NSW Premier Glady Berejiklian and Lismore MP Thomas George present the Premier’s Award to Deborah Benhayon on behalf of the Lismore Business Chamber for its recovery work post Cyclone Debbie.
NSW Premier Glady Berejiklian and Lismore MP Thomas George present the Premier’s Award to Deborah Benhayon on behalf of the Lismore Business Chamber for its recovery work post Cyclone Debbie. Alison Paterson

OPINION: Join me in calling for urgent inquiry into UM

I'M today urging our state, federal and local government elected representatives to join with me and call for an inquiry into the activities of Universal Medicine and, more broadly, stricter regulations on the alternative health industry.

There are some serious issues surrounding Universal Medicine and their infiltration and influence on health bodies, business bodies, government agencies, such as Family and Community Services, universities and more.

Serge Benhayon, who founded the Lismore-based Universal Medicine, last month unsuccessfully sued his former client and online blogger Esther Rockett for defamation.

The four-person jury in this NSW Supreme Court case found it was true to say UM was a "socially harmful cult" and that Mr Benhayon "engages in inappropriate conduct towards women", "is guilty of inappropriate behaviour with children" and "is not a fit person to hold a Working with Children Certificate".

Following this court case, there has been a string of further revelations involving UM supporters and UM-linked events.

On October 25, Deborah Benhayon, the chief financial officer for Universal Medicine, resigned as the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry president.

She elected to step down due to the level of attacks aimed at the LCCI chamber, its members and herself (including personal threats) which she believed to be "unjustified".

Earlier this week, the UM-linked Girl to Woman Festival, which was scheduled to return to the Lennox Community Centre on January 20, was cancelled.

Organisers blamed a "lynch mob" mentality for the event being cancelled.

But truth be told, Ballina Council passed a motion at its meeting this week which would have effectively cancelled the festival anyway.

On Thursday, it surfaced that the Office of the Children's Guardian is carrying out an investigation after allegations emerged two girls in the care of Family and Community Services had been referred to treatments offered by UM.

It has also been revealed that some of our elected representatives were made aware of these allegations several years ago.

It's time good men and women stood up.

Which is why I'm calling on our local, state and federal representatives, and political candidates to join me in insisting a full and rigorous inquiry be carried out into UM and the whole alternative health industry as a matter of urgency.