher: it does not necessarily reflect the quality of the article being submitted, nor an acknowledgment of the existence or otherwise of prevailing circumstances. The committee also notes that there exist considerable published and publicly available reports into adverse health effects from wind turbines.

2.10     The committee also notes that a peer reviewed case series crossover study involving 38 people was published in the form of a book by American paediatrician Dr Nina Pierpont, PhD, MD. Dr Pierpont’s Report for Clinicians and the raw case data was submitted by her to a previous Australian Senate inquiry (2011) to which Dr Pierpont also provided oral testimony. Further, at a workshop conducted by the NHMRC in June 2011, acoustical consultant Dr Geoffrey Leventhall stated that the symptoms of ‘wind turbine syndrome’ (as identified by Dr Pierpont), and what he and other acousticians refer to as ‘noise annoyance’, were the same. Dr Leventhall has also acknowledged Dr Pierpont’s peer reviewed work in identifying susceptibility or risk factors for developing wind turbine syndrome/’noise annoyance’. Whilst Dr Leventhall is critical of some aspects of Dr Pierpont’s research, he does state:

Pierpont has made one genuine contribution to the science of environmental noise, by showing that a proportion of those affected have underlying medical conditions, which act to increase their susceptibility.

2.11     Seventh, Professor Chapman claims that no medical practitioner has come forward with a submission to any committee in Australia about having diagnosed disease caused by a wind farm. Again, Professor Chapman fails to define ‘disease’. Nonetheless, both this committee, and inquiries undertaken by two Senate Standing Committees, have received oral and written evidence from medical practitioners contrary to Professor Chapman’s claim.

2.12     Eighth, Professor Chapman claims that there is not a single example of an accredited acoustics, medical or environmental association which has given any credence to direct harmful effects of wind turbines. The committee notes that the semantic distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ effects is not helpful. Dr Leventhall and the NHMRC describe stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation as ‘indirect’ effects, but these ailments nonetheless affect residents’ health.

2.13     Finally, Professor Chapman queries why there has never been a complainant that has succeeded in a common-law suit for negligence against a wind farm operator. This statement is simply incorrect. The committee is aware of court judgements against wind farm operators, operators making out of court settlements or withdrawing from proceedings, injunctions or shutdown orders being granted against operators, and properties adjacent to wind turbines being purchased by operators to avoid future conflict. The committee also reiterates its earlier point that contractual non-disclosure clauses have discouraged legal action by victims.
Select Committee on Wind Turbines

Not only did the Australian Senate find that the guru and the truth are involved in a somewhat ‘troubled’ relationship, STT Champion Dr Sarah Laurie called him out for falsely and maliciously claiming that she had been ‘struck-off’ by the Medical Board of Australia; in a clear breach of the Ninth Commandment.

Sarah has been the voice for rural communities set upon by the wind industry. For over 5 years, she has been advocating for an Australian ‘fair go’ for people trying to get a decent night’s sleep in their own homes; and, to that end, has relentlessly sought to get relevant, meaningful and enforceable noise standards drawn up to cover all industrial noise sources, including wind turbines:

Senate Wind Farm Inquiry – Dr Sarah Laurie says: “Kill the Noise & give Neighbours a Fair Go”

Fortitude, resilience, stoicism, fearlessness, and an overall desire to let right be done: terms that only begin to capture the essence of a remarkable woman.

Set upon by the attack dogs that help run media and political interference for the wind industry, Sarah has been subjected to more than her fair share of utterly unwarranted, vilification and abuse. And the lion’s share of that has been generated, or orchestrated, by the guru.

The guru, along with fellow wind power propagandists, Vesta’s, Ken McAlpine, Infigen’s Ketan Joshi and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hannam sent Tweets to their band of intellectually challenged followers, asserting that Dr Laurie had been “deregistered”; implying that she had engaged in professional misconduct, causing the Medical Board to chop her registration.

For no apparent reason – save malice – Joshi and Hannam sent the malicious Tweet (first sent by McAlpine) around once more during the guru’s appearance before the Senate Inquiry. In a “we’re not going to take it any more” move, in response, Sarah Laurie sent in her legal attack dogs, who forced the guru to eat a very generous serving of humble pie. Here’s The Australian’s Graham Lloyd detailing how far the guru has fallen.

Wind farm advocate Simon Chapman sorry for false allegations
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
19 August 2015

Simon Chapman

Public health professor and wind farm advocate Simon Chapman has published a long apology to ­industrial noise campaigner Sarah Laurie for falsely claiming she had been deregistered as a doctor.

The apology exposes a long-running campaign to discredit Dr Laurie, who has spoken out for residents affected by noise from wind turbines and other industrial ­sources through the Waubra Foundation.

Dr Laurie welcomed the apology but said Professor Chapman’s personal attacks on her professional integrity were “just one example of a broader strategy ­employed by the wind industry to denigrate, marginalise and, therefore, exclude from public and political discourse anyone sincerely investigating a worldwide public health issue’’.

Lawyers for Dr Laurie have threatened action against wind ­industry employees Ken McAlpine, formerly from Vestas, Ketan Joshi from Infigen and Fairfax Media over a tweet first posted by Mr McAlpine in March last year.

Professor Chapman, who is not a medical practitioner, repeated the tweet, which said “NOT DROWNING, RANTING: Deregistered “Dr” Sarah Laurie doesn’t like the medicine dished up by @ama_media”.

In his apology, Professor Chapman said the tweet implied that Ms Laurie had given cause to the Medical Board of Australia to deregister her on account of unprofessional conduct, that she was not entitled to use the title “Dr”, and that she did so in contravention of the laws that govern the conduct of medical practitioners.

“These allegations were ­implied without foundation and are entirely false,” Professor Chapman said.

“Ms Laurie is not deregistered and has never been sanctioned by the Medical Board of Australia.’’

Dr Laurie told a Senate committee into wind turbines and health this year that she graduated from Flinders University with a bachelor of medicine and a bachelor of surgery in 1995 and attained a fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 1998.

Dr Laurie had been a councillor on the South Australian Medical ­Association branch but that was prematurely cut short when she was diagnosed with an illness.

Dr Laurie said she was still ­legally entitled to use the honorific Dr but voluntarily offered not to use it for her work with the ­Waubra Foundation to prevent members of the public from thinking she was currently registered.

Dr Laurie told a Senate committee she had been “very reluctant to accept that there could be anything wrong (with wind ­turbines)”.

“I used to take my children to go and watch wind turbines being built locally near our home,” she said. “I had no idea about any ­adverse health impacts from wind turbines.

“But, when you listen to the ­stories of people affected by noise when they are trying to sleep in their beds at night, it does not matter what the source of the noise is if they cannot sleep and they are having these other very distressing symptoms and deteriorating health.”

Professor Chapman has been widely criticised for his outspoken advocacy for the wind industry and research, which found complaints about wind turbines were due to a “nocebo” effect.

Senator John Madigan told parliament in June last year that Professor Chapman “obtained his PhD from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, a self-proclaimed expert in marketing and public manipulation via media sources”.

“He is a person who is not lawfully permitted to conduct any form of medical research or study in relation to human health,” ­Senator Madigan said.

He said Professor Chapman’s undergraduate qualifications were in sociology and his PhD looked into the relationship between cigarette smoke and advertising.

Professor Chapman told the ­recent Senate inquiry he had “a PhD in medicine and I am a fellow of the Academy of the Social ­Sciences in Australia”.

He was awarded an Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical research, particularly in the area of public health policy.

Asked about the offending tweet by the Senate committee, he said: “I would regret having re­tweeted that one, because obviously ‘deregistered’ is incorrect.”

He did not ­respond to The Australian yesterday.
The Australian

Ouch!! How much the very first dose of public humility must have hurt?

And never ones to miss an opportunity to belt a blow-hard when he’s down, here’s the Correction and Apology in full:


I am a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

On 20 March 2014, I retweeted the following tweet concerning Sarah Laurie:

NOT DROWNING, RANTING: Deregistered “Dr” Sarah Laurie doesn’t like the medicine dished up by @ama_media”

My tweet implied that Ms Laurie had given cause to the Medical Board of Australia to deregister her as a medical practitioner, on account of unprofessional conduct: that she is not entitled to use the title “Dr”; and that she does so in contravention of the laws that govern the conduct of medical practitioners.

These allegations were implied without foundation and are entirely false.

Ms Laurie is not deregistered and has never been sanctioned by the Medical Board of Australia. Sarah Laurie allowed her registration as a medical practitioner to lapse for personal reasons; and accordingly, does not currently practice.

I sincerely apologise to Sarah Laurie for the harm, embarrassment and distress caused by my allegations, which I unreservedly retract.

Professor Simon Chapman
University of Sydney

And rightly so! Australians that dig in and fight for a ‘fair go’ for all, shouldn’t have to take that kind of malicious and unwarranted abuse from anyone, let alone former tobacco advertising gurus, parading as medical experts.

sarah laurie

Dr Sarah Laurie: fighting for a ‘fair go’ for all.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. The tobacco gruru is nothing more then a GRUB, and he has a large number of GRUBS that live, sorry, they don’t live in the forests of fans (that should be destroyed), because they would not be able to stand the torture of infrasound or lowfrequency noise.

    Windweasel grubs should be made to encounter the torture that they have dished out to the people that have had to put up with these things. What a corrupt mob.

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Doctor Sarah Laurie is an independent voice from the medical field who will not be fooled by the Position Statement of the AMA (union); she has and will continue to undertake working for the health of those living within the danger zone of industrial noise/sound/vibration. While she is not practicing medicine (diagnosing and examining patients) she is none the less using her attained skills for the good of all.

    Her voice backed by her intelligence and attained skills is what is scaring those who wanted to and tried to suppress her, but who have failed and in failing have managed to embarrass themselves, those they work for and the many groupies they have collected along the way.

    It’s concerning those who could have stopped this onslaught or at least minimised it, and in doing so shown they do not support such statements failed to do so, even after they received complaints.

    That they did not make any public statements distancing themselves from such statements indicates they agreed with them. This alone should now be rectified by, for instance, Sydney University publishing an apology to Doctor Sarah Laurie as an act of propriety for their failing to prevent their name being used to give credence to such comments.

    Others such as Infigen, they are trying to save their industry, and have decided the way to do that is to demonise Doctor Laurie and others who wish to help people suffering as a result of living near their turbines.

    Perhaps a better way to have done this would have been to listen to Doctor Laurie and accept the danger which they were aware of years ago and work with her and others to help those suffering rather than brushing the situation aside. Perhaps they have been badly advised by their researchers and advisors, who ever they are. In the meantime a public apology and distancing themselves from such remarks and those who circulated them is warranted.

    The media who willingly supported and published such diatribes no less than a full page apology for 7 consecutive days should be the only acceptable response, with a declared decision to be more responsible and unbiased.

    However, we should expect support by any politician of the lies and derogatory comments directed at Doctor Laurie not to be accepted to any degree. Such Politicians should stand up in Parliament and offer a Public apology to her and distance themselves from those who made them from now on.

    The initial step to rectify the injustice directed at Doctor Sarah Laurie is the apology from Mr Chapman what is needed now is for others to accept their complicit behaviour and also publish their apologies.

    We can help to stop such a situation from being repeated by continuing to be on the alert and to challenge and report any future attacks, no matter who prints, publishes, tweets or in any way circulates them.

  3. one bloke id really like to punch in the nose!

  4. The goat of greenhill road says:

    It has always intrigued me how the propagandists always paint those who oppose the wind industry as being financially envious, suffering from the nocebo effect or in the words of an ABC journalist they are all “dickbrains.” The media in the early days ran with these lines.

    However on closer inspection one realises opponents of the wind industry do it primarily because they see the economic and environmental fraud that they are such as Senvion’s proposed Ceres wind farm. There is no monetary reward for opponents and I’m sure most have better things to do with their time.

    Now compare this to the wind industry parrots whose pay packet depends on spruiking winds so called virtues.

    Infigen’s well-paid twitter jockey prides himself as a man of scientific reasoning.

    His propaganda campaign in twitter world involves bunching wind industry opponents with those who oppose vaccines for children. He attempts to construct an image of “flat earthers”, and to oppose wind is to be below his level of intellect. Coal is often quoted as a killer, but they never ask the question how many millions would be dead if it wasn’t for coal’s energy heating and cooking for the world’s vast population.

    There is a certain ingredient that runs strongly through the propagandists’ veins, that of EGO. An all consuming condition that is seldom happy see-sawing from spitting out vitriol then spiralling into depression.

    A wise man once said to me that you have two choices in life:
    “to be a host to God or a hostage to your ego.”

    Too many people are already hostages to these giant fans, held to ransom by those who live far away financially benefitting on others misery. Let’s hope a greater conscience prevails.

    • I see Ketan Joshi is a shrink. That explains a lot. They do like to think psychology has far more relevance than it actually does. Blaming things that are biological in cause, on psychological factors.

  5. That’s got rid of Barnard and Chapman, now it’s time to bring Clarke down.

    He has lied about Dr. Laurie’s intent, with a lot of it bordering on defamation, by insinuation, which he seems to think is acceptable.

    He tries to tell us that he has not attacked Dr. Laurie’s character, but then he says this,

    Quote: “Ms Laurie spreads unfounded fear”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie unnecessarily frightened people and helped to make them ill.”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie’s activities slowed the replacement of this killer industry”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie, as a spokesperson for the ‘wind turbines will make you sick’ group”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie wants us to believe that turbines make people ill”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie’s beliefs are plainly well beyond anything that could be accepted by a rational and intelligent human being”

    Quote: “Ms Laurie’s claim that something coming from turbines is harming people at large distances is certainly an extraordinary claim.”

    If this is not attacking Dr. Laurie’s character, I am at a loss to know what you would call it.

    It’s all here.

    In fact he almost seems to have some sort of perverse fascination with Dr. Laurie.

    In his blog, the Blog of Lies, we call it, Dr. Laurie is mentioned on no fewer than twenty seven pages and across those pages he has mentioned her name two hundred and forty four times.

    As far as I’m concerned, this little prick is as guilty as Chapman!

    Dr. Sarah Laurie should not have to put up with having her name slandered across the net like this.

    If some one did that to Clarke, he would squeal like a stuck pig!

    It is up to all of us to silence him.


  6. E Griffiths says:

    I wonder if Professor Nocebo had the decency to also write a private letter of apology to Sarah Laurie?

  7. Simon Chapman knew very well what Sarah Laurie’s status true was. He demonstrated this over and over again in the past by referring to her as an “unregistered” general practitioner in many of his online and newspaper articles.

    But Simon Chapman more recently decided to refer to her as “deregistered”. I don’t think this was a slip of the keyboard, an error or misunderstanding. I think it was a malicious attempt from the evermore desperate Chapman to get his guts out at Sarah Laurie.

    Chapman’s apology is only words: he needs to make meaningful reparation and/or resign himself from engaging on this wind farm issue ever again. I don’t think he has any credibility left.

    • Crispin Trist says:

      This apology has been a long time coming George. I am so pleased for Sarah.

      I am also pleased for you because I know how much effort you have put into taking this person on.

      And thank you to the Senate Inquiry.

      Chapman has kicked people when they are down. When people are closing the door on their homes to get out of harms way, Chapman has been there in the media rubbing salt into the wound. He has shown no empathy to our plight. The University of Sydney are also complicit in allowing him to get away with this behaviour. So much for an inquisitive mind!

      The ABC should also be ashamed of themselves for repeating this mantra. Look to the likes of the wonderful film “Windfall”. Look to Canada, the UK. Look to STT! Do your research on the subject. Channel 7 are as is Andrew Bolt on Channel 10. And let’s not forget Alan Jones. He has hit the nail right on the head with this issue. And thank you of course to Graham Lloyd in The Australian.

      Yes a cleaner Planet is a good thing. But a healthier Planet should mean healthier people too. And healthier wildlife. The one should not be sought at the expense of the other.

      To use Cape Bridgewater as but one example, there are now several “Ghost homes” in the area. People cannot sell their homes. Indeed WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE TOO? Some properties have been for sale for nearly 7 years! In other words the life of the wind farm so far. The For Sale signs have faded they have been up for so long.

      In these ex-homes there are now no plans for any thoughts of grand designs, no hopes for starting a family, no first day tears sending the little ones off to school, no opportunity to pass on the family home for future generations, no birthday celebrations, indeed no celebrations of any kind whatsoever all thanks to their new neighbour from HELL… PACIFIC HYDRO!!!

      Trees not turbines. Tourists not turbines. Or in other words TNT!!!

  8. Martin Hayles says:

    There are always the good guys and the bad guys, the white hats and the black hats, if you like.

    One only has to look at the track record of the two. It is obvious who is the self-promoter and who has devoted themself to the being, human.

    With simple observation, of the written and the visual , it is self-evident to this one of good versus evil, of integrity in comparison to wilful malicious intent.

    You be the judge.

  9. How often do I have to say it? Chapman is a publicly funded propagandist, nothing more.

    A head-kicker.

    After a career hammering tobacco (which even smokers don’t mind), he belatedly discovered wind. And changed sides: now he backs corporates against victims.

    Professor Wind’s first foray was in 2010 I think, on Crikey, and it is still a comedy classic. He knew nothing whatever about wind turbines, but he did know the Dutch had windmills for centuries. They seemed not to be affected.

    He’s a troll.

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