The Cape Byron Lighthouse Declaration: A ‘Suspended’ Guide to Making Healthcare Great Again

14 June 2023

4.1 MINS

Cape Byron Lighthouse stands proudly on Australia’s most easterly point, sending a whopping two million candelas of light 50 kilometres out to sea each night. It is our brightest lighthouse and arguably Australia’s most famous. As it is the first lighthouse to welcome the dawn of a new day, each year thousands make the pilgrimage there to watch the sunrise.

Lighthouses have served mariners for centuries, warning of nearby dangers. Cape Byron is no exception, guiding the route of countless mariners with its beams offering security and guidance. It seems, therefore, a fitting place for three resolute Australian health professionals to gather and make a declaration against the censorship, coercion, and medical tyranny of the past three years.

These three would call themselves ordinary Australians, but when you hear their stories, you realise they are anything but. Critical care and anaesthesia specialist doctor Paul Oosterhuis, mental healthcare doctor Robert Brennan, and ‘former psychologist’ Ros Nealon-Cook did not know each other three years ago, but their paths brought them to the same point in September 2021. And that point can be described with one word: suspended. Their crime? Speaking out against Australia’s Covid pandemic response.

Rather than step back into the shadows, they have instead renewed their vows to stand and propose a blueprint for the redemption of healthcare in The Cape Byron Lighthouse Declaration.

Penalised for Speaking Out

Each of their stories is different and you can listen to a full version online, but I’ll give you the abridged version here. Dr Brennan was suspended following complaints for distributing flyers and his association with the Covid Medical Network (now the Australian Medical Network). Dr Oosterhuis was suspended following anonymous complaints regarding his social media posts. And Ros Nealon-Cook was suspended following ten complaints about a video she released outlining serious harm to children due to the Australian government’s pandemic response measures.

Hardly crimes of the century. In fact, not crimes at all.

When you consider that one of AHPRA’s purposes is to ‘protect the public’, what possible motive could there be for suspending a qualified, experienced, and respected health practitioner for expressing their professional opinion in the context of a health issue?

I digress.

Ros Nealon-Cook describes how these three found each other and the idea for the declaration:

‘We were all suspended within several days of each other in September 2021 and were all targeted. We became sort of like war buddies. Quite draconian measures were used by AHPRA, by the boards, by the Health Care Complaints Commission, and all these different tentacles of the government. We were threatened with criminal action and all sorts of things. It was just this constant campaign of bullying… They even came after me for a psychiatric evaluation, which I didn’t go to, but they did on me by transcribing interviews.’

Yep, you read that right: a psychiatric evaluation was done on a healthcare practitioner, without them even being there.

(Who are these people?!)

Standing Together

Nealon-Cook continues, ‘The idea for the declaration started as a bit of a joke, and one day I just said to Paul and Robert, “Oh for goodness sake, let’s do our own Great Barrington Declaration… but we’ll make it all about the censorship and bullying of health professionals.” We had a bit of a laugh about it, and that was it.’

But, as many ideas do, the idea germinated. So, on the dawn of January 22, 2023, the Cape Byron Lighthouse Declaration was born. It states:

  • All silencing and censorship by bureaucrats and regulators, including of experienced practitioners and scientists, must stop. There must be respect for every individual’s right to freedom of opinion and expression.
  • The right to ‘informed’ consent must be upheld – and must include being fully informed of relevant risks, as well as any benefits (proven or presumed).
  • Mandates and other forms of medical coercion are unethical – and must cease. Bodily autonomy is the inalienable right of every individual – and must be respected.
  • There is an urgent need for transparency and reform in science and medicine and to halt the increasing globalisation of public health. We demand the restoration of voice and decision power to individual practitioners – and those they serve.

Since its launch a few weeks ago, the declaration has received international attention and signatures from around the world including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, the UK, and the US with numbers increasing daily.

Three years ago, I could not have conceived that we would need such a declaration. But the Covid years have revealed the diseased underbelly of healthcare and its powerful influences. Healthcare, nor the people it serves, cannot thrive in the presence of censorship, coercion, and unethical behaviour. So, the time has come to remind ourselves, our governments, and our leaders of the core foundations.

Fighting for Freedom

If the stories of these three health professionals demonstrate anything, it is that silencing and censorship do not work. Eventually the dam wall breaks and such ‘ordinary people’ break through. ‘We didn’t die,’ says Oosterhuis. ‘We got louder.’

‘Paul Rob and I, we’re just normal people,’ says Nealon-Cook.

‘We’re not media trained, we fumble our words and stumble along. But would we do it again? Absolutely. Because we have to. We have to do this, and we’ve lost everything. We’ve lost our careers. We’ve lost our reputations. We’ve lost friends. It’s had really serious impacts on family. But this is so important, and we would do it again and again and again.

‘People keep saying to all of us, “Oh you’re so brave. I could never do that.” I wasn’t brave. I was terrified when I did it, but I’m more terrified of what will happen if we don’t turn this around. Because potentially we’re going to be living in a world where there’s complete censorship, of any debate, any scientific debate, any expertise that doesn’t fit in with the narrative.’

The call to action is clear.

‘There’s a lot of people that are still waiting for this to be solved by someone else. They’re still waiting for the hero on the white charger or the likes,’ says Nealon-Cook.

‘The key piece is that everyone needs to stand up. And the sooner that everyone does that, the sooner this is all over.’

You can read and sign The Cape Byron Lighthouse Declaration here.


Originally published by The Spectator Australia. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch.

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  1. Kim Beazley 14 June 2023 at 7:14 am - Reply

    It’s hard to take seriously the claims of doctors who have stood by such disproved claims as these. They have all advocated for Ivermectin, long after it has been clinically proven to be ineffective. There is also the fact that a number of the other claims in their “Covid Medical Network” open letter are patently false.

    First, “failed political leadership that has abdicated its responsibilities to academic and health
    bureaucrats”. Our politicians are not experts. That’s exactly why, in every department, they have experts as advisers. How else would they prefer things to be in matters relating to health? Politicians with no medical expertise making decisions? So it’s actually the health advisers doing what they should.

    Second, “abandoned long-established and existing pandemic guidelines”. As doctors they would understand that those guidelines were totally irrelevant in the case of a never before seen virus. They were designed for a global pandemic of a known disease, influenza.

    Third, “novel and unproven vaccine technology”. Again, as doctors they would understand everything there is to know about clinical trial procedures. And as these vaccines underwent the largest clinical trials in medical history, and with a 40 year history of research and development, not to mention previous successful trials and usage against other diseases, they were neither novel nor unproven. The opposite is in fact the case.

    If these facts are simple enough for a layman to discover, you can bet your bottom dollar that doctors have too.

    The saddest fact here is that there is one major issue that these doctors ignore, and by shining a light on false claims, allows the real issue to hide in the dark.

    The REAL problem with health in this country is gross under-investment in hospitals, and the staff they need to efficiently deal with any surge in need. THAT is the reason why the lockdowns were so bad, the fact that the various States were already at critical mass, a fact that can be seen even now when without huge numbers of hospital and ICU cases they are still at breaking point.

    So you could actually tell how bad a State’s hospital system is by how long the lockdowns were, because they coincided with the times when hospitals were at maximum capacity.

    So, sadly, pushing these false issues only acts as a smokescreen to cover the real problem, as it allows State governments to continue to fail in this area.

  2. Stan 14 June 2023 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I pray for you Jim , that your eyes will be open, because you are so wrong, and wilfully blind. May God have mercy on you

    • Kim Beazley 14 June 2023 at 9:49 am - Reply

      If you can’t actually engage me on the issues I raised, Stan, why even comment? Especially when you can’t even spell my simple three letter name correctly! To say I’m wrong and especially to claim I’m “wilfully blind” without providing any kind of engagement with the particulars is itself precisely what you criticise me as being: wrong and willfully blind.

      As is your prayer that God will have mercy on me, as though you are required to pray it from your own “enlightened” vantage point, and, as a Christian for 50 years, as though I need it.

    • Jim Twelves 14 June 2023 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Dear Stan, thank you for praying for me but do you mean ‘Kim’?

  3. Jim Twelves 14 June 2023 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Dr Julie, this is a magnificent article, thank you. The story of these three, out of their pain and persecution and their search for truth, have crafted such a wonderful, uplifting response, The Cape Byron Lighthouse Declaration. Julie, thank you for providing oxygen for these valiant warriors, I pray that we can get this message out to as many as we can in our networks.

    • Kim Beazley 14 June 2023 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Jim, if only their “search for truth” had led them there. As I already observed, the serious flaws in their argument, being obvious to a layperson, surely did not escape these medical practitioners. So to still, after all this time, be sticking with long disproven claims, actually is suggestive of being knowingly so. That should be of the greatest concern here.

      We talk so often of the need for an inquiry into all the issues relating to the pandemic, and rightly so. But surely that doesn’t just apply to those in authority, but it also should require the same laser beam being shone on claims like these from those opposed to authority as well. After all, if those who are the loudest in their criticism of officialdom are found to have even worse arguments, then how do we get the best outcome from that inquiry?

  4. Stephen Lewin 14 June 2023 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you Dr Julie for keeping us informed of truths regarding covid 19 …also

    many other doctors and nurses here we are in contact with and
    have supported our own findings from very extensive ongoing research that keep reinforcing personal decisions made very early in 2020
    continuing to pray for you Dr Julie and others

  5. H Harrison 15 June 2023 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Thankyou Dr Julie. We need a vaccine against pride and prejudice. It takes great humility to search honestly and change from set in mindsets. Listening with compassion to people’s stories is a good start. Truth can hurt.

  6. Pearl Miller 16 June 2023 at 2:56 am - Reply

    AHPRA are not medical experts. There is not a medical Dr. amongst them. Neither is Kim. I’d rather listen to the eminent physicians in AMPS The Australian Medical Practitioners Society..The cream of the crop, the best of the best and all that I have met have been Christians as well.
    Poor Kim, May he find Christ and learn to love the The Way, The TRUTH, and The Life in Jesus Precious Name Amen.

  7. Kim Beazley 16 June 2023 at 7:33 am - Reply

    “Poor Kim, May he find Christ …”

    Nice piece of gaslighting there! Typical of anti-vax Gnostics, who think they have special insight that others don’t. As for finding Christ, I did, 50 years ago.

    “AHPRA are not medical experts. There is not a medical Dr. amongst them.”

    Actually, they are. As can be seen at their webpage at, there are medical practitioners on boards at every level.

    “Neither is Kim.”

    And neither are you for that matter. But unlike you, I’m not addicted to wild conspiracy theories, instead choosing to trust in medical research data from around the world.

    “I’d rather listen to the eminent physicians in AMPS The Australian Medical Practitioners Society.”

    The AMPS is a mere blip on the screen, made up of anti-vaxxers like yourself and constituting less than 4% of medical practitioners. Far from the “cream of the crop”.

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