I can hear …..

“I can hear you are frustrated”, says the woman on the other end of the phone today.

This blog is prompted by a long awaited reply I received today from the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding the NHMRC report on homeopathy that was released in 2015.


Here is a brief summary of the issue in case you missed it:

In 2015 The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, (NHMRC) releases a study that concludes there is no evidence to support that homeopathy is effective. This has global ramifications and fuels further hostility towards homeopathy. It is now referred to as ‘The Australian Report’ and is an embarrassment to many Australians.


Many of us know that this outcome is not true and wonder how they could have missed the evidence that exists and was made available to them.


An enquiry is undertaken as to why or how this could have happened.

Information comes to light that there has probably been a few procedural errors and implied misconduct or at least an unprecedented level of restriction that has misrepresented the truth and buried most of the high quality evidence that exists.

A complaint or many complaints are made and no satisfactory replies, investigations or corrections are forthcoming for many years.

The appeal reaches the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

As a ‘secret service’ (an office that conducts its enquiries in secret), with strict procedures of appeal and due process, the result is that the majority of our complaints are probably being dismissed, as is my own. That, in itself, is not frustrating but what is frustrating is that owing to the confidentiality (normally a very good thing) there can be no information issued to complainants such as myself regarding the progress of the investigation and hence no satisfactory resolution in sight despite our combined efforts and compliance with the guidelines and recommendations of the Office.


It’s hard sometimes to be a nice person when that relies on living in the heart and we must function in the mind to navigate the ways of the world. It’s a daily conflict that meditation can help enormously to assuage but nevertheless still frustrating when it comes to communicating with the justice system or with government in particular.

At least we have a justice system with democratic governance even if we appear to be too stupid to use them properly.

In fact, more to the point, after speaking for some time to the calling officer it highlights to me that I do not even know what the complaint really is. I mean how can it be better worded or presented in order to pass muster through a seemingly officious and rigorous scrutiny. “I’m not happy and the report is false” doesn’t seem to cut it. She also patiently points out that this is not the function of the Ombudsman and that the Office functions primarily to ensure that due process is adhered to when a complaint to someone else is made. In this case the complaint is really directed towards the NHMRC or in effect the Australian Government.

The office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (OCO) deems any reply to a complaint as a fulfillment of obligation. So if the NHMRC sent an autoreply email that the message/complaint had been received then that absolves them from issuing further response and the Ombudsman may decide that no case exists. No, I’m not frustrated.


So I am reflecting on how this could have been handled better and I realise that maybe it was doomed from the outset. The message I am getting from the patient and kind officer from the OCO is that only complaints that rely on your own personal experience can be considered authentic. I understand that but that gets clouded by the fact that my own personal experience is obtaining information from people and organisations I trust to have acted on my behalf and who accord with my own understanding of the matter. I am not a researcher or a lawyer and like most of us, rely on those who are to inform us in matters of importance and in which we are in agreement.


My complaint is dismissed primarily on the basis that the information forming the basis of my complaint comes via a third party. Frustrated? No not me.

I can extrapolate that to hear that if any of my clients and disadvantaged patients at any homeopathic clinic lodged a complaint they could be similarly dismissed on the same grounds since they themselves are not the first party. In fact who could be the first party in a case like this if not the public of Australia?

I am left wondering now about that and also about who gets to collect evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy if not the practitioner or the patient? Clearly none of these according to the NHMRC or the OCO. Further frustration here arises from the fact that the evidence provided for the 2015 review was of a significantly higher level than the aforementioned personal case studies and was still dismissed by the ‘expert’ review committee that contained not a single homeopath.

We can see here how democracy can be easily eroded by the very checks and balances established to protect its integrity. Who’s frustrated?

I doubt that any evidence I could furnish would have been any more successful than the original truck load (1800 documents) provided to the NHMRC study committee.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that we have reason to believe that the original committee did in fact discover that sufficient evidence exists to warrant further consideration but that this committee was then fired and a second report was commissioned at further expense to the Australian public.

Consolation arrives in the feeling that even though my own feeble attempt at eliciting a response to this issue has failed that there is in place a co-ordinated effort being made by the Australian Homeopathic Association (hopefully here known as the third party unless there are more) that will hopefully meet with a better outcome. Full details of this can be found here  for those interested.


So perhaps there is power in unity after all and the petition that we all signed through the Your Health Your Choice campaign will have some effect and that our individual attempts may be recognised in support of a larger unified push.


Whilst true power lies in unity there appears to be little unity in the offices of the Law of the Land, yet it still appears all-powerful. Blunt instruments like the law can obviously inflict quite some damage and may end up being more painful with longer lasting ramifications than the sharp stabs of insight and truth.


The damage of this particular mistake extends to our national reputation in a world that widely accepts and acknowledges the evidence of effectiveness, the benefits to patients and the practice of homeopathy as a medicine and is left wondering how we could be so ignorant.


It seems that we may never become clever enough to defeat those who have powerful motives to keep us quiet and ineffective but our true power lies in our collective consciousness and that is not governed by anything other than our heart power, which is at the core of our unity.




Truth cannot
Forever remain

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 46, Agni Press, 2006


Truth hides
When argument roars.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 29, Agni Press, 2002

6347. Be absolutely sure

First be absolutely sure
That you know the truth
Before you talk to others
About the truth.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 64, Agni Press, 1983



2 Responses to “I can hear …..”

  1. From Douglas Wilson

    Very frustrating!

  2. From Cathie Harvey

    A very thoughtful and well expressed summary of the situation Saranyu. I am also grateful that you do put in the time to try and address the situation. Your experience of frustration is felt by all of us in the field. I think the helplessness of not being heard or acknowledged is disempowering. How do you be heard and obtain justice? The knowledge that homeopathy works keeps us all buffered in a way from their report. We just go on in our own way and feel sorry for the people duped by the biased unfair report.

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