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Why Are Australians Saying No to the WHO?

In 2024, Australia will decide whether to accept the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) proposed pandemic treaty, and amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR). The Australian Government says that these global public health instruments are essential to help us prepare for future pandemics. However, there is mounting concern that the proposed treaty and amendments pose a threat to Australia’s national sovereignty over public health decision-making. 

Who runs the world? The WHO will, if Australia and other Member States agree to a proposed pandemic treaty and IHR amendments. This is the view of a growing chorus who warn that Australia risks losing its sovereignty over public health decision-making to the WHO, without necessarily even realising it. 

“If we don’t oppose the future IHR amendments and treaty, then based on the current drafts, the WHO will dictate our response to future emergencies,” says Katrina Lane, CEO of community advocacy group Stand Up Now Australia, which is currently running a campaign to reject the WHO’s proposed reforms. 

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