There is nothing trendy about not vaccinating your child…

by Tasha David

Not vaccinating your child is not something you take lightly as a parent. The bombardment of vaccine propaganda is in your face everywhere you look and some are scared to even let others know that they don’t vaccinate because they don’t want their children to face the stigma of going against the crowd. Going to the doctors can be a battleground where you are berated and belittled for not conforming to the status quo.  The simple act of going to the emergency room because your child broke their arm always starts with the question “Is your child up to date on their immunisations?” and you think to yourself – here we go again!

So there really is nothing trendy about not vaccinating your child…

little-rock-segregationBut do you want to know what IS really trendy right now? It is the demonising and current witch-hunt against parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.

The world has become a bully’s wonderland right now. You can harass and be hateful towards ‘anti vax’ parents and no one will even consider it to be bullying.

You can tell them how crap they are as parents!

You can tell them to go and take their disease-ridden brats away from your [fully-vaccinated] children!

You can tell them how they are stupid, selfish, moronic, irresponsible, tin foil hat wearing, rabid ‘anti vaxxers’ who are child abusers and whose children should be taken away from them!

You can even tell them that you hope that they and their children die to clean out the stupid from the gene pool!

No one will even pull you up for those cruel and despicable comments because ‘anti vaxxers’ deserve it, right?


No loving parent and especially their children, deserves to be treated like lepers and outcasts. Whether they vaccinate or not is irrelevant, and frankly I am astounded at the hate speech that has been allowed to flow freely since the Disneyland measles outbreak. (for example, Jail ‘anti-vax’ parents and Measles Can Kill, And It’s Spreading. Sue Parents Who Didn’t Vaccinate? Absolutely

You cannot shame a parent in to harming their child and yet, that is what you are asking us (especially the parents of vaccine injured children) to do.

All the bullying, vilifying, suing, incarcerating or (completely illegally) making their names and addresses publicly available to the world, will not change a thing.  By the way Joe Matthews (the author of the afore-mentioned article), the whole sticker idea to show who the outcasts of society are? That’s already been done before. The last time, they were made to wear yellow stars. I guess tyrannical minds think alike.

It also shows how very little you know about parents who choose not to vaccinate. Let’s get one thing straight. I do not choose to inject pharmaceutical products in to my children’s bodies anymore because vaccines hurt them and caused not just “a week of hell”, but a lifetime of hellish challenges.

I don’t blame others for my children’s health issues, I realise that we are all just trying to do the best we can for our children. Anyway I am too busy trying to heal my children’s bodies to run around pointing fingers.

My choice to not be informed about what I was injecting in to my babies caused them numerous health issues and robbed three of my children of ever being able to live an independent life, of being able to fall in love or able to have a family of their own and those facts will haunt me for the rest of my days.

6579263459_f7437cede5_zThere is nothing in this world you could do to me to make me forget this no matter how much I want to, because you cannot unsee the damage done to your child.

I cannot unsee having to search for my child when she absconded from my parent’s back yard and then find her running down the middle of a busy street surrounded by cars beeping their horns and yelling at her to get off the road, because she has no sense of danger.

I cannot unsee waking up in the early hours of the morning to see my other daughter covered head to toe in her own faeces that she ate while smearing it all over the walls.

I cannot unsee my son trying so hard to speak so that he could play with the other children in the playground but all he could do was scream, till they ran away.

I cannot unsee the vast difference in health between my vaccinated and unvaccinated children and not know that it is my fault.

There is nothing you could do that would ever make me vaccinate them again. I would rather die than see them be hurt. Luckily I have found that there is a better way to raise healthy children and my children have thrived because of it. It is called taking responsibility for the health of your own children. Learning how to naturally support and boost their immune systems and not expect other parents to put their healthy children at risk of injury or death just because you believe that that will protect yours.

You want to know the most important reason why I and many other parents don’t vaccinate their child? We do it because we love them, just like you love your child and no amount of legislation or shaming tactics will ever overcome that.

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

Utah mother of five left isolated, bullied and threatened by community after not vaccinating child | Daily Mail Online

Utah CoupleA Utah mother-of-five has been isolated in her community after receiving threats for not vaccinating her child.

During the national debate over measles and vaccines, Ursula Porter, of Salt Lake City, and her husband made it public that one of her kids has not been vaccinated.

She said that four of her five children, aged two to nine years old, had been vaccinated and three of them suffered severe reactions. 

Utah mother of five left isolated, bullied and threatened by community after not vaccinating child | Daily Mail Online.

Why vaccinations are a religion

Forced vaccination is unconstitutional

by Rixta Francis

899696_sThe self-proclaimed (and generally accepted) gold standard of the pharmaceutical industry is the double-blind,  placebo-controlled study (a placebo being a neutral, ineffective substance; in the case of vaccinations, a saline solution). There is a lot wrong with this gold standard, but let’s just accept that it is the standard that a drug’s claims to effectiveness and safety are expected to meet. Without positive studies like this, drugs will rarely be accepted by the government regulators.

Vaccines are drugs, and they are made by the pharmaceutical industry. But they are the exception to the rule, for the abovementioned gold standard is NOT applied to vaccines. There is no double-blind, placebo-controlled study that shows that vaccines are either safe or effective, let alone a study that shows the effects of multiple vaccines given, as is common practice, simultaneously. Those studies simply are not done. The reason the pharmaceutical industry gives for that is that it would be unethical to withhold a vaccine from the children in the placebo group. It seems to bother nobody that this means that children (and adults) are injected with drugs that have in no way been proven to be either safe or effective.

Vaccine efficacy is fatally flawed as a substitute for vaccine effectiveness. A vaccine’s efficacy is measured by the proportion of vaccinees developing a certain concentration of antibodies, a concentration believed to be protective. But scientists have already known for three decades that antibodies do NOT equal immunity. The only way to measure vaccine efficacy in a lab is completely useless for measuring its effectiveness in an epidemic. But that too seems to bother nobody; in lieu of its effectiveness at protection, the drug’s efficacy in antibody production is still used universally to sell it.

Those who try to impose their beliefs on others, we call zealots.

The reason people don’t care about these facts is that they have such a strong BELIEF in these shots that it doesn’t seem to matter whether there is any evidence of safety or efficacy. But anyone can believe anything; that doesn’t mean it’s true. And it doesn’t matter either that most doctors believe in it and that many people believe their doctors. There are some 1.5 billion people who believe in Jesus, some 800 million who believe in Allah, some 800 million who believe in Shiva. That’s considerably more than the number of doctors who believe in vaccinations. Still everyone agrees that these are religions and not science. So ‘everyone believes it’ doesn’t make a belief anything more than a belief.

Our freedom NOT to practice the religion of vaccination

The Australian constitution grants us freedom of religion. Section 116 of the constitution says:

“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

It’s clear: the Australian constitution prohibits forcing any kind of religious practice onto anybody else. That prohibition includes government discrimination that is based in any way on submission or non-submission to any religion or religious practice.

This implies that nobody can be denied government payments or a job or anything else solely based on refusal to submit to the religious practice of vaccination. If the government, an employer, or anybody else is to implement discrimination on the basis of vaccination, then it will have to show clear, indisputable proof that the vaccine’s claimed safety and efficacy are based on science and not on beliefs. The burden of proof is not on those who refuse to accept those beliefs; it’s solely on those who want to force others to submit to them.

If the government (or anybody else) denies Australian citizens the FULL freedom to accept or reject vaccinations for themselves or their children, then it does so in contravention of the constitution. And that means the end of Australia as a democracy.

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces which represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone has the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

Are you brave enough to follow through, Peter Bowditch?

BowditchAs you have read on this page, the deadline for someone to come forward and debate me is coming up. It is this Friday, the 9th of May.

After writing my blog article, The Great Vaccination Non-Debate, Peter Bowditch of the NSW Skeptics and a very active ‘contributor’ to their splinter group, Stop the AVN, posted the following comment to the AVN’s blog:

“Please notify the organisers of the Healthy Lifestyles Expo that I was serious when I offered to debate you. Now that you are aware of this you can no longer claim that nobody from the sanity side of the non-debate is prepared to step up to the plate.

“In case this comment doesn’t manage to get through moderation, a screen shot will be published on Twitter and Facebook.”

I instantly wrote back to Mr Bowditch, informing him that, as it said in the blog post, anyone who wanted to be involved in the debate should contact the organisers and let them know.

I did inform the organisers about Mr Bowditch’s offer to debate me and they sent him 2 invitations without getting any response. Let me repeat – as of this weekend, despite 2 written invitations in response to his offer to debate me at the You Can Heal Yourself Expo at the end of this month, Peter Bowditch, who made the offer of his own free will, has not responded.

What’s worse, he now appears to be trying to blame me for his failure to follow through on his promise to debate me. Yesterday, he sent the following tweet out to his followers:

Bowditch Debate

Apparently, he wants to make it appear that he was unaware of the venue of this debate and, now knowing it, he will no longer debate me.

But the truth is that the venue and all debate details were freely advertised and Mr Bowditch is the one who contacted me to say he wanted to debate.

Come on, Peter! I’m calling on you to either accept the invitation (which was sent at your request) or admit that you are too scared to debate me on this issue. You can’t have it both ways.

You are the one who accepted the challenge – and you are the one who has to follow through or admit that you are afraid to debate.

The Hate Debate –

Hate DebateThis is one of the best overviews of the vaccination issue and why the fear and hatred being spread by so many is completely illogical. Please read this in full and if you like it too – share it with others.

I am sick of it – this vaccination debate. My convictions not to vaccinate have been firm for six years now and I was comfortable living a low-profile life and letting other more notable vaccine advocates carry the torch; and then I started seeing misleading t.v. interviews, news stories, and backlash against parents and unvaccinated children. I saw reputable medical professionals get crucified and reputations destroyed for questioning the mainstream norm. I saw laws passed in other states removing freedoms that rightfully belong to parents and individuals as a whole. I saw fear, blame, finger-pointing, lies, and flat out hate being propagated and encouraged by people, physicians, and popular media avenues towards parents who don’t vaccinate, and their children.

This isn’t a vaccination debate, it’s a hate debate, so let’s call it what it is. And when it got personal, I got involved.

To read more, please click the link below


The Hate Debate –

AVN’s Charity Licence – The REAL story

by Greg Beattie,
AVN President

23640487_sThere is so much misinformation getting around, it’s bewildering. We expect misinformation from a group calling itself “Stop the AVN” – that’s what they do with their spare time. But throw in a couple of mischievous journalists and politicians and you have a recipe for a fantasy blockbuster.

By now you may have heard we have shed our charitable fundraising licence. This is true. And it’s something we’re still popping the corks over. It’s one of the best things that has happened to the AVN for a long time. We have been trying to get rid of that licence for many years, but, for so long, we couldn’t. However, a few recent changes allowed us to tackle several issues in one move. The licence was one of them. Let me explain.

You’re probably wondering what a charitable fundraising licence is, why we had one, and why we wanted to get rid of it. Moreover, why we couldn’t do so for so long. Sit back for a moment and I’ll explain. It’s important that you understand this issue and how it relates to your organisation.

When the AVN was formed in 1997 it took over the reins from an existing entity – one which was in the process of folding – called the Australian Council for Immunisation Information (ACII). Although the committee were not aware at the time, one of the things we inherited was a charitable fundraising status and licence. ACII had been set up with this capacity and it literally landed in our lap. It meant AVN could conduct fundraising as a charity. In other words, just like the various cancer, homelessness, mental health, and other appeals, AVN could go door-to-door, or run a telethon, or whatever, presenting itself to the public as a bona fide ‘charity’, and ask for money.

What’s a charity? 9005670_s

Now you might be thinking “But all organisations raise funds, don’t they?” The answer is yes. They charge membership fees, hold cake stalls and other events, and accept donations from anyone who chooses to give. The difference lies in what they do with those funds. If they build a new clubhouse, upgrade equipment, pay workers or contractors, run courses for members, or a host of other things, they’re fine. They don’t need a charitable fundraising licence, because those activities are not ‘charitable’.

So which activities are charitable? Well the definition is slightly different depending on which jurisdiction you operate in but, basically, if the money is raised to provide relief for people in distress – such as food, shelter, clothing, or education – then you are engaging in charity.

So where does the AVN fit into this? Well it doesn’t. And that’s the point. We are not a charity, and never have been. But here we were holding this charity licence. Each year the management committee would go through the ropes tending to the various requirements for this licence, but we were getting no benefit from having it. I guess the committee thought it might come in useful someday, but that day was never really discussed. Until then, it was nothing but a mild drain on our resources.

Let the groaning begin

Then came the birth of ‘Stop the AVN’. Quite apart from their well-known abuse and harassment, this group made it their business to lodge complaints about us to every regulatory body they could think of. They figured that by doing this they could completely tie us up responding to them all, and no one would have any time left to talk (or write) about vaccination. For those who aren’t familiar with this side of life, every complaint requires at least ten times the effort in defence.

One of the bodies they started complaining to was – you guessed it – the office that administers charities in NSW. It’s called the Office of Liquor, Gaming, and Racing (OLGR). In fact they lodged a multitude of them there. The complainants argued our licence should be revoked because, in their opinion, we were a danger to public health.

The OLGR required us to defend ourselves or lose our licence. Well… this was a licence we didn’t even use. We certainly didn’t need it so we asked if we could just surrender it. And this was where the battle over our charity licence began – back in 2009.

We were informed that if the licence was surrendered we would not be allowed to raise funds any more. The reason… because we were considered to be pursuing a charitable purpose. And why was that, given we weren’t engaged in any charitable activities? Apparently, the answer lay in our ‘constitution’. The wording of our objectives indicated we did in fact pursue a charitable purpose. So we were stuck with it. And that meant responding to all the inquisitions (and there were quite a few).

Fast forward to 2014…1016131_s

We finally have a new constitution! One which outlines exactly what we do. One which demonstrates clearly that we do not pursue a charitable purpose. Now we can raise funds without the licence… just like every other organisation. As soon as our constitution was changed we wrote to the OLGR and surrendered the licence. We were finally free.

But boy are the folk at SAVN upset? They are seething. One of their major avenues of complaint has just dried up, and they had no idea it was happening. So now they’re trying to put their own spin on the story, telling everyone that they had a major win. But make no mistake – this is the best thing that’s happened in a long time, and those in the wheelhouse of AVN are breathing a long sigh of relief.

Why did it take so long?

Well, to be honest, the constitution was changed, but not for this purpose. Other reasons drove that. The decision to change our constitution was made early last year, during the appeal process for our name-change. Our barrister complained that our objects were far too broad. They made his job difficult. According to the objects, we were to be all things to all people. (I guess it’s no wonder the OLGR saw us as a charity.) We decided to wait and see whether our name had to be changed, and process both together. Since both required a special resolution to be passed by 75% majority at a general meeting, there was no point going to the trouble of doing it all twice.

While we waited, we sat down and drafted new objects, describing as accurately as we could just how we saw the AVN. At the end of that process we looked at each other, and said “Hey, that’s definitely not a charity.” This revelation prompted us to search further to determine how charitable purposes were defined. Boy was that difficult. It turns out they’re different, depending on the jurisdiction you’re in. In our case (NSW) the definition was quite broad. It used three words – benevolent, philanthropic, and patriotic. If you came under one of these you were a charity. We didn’t.

It’s easy now to look back and see what the problem was, but for quite a long time the committee found it difficult to understand why the AVN was seen as a charity, and why we seemed to be stuck with this label forever.

We had already been subjected to many inquisitions by the OLGR, including one audit in 2009 where two of their staff spent two days in our office, going through everything financial. On another occasion we had our fundraising licence suspended because the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) issued a public warning against us. This warning was later found to be unlawful by the NSW Supreme Court and our licence was handed back to us. The orchestrated complaints seemed to stream constantly for years, and the OLGR were obliged to act on them.

The latest

There was in fact another ‘show cause’ sent to us in January, just as we were going through the change of constitution process. Two professors provided affidavits to OLGR swearing that, in their opinion, we provided misleading information.

This time, we gave a short response outlining the fact that we were in the process of changing our constitution to better reflect our purpose and activities and we would no longer be needing the licence. Oh, and also that the two complainants were known opponents of the AVN and were also financially conflicted.

We must say, however, that the OLGR itself has been particularly pleasant to deal with over the years. The staff were helpful and always had time for us. Still… we’re glad it has come to an end.

[Note: Throughout this article I have used the term ‘we’ when referring to those who carried out all the work. I wish to stress, however, that I have only been a part of the committee for a little over a year, so the vast majority of compliance work associated with this licence was carried out by others.]

Dangerous information


by Meryl Dorey

Just about every government authority in Australia and overseas is trying to describe those who question the wisdom of mass vaccination as being a danger to society. In fact, they are working hard to frame the entire debate as being dangerous – as though just discussing, researching and considering whether or not vaccination is in your or your child’s best interest is somehow spreading deadly diseases in the community.

A US business writer recently responded to a balanced presentation on the HPV vaccine by television journalist Katie Couric by saying, “Merely to ask questions is to validate them.

And an article published on The Conversation website by an industry front-group conducting a public campaign called I Immunise”, claimed that the decision about whether or not one should vaccinate one’s children is an ethical issue – not a matter for scientific debate. The article stated that people who question vaccination are suffering from something called “competitive crunchiness” which basically leads them to reject many of the ‘benefits’ of the modern scientific world and breastfeed, choose organic foods, cloth nappies and reject vaccines.

According to the article:

“I Immunise” does what other Australian campaigns have not: it leads with values rather than facts.”

Perhaps they are rejecting facts because those same facts might show that there is a legitimate area of concern when it comes to vaccination and values don’t even get a look-in when parents are trying to care for their precious children – unless they mean the value we each place on the life, health and happiness of our family?

Where does the real danger lie?

So is it more dangerous to ask questions about medical procedures or to take at face value the information given to us by the medical profession and the government?

Allopathic medicine and government bureaucracies have a long and chequered history of deadly errors, mistakes and outright lies told for the purpose of self-protection, profit and increasing one’s own personal prestige. Trusting them without asking questions would be like buying a used car without checking under the bonnet first, or jumping off a cliff before seeing if there was a deep pool below you. It could be dangerous, possibly expensive and foolhardy in the extreme.

The real danger to the public is not in the dissemination of information – even if that information is wrong. We have to trust that people are intelligent enough to sort the wheat from the chaff. We don’t need to tell people what they can and cannot know – we simply need to give them a broad range of information and let them decide for themselves.

The only people placed at risk by open, transparent and public debate on health issues are those who will lose out – financially and reputation-wise – by the discovery that vaccine and medical ‘science’ may be more guesswork and corruption than fact.

When we see academics, politicians, scientists and government officials telling us that it is dangerous to question them or to listen to those who do – we must see that the real danger lies with believing what they say.

Please note: Blog posts are opinion pieces that represent the views of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the AVN National Committee. The AVN is a forum, support and information organisation and outlet for discussion about the relative benefits and risks of vaccinations in particular – and medical procedures in general. We do not provide medical advice but believe that everyone should have the opportunity and the obligation to do their own research before making decisions for their families. The information we provide (including your personal review of the references we cite) should be taken in conjunction with a range of other data, including that obtained from government, your health care provider and/or other medical source material to assist you in developing the knowledge required to make informed health choices.

Whatever was Senator Di Natale thinking?

Free speech is meaningless unless it involves the
freedom to make statements that others think are false.
The argument for free speech is that open discussion is
the best system for reaching the truth. Viewpoints can be
strengthened by being challenged.

Dr Brian Martin, Debating Vaccination

In 1997, representatives of the Australian Vaccination Network became aware that Federal Parliament was going to be amending Childcare Payments legislation in a way that would make it very difficult for parents who hadn’t vaccinated fully or at all to access government entitlements.

At very short notice and without a whole lot of knowledge of the processes involved, the AVN sent a delegation to Canberra to lobby Senators and MPs to add in a clause allowing parents to become conscientious objectors to vaccination and still receive the same benefits as those who vaccinated.

220px-Bob_Brown_profileOne of the most helpful people during that visit was Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens. Senator Brown was a medical doctor who knew a great deal about the issues surrounding vaccination. He understood our concerns and fully supported the right to freedom of choice and information. Not only did he allow our delegation to use his office for the nearly 2 weeks we were at Parliament (which included helping us to get appointments with parliamentarians and using the telephones and photocopying facility as well), but Senator Brown was one of the people who asked questions on notice and also helped us to introduce the amendments which eventually codified the right for parents to register as Conscientious Objectors to vaccination. Thanks must also go to Senator Dee Margetts, (Australian Greens) and Senators Bartlett and Lees (Democrats) and Harradine (Independent) as well as Senator Crowley (Labor) who did everything they could to assist three legislative neophytes.

The cast of characters has changed – but the discrimination remains the same

Then Federal Minister for Health, Dr Michael Wooldridge, believed that all parents desired vaccination for their children, but that some simply forgot, or were too busy to get it done. So the stated intention for the vaccination requirement was to make sure that these supposedly careless, absent-minded parents would receive a reminder about vaccines.

Senator Brown was not having a bar of that argument however. He saw this as a discriminatory move by the government and fully supported changing the legislation to protect Australian families.

During the committee debate, he stated that:

Looking ahead to amendments coming down the line, we are intending to move that the conscientious objector does not have to first be counselled by an immunisation provider or such person, which would indicate that a conscientious objector at least has to have medical grounds for objecting.

Let us assume this amendment gets passed. If the person simply writes to say that they have a conscientious objection and we have dropped the requirement that they be counselled by an immunisation provider about the benefits and contraindications of immunisation, does the government’s interpretation remain the same—that a letter of conscientious objection, notwithstanding the grounds for that conscientious objection, will suffice to ensure that they do not have their payments terminated?

This was not passed into the final bill because, according to Senator Herron (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs at the time), forcing parents to see a doctor and be counselled on the issue of vaccination,

gives a person the opportunity to realise the benefits of immunisation and also to discuss the reasons why they are objecting to the immunisation so that it is not done flippantly.”

Evidently, the government of the day felt that parents could be flippant about their children’s health as well as careless and absent-minded.

In response to Senator Herron’s claims, Senator Brown – and remember, he is a medical doctor – said:

I would put it that if people who have an objection to immunisation should be counselled so should everybody else. In fact, there are very strong reasons for counselling those people who are going to have their infants immunised so that they adequately and thoroughly understand at least what is written on the slip that comes with the vaccination from the manufacturers—that is, the warnings that are involved and so on.

…  I cannot accept what the minister says at all. The fact is that there is very much contradictory evidence and debate, even in scientific and medical circles, about vaccination. As a general practitioner, in the past I have been in the position of having to help inform people about vaccination. When you do get to the little wrappers that come with the little bottles of vaccine and read the small print, the alarm bells start ringing.

Vaccination is the application of a vaccine. That can be taken into account for oral doses as well. The problem with immunisation is that that is the result of a reaction to vaccination. It does not always occur. Immunisation may or may not result from vaccination. The word `vaccination’ is the better one to use.

Was Bob Brown anti-vaccination? No, he was not. But he understood the science behind the process of vaccination, accepted that some people would be harmed by vaccines and stated correctly that being vaccinated was not the same as being immune. Senator Brown supported the right of all Australians to make personal decisions regarding this issue in line with Greens policy which, to the best of our knowledge, remains the same today as it was all those years ago.

Are the Greens still Greens?

The Greens party has always stood for social justice, respect for our fellow human beings and our planet. It’s understandable however that some people may be concerned about whether this stance is still the same considering statements made by some members of the Greens regarding both vaccination and anti-discrimination laws in the last few weeks.

In NSW Parliament during the recent debate to require parents to show Conscientious Objector forms before their children would be admitted to either preschool or childcare, a Greens Member argued against allowing the children of either religious or conscientious objectors to be allowed to attend these facilities. Instead, he claimed that the only exemption that should be available is the medical exemption and even for that, parents would need a final approval from a GP – something which would be very difficult to nearly impossible to obtain since most GPs don’t acknowledge reactions even when they occur right in front of them! He also said that there are no religions which preclude use of vaccination as part of their tenets. However, we have it on good authority that Christian Scientists do not vaccinate (nor do they use any Western medicine). In addition, we have also heard that there are several other religions such as Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Catholics who either refuse to use certain vaccines or have policies that object to some vaccine ingredients.

The fact that Greens parliamentarians are apparently at the forefront of efforts to discriminate against caring parents who are making what they feel is the best possible decision for their own children is shocking to people who were previously Greens supporters. Many of these people have written to us to express their concern. We will publish those letters in the next blog so you can see how articulate, respectful and well-informed AVN members and supporters are.

Did Senator Di Natale try to get the AVN’s viewpoint before attacking the AVN in the Senate?

The most undemocratic example of these attacks on human rights however, has to be that of Senator Richard Di Natale. As we said in a recent blog, Senator Di Natale proposed a motion that the AVN immediately disband. How did he arrive at this decision? Why would a senator take such an action against a group simply because he disagrees with their message – a message that has been debated by some of the world’s most eminent scientists for over 200 years?

A couple of days before the motion was proposed, the following message appeared on the Facebook page of the hate group, Stop the AVN. Since this message was never posted to the Senator’s own Facebook page (or if it was, the post was later deleted), one must assume that Senator Di Natale was in direct contact with the organisation that has pledged to shut down the AVN in any way possible – including through the use of threats, abuse, harassment and vexatious government complaints. At no time did the Senator attempt to contact the AVN to get our side or to understand why Australian parents question vaccination.

De-Natale-SAVN-post-24_6_13-1By clicking here, you can read the full text of the Senator’s speech from his parliamentary website. Here, we will examine just a few of the many untrue statements and errors and inaccuracies. If Senator Di Natale has the support of the Greens party, this party should be made to explain exactly what evidence they had available to them to back-up the statements which he made under the protection of parliamentary privilege.

Senator (Dr) Di Natale is apparently unaware that Australia is in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic.

When reciting the litany of all that Australians can be grateful for when it comes to vaccination, Senator Di Natale says that,

“We are spared the horror of watching a child with whooping cough turn blue and suffer a seizure from a coughing fit.”

One would think that as a doctor, he should be aware of the fact that Australia is in the midst of a now 6-year long whooping cough epidemic. At its height, this epidemic had more per-capita cases of whooping cough reported than at any time since the introduction of mass vaccination in 1953. In fact, medical journals around the world have been publishing peer-reviewed articles since the early 1990s which indicate that the whooping cough vaccine may be responsible for this upsurge in both cases and deaths.

Senator Di Natale knows nothing about the AVN – and it shows

When discussing the AVN, Senator Di Natale claims that:

In fact, their [the AVN’s] mission is to deter parents from getting their children vaccinated. They accomplish their mission by sowing fear and doubt in the minds of parents who have young kids, and by dressing it up in the language of science. They pretend to be neutral providers of information to allow parents to make a choice, but in reality they are fiercely anti vaccine.”

What does the Senator base this statement upon? Where is his evidence? Even the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), which illegally investigated the AVN in 2009/2010, stated that they had found no evidence that we had ever told anyone not to vaccinate nor had we discouraged anyone from making that choice. One would think that a Senator standing up in Parliament to make such strong statements would do everything in his or her power to ensure the truth of what they were saying. But as we noted earlier, Senator Di Natale did not contact the AVN with his concerns nor did he offer us an opportunity to discuss these issues with him.

Senator Di Natale refers to ‘debunked science’ as proof that the AVN is wrong.

“They [the AVN] say that the MMR vaccine causes autism, a claim they know has been thoroughly and comprehensively debunked.”

Senator Di Natale is obviously referring to the study by Dr Andrew Wakefield et al, published in the Lancet in 1998. This study was the subject of the longest medical investigation in British history by the General Medical Council (GMC) who determined that 3 of the 13 researchers involved had committed fraud in relation to some of the tests performed. They never debunked the results of the study (which wasn’t really a study at all – it was simply a case series reporting on 12 children this team had treated). Last year, one of the three investigators won a high court challenge against the findings of the GMC and there is a great deal of pressure being brought to bear from within the scientific community to reinstate the article in the Lancet.

Since the original Lancet study was published, there have been dozens of peer-reviewed articles which have verified the original findings of the 1998 Wakefield case series. Is Dr Di Natale unaware of this fact?

In addition, the studies to which he refers – the ones which supposedly ‘debunk’ the link between autism and vaccination – have themselves been discredited. Poul Thorsen, a man who is now one of America’s 10 most wanted criminals, was either the lead researcher or worked on 22 out of 24 of these studies. He is now awaiting extradition to stand trial in the US for fraud and embezzlement of between 1 and 2 million dollars from the Centers for Disease Control.

Senator Di Natale greatly exaggerates the risk to children from measles

In the 20 years prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1970, the death rate from measles ranged from between 0.1 and 0.2 per 100,000 per year. In fact, in the early 1980s when the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine was first used in the UK, a medical encyclopedia edited by the then-editor of the British Medical Journal stated that the only long-term side effects from measles virus was life-long immunity to measles infection.

Yet here is how Senator Di Natale describes this common and formerly benign disease of childhood:

“It is a virus that damages the human body and has the potential for serious and sometimes fatal complications. In 2001 the World Health Organization estimated 158,000 deaths from this disease. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. To suggest that a parent should deliberately expose their child to this disease is reckless. Measles is dangerous and it can be fatal.”

To suggest, as Senator Di Natale does, that Australian children are at high risk of permanent disability or death from measles infection and that measles vaccine will reduce that risk is both unscientific and reckless. And estimates provided by the World Health Organisation are just that – estimates. They are determined by computer modelling which has never been confirmed by actual on-the-ground statistical information. This issue is covered in great detail on our sister blog, the Real Australian Sceptics.

Senator Di Natale thanks abusers and harassers

“I am grateful to people like Daniel Raffaele, Peter Bowditch, Ken McLeod and others who have endured the harassment of Ms Dorey and her followers, but they do it in order to save other parents the unending pain and heartache that they themselves have had to endure.”

This is one of the most shocking statements that Senator Di Natale made. Daniel Raffaele is neither a parent nor someone who has ever shown any sympathy to parents who have had to endure his harassment. He has publicly stated that he would see the demise of ex-AVN President, Meryl Dorey, and late-night phone calls, confirmed by the NSW Police to have originated from his home, were made to Ms Dorey’s house asking her to ‘Die in a Fire’ and ‘Just burn’ (click the links to listen to recordings of these calls). In fact, Ms Dorey currently has an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against Mr Raffaele which stops him from coming within 100 metres of her.

Peter Bowditch is one of the most abusive individuals involved in this issue. He regularly asks the parents of vaccine injured children – and even those whose children have died as a result of vaccination – how many dead babies it takes to give them an orgasm. He has asked Ms Dorey who has a vaccine-injured child herself, this very question several times and continued to send her harassing emails long after she asked him to stop.

Yet these are people Senator Di Natale says he is grateful to.

Senator Di Natale claims:

. To silence critics they [the AVN and Ms Dorey, its ex-President] take out apprehended violence orders.”

The AVN feels that this is a very dangerous statement since it puts the government squarely on the side of those who threaten and harass others and also has the potential to prejudice cases which are currently before the courts. Ms Dorey has endured over 4 years of daily abuse and harassment from the very individuals whom the Senator holds up as paragons of society. In fact, this abuse was so unprecedented, Dr Brian Martin, Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong, said (in relation to the attacks against the AVN and Ms Dorey):

“In over 30 years studying scientific controversies, I have never come across such a sustained attack on a citizens’ group involved primarily in presenting information to the public.”

His article, Debating Vaccination, is a study of these attacks which Senator Di Natale may find informative were he to take the time to read it.

Ms Dorey filed three AVOs – two of which are yet to be finalised – and one of which has been awarded as stated above. The AVOs were filed at the suggestion of the NSW Police and were a last-ditch attempt by Ms Dorey to gain the protection of the courts against individuals whom she rightly feared.

Senator Di Natale’s statements are not factual

Under the protection of parliamentary privilege, Senator Di Natale makes the following claim:

“Ms Dorey is alleged to have called Chris Kokogei, whose child died of chickenpox, and said that his child died because his child was weak.”

This ‘allegation’ is completely false. Ms Dorey has never contacted any parent who had lost a child as a result of either vaccination or illness and for Senator Di Natale to tell such untruths without any evidence whatsoever, is completely immoral. For over 20 years, Ms Dorey has regularly helped, supported and comforted parents whose children have either died or been permanently injured by vaccines. At all times, she has provided both sympathy and assistance to these families. At no time has she or would she ever have behaved in such a callous manner.

A poor example of a parliamentarian

We invite you now to read the full text of Senator Di Natale’s speech. If you are a member or supporter of the Greens, we invite you to respectfully express your feelings about the Senator to Senator Christine Milne, Greens leader. We also ask you to consider carefully where you will put both your financial support and your vote in the up-coming election. Will you vote for a party that supports human rights or will you vote for a party that appears to oppose this most basic of issues?

Central NSW Seminar tour – first impressions

A week ago, I came back from a 9-city seminar tour of country NSW. I was very lucky to have had Greg Beattie, author of Fooling Ourselves on the Fundamental Value of Vaccines (this book is available in both hard copy and electronic versions) and Vaccination: A Parent’s Dilemma, join me for 7 of those 9 stops. For those who haven’t heard Greg speak, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! His information on the lack of evidence for ANY contribution vaccines may have made to the decline in deaths from infectious diseases is irrefutable (it comes from the Australian and other international governments). By using graphs plotted from government information which were taken from from his book, Fooling Ourselves, it is easy to see that what we’ve been told about the necessity and effectiveness of vaccination is not based in fact.

This was an amazing, invigorating and totally exhausting 2 weeks!

So many of those we met said they were inspired by our talks and yet, I felt absolutely inspired by meeting them.

A group of people in Moree (our second stop) were motivated to contact a woman who attended our Inverell talk (the first stop) and who runs an organic co-op for information on setting up a similar group in their town which only has one health food store and very little in the way of organic produce. They may also have coffee mornings to provide local support for families who have chosen not to vaccinate and are feeling very isolated in that decision.

A woman in Bathurst visited her local member of parliament and ALL of the local media outlets, asking them why these seminars were not being publicised even though community announcements had been sent to all radio, and television stations as well as to newspapers well in advance of the event. The result of her activism was a large article in one of the local papers and a radio interview as well. She felt so good at having been successful in her efforts, and I felt incredibly supported simply through the fact that she had cared enough to go to the trouble of working on this issue off her own bat!

One of our professional members paid for a copy of our seminar flyer to be published as an ad in the local newspaper. This person did not take this action for any accolades it may have brought them. In fact, if I hadn’t seen a copy of the paper myself, I never would have known! They also paid for several of the practice’s clients to come to the talk because they felt the information was needed by these particular people. How’s that for dedication and doing something for the right reasons?

I will find the time to do a more in-depth analysis of some of the events that took place over the two weeks of our tour including actions by a potential candidate for the Australian Democrats for the seat of New England who harassed the Tamworth Ex-Services Club, asking them to cancel our talk there. The Club was so supportive! They kept a lookout for any trouble (there wasn’t any) and told me that the CEO had told this ‘gentleman’ that the last time he’d checked, Australia was still a democracy which meant that people had the right to express their views without fear of being shut up or shut down. Perhaps the Australian Democrats need to think carefully before allowing this person to be preselected for such an important seat?

Those who attended

And there were indeed two members of Stop the AVN who came to the talks. I will give more information about their appearances in separate blog postings, but there was no trouble from anyone, thank goodness!

The talks were not well attended. Part of that was due to the media not publishing our community announcements and the fact that we did not have the funds to advertise these events otherwise. Part of it was due to an organised campaign by members of Stop the AVN to tear down our posters which had been put up by volunteers and AVN members in these communities.

In one town, we personally put posters up on 3 community bulletin boards at 7 PM. By 10 the next morning, the two that we checked were gone. One of those was behind a glass front in a case! So not only do SAVN want to make it impossible for parents to choose not to vaccinate – they also want to stop them from getting any information that is not fully pro-medical.

In addition to these influences, however, the story we heard over and over again at each venue was that people were afraid to come to AVN talks because:

1- They feared that there could be violence at these events from members of Stop the AVN who are so incredibly vocal about their plans to harass anyone who supports informed choice; and

2- They were afraid that friends might find out they had come to the seminar and as a result, they would be blacklisted in town and their children would be victimised.

Those who did come, often drove long distances – over 2 hours in some cases – to get there. They had to drive home late at night on roads made dangerous by kangaroos and wombats but they did it because they were so hungry for knowledge and support and I thank them from the bottom of my heart!

The medical brown shirts

What has Australia come to when caring parents who have made informed choices in the best interests of their own children have to be afraid to let people know about these choices?

Why is it that parents who know nothing about this issue feel they have the right to berate and abuse families who are well-informed simply because their own fear of diseases has caused them to hate those whose unvaccinated children, they feel, might put their fully vaccinated kids at risk? Where is the logic? Where is the intelligence? Most of all, where is the understanding that in a democracy, we all have the right to make these choices?

I would love to have your input on these issues. Do you have any ideas about how to empower parents to own their health decisions because I can tell you right now, there are many more families in Australia who have decided not to vaccinate then we can tell from the small number of conscientious objectors. Many parents have chosen to forego the childcare payment and the maternity immunisation allowance just so they wouldn’t have to front up to a potentially abusive doctor or clinic nurse to get their conscientious objector form signed. The problem is that they all feel isolated and unsupported and think that they are the only ones who have made that decision.

Where do you stand? If you have chosen to vaccinate your children, are you concerned about them being around unvaccinated kids? If so, why? Do you think that harassment or abuse of non-vaccinating parents is justified and if so, why>

If you have chosen not to vaccinate, are you nervous about sharing that decision with your friends and family? Have you been placed under extreme pressure by your community and / or a medical professional who has – for whatever reason – tried to get you to change your mind?

Lastly, does this sort of pressure make it more or less likely that you will vaccinate? Does harassing parents for their medical choices make them change those choices or just make it more likely that they will go ‘underground’ with their decision and withhold information about their decisions from those around them?

Please let me know where you stand on all of this. All comments will be approved unless they attack someone, use foul language or are abusive.