Attendees from across Victoria packed into a conference centre in Oakleigh for Sunday’s Victorian Smart Meter Forum. Organizers estimated attendance levels at between 400 and 450, with latecomers spilling out onto the foyer. Representatives from over 12 Victorian Smart Meter Action Groups hosted tables at the rear of the hall and a number of Councillors representing different City Councils were also in attendance. The forum was also ‘honoured’ by the attendance of Mark Travill, Senior Consultant from Plum Communications and smart meter Community Liaison Manger for the Department of Primary Industries, who was busily writing copious notes during the forum.
Councillor Helen Patsikatheodoru from Hume City Council ably chaired proceedings. Opening keynote speaker Dr. Don Maisch of EMFacts Consultancy in Tasmania explained the conflict of interest between the setting of standards and industry interests. He stated that our standards are essentially “cooking standards, establishing that you won’t get cooked”. They do not look at non-thermal effects of radio frequencies. He cited numerous overseas bodies who have called for an urgent revision of standards. Calls for precaution have been issued by the Freiburg Appeal in 2012 (signed by over 10,000 doctors), American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the Council of Europe Report. Dr. Maisch pointed to Russian research which shows that in the third stage of exposure (over five years) irreparable damage to biological systems may occur. He contends that more independent research is urgently required, especially in relation to smart meters and their effect on sleep patterns.
Nicole Bijlsma, author of Healthy Home, Healthy Family, a Building Biologistand founder of the Australian College of Environmental Studies, presented a moving account of the effects of increased electromagnetic radiation levels on the population and, in particular, on children. She said that our children are the “canaries in the mine”. Nicole pointed to overseas standards for radio frequency emissions which have been set at a fraction of our standards. She called for urgent action on smart meters, saying that smart meter emissions affect the population in their home, the one place in which children were able to rest and should be safe. Nicole said that already 30,000 papers have been produced on electromagnetic radiation in the last 30 years. “By the time the data is available [on smart meter effects], it may be too late.”
The afternoon’s programme included harrowing accounts by two sufferers of the health effects they had experienced from smart meter emissions. Alan Manson, a representative from the Geelong Smart Meter Action Group gave a brief overview of smart meter privacy issues and Sonja Rutherford of the Broadmeadows Progress Association explained the legal advice which has been obtained from a barrister. It was clarified that no power company has the power to force anyone to accept these new meters. Mrs Rutherford also spoke about the economic impact of smart meters with proposed ‘time-of-use’ tariffs. The forum concluded encouraging people to spread the awareness of the truth about smart meters by telling everyone they know.
Feedback from the forum has been overwhelmingly positive and special thanks go to the speakers and the Glen Eira Smart Meter Action Group for organising and hosting such a professional event.
To quote German Philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer:
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Thank you to all!
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