Australia’s shameful discrimination against healthy unvaccinated children is now big news overseas. The eyes of the world are upon us – and we should be embarrassed by what our government and media are doing!
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to you about the fact that human rights legislation was being considered in Parliament. This legislation could potentially block our basic rights to speak about and make decisions regarding our health. (I will be providing an update on this situation tomorrow)
Many, many of you wrote letters to Parliamentarians and some have even had responses indicating that the concerns expressed would be seriously considered. People power in action!
Now, on a related matter, an Australian homeopath, Fran Sheffield, is being taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for having the temerity to upload a page on her business website, Homeopathy Plus, referencing studies which indicate that the whooping cough vaccine could be less effective than we’ve been told. To make matters even worse, this page also states that people might want to investigate the homeopathic option for disease prevention!
Make no mistake – this action by the ACCC could be seen by some as an attempt by a government department to suppress debate on the vaccination issue. It might also the first step in restricting the practice of homeopathy in Australia – especially when considering this action in combination with the current inquiry (or should that be inquisition?) into natural therapies in Australia.
So much hinges on this case!
If this case were to be lost in the Federal Court, the results could be disastrous for all of us
There is the potential for a precedent to be set whereby the federal government could use a negative decision as a bludgeoning tool to prevent the AVN, health professionals or anyone else from openly discussing information critical of current vaccination policies (or any other natural healthcare option such as chiropractic, naturopathy, herbs, etc.). The internet and the media could then be censored further and people could be left with no option but to use mainstream medical doctors and drug-based therapies even if that would not normally be their first choice.
So though it might appear on the surface that this court case is only concerned with one practitioner in one particular modality, in actuality, this is an important battlefront in the wider war we are currently fighting to protect our rights to free speech and informed choice.
It is vital, therefore, that we join with Fran and Homeopathy Plus in opposing these efforts to tell us what we can and cannot discuss. If we don’t and the case is lost, an extremely dangerous precedent will be set.
A bit of history
Early last year, Ms Sheffield was first contacted by the ACCC because she had an article on her website which discussed the failure of the whooping cough vaccine to prevent an outbreak of whooping cough that has been raging through highly-vaccinated populations worldwide. She also provided information on homeopathic treatment and prevention. The ACCC said that she needed to remove the article or face potential prosecution. At that time, Fran told the ACCC she would remove the article to fact check it but if she found it to be correct, it would go back online. Her contact at the ACCC told her they would be watching and if the same or similar ‘claims’ were reinstated, legal proceedings could commence.
The article was checked, found to be factual and returned to the website in a slightly revised version. Because of ongoing complaints about a range of articles by people seemingly intent on suppressing information about homeopathy, Fran decided to start a private members-only area on her website for any information that could be considered contentious. Those who were interested would still be able to access the information they wanted while those upset by homeopathy would no longer be troubled. This section is where the new article was placed.
In contravention to the terms and conditions of the Homeopathy Plus website which they signed and agreed to, the ACCC entered the member’s area and copied and removed the revised articles and laid charges against Fran, her husband and Homeopathy Plus.
A few things are important to note:
- The information in the article on the Homeopathy Plus website was correct. It was referenced and it is the same information that can be found on literally hundreds if not thousands of other websites across the internet, in newspapers, scholarly journals, magazines and on television sets.
- This information was not controversial. It is well-known within the scientific community that the whooping cough vaccine is not working well nor does it protect for long if any protection is conveyed at all. There is evidence which indicates that the current vaccine may make people more susceptible to other bacteria which cause clinically indistinguishable illnesses (b. parapertussis) and that the shot may have caused a more severe form of the disease which is more likely to kill infants and children.
- It is a fact, based on government figures, that we are seeing higher numbers of cases today with our close to 95% vaccination compliance than we did 50 years ago with very low levels of vaccination. These facts cannot be disputed – they are just not supposed to be told to the public, apparently.
- The ACCC is not saying that Ms Sheffield or Homeopathy Plus have hurt or defrauded anyone – nor has anyone lodged a complaint to say they have. They are saying that they disagree with what she has said on her website and based on that disagreement, she has to stop saying it. They appear to be claiming that those who make statements the government does not like are not allowed to speak. Think about the implications of this abuse of power for a little while…
In their more recent correspondence with Ms Sheffield, the ACCC stated that according to their opinion, the page on her website which discusses whooping cough:
“…contain[s] representations which convey the impression that the current vaccine is ineffective in protecting against whooping cough and that homeopathic remedies are a safe and effective alternative approach for the prevention and/or treatment, of whooping cough.
“The ACCC considers the above pages to contain potentially misleading and deceptive
statements, which potentially create a false or misleading representation that: the whooping cough vaccine is of a particular standard or quality; and that homeopathic remedies for whooping cough are of a particular standard or quality and/or have a use or benefit.
“Consequently, the ACCC intends to institute proceedings against Homeopathy Plus! Australia Pty Ltd for alleged contraventions of sections 18, 29(1 )(a), 29(1)(b) and 29(1)(g) of the Australian Consumer Law.
“The ACCC will be seeking orders for declarations, injunctions (including an interlocutory injunction), pecuniary penalties and costs.”
Rights? What Rights?
Here, just as with the AVN, we see government departments making politically-charged decisions about what a person can and cannot say about the safety or effectiveness of a drug or vaccine. In other words, because the government supports full vaccination and opposes our right to use alternatives, none of us is allowed to discuss those alternatives without being subject to legal action. But are these really the actions of a properly constituted democracy? Should people living in a free land be afraid to speak their mind about issues they feel passionate about? Does the government really think it is appropriate to censor public debate on health issues? And lastly, should the ACCC which is meant to protect consumers against fraudulent businesses really be involved with protecting the government by revoking the rights of consumers to communicate freely on such a vital issue?
Ms Sheffield is not backing down – but she can’t do this alone!
Ms Sheffield attended court in Sydney on March 1st for a directions hearing. Her seriously ill husband, who is also a respondent in this case, was unable to go due to poor health.
The email notifying of them of the charges arrived late in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 20th, leaving them only 8 days to find representation and prepare. All of the court papers which were served on her were stamped “Fast Tracked” – something which is normally only done in emergency cases such as when a person’s life or health is at risk. Ms Sheffield felt that she was being treated like one of Australia’s Most Wanted for simply stating verifiable information which can be freely found in many locations.
Fran is totally unfunded and, had a barrister not come forward at the last minute to help, she intended to represent herself because she simply couldn’t afford to pay for legal help.
Throughout this process, she has tried hard to work with the ACCC and to take all reasonable steps to ensure that she complied with the law without giving in to restrictive and anti-democratic demands from government operatives. Now however, she has now reached the point where she has been pushed as far as she can go and feels it is time to stand up for her rights and the rights of all Australians.
Will you help?
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke
The court date has been set for August 26th, 2013, but Fran must find and retain a solicitor to instruct the barrister by early this week. In addition, due to the importance of this case for anyone concerned with freedom and rights, Fran is actively seeking the assistance of a QC as part of her legal team. Conservative estimates are that she will need at least $50,000 to pay for legal and court costs – an incredible amount of money in one lump – but not so much if you split it up.
There are at least 600 homeopaths in Australia. Fran isn’t fighting for her company, Homeopathy Plus – she is fighting for the rights of all homeopaths and natural therapies as well as for those who choose to use natural therapies as part of their healthcare options. If every homeopath reading this were to deposit $50 into the fighting fund that has been started – and everyone can afford $50 – that would add up to $30,000 right there! Not a big ask – but a very big result.
There have to be at least that many people reading this who regularly use homeopathy (or other natural therapies which are likewise under threat). And remember, this matter goes well beyond what can and can’t be said by natural therapists but whether we have the right to question government information on vaccines. Can you spare $50 to help protect your right to free expression and choice?
Can every chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, Bowen therapist, Chinese herbalist (the list goes on and on) donate $50 to this very worthwhile and important cause? Can you do it this week? Can you let your patients, friends and families know and ask them to make a donation as well – no matter how small?
You MUST act today!
Make no mistake: by citing Ms Sheffield for making statements that the government disagrees with, the ACCC appears to be openly saying that Australians are not allowed to dissent from accepted opinion.
Not only that, but if the court decrees that a government department can punish Ms Sheffield for information held in a private, member’s-only section of her website, no association, business or group will be safe. This could set a precedent that can and will affect everyone in Australia. Criticise the government (or the medical cartel or any powerful interest group) at your peril.
This situation is outrageous and not what we expect from a democracy such as Australia. It is time to say “Stop!”
Please send your support today and post this information onto your Facebook pages; Tweet about it; put it up on Pinterest or on other social media sites. Send this to any email lists you may be involved with. Help spread the word in any way you can. Whatever you do, please DO get involved as without your immediate action and assistance … the rights we value will be taken away.
Send what you can – $10, $15, $50, $100 or more to the Fran Sheffield Fighting Fund’s to stop this dangerous precedent in its tracks.
You can pay in any of the following ways:
FAX your credit card details and the amount you want to give to 02 4044 0153 (international faxes: +612 4044 0153)
Direct deposit funds into the following designated account – be sure to email Ms Sheffield at email@example.com to let her know about your payment so she can send you a receipt.
Westpac Account: Fighting Fund
BSB: 032 627
The legal team representing this important issue is still being put together. If you area solicitor, barrister or Queens Counsel and are as concerned as we are about this case and would like to help, please send an email to Fran at firstname.lastname@example.org
The reality – Kim Stagliano has 3 girls – all of them with severe autism. She has just filled in a probate form so she can continue to make medical and life decisions for her eldest child when she turns 18 because her daughter will never make those decisions for herself. This was a child who could count and read before the age of two! What changed? What changes with so many of the 1 in 88 children with autism – the 1 in 54 boys.
We need to stop suppressing information on the link between the autism epidemic and the explosion in the number of doses our children are receiving.
Last night, ABC’s Media Watch program, presented a hatchet job piece called False Balance Leads to Confusion, attacking WIN Television for presenting both sides of the vaccination issue in a recent report on a measles outbreak in NSW. Because the interview contained information from both a medical community spokesperson and myself, representing the Australian Vaccination Network, Inc. (AVN), Media Watch called it a “false balance”. They called the AVN’s information “baloney” and said that the AVN’s data, much of which is sourced from peer-reviewed medical journals, is “bulldust”
To WIN Television’s credit, their spokesperson said:
The story presented was accurate, fair and balanced and presented the views of the medical practitioners and of the choice groups.
— Shirley Brown, Group Business Director, 4th September, 2012
What proof did Jonathan Holmes, the current host of Media Watch, provide for his assertions about the quality and veracity of the AVN’s information? Absolutely none.
Did he reference any of the peer-reviewed articles linking vaccines with autism and minimal brain damage or mention the cases where courts listened to expert testimony and paid compensation to families whose children developed autism as a result of vaccination? No.
In fact, I submit that this program has breached the ABC’s own Charter and Code of Practice. This program represents reporting of the lowest standard since it attacks a group providing scientific information without providing any evidence that this information is in any way incorrect. In addition, against all tenets of responsible journalism, it openly asks for one side of a scientific debate to be censored.
It is not the role of the ABC or any other media outlet to tell people what they can and cannot know about a scientific issue. One might have thought that a program such as Media Watch would have supported open access to information. One could be excused for believing that they would have supported healthcare consumers in their search for balanced information.
The AVN has never asked for a stifling or suppression of any information in this nearly 250-year old debate. In fact, we have openly asked for more public debate, leaving the final choice up to those who are the real stakeholders in this issue – the parents of Australia’s children. To knowingly withhold information on an issue of science which is far from proven (since vaccines are never scientifically tested using real control groups and true placebos – the gold-standard of medical testing) is not only wrong – it is unscientific. The medical community itself considers vaccination to be a controversial issue with tens of thousands of medical professionals worldwide questioning the evidence base for vaccine safety and effectiveness.
Organisations such as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the International Medical Council on Vaccination and other doctor and specialist-based bodies around the world say that the jury is still out on the safety and effectiveness of current government mass-vaccination policies.
Media Watch is wrong. There is no such thing as false balance in this debate. There is only the ABC’s obligation to enable its viewers to access and question all available information. Contrast that with Media Watch’s evident desire to censor and suppress a reasonable and valid viewpoint in a scientific debate and you must wonder what they are trying to achieve and who will benefit from this censorship?
It’s time to break the silence and not just allow but encourage the debate. Pharmaceutical interests are frightened of consumers becoming better-informed about their family’s health rights. What role does the ABC play in supporting their attempts at censorship?
Please comment on the Media Watch page that hosts this story (and read the story transcript if you didn’t view the program yourself) by clicking here. And if at all possible, please send an email (click on Ms Brown’s name below) or letter of support to:
Shirley Brown, Group Business Director
Locked Bag 8800
Wollongong NSW 2500
Be sure to include me in the CC or BCC field on your emails – Meryl Dorey
PS – you may have noted that I have a different email address on this posting. That is because the AVN’s website was overwhelmed with people seeking information after last night’s media watch program. I have checked with our web host and they have confirmed that this was not a DDoS attack but a genuine surge of people trying to get information from the website. We have updated our hosting plan and are being moved to a larger server to ensure that the demand won’t take our website down again. Please bear with us – this move should not take more than 24 hours. I hope the ABC are watching what is occurring. If their audience is this interested in both sides of the vaccination issue, who is Jonathan Holmes to say they can’t access it?
A small sample of peer-reviewed articles linking vaccines and vaccine-components with the development of autism:
Recent court cases where medical experts deemed that a child’s autism was found to be caused by vaccination
The author of this guest-blog has asked to remain anonymous due to her fear of being targeted by the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN. She is the parent of vaccine-damaged children – some of whom are on the autistic spectrum. She found Peter Bowditch’s assaults against families of vaccine-injured children to be incredibly disturbing. As a result, she chose to write about her fears regarding where society is headed when parents who love and cherish their children can be abused because of their health choices. If you agree that nobody has the right to treat another individual in this way, please make a supportive comment on this blog page. It doesn’t matter whether you are pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine or somewhere in the middle – any decent human being would have to accept that harassment, abuse and discrimination are never justified. Oppose Peter Bowditch and the incredibly vile comments of those who support him by speaking up for the right to make our own choices on this and all health issues. If you are on Twitter, please use the hashtag #DumpBowditch on your tweets to encourage Mia Freedman of Mamamia and other venues where this man publishes his hate-speech to no longer allow him an opportunity for abuse. Feel free to drop them a line as well, telling them how you feel about this issue.
Our history is full of people using terms to incite hostility, fear and resentment against other groups, and now is the age of the ‘Anti Vaxxer’ – the title given to people who question the safety and in some cases the necessity of vaccinations.
If you look in the newspapers or on the internet, you will see that people who question vaccine safety are ridiculed, condemned and discriminated against on quite a regular basis. You might think, “Surely this behaviour is not promoted by supposedly intelligent, rational beings in this day and age?”, but unfortunately you would be wrong.
Just look at this list of recent quotes from newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and blogs and articles from around the world…
“Parents who dodge vaccinating their kids are pocketing thousands of dollars”
“…babies die because of the antivaccination movement.”
“Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Autism Groups “Kill Children” — And He’s Right”
“NSW paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall added this: “We’re appalled at how many kids are getting whooping cough because the chardonnay set and the alternatives don’t vaccinate their children.”
When did raising your child with love, respect, a healthy diet, plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise, while limiting their exposure to toxins become a crime?
If you listen to what these people are saying, anyone who does not vaccinate their child is a money grabbing, disease causing, child killer.
So who are these supposed child killers’?
Many are parents who have vaccine injured/killed children; some are educated and health-conscious individuals who want a more natural approach to good health; and some are alternative practitioners, doctors or scientists. Do any of these groups sound like child killers to you? What they all have in common is something that most of us take for granted: the belief that everyone deserves the right to decide what the best health choices are for themselves and their families
I find the hostile attitude towards parents of vaccine injured children particularly astounding, as parents of children that have been killed or disabled have always been treated with an outpouring of compassion, understanding and empathy. If the death or injury have been caused by a vaccine however, they are somehow no longer worthy of these basic human emotions.
Instead, we get open hostility and contempt as seen in the case of Peter Bowditch who asks vaccine-injured parents if they get sexual pleasure from seeing dead babies!
And how does our society respond to a man who can say such vile things? Well, apparently it is no big deal, as he still continues to write articles for the popular women’s and children’s website Mamamia! Is this the kind of individual who should be writing about women and children’s health?
Another very disturbing aspect to come out of this portrayal of ‘anti vaxxers’ is that the media, government and medical vaccine advocates are working together in promoting an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. These groups are actively condoning discrimination and in turn, persecution of the Australian Vaccination Network, it’s founder Meryl Dorey and anyone associated with them. Is this what our true Aussie spirit is about now? Be there for your mate but only if he vaccinates.
1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
2. To annoy persistently; bother.
1. (Sociology) unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc.; action based on prejudice
a. A racial, religious, political, national, or other group thought to be different from the larger group of which it is part.
b. A group having little power or representation relative to other groups within a society.
We as a society believe that discrimination, harassment and persecution against minorities or any law-abiding citizen is unconscionable. Now however, it seems that it is acceptable if the minority or individual in question does not vaccinate to a government approved schedule.
What these harassers of ‘anti-vaxxers’ do not realise (or maybe they do) is that they are laying the foundation for persecution and repression of people that are just trying to raise their families in the healthiest way possible.
The path to repression begins with many small steps. It starts with the gradual wearing away of someone else’s rights through restriction of employment, public education, and government entitlements. Then comes ostracism whilst creating fear, hostility and resentment towards the group in question from the rest of society. Not too soon after that, segregation comes in to the mix.
You may think that this is an unlikely scenario, but I cannot tell you how many times everyday mums and dads have told me to keep my children out of schools with vaccinated children; to stay out of public places where vaccinated people may be exposed to our disease-causing germs; some have even wished that all people who don’t vaccinate could be murdered or expressed a wish for their children to die from disease!
Countless times in history we have seen that ugliness in human nature breeds more ugliness. Intolerance, discrimination, persecution, repression are all formed through fear and hatred. Have we learned nothing from the past, or are we just so insecure that we always have to look for someone to oppress in order to make ourselves feel powerful and dominant?
If this type of hostility continues towards people who just want the right to make choices for their own families, what do we have to look forward to in the future?
Here are some of your fabulous letters being sent to the Daily Telegraph by supporters of the AVN. Please use these as examples when you write your own letters and remember to BCC me – email@example.com. and send your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t yet read the article about how the government wants to SMASH the AVN, please click here to have a read.
I am a PROUD parent of an UNVACCINATED HEALTHY 7 month old boy.
My husband and I made the decision to not vaccinate after countless hours of research before my son was born, we didn’t know of the existence of the AVN until our son was 4 months old.
It amuses me nonetheless that a few months ago, the health minister admitted the whooping cough vaccine didn’t work in protecting newborns from whooping cough and was scrapping the free whooping cough vaccine for parents and care givers of vaccines yet months later, you’re putting up a story making out the vaccines work..
I think the AVN are an important group to help parents see the bigger picture but parents need to find their own research to form their own opinions.
Your article about the Australian Vaccination Network (22/07/2012) gave the impression that medical opinion on vaccine efficacy and safety is unanimous. It isn’t. As a post graduate researcher on this issue, I have been in contact with some of the world’s most highly-regarded immunologists and vaccine safety researchers, and I could provide literally countless academic papers detailing the problems with vaccines.
Vaccine makers openly list the possible adverse reactions which in some cases are known to be severe. They also do not claim 100% efficacy. In Victoria the whooping cough vaccine is no longer available freely because ‘cocooning’ was not working. The efficacy rate of the vaccine is in some instances no better than the toss of a coin, and infection rates were increasing in vaccinated people.
Claims that vaccines are responsible for the diminishment of polio are deceptive. Polio rates had decreased by around 94% by the time vaccines were introduced, largely due to better hygiene
The Australian Vaccination Network fulfills the cornerstone of Western medicine’s concept of ‘informed choice’ by allowing people to access information about vaccine adverse reactions and efficacy rates.
I read with interest your article on Vaccination and the Australian Vaccination Network.
As I am interested in this subject, would it be possible to interview a member of the AVN ?
I understand that it is an association of parents, who give advice on vaccinations available to children.
Could you please give me more information on this group, so that I may make an informed choice on vaccinations for my family.
You are wrong to ascribe the fall in infectious diseases to vaccination ( Sunday Telegraph July 22nd, page 15). Infectious diseases were dropping steadily since 1890, & there were no routine childhood vaccine programs then. The reasons the diseases declined were the gradual social improvements: sanitation, better hygiene, refrigeration, better food storage & handling, improved food supply & better, less crowded housing. Vaccination had very little, if anything, to do with it. Medical doctors like Professor Robert Mendelsohn, Dr Baratosi, Dr Ritchie, Dr Richard Taylor & countless others have admitted this. Any medical history book will have graphs of this decline from the latter part of the nineteenth century.
You also imply that vaccines were introduced in the 1930’s, but they were not widely introduced then, or even, in some cases, discovered. Vaccines were not widely introduced until the 1950’s, & the drop ion infectious diseases had been obvious for 60 years before that.
It’s disappointing to read an article by an author who clearly has an agenda, & will not let the facts stand in her way.
At least please get your facts right & tell the truth,
This will short and to the point. The AVN is a valid legal entity which works under the constructs of a free and democratically established country. Why you are entertaining the idea of changing the name and ‘smashing’ this parent led organisation is beyond me. Just a rudimentary browse through the health care industries (lets not kid our selves that it is purely a ‘service’) own literature will give you some idea of the level of fatalities and misdiagnosis present in the current system. No sane person can deny these very real and present risks.
To tell a parent that somehow they have the right to decide what type of margarine to provide for their children or what video game they can watch but then to turn around and take away their fundamental right to decide on such crucial matters as health care and vacine choices is ludicrous.
The Sunday Telegraph should be about decent journalism, freedom of speech and upholding the democratic traditions of this country, not joining in with the ‘boys club’ to help tear down those very structures. A fair and reasoned argument publishing both sides of a story is basic journalism, I hope that you are brave enough to do this despite your increasing propensity to worship the advertising dollar rather than decent common sense.
Yours in freedom,
I was recently interviewed on the Homeopathy World Community’s regular programme’s Vaccination Rights show. There were some technical difficulties in the very beginning, but after that, we were able to get into the nitty gritty of health rights and why vaccination should never be compulsory since it is neither perfectly safe nor perfectly effective. Feel free to listen at the link below.