Andrew Bretherton

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ME Action promotion

Andrew Bretherton is a human rights advocate, ME advocate and unionist. Andrew became an advocate for people with ME when he himself was diagnosed in 2015. Andrew campaigns for better conditions and to stop the abuse of people living with ME. He has spoken for various ME organisations in Australia and in the UK including Millions Missing, Emerge Australia, and ME Australia.[1]

Andrew is currently leading the Australian Call for Change for ME patients petition[2] and plans to submit to the Australian Disability Royal Commission and Australian Parliament to investigate the violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation currently occurring in the ME and CFS community due to outdated guidelines, policies and research.

Illness[edit | edit source]

Andrew was studying a B.A. of Psychology and Sport Science, working professionally and heavily involved in his local community when he caught Epstein-Barr virus (glandular fever) and shingles, and was struck down with M.E. He attended a well known hospital fatigue clinic and Active Health Clinic in Melbourne where he was recommended the therapies GET/CBT and high doses of dexamphetamines.[citation needed] Andrew descibes this treatment exploitative, abusive and said it reduced his functionality to the point where he was housebound and could no longer work or study.[citation needed] He later attended Dr Donald Lewis clinic CFS discovery where he received proper medical care before it closed in 2019.[citation needed] 

Andrew has described experiencing diagnosis discrimination, and found the process of applying for social supports (housing, national disability insurance scheme, disability support pension) in Australia discriminatory because services excluded people with the “ME or CFS”  label. 

In 2019, his apartment complex flooded and Andrew found himself homeless, and was admitted to hospital where he reported further medical abuse where the hospital tried to "cure" his M.E. with psychiatric treatments (e.g. more GET/CBT and antidepressants).

Andrew described his 3 year battle for access to Disability Support Pension (DSP) and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Andrew has said he believes had he had early access to appropriate services then he would be much less impaired then he is now and could have possibly avoided what happened to him.[citation needed]

Advocacy[edit | edit source]

Andrew (second from left) on SBS Insight, 2018

Andrew has publicly called for more biomedical funding and said that having ME was like "A Slow Death”.[3] He regards graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for ME/CFS as "just garbage"[4] and harmful to patients."[5]

In 2017, Andrew gave evidence to the Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia in a private capacity.[1] In 2021, Andrew was acknowledged for his work on migrant worker rights in the book Far From Home by Rosie Ayliffe.[citation needed] Andrew also actively participated on behalf of 88 Days and Counting into the variation of the Horticultural Award 2020.[6]

Voluntary positions[edit | edit source]

Andrew at a Millions Missing rally outside Melbourne state library, 2019
  • Emerge Australia - Community Engagement Officer - 2017, Video media and live streaming - 2018
  • ME Australia - Social Media Engagement officer - | 2018 - onwards
  • Millions Missing - Guest speaker in Melbourne, 2019[7]
  • MEAction network promo - 2018
  • Call for Change UK - Voice Over/ Narrator 
  • Call for Change for ME patients Australia - Organizer - 2021
  • Victorian Greens - people with disabilities working group Co- Convenor 2018 to present 
  • 88 days and counting - Organiser 2016 to present 
  • Tom and Mia's Legacy - Organiser and Spokesperson, 2016 to present   
  • Migrant workers centre - Volunteer

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

Other Advocacy work[edit | edit source]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Website/Blog
  • YouTube

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Commonwealth Parliament. "Public hearings | Inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  2. Bretherton, Andrew (2021). "Call for Change for M.E. Patients in Australia | Submission to the Australian Parliament and the Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Neglect, Abuse and Exploitation on behalf of the local and international ME and CFS community". Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  3. Medhora, Shalailah (October 13, 2017). "'A slow death': what it's like living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Triple J". ABC Australia. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  4. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Insight". SBS. October 15, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  5. "Insight on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Andrew's experience". ME Australia. October 15, 2018.
  6. Fair Work Commission (2020). "Horticulture Award 2020".
  7. Bretherton, Andrew (May 16, 2019). "Millions Missing: Melbourne". ME Australia. Retrieved October 25, 2021.