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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 –

Apparently our acronym is now misleading?

by AVN President,
Greg Beattie


If you have been following our saga during the past year you will know the prequel to this post. For those who missed it, we were directed last year to change our name – after 16 years – because our opponents complained that it was misleading. After exhausting our avenues of appeal, it turned out the Minister for Fair Trading had the power to enforce this. In fact, he introduced a new regulation just so that he could see this through!

So we changed our name. We are now “Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc”. The new name was accepted by our members, as well as by NSW Fair Trading.

Now we have a new threat. Director of Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement Division, Mr David Byrne, phoned last Friday to say he requires us to change all instances of the abbreviation “AVN” to “AVSN”. And he has threatened to commence action without further notice to shut us down and remove our domain from the internet.

This was quite a surprise! Before the call there had been no mention of this intention, as you will see from the letters below

We believe this latest move suggests the aim, from the beginning, has been to force our organisation to close its doors. While the Minister successfully convinced the court that someone, somewhere might think the name Australian Vaccination Network is misleading, no similar argument has been made about the abbreviation, AVN


Below is the latest letter from Greg Beattie to Rod Stowe, Commissioner, NSW Fair Trading, 23 March, 2014. This afternoon, we received an interim response stating that the,  “issues raised are under consideration”.

Dear Mr Stowe,

We received correspondence on March 20, 2014, from David A. Byrne (Director, Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement Division, NSW Fair Trading). I responded on the same day. Both letters are enclosed for your reference. Mr Byrne then phoned me on the following day.

You will see from the correspondence that Mr Byrne requested we ensure all instances of our old name were changed to our new name, in all official documents and web publications. As indicated in my response, this has been done.

However, when Mr Byrne phoned me the following day he explained that he required us to also change all instances of the abbreviation “AVN” to “AVSN”, regardless of whether the documents in which they appear already bear our full name. I asked Mr Byrne to submit this request in writing, stating the reasons for it, and I would take it to the committee. He indicated he was not prepared to do so as it was something the ‘court’ had already ordered, and he felt his letter had already covered it. He further indicated he would commence action against us on the basis of non-compliance. He said the action, and the timeline for such, would be those outlined in his letter.

I write today to ask you to clarify whether Mr Byrne’s threat via phone represents the official position of your office. If it does, we ask for this request to be put unambiguously in writing, stating that it is now the abbreviation you take issue with. We also ask that you quote the legislation which empowers you to direct an organisation to change an informal abbreviation it uses within documents which already bear its full official name.

On the other hand, if Mr Byrne’s threat does not represent the official position of your office I ask
that you ensure he is made aware of that.

Given the nature of the threat I ask that you clarify this issue as a matter of urgency.

In the interim, I submit the following:

  • Our full legal name (the new one) is prominently displayed at the top of all stationary and other documents. It is clearly displayed on all banners, footers, and other relevant text for all our web pages.
  • “AVN” is not an official name. It is an informal abbreviation, and was not the subject of our ADT hearing last year. The ADT did not even consider its use.
  • “AVN” is not used to replace our full name. It is only used in documents which already bear our full official name. In such cases it is an informal abbreviation intended to avoid repetition. We have used this shorthand for more than 16 years.
  • It is acceptable for any entity to refer to itself in abbreviated format, informally, within documents that bear its full legal name. In fact, it is routine to do so. Most, if not all, organisations and businesses do this. The abbreviations they choose are a matter for their discretion.
  • Given that our full name “Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.” contains a hyphen, we consider “AVN” a reasonable abbreviation.
  • After searching the Act we are unable to find reference to any power permitting you to direct an organisation to change the way it informally refers to itself.

I look forward to your clarifying this for us.
Yours sincerely
Greg Beattie
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Letter from David Byrne, 20 March, 2014

Letter from Greg Beattie to David Byrne, 20 March, 2014


The Greens: Deceiving voters or just playing dumb?

Mistakes, traps, ethics, and integrity

– Greg Beattie

The federal election falls at the end of this week. While the economy, asylum seekers, and education have dominated the airwaves, something else has been brewing…

iStock_000014317717XSmallThe Australian Greens don’t want you to know it, but they are spearheading the push for compulsory vaccination in Australia. They believe there should be no parental choice. They argued vigorously in NSW parliament to have all conscientious exemptions and religious exemptions removed. Fortunately they were defeated (read Hansard here). Shortly after that, their health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale, made his now infamous speech in Federal Parliament calling for the disbanding of the AVN.  Read the speech here.

Surprised? I think most people are. In fact, disbelief is the reaction from many who have traditionally supported the Greens. But it gets worse. In a bizarre recent move, Di Natale confused things by issuing a statement saying neither he nor the Greens supported compulsory vaccination. Has the party changed its stance? Or is he playing a semantic game with the word ‘compulsory’? We have been trying to find out but despite being pressed, neither he nor party leaders, will answer the question. Click here and here to read Di Natale’s statement and letters we have sent asking for clarification.

Love them or hate them one thing is clear: when it comes to vaccination, the Greens are currently the most vehemently and vocally anti-choice political force in Australia. Ironically, it’s a stance they are unwilling to articulate to voters on the eve of this election.

But first a bit of history for those who have not followed the saga. It has now been more than two months since I last attempted to communicate with Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Greens, concerning Di Natale’s outburst in parliament. Two phone calls and three emails to her and not one breath of response! So I contacted deputy leader Adam Bandt three weeks ago and, again, no response. Click here to read all of the emails.

Obviously the issue is something they don’t want anything to do with. Why might that be?


Delete "MISTAKE"We all make mistakes. Just over two months ago Di Natale made a pile of them in parliament. Unfortunately, he didn’t check his story before opening his mouth. I won’t go over all the mistakes but I will mention a few.

He said the AVN claims “… the MMR vaccine causes autism, a claim they know has been thoroughly and comprehensively debunked”. The truth is the AVN says that evidence of a link has been published. And that’s a fact. In fact, since the original ‘Wakefield’ report, more than 80 studies have been published supporting this proposition. And numerous court cases for damages have found in favour of it after considering the competing evidence. Clearly it is a mistake to claim it has been “thoroughly and comprehensively debunked”.

There were a few more in relation to the actual vaccine debate, but the really worrying examples were the ones where he attempted to slander at a personal level.

He said “[former president] 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”. The truth is Ms Dorey doesn’t know this man at all and has never had any contact with him whatsoever.

He went further, claiming grieving families have endured “months of harassment from the AVN“. However there is absolutely no evidence of this. The AVN has certainly never harassed any grieving family, and never will.

He also said “To silence critics they take out apprehended violence orders”. Now that’s some imagination. Here’s the truth. Our former president, Ms Dorey, has an AVO against a man because of a series of depraved and threatening phone calls made in the middle of the night to her home. You can read more about this and listen to the calls by clicking here. The calls were traced by police to the man’s home. You may find this difficult to believe, but Di Natale actually named the man and thanked him:

“I am grateful to people like Daniel Raffaele…”

Yes, this all occurred in the same speech. It was obviously a mistake; one of gargantuan proportions. Surely he didn’t mean to do it, but being so ill-informed, he didn’t even know what the AVO was about, and that the man he was thanking was the subject of it. Again you can listen to the phone calls by clicking the link above.

As I said, we all make mistakes. Perhaps we don’t often make this many in one go, and perhaps we rarely let our carelessness extend so deep, especially when speaking from such a prominent platform. But we’re all different. The question is why did he get so much wrong when he had so much time to prepare his speech?


He had obviously been lobbied. It’s no secret there is an organised group (calling itself “Stop the AVN”) that formed for this purpose. Its members regularly use smear tactics in an attempt to turn people against the AVN. They’ve been doing it for years. They lobby whoever will listen. Enter Di Natale, who swallowed the stories, hook, line, and sinker. He then made his first mistake. He neglected to contact us.

But that’s part of what ‘hook, line, and sinker’ means, isn’t it? A person falls so completely for a trap that they make not just one but a succession of mistakes. Would you believe he has never contacted the AVN about these stories ever? Still he decided to give parliament a rundown on the organisation, based entirely on the stories.

So question number one is why did he not seek a response first?

The AVN has been a legally constituted consumer organisation and a registered charity for the past 16 years. We promote discussion and support consumers in their quest for information. We also strive to ensure that their right to make free and informed choices is never taken away. We’re publicly available via mail, email, fax and phone. Contact from members of parliament is always welcome: in fact, encouraged.


A lesson I learnt in childhood was “whenever you make a mess in life, clean it up before moving on”. Isn’t it true that we’re all judged ultimately, not by the mistakes we make, but by the way we clean up? There are always two options: clean up and move on, or just move on and hope no one saw.

When the Greens were made aware of their mistakes (again please read the emails) they had a choice: clean up the mess, or simply ignore and hope no one saw it happen. They took the latter option and that was the biggest mistake of all.

People historically see the party as ethical. Even those who disagree with Greens policies tend to think of its key players as possessing integrity. According to former leader Bob Brown, the party used the guiding principle of placing one’s self in the shoes of a person 100 years from now and asking, “Will this person thank me for my actions today?”

Graffiti wall with choice, street backgroundI think the Greens were relevant to many for these reasons, but what about the current crop of players? I can’t comment on them all but Di Natale certainly fell short. He knows by now he left a big mess and, in the process, impugned the character of many decent people. He was careless and used his position of influence in an irresponsible way. But, again, that’s a mistake. The real issue is that when it was brought to his attention, and an invitation was extended, he chose to run from his mess.

Christine Milne knows what happened, and rather than face the problem, and manage the clean up, she chose to ignore it. Her party has, via a monumental error of both fact and judgement by its spokesperson, publicly condemned an organisation of decent caring people. And when approached by the organisation’s president to discuss this, she has shunned the opportunity to manage a clean-up. Deputy Adam Bandt has now joined her. This type of behaviour is inexcusable from any political party, but from the Greens it is particularly disappointing.

Fast forward

Whatever damage has been done to their reputation through this is something for the longer term to address. It’s time to get back to the title of this article. Our federal election takes place at the end of this week. What the Greens need to do now, if they wish to salvage any integrity with pro-choice voters, is clarify where they stand regarding compulsion. And they need to do it quickly.

Do they still want to remove all parental choice, as they made clear in the ‘No jab, no play’ debate in NSW parliament? Or have they changed? Do they now support and  respect the right of parents to make choices on this controversial issue, without fear or favour? It’s time to come clean. Voters are waiting…

[This article is a follow-up from earlier posts:]

Guest Post: The Vaccine Debate – a Matter of Trust

An open letter to the open-minded

by Dr Isaac Golden

There are many difficult conversations in healthcare – how to best assist people dying in pain, policies regarding foetal termination, the ethics of spending a million dollars on a procedure to help one person rather than using that money to assist hundreds of others, and so on. But the conversation that attracts the most venomous disagreement relates to something where all sides have already agreed on the final goal – maximising the health of community members, especially children.

13437422_sThe decision of whether to vaccinate against potentially serious diseases is one of the most difficult that many thousands of parents will face when raising their children. Most allow the decision to be made for them and vaccinate according to Government recommendations. But a growing number of parents question whether vaccination is the best option for their child based on their assessment of potential benefits and risks.

Ignoring the evidence

Given the overwhelming level of support for vaccination, one must ask why there is any doubt about this issue at all. The answer for many is that they have lost trust in orthodox advice. There are real reasons why this has happened, reasons which Health Department literature and shows like “Jabbed” which recently aired on SBS have all failed to address.

There are tens of thousands of parents in Australia, and countless more internationally, who have witnessed what they believe is damage caused to their children by vaccines. Yet their genuine concerns are typically dismissed by orthodox clinicians as being “just coincidence”, “hysteria”, “ignorance”, and so on. Yet these parents live with real consequences every day of their lives, and view such conclusions as being arrogant and dismissive of their genuine concerns.

They are told that vaccines are proven to be safe, yet parents know that vaccine manufactures only operate because they are indemnified from prosecution by Government legislation. They see the huge Government payouts made in vaccine damage compensation schemes in other countries (America has now passed the $2.5 billion mark) proving that some adverse events do occur. They look up Government sites like the VAERS database of adverse events from vaccination containing hundreds of thousands of entries, so they know that there is too much here to be simple “coincidence”.

The more informed ask a simple question – where are the long-term studies examining the full health (intellectual, emotional and physical) of age-appropriate, fully vaccinated and completely unvaccinated children? They don’t find such studies. Instead they find a relatively few studies which claim to prove the long-term safety of vaccination, but either these studies don’t consider the holistic health of participants, or don’t look at age-appropriate cohorts, or don’t compare fully vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts  – the combination of which is necessary to conclusively demonstrate long-term safety. And even the studies cited are imperfect – for example, the very large “Danish studies” published in 2002 and 2003, credited with proving that autism is not related to thimerosal and MMR, are weakened by significant confounders and researcher fraud.

So based on careful research, some intelligent and reasonable people ask a second question – we are told repeatedly that the risks from vaccines are less than the risks from the diseases they prevent, but if the long-term risks are not fully quantified, how can such a statement be scientifically credible? That question has yet to be answered other than by returning to the less than adequate studies already cited.

Homeopathic disease prevention (homeoprophylaxis)

Finally, some of these parents continue their research and find that there is a middle path – immunising their child homeopathically, a practice which was first used in 1798 (vaccines were first used in 1796). They are told by orthodox authorities that homeopathically prepared substances have nothing in them, so they can’t work, and also that there is no evidence of effectiveness. All agree that “nothing” cannot be toxic, so the real question then becomes – is there evidence of effectiveness?

It is here that I must describe my personal experience involving the collection of evidence. This experience shows that any statement that “there is no evidence” is simply a denial of reality. Of course the evidence may be contested and the results argued over, but the fact that evidence exists to support claims regarding the effectiveness of homeopathic immunisation is undeniable.

The Cuban Experience

11940799_sI was first invited to visit Cuba in December 2008 to present at an international conference hosted by the Finlay Institute, which is a W.H.O. accredited vaccine manufacturer. The Cubans described their use of homeopathic immunisation (HI) to control an outbreak of leptospirosis (a potentially fatal, water-borne bacterial disease) in 2007 among the residents of the three Eastern provinces which were most severely damaged by a major hurricane – over 2.2 million people. 2008 was an even worse year involving three hurricanes, and the country’s food production was only just recovering at the time of the conference. The HI program had been repeated in 2008, but data was not available at the conference regarding that intervention.

The 2008 result proved to be remarkable, and could only be explained by the effectiveness of the HI intervention. Whilst the three hurricanes caused immense damage throughout the country it was again worse in the east, yet the three homoeopathically immunised (eastern) provinces experienced a negligible increase in cases whilst the rest of the country showed significant increases until the dry season in January 2009.

I revisited Cuba in 2010 and 2012, each time to work with the leader of the HI interventions, Dr Bracho, to analyse the data available from this and other HI interventions, including the HI of 9.8million people against Swine Flu in 2009/10. Dr Bracho is not a homeopath; he is a published and internationally recognised expert in the manufacture of vaccine adjuvants. He worked in Australia at Flinders University during 2004 with a team trying to develop an anti-malarial vaccine.

In 2012 we accessed the raw leptospirosis surveillance data, comprising weekly reports from 15 provinces over 9 years (2000 to 2008) reporting 21 variables. This yielded a matrix with 147,420 possible entries. This included data concerning possible confounders, such as vaccination and chemoprophylaxis, which allowed a careful evaluation of possible distorting effects. We accessed the raw HI data. With the permission of the Cubans, I brought this data back to Australia and it is being examined by mathematicians at an Australian university to see what other information can be extracted. Clearly, there is objective data supporting claims regarding the effectiveness of HI.

This is but one example – there are many more. It is cited to show that there is significant data available, and the HI interventions have been driven, in the Cuban case, by orthodox scientists and doctors. Many people internationally now know this, so once again claims by orthodox authorities that there is no evidence merely serve to show that either the authorities are making uninformed/unscientific statements, or that they are aware but are intentionally withholding information. Either way, trust is destroyed and leads to groups of people questioning what they are told.

It is contended that what now seems to be an endless and repetitive battle between pro and anti-vaccination groups would be unnecessary if the Government made three decisions:

  1. Ensure that the parents of vaccine-damaged children and the children themselves are appropriately supported, and that these people and other parents genuinely concerned about the possibility of vaccine damage are not attacked as being irresponsible and a danger to the community.

  2. Support those parents who would otherwise not vaccinate their children to use homeopathic immunisation. This in turn would lead to an increase in herd immunity. It would also allow coverage against diseases such as meningococcal meningitis type B, and dengue fever for which there are no vaccines. It would not require Government endorsement of the method, just appropriate paperwork to identify which type of immunisation was being used – vaccination or HI.

  3. Establish a Government sponsored study of long-term vaccine safety examining the holistic health of age-appropriate, fully vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and publish the full results.

I would also suggest that given the legislative protection and Government financial support provided to multinational vaccine manufacturers, that our Government evaluate the possibility of having vaccines used in Australia made in Australia by a not-for-profit manufacturer. If a small country like Cuba can do this, then so can we. We should not have to bear the costs of a near-mandatory procedure without sharing the benefits, but this is the existing situation with vaccination.

This divisive issue has caused our society to become a less tolerant place, where free-speech is prevented through selective media bans and the discussion of ideas and options is attacked by academics and scientists who should be the champions of open and objective dialogue. We need to return to evidence – not just selected and convenient results but all the evidence from all sides of this issue. The orthodox response is that all the evidence has been considered and there is no more to discuss. But too many people know that this is not true, and until a fully open conversation is held this issue will never be resolved, and trust will not be restored. And it needs to be – for the benefit of all citizens.

Please send in your letters to support freedom of choice

The article from yesterday calling for compulsory vaccination and criticising women who home birthed actually WAS on the web, It had a different title – All Aussie Kids Should Be Vaccinated. The woman who wrote it, Susie O’Brien, seems to have had correspondence in the past with both the Australian Skeptics and their splinter hate group, Stop the AVN. I would like you to read the comments she has written – especially those to people who have chosen not to vaccinate. Should this person really be gifted with the right to write an article in a major Australian daily newspaper without it being called an opinion piece or an advertorial for big pharma? This is a scandal! Please, if you haven’t already written to the Herald Sun, can you drop them a quick line today at and send me a copy at If you want to see the letters that have already been sent in (more going up all the time), visit –

In response to someone who cited Dr Andrew Wakefield and supported informed choice on vaccination, the response was:

I am familiar with some of Wakefield’s work but also the thousands and thousands of peer reviewed medical journals showing that vaccination is best. There is no need for a debate that fills people’s heads with scare-mongering and means that parents dont do what is best for their children. Involved with the AVN, are you?

Susie O’Brien
Tue 31 Jan 12 (07:17am)

In response to a person who said that parents should read as much as they could – and someone who admitted that they were finding this a difficult decision to make, she replied:

Sure as long as it is not misleading and has a medical basis to it, not just emotive biased rubbish. And it’s not difficult – doctors across the world agree that vaccination is best. Sounds like you are on the AVN bandwagon…

Susie O’Brien
Tue 31 Jan 12 (07:15am)

And the most egregious of her comments, in response to someone trying to defend parental rights to choose what is best for their child, the outrageous response basically says that we only have the right to obey our doctors and certainly not a right to listen to the AVN!

Well I have gone on to do a separate post on home births so no doubt you won’t like that either. I think parents have a right to listen to reasoned, qualified medical opinion and follow expert advice, not listen to the AVN. There can be minor side effects so good procedures must be followed, but these minor side effects are nothing compared to the risks of whooping cough and polio.

Susie O’Brien
Tue 31 Jan 12 (08:07am)

Vaccination Network Attacked Unfairly

Thank you to Fairfax media and the Southern Highland News who had the courage to print my letter to the editor. If you are able to make a comment on this page in support of freedom of choice and freedom of communication, please do so at the bottom of the letter at the link below:

Vaccination network ‘attacked’ unfairly – Opinion – Letters to the Editor – General – Southern Highland News

THE Australian Vaccination Network has been vilified in the media in recent weeks.

While it is the media’s job to expose wrongdoing when it has been found, it is not their job to act as judge, jury and executioner. Newspapers and radio stations have been reporting ridiculous lies stating that the AVN believes in reptilian aliens and mind-control chips.

They got this misinformation from Ken McLeod, an active member of a group that has set out to either shut our small, volunteer-run organisation down or shut us up in any way they can. That is their agenda. What is the media’s excuse?

And while this beat-up has been taking place, 136 of 139 pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing facilities in Australia have failed their TGA audits – yet this hasn’t merited so much as a mention in the press. It seems that drug companies have a privileged position in our society while vaccine safety watchdogs are shut down quicker than you can say “Pan Pharmaceuticals!”

The AVN was formed in 1994 due to a lack of information in the community on the downsides of vaccination. We were started by a group of parents whose children had reacted to this medical procedure and the health practitioners who had helped us.

Daily, we provide support and information to parents in Australia and overseas who are seeking medically based, fully-referenced data on vaccines. Daily, we help parents report to the Australian Government (because their doctors have refused to do so) their children’s serious and sometimes fatal reactions .

Vaccines are not compulsory. It was previously not illegal to criticise vaccines.

The AVN are vaccine whistleblowers and, like all organisations that are perceived to threaten an entrenched status quo, we are now being victimised by a group that openly states their object is to stop us in any way they can.

That this organisation has used these tactics is shameful and should be taken seriously by the authorities.

That the media and government bodies such as the HCCC have co-operated with them – even sending people who request more information about the current “investigations” to their website – is criminal.

It is time the Australian people learnt the truth about the co-ordinated attacks on the Australian Vaccination Network by those who want, above all, to stop anyone questioning the safety or effectiveness of vaccines.

I invite everyone who is interested in knowing more about the facts behind these attacks to read the documents that can be found at and on our website,


Australian Vaccination Network