STOP PRESS: Jereth Kok Interview

Why was Jereth Kok’s medical license suspended suddenly and  indefinitely?


Published with Luke’s Journal May 2023  |  Vol.28 No.2  |  Unity in Diversity 

Watch the video of Jereth Kok’s interview by Luke’s Journal, produced 2 May, 2023.

Summary of events:

Dr Jereth Kok was working as a General Practitioner (GP) in Melbourne when his medical license was suspended suddenly and  indefinitely in August 2019 by AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), using emergency measures. The reason for this drastic measure was centred on several anonymous complaints made to AHPRA about Jereth’s political views expressed on social media, some dating back to twelve years ago.

The suspension was made on the grounds of ‘public interest’ based on his views on abortion, gender, and sexuality – all views that were consistent with traditional Christian beliefs. Not once during his eleven years working as a GP did he receive any formal complaints from any of his patients.

We speak to Jereth now to hear what he has learned and would like to share with other Christian medicos.


Luke’s Journal (LJ): Jereth, this whole saga started in August 2019 when your medical license was suspended. Give us an update on where your case is at with AHPRA.

JERETH: I was suspended in 2019 under emergency powers, pending the outcome of an AHPRA investigation which began (without my knowledge) in early 2018. Things have continued moving very slowly. As part of their investigation, AHPRA obtained an expert opinion from an endocrinologist in April 2020, concerning the criticism I had expressed about transgender ideology and medical and surgical gender transitioning. (This included an article I wrote that was published by Eternity News in 2015, as well as several posts on my own personal Facebook page).

AHPRA completed its investigation in the second half of 2021, and the Medical Board referred me for a formal “trial” at the Victorian tribunal (VCAT). I am waiting for that to happen. The trial will determine whether I am guilty of professional misconduct, and what further penalty I would be subject to if found guilty- assuming I wish to regain my medical registration (which has long since lapsed).

We seem to be moving slowly towards that trial and it may finally happen in 2023. My legal team has submitted evidence, including a 24-page witness statement written by me. There might be further exchange of evidence and various other legal procedures in the lead-up to a hearing. The process is quite mysterious to me.

LJ: Over the past 2.5 years, no doubt there would have been many difficult lows.  What were the most difficult hardships that you’ve experienced? 

JERETH: The greatest difficulty at first was the sudden dislocation and uncertainty. Suddenly I had no job, no income, and was cut off from my patients and workplace. I experienced tremendous grief on many occasions, thinking about my many patients who I’d gotten to know so well over many years. I had to trust that they would end up in good care under my colleague GPs. A few of them wrote to me, which was very touching.

I am my family’s breadwinner, so there was considerable anxiety about how I would continue to fulfill that role. We had a mortgage and bills to keep paying. Having studied and worked in medicine for more than two decades, I couldn’t just go out and immediately get another job because I was not trained or experienced in anything else. However, once I set myself down a path of a new career, things worked out well in God’s kindness.

I guess a major ‘hardship’ is the constant knowledge that I have been unjustly (and in some cases falsely) accused, with the prospect that the injustice will not be corrected any time soon. However, it is a great comfort to know that God sees all and knows all, and will sort it all out in the end – even if I have to wait beyond this life.

LJ: Were there any moments of joy or hope in the past 2.5 years?

JERETH: Of course. There is always joy in life. I have my wife and children, I have a great church, I have good friends, I have various interests that I pursue.

In some ways, the suspension was a blessing as it forced me to take an extended break from work which was badly needed (a bit like ‘long service leave’, which I’ve never experienced). I had worked hard and continuously for more than a decade in general practice, and being able to finally have some decent time out was great. While studying / re-training for a new career, I was able to spend a lot of time with my children as they grew up, and do things like school pick-ups and attend afternoon basketball games, which I would never have done if I’d continued working full-time.

LJ: What did you learn about God through these ups and downs?

JERETH: I’ve learned to rely more on his faithful and unchanging nature. When a massive and unexpected disruption happens in life, particularly one that involves great injustice, we have no option but to trust that God himself is unchanging, his Word is unchanging, and all his promises are still true.

LJ: I understand that you’re now in a different area of work since your medical license remains suspended. Can you tell us what you’ve learned in this transition?

JERETH: I now work in Information Technology (IT) and software. It has always been an interest, so I’ve finally had an opportunity to pursue it properly. God has kindly ‘opened the doors’ for me. I think it has been very beneficial to have my horizons broadened. After twenty years, the medical world becomes quite insular and monotonous. It’s good to see more of the world out there.

LJ: Do you have any regrets throughout this experience?

JERETH: I still feel terribly sad about my patients, and the people I used to work with at my practice.  I sometimes wonder if I should have been more proactive in building a line of communication for my most loyal patients, at least to say proper farewells so that both they and I could have had some closure. I’ve only maintained contact with a small handful, who I knew were Christians and therefore would easily understand what has happened. The awful, prolonged lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 made it even harder to keep in touch with people. But it was also partly reluctance due to the stigma associated with being suspended, and partly laziness on my part.

LJ: What would you say to Christian medical students and doctors now, after your experiences?

JERETH: It’s important to be aware that there is a minefield, and that the world is fiercely hostile to Christian belief and morality. Just look at what happened to Andrew Thorburn who resigned from the Essendon Football Club due to condemnation of his Christian beliefs. There are many other similar stories.

There is so much in medical practice – assisted suicide, abortion, gender transitioning, assisted reproductive technologies – that clashes with Biblical morality, and tolerance of dissent or even non-participation is declining as time goes on. Depending on what field you are in, you may not be able to avoid these issues, so you need to be prepared to confront them head-on and take a moral stand.

Be mindful of what you say or write in publicly-accessible places. I’m not saying to be afraid and silence yourself, but if you do say something, you need to be prepared to face the music if it ever gets ‘discovered’. Amy Hamm, a Canadian nurse, is currently fighting for her registration in circumstances very similar to mine. Closer to home, I know a physician here in Melbourne who faced an AHPRA investigation for giving a speech against “Safe Schools” in a church. He was reported because unfriendly people infiltrated the event and recorded what he said. Another Christian doctor I know had to deal with AHPRA for speaking at a pro-life event. Yet another, a Christian psychiatrist, had his career ended by AHPRA after repudiating same-sex marriage on Twitter during the 2017 plebiscite. Even if you don’t end up suspended like me, having to deal with an investigation and other punitive measures can be costly, stressful, and time consuming, so be prepared.

LJ: How can we as a Christian fellowship of medical and dental students, doctors, and dentists help you at this time?

JERETH: Besides praying for the outcome of my trial and remaining aware of what’s happening, I really need to raise funds to cover my legal costs. My medical defense insurer was not prepared to defend me against the allegations, so I am now being assisted by the Human Rights Law Alliance (HRLA) and we are relying on crowd-funding. Good quality barristers are not cheap; I still need to raise at least a further $100,000 at this stage. Having had to endure more than two years with minimal income while I re-trained, I’m not in a position to pay the costs myself.

If you are willing to contribute, please do so by visiting my fundraising site and sharing it with others who might also be willing to contribute.

The decision that is made in my case is likely to have significant repercussions upon all Christian doctors and other AHPRA-regulated health workers. A negative outcome would confirm AHPRA’s powers to police what you say about contentious moral issues, such as sexuality and gender, while you are not at work. This would embolden activists to make complaints about doctors and other health workers who are speaking against the popular narratives, and these complaints will result in unpleasant investigations and penalties.

LJ: Do you have any recommendations of where to go if you are in similar trouble? 

JERETH: As with any medico-legal situation, get in touch with your medical defense insurer first. However, many of us have found that insurers are ultimately unwilling to assist with matters of religious conscience and free expression, so you would then have to look elsewhere. It is always worth getting on the phone to the Human Rights Law Alliance. They have been involved in a couple of other AHPRA cases, as well as numerous religious freedom cases more broadly. They exist to help people who get in trouble for their beliefs.

If you would like to help…

For those who want to assist financially and help to ensure that other Australians won’t be treated the same way visit:

You can read Dr Jereth Kok’s interview with Eternity News here:

You may also wish to listen to this interview with John Steenhof, the principal lawyer at Human Rights Law Alliance, regarding the case of the suspension of Dr. Jereth Kok’s medical license.
John Steenhof on Speaking the Truth With Courage


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