Another day – Another Courier Mail Hit Piece

Laura Chalmers - Courier Mail Censorship Specialist
Laura Chalmers – Courier Mail ‘Journalist’

by Meryl Dorey

I don’t know why Laura Chalmers from the Courier Mail even bothers to contact anyone from the AVN before writing about us?

This is the third time she’s been in touch with me about a story in recent weeks and yet, she has never  reporting anything I’ve said. A few weeks ago, she even sent me a 2 or 3-page summary of our talk so I could approve it before she went to print –  and she  never used one word of what I had to say.

Let’s look at the bright side though – if she isn’t reporting fairly or in a balanced manner, at least she isn’t misquoting me or taking me out of context.

She has done the same thing with the AVN’s President, Greg Beattie – wasting so much of our time for nothing. Is this just window dressing for the Courier Mail? Are they just pretending that they really care or are interested in presenting both sides whilst continuing to report whatever will make their Board and their advertisers happy?

Who knows. But here, for the record, is what I sent Laura Chalmers last week when she contacted me about this ‘story’ (you can read the entire ‘hit piece’ by using the link at the bottom of this blog post) – and how ironic is it that the media is openly calling for censorship on ANY subject? Such a slippery slope!:

Dear Laura,

This is not the first time that attempts have been made to block the presence of someone from the AVN at a public event. SAVN did this a few years ago at Woodford and it resulted in a record number of people in attendance at the vaccination discussion. They were literally standing in the aisles and lined up out in the street 8 or 10 deep to hear the talk. The same thing can and most probably will happen if a similar campaign is run regarding my talk at this event.

Don’t forget that one of the SAVN stalwarts, Peter Bowditch, publicly confirmed he would debate me at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo and then, backed out, reneging on his promise to attend. The organisers have been actively seeking someone from the medical fraternity to come and present the other side for over 6 months, but nobody was willing to defend the anti-choice stance.  Since SAVN and the medical community appear to be incapable of holding their own on this issue before a live audience, they want to stop anyone else from hearing what I and the AVN stand for.

Censorship sometimes backfires and as a journalist, you should be aware of that. Perhaps you’d like to read some of the articles at this website:

Kind regards,
Meryl Dorey

For those who are interested in hearing about some of the potential issues with vaccination, please do come and hear me speak or just say hi to me at the AVN’s stand at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo in Caloundra. Here’s a discount ticket for you and your family. The organisers have literally been through hell and back over this issue. They have had their website hacked, threatening calls made to them and to the other stall holders and they have had to get the police involved. Yet, they are standing firm in support of freedom of speech and freedom of choice. If you believe in what they are doing, please take a moment to visit their website (click the discount ticket image below) and use the contact form there to drop them a line and say – WELL DONE!:

B1G1-VistaprintIn the meantime, below is a link to the article in today’s Courier Mail calling for the Expo to ban me from speaking. If the medical community and the media are fighting this hard to shut the AVN up, it means that we are on the right track. Those who have evidence to back up their beliefs do not try to censor opposition. They are happy to debate and discuss these issues in an open and respectful manner.

It is only those who have no data to defend their assertions who will, in desperation, take the immoral step of trying to censor those they disagree with.

Health experts call for ban on anti-vaccination campaigner Meryl Dorey at Healthy Lifestyle Expo | The Courier-Mail.

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.

Peter Bowditch-Running Scared

johann_wolfgang_von_goethe_courage_3368The Bowditch non-debate saga continues.
by Meryl Dorey

For those who haven’t yet read about this issue, you can do so on the following blog posts: The Great Vaccination Non-Debate and Are You Brave Enough to Follow Through, Peter Bowditch?

Apparently, Mr Bowditch is well aware of his lack of knowledge on the issue of vaccination because he is using every tactic at his disposal to try and worm out of fulfilling his promise to debate me. One can only assume that his two letters of acceptance – one made to the organisers of the You Can Heal Yourself Expo and the other to me personally via this blog – were made under the incorrect assumption that I would not accept his offer.

Unfortunately for him, however, I threw a spanner in the works by stating that I would accept his challenge and debate him at the Expo at the end of May. The deadline for him to confirm with the organisers is just 2 days away – on Friday, the 9th of May.

So far, he has used every possible excuse for why he would be unable to follow through on his promise to attend and debate me.

  • He suddenly realised that he needs to be back in Sydney by 11 am on Sunday and for some reason, airplanes aren’t working on Saturday night to allow him to do that.
  • Debating me would legitimise my arguments and this is something he was unaware of when he made his challenge in early April and repeated it again at the end of the month.
  • The You Can Heal Yourself Expo is a “Festival of Batshittery” (eg one where both sides of this debate are welcome and wanted) – something he didn’t realise until just now.

Bowditch Debate

And now, he is twisting his offer to debate by trying to turn it into something completely different – an essay competition where he will have the assistance of his friends at Stop the AVN to do his research and write his ‘homework’, showing the internet world how brave and knowledgeable he is about vaccination.

Yesterday, I received the following letter from Mr Bowditch and wrote back to him (below) immediately. I haven’t yet heard back from him. Neither have the Expo organisers.

One has to wonder how far he is prepared to take this charade of having been genuinely willing to expose his knowledge of vaccination (or lack of thereof) to public scrutiny. It is telling, however, that he is so brave in front of the SAVN hordes yet turns tail and runs when faced with the prospect of having to support his vitriolic opposition to informed choice in a public venue. As have ALL of the other SAVNers, not one of whom had the courage of their convictions to honestly present the pro-vaccine-safety and effectiveness point of view at this expo.

My response to Peter Bowditch’s ‘challenge’:

Dear Mr Bowditch,

You accepted the public debate at the You Can Heal Yourself Expo. Neither I nor anyone else forced you to accept this. And you accepted it twice – once via the organiser’s website – once via the AVN’s website.

To quote you directly:

“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.”

So, are you “prepared to step up to the plate” and debate me at this forum or not? An answer would be appreciated.

If you are not going to attend this debate after stating quite clearly that you would do so, could you please have the courtesy to inform both myself and the organisers of that fact?

I will not enter into any other discussion with you.

Kind regards,
Meryl Dorey

Peter Bowditch’s letter to me:

Dear Ms Dorey,

The following challenge has been posted on various Facebook pages and my
personal blog. I would appreciate an acceptance by Thursday.

Thank you.


Challenge to Meryl Dorey.

Here are the three questions to be “debated” at the Expo in Caloundra on
May 24:

1) Does herd Immunity apply to the use of vaccinations

2) The ingredients in Vaccines are Toxic and Small Babies cannot tolerate
even small amounts

3) Can it really be proven that it is vaccination that is controlling
disease rates or do diseases die out naturally and recur in cycles.

And here are the rules:

1) No discussion of the AVN or Meryl Dorey at all, as this is about
Vaccination not personalities

2) All information and debate to be kept on topic

3) All discussion and debate is to be kept informative, educational and
scientifically grounded

4) At all times a civil and respectful attitude is to be kept in tone,
word and deed

These questions and rules have been set by the event organisers. With one
change (that Rule 1 also prohibit discussion of Australian Skeptics, SAVN,
or me) I propose a written debate.

At or before 9pm on Sunday, May 11, I will produce three essays, each
approximately 1000 words, addressing the three questions. Ms Dorey is
invited to do the same. To avoid either of us gaining an advantage neither
will get to see the other’s submissions before they are published. Both of
us will email our submissions to nominated administrators of both the SAVN
and AVsN Facebook pages, and all six will be published simultaneously (as
closely as possible) on both sites.

Ms Dorey says that I am afraid to debate her. I am giving her the
opportunity to make her arguments in front of audiences which are divided
on their opinions on vaccines and I am prepared to do the same.

Bring it on.

The saga continues…the clock is counting down. Peter Bowditch has 48 hours to prove that he is brave enough and honest enough to follow through on his offer to debate me. Only time will tell.

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.

Patient Committed Suicide After His Doctor Was Hounded By Dr Ben Goldacre’s Badscience Forum Internet Bullies – Perpetrator’s Mild Two Year Cautionary Sentence Only Just Ended December 2013 | ________________Child Health Safety_________________

iStock_000017403892XSmallStop-the-AVN-type cyberbullying causes an ill man to commit suicide. Perpetrators given a 2-year caution.

These deaths and this misery will not stop until the authorities and the government take these criminals seriously. Bullying should not be tolerated! It doesn’t matter if you disagree with our science – you have no right to treat human beings this way. If you agree, please say so in the comments section.

Patient Committed Suicide After His Doctor Was Hounded By Dr Ben Goldacre’s Badscience Forum Internet Bullies – Perpetrator’s Mild Two Year Cautionary Sentence Only Just Ended December 2013 | ________________Child Health Safety_________________.

Silencing the opposition

iStock_000011256677XSmallThis last week has been a time of tough decisions. A time when I had to make a choice between pursuing justice in the courts or cutting my losses and pulling out of what I saw as a totally biased system where the cards are stacked against me – not because of a lack of evidence but simply because of a perceived bias against my stance on a political and scientific issue.

I chose to withdraw my Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO) appeal against Peter Bowditch and, true to form, the skeptics and SAVN have been making false statements about my reason for doing so to members of the media – statements which I believe require a response.

Let me preface this by saying that these cases were initiated by me personally. They are not AVN matters, though I believe it is my involvement with the AVN which has influenced the courts against me, causing them to be decided on the personal preconceived opinions of the magistrates involved, rather than on the merits and the evidence presented.

A bit of history

Last year, at the suggestion of police in two NSW jurisdictions, I filed three separate APVOs: against Daniel Raffaele, founder of Stop the AVN (SAVN), Peter Bowditch, committee member of the Australian Skeptics and Dan Buzzard, WA member of SAVN.

I could have filed APVOs against many more SAVN members. So many have threatened and harassed me, as well as inciting others to do me harm, but these were the three whom I considered to be the ‘ringleaders’ – whose abuse and harassment were unremitting. My reasons for taking this action were two-fold

1-    To stop them from continuing their criminal campaign of abuse, harassment and threats against me; and

2-    To send a warning to others that the justice system would protect someone who was being openly abused, harassed and threatened.

My family and I were living in great fear that one of these individuals would either harm us or would incite someone else in the community to do so. I had no funds for legal advice but I was told by the police that applying for an APVO would be straightforward and simple, so I proceeded to make the application. At no time did they inform me that they themselves could have applied for the APVO. Had they done so, I would have insisted that they do it and a whole lot of time, heartache and expense could have been saved.

Simple and Straightforward

At the time I first applied, I had no idea that the ensuing process would be incredibly slow, outrageously expensive to me – the victim of this abuse – and a total waste of time.

I admit I have become jaded over the years regarding the expectation of fair treatment from our bureaucracy. However I still believed it was possible to get justice from the courts, and that magistrates would pass judgment without allowing their personal preconceived biases to interfere. I was a babe in the woods in that regard.

It is my firmly held belief, based on the evidence from both cases that actually went to trial, that my losses had nothing to do with the evidence presented to the courts. Based on that evidence alone – APVOs should have been granted without question. But both magistrates showed a strong disapproval for the work that I have done for the last 20 years with the AVN and I feel that they were unable to separate Meryl Dorey the mother, woman and victim of institutionalised and long-running abuse, from Meryl Dorey, ex-President of the AVN and vaccine rights advocate.

Just a clarifying note at this point for those who are unaware of my case against Daniel Raffaele: the APVO against him was granted without his making any admissions of wrongdoing even though threatening calls to my home were made from his house in the middle of the night. I was advised to accept these terms rather than going to trial. In retrospect, I think I made the right choice since even with the damning evidence against him, I am unsure that the courts would have granted my application had Raffaele opposed it.

SAVN Untruths and a complicit media

To make matters worse, however, SAVN and the Australian Skeptics are now using my withdrawal from the case against Peter Bowditch as an admission that I only took these actions in order to silence my critics.

Their excuse for saying this is based on a lie and they know it is based on a lie yet they continue to state it anyway.

When I went to the courthouse last year to make the initial applications, I selected several of the standard orders from the list available (orders which limited the perpetrator’s ability to come near me or enter my property or threaten me). I also asked that they not be allowed to mention me in any online forum in a derogatory manner. At the initial mention in Ballina Courthouse almost a year ago, the magistrate said that he did not have the power to grant the latter order and I agreed to withdraw it. All I was asking the court to do was to prevent them from coming near me or physically threatening me. None of that would in any way ‘silence’ them.

Having since spoken with a solicitor about this, I have been told that there was no problem with my asking for these latter orders because my intention was to stop them from inciting others to commit violence against me or to join in harassing, abusing or stalking me as they and their cohorts had done for some time. My wording was the only issue and this became a moot point since that order was removed before either hearing.

Dan Buzzard and Peter Bowditch are perfectly aware that this is the case – but they have continued to mislead the media – and the media have continued to print whatever they are told about me – stating that I only took out these APVOs in order to silence my opposition.

In fact, during the time when these cases were still before the courts, sub judice reports were appearing in the media to the effect that taking away my opposition’s right to free speech was the only reason I made these applications.

In addition to this and in a move that can only be called bizarre, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale stood up in Federal Parliament and stated that these applications were only being made to silence my opposition and he thanked two of the three perpetrators by name for their ‘work’ in this regard!

Decisions based on fact or bias

It is my belief that the magistrate in my case against Dan Buzzard may have used this misinformation in his decision since he did refer to media reports when making his summation. In fact, he criticised me openly many times during the hearing to the point where I was relieved to only have to pay $11,000 in court costs – at one point, I had the distinct impression that I was going to be sent to gaol. I do not remember him sanctioning Dan Buzzard even once despite his admissions to having asked people to send me violent pornography.

I am currently awaiting delivery of the transcripts from these cases and when I have received them, I will be updating everyone with exactly what occurred and why I feel that there were grave errors not only in law but also in fact which led to these adverse decisions.

Freedom of speech

If by silencing my opposition, SAVN and the Australian Skeptics mean that I wanted to stop them threatening, harassing and stalking me as they have done for so long and prevent them from inciting others to do the same, then I admit that’s what I was trying to do.

If however, they mean that I want to take away their freedom of speech – their ability to engage in respectful and non-threatening debate on this or any other issue, I’m afraid they are completely wrong.

Because I welcome that debate. I have asked for it publicly – over and over again. I support freedom of speech 100% and in fact, have been lobbying to have an Australian Bill of Rights introduced to codify this right and the right to other freedoms which most democratic nations take for granted but which, shamefully, do not exist in Australia.

This is not a matter for question – it is and has been my stance in public and in private for 20 years now.

It is SAVN and their members – including Daniel Raffaele, Dan Buzzard and Peter Bowditch, who are the ones trying to silence their opposition. And they do it over and over again.

  1. In the initial complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC), SAVN member Ken McLeod asked that the HCCC issue a Prohibition Order against me using their powers under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993. He asked that this order be used to stop both myself and the AVN from publicly discussing the issues surrounding vaccination.
  2. The purpose and reason why Stop the AVN exists is to silence the AVN, our members and anyone who openly asks scientific and legitimate questions about this medical procedure. It is their goal to take away our freedom of speech and to remove our inalienable rights to both question and make informed choices on this subject.
  3. SAVN Supporter and head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Steve Hambleton, stood on the steps of NSW Parliament not long ago stating that any individual or group who criticises vaccination should be subject to punishment.
  4. Greens Senator, SAVN supporter and doctor Richard di Natale proposed and passed a motion in Federal Parliament stating that the AVN should be disbanded simply because he disagreed with our viewpoint on the issue of vaccination.
  5. SAVN members, including Dan Buzzard, Daniel Raffaele and Peter Bowditch have written to venues where I was booked to present seminars, requesting that they stop me from speaking there. They have also contacted media outlets asking them not to interview me, and filed complaints against those who have allowed me the right to comment on vaccine-related issues.

These people are truly guilty of using bureaucracy and the media to silence their opposition.

All I asked was that the courts protect me from these abusers who had openly threatened and harassed me. This is a protection that should be available to all Australian citizens and residents – indeed – to everyone in every country around the world. It is a basic human right which, thanks to what I consider to be the bias of the courts, was denied me in these cases.

Please note: I have sent a copy of this blog post to Jane Hansen of the Daily Telegraph and the Murdoch media. She had contacted me because she plans on writing a story for Sunday’s paper about my APVO applications. I hope that, having set the record straight, her article will cover this issue fairly and truthfully.

Bullies only win when we let them…

We teach our children when they are very young to stand up to bullies; that if they stand up to them, most bullies will back down because they are cowards and prefer easy targets.  We also teach our children that we must always help someone that is being bullied and not just turn the other way.  Just recently, I have come to find out that some bullies never grow up and the internet is the perfect place to bully someone without needing the courage to even face your victims.

I wrote an article called “Anti Vaxxer” the new dirty word?” anonymously because I was worried about the backlash that I, and especially my family, may get from these internet bullies, and they did not disappoint…

“There is a reason you are all ridiculed and condemned – you threaten the lives of the community around you. Your ignorant, uneducated decision to eschew vaccines in favour of insanely stupid alternative therapies only deserves contempt.”

“If you refuse a whooping cough vaccine to an infant, and they then catch pertussis, there is a chance that they can die. Child killer indeed.”

” this is sheer nonsense, and only aids in adding to the froth that boils from the mouths of the anti vaccine crowd”

“Anti vaxers seem to get delight from the deaths of infants from VPDs”

“You are all to blame for this, not the government, not the media and certainly not those that oppose your very existence.”

“…you are a group of misinformed, tin foil hat wearing, slobbering  conspiracy theorists.”

“You are a bunch of fringe dwelling conspiracy theorists that have no social conscience”

There is more but it is not really worth repeating any more of this individual’s ranting of hatred and hostility. I think it is plainly obvious that his ranting only helped prove my point.

But what I now feel compelled to do is what I have taught my children to do: step up and face my bullies.

My name is Tasha David and I am the widowed mother of 8 children, 6 of whom were vaccinated and as a result, have neurodevelopmental and autoimmune disorders.  They have suffered from eczema, asthma, psoriasis, chronic ear infections, gastrointestinal disorders (ie chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation and urinary tract infections), food allergies and intolerances, and chemical sensitivities while my 2 youngest unvaccinated children have NONE of their sibling’s disorders.

My two youngest children are the picture of health. None of them have had antibiotics, and only one of them has needed to go to the doctor and that was just to check out the wax build up in his ears.  Watching them thrive is bittersweet. I look at the joy, excitement and wonder that they have for the world and think this is what my other children would have experienced if I had let them grow and develop naturally.

I am also one of the many members who make up the Australian Vaccination Network who have vaccine injured children and who the bullies out there want to silence.  They feel that we have no right to voice our concerns; that our personal experiences are meaningless, and that we shouldn’t even exist!

Who are they to say who has the right to be heard, let alone exist?

Why do they believe that only the information that they deem pertinent should be allowed in the public arena?

Do they not feel that people are capable of making up their own mind about what is right for their own families?

Just as two people can look at the same picture but have two different interpretations, it does not mean that one is wrong and one is right, it is just that they see things differently.

What may be right for your child may not be right for mine, so it is my job as a parent to make that choice for my child, I do not know your child so I have no right to even try to tell you what to do with yours. We all want healthy children, it’s just that we see different ways of achieving this.

What is so hard to understand about this?

I believe with all my heart that people should have the right to choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate, but the choice should always be theirs to make. When you fight to silence another person’s point of view because it contradicts your own then it shows that you do not have faith in your own convictions.

I write this today not for the bullies, but for the parents like me, who are feeling downtrodden, disheartened and persecuted. We cannot let the bullies win.  If we stop asking questions, sharing our personal experiences and supporting each other for fear of ridicule then they have already won.

We must stand up and support each other and ignore the insults and slights from those who would have us cower in fear, do as we have taught our children to do, stand up to the bullies together and take our power back.

We are not fighting for people to stop vaccinating, we are fighting for people’s right to hear all the information available and make their own choices.

I take heart from this quote from Mahatma Gandhi…

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.  There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.  Think of it—always.”

Horrible atrocities have occurred in our history when people are allowed to oppress others, and we lose our humanity when we allow this to happen.

This should be no person’s goal for another.

Tasha David

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‘Anti Vaxxer’ the new dirty word?


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”[1]

“…babies die because of the antivaccination movement.”[2]

“Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Autism Groups “Kill Children” — And He’s Right”[3]

“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.”[4]

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?










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Liz Hempel: No Remorse, No Apologies, No Conscience.

Liz Hempel: No Remorse, No Apologies, No Conscience..

Liz has been on the receiving end of Peter Bowditch’s abuse and is getting sick of being told that she deserves this treatment simply because of her health choices. Please read this blog post – it is excellent and paints a picture of a very dysfunctional group of people (Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics) who have a twisted view of their rights to treat those they disagree with like dirt.

As recently predicted, my biggest fan, Reasonable Hank (Peter Tierney) has struck again. This time, he scrambles to write a post in defence of his beloved foul-mouthed and seemingly sexually frustrated friend, Peter Bowditch.

Here is a link to Tierney’s latest comical rant, where he seeks to justify the words of Mr Bowditch who likened my decision not to vaccinate to receiving sexual gratification from dead children

Click here to read the entire article.

Medical Vilification and Bigotry in Australia

Society likes to think that it’s come a long way. We no longer call black people ‘niggers’, gay people ‘poofters’ or Asian people ‘slit eyes’. We’ve gotten beyond all that now. We’re so proud of how advanced we’ve become. But scratch the surface of many people and you can expose their inner bigot. And when it comes to medical bigotry, this behaviour is not only openly accepted by the media and most mainstream institutions – it’s government approved!

Quick explanation for those who have always thought the word ‘bigotry’ was synonymous with ‘racism’, in actuality, a bigot is anyone who is intolerant of those who hold differing opinions. So you could say that everyone who is a member of Stop the AVN – by definition – is a bigot. As are the media, the government and most mainstream medical organisations.

Just look at how the Minister For Health’s office has acted to withhold information on parent’s rights to become conscientious or medical objectors to vaccination in order to claim all of their entitlements? Or how representatives of mainstream medical organisations and government bodies continually try to blame outbreaks of infectious diseases on the healthy unvaccinated members of society when most of those contracting the illnesses are fully vaccinated but not protected. It’s bad enough that they are pointing the finger of blame directly away from the obvious culprit – vaccines that are not working as promised – but they are also vilifying innocent families who have made a conscious informed choice not to vaccinate or those who have already suffered due to vaccine reactions.

Bad behaviour continues

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about Pseudo-Skeptics Behaving Badly and as expected, most of the people who support freedom of health choice were appalled and disgusted by the sort of behaviour evidenced by Peter Bowditch who has had a long connection with both the Australian Skeptics (acting as their President at one time) and the splinter group that was set up with the express purpose of annihilating our organisation – Stop the AVN. I didn’t expect him to cop a lot of criticism from those groups. No, I thought they would just ignore my blog and pretend it had never happened.

What occurred has shocked even me – and I thought I was past being shocked!

Not only did these groups and the individuals supporting them not criticise Bowditch’s abusive bullying behaviour – they applauded it!

And last night and today, Bowditch compounded his shocking assaults against innocent supporters of the AVN as you can see below:

So once again, he implies – to the mother of a vaccine-injured child – that she gets sexual pleasure from dead babies! As if that were not bad enough, he then sends a graphic and violent message to this same mother:

Just to make sure that parents of vaccine-injured children know where his heart is on this issue however – so there can be no doubt or confusion – he posts this juvenile image under the heading of – a message for all anti-vaccination liars – to express his feelings about the people he has hurt:


Civil society works because there are certain lines that we don’t normally cross. Bowditch crosses those lines on a regular basis and the fact that Mia Freedman and members of Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics cannot seem to see that is a disturbing insight into their worldview and bears examination. If people from the Australian Skeptics and SAVN can look up to or admire a man like Bowditch, how low do they have to be? I feel that people who cannot see what is inherently vile and disturbing about Bowditch’s rhetoric could be capable of anything.

Let me repeat – this man has a regular blog on Mia Freedman’s Mamamia page; he writes on various news websites and makes himself out to be an expert on many health issues which, by all available evidence, he knows nothing about. And he regularly abuses, assaults and bullies those who disagree with him!

Should this be allowed to continue? Should this person be allowed to keep his position with organisations like the Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN, Mamamia, etc?

I say no. And I say that these groups should immediately and publicly come out to distance themselves from him and repudiate his brutal way of dealing with those whose opinions he disagrees with. Vilification and bigotry have no place in Australia.

Pseudo-Skeptics Behaving Badly

You already know my opinion about the group that calls itself the Australian Skeptics. It is a misnomer for people who belong to the Australian Skeptics and their splinter group, Stop the AVN to call themselves sceptical. They are the least sceptical people on the planet since they only question anything that isn’t mainstream (they are to real scepticism as matter is to anti-matter).

You also know that many people who belong to both of these groups are abusive foul-mouths who can’t seem to complete a sentence or even string 2 words together without a liberal sprinkling of profanity. Many of these people will attack anyone they disagree with and regularly harass AVN members and anyone who has not vaccinated simply because of their belief that everyone should be vaccinated – end of story.

This sort of behaviour comes right down from the very top. From one of the ‘leaders’ of this movement –  a person by the name of Peter Bowditch. I first came across this self-professed ratbag over 15 years ago. At that time, the AVN was active in trying to help a gentleman by the name of Alan Yurko get out of prison in the United States.

Alan had received a sentence of life plus 10 years for the death of his infant child from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and his story was one that touched many  hearts both here in Australia and overseas.

There were so many things wrong with the case against Alan including the fact that his son actually died in hospital following a serious reaction to vaccination but, as still happens today, it was more convenient to blame the father than to examine medical procedures or health professionals so Alan got the blame and was thrown into prison for the rest of his life – plus 10 years (I could never work that out myself – would they really imprison a dead man?).

From prison, this extraordinary man started to research exactly what had happened to his baby and why his trial had gone so wrong. Within a relatively short period of time, he had amassed a huge support base from amongst the vaccination information groups and within the medial community. Everyone from pathologists to paediatricians to toxicologists to coroners looked over the court documents and said that the way in which his trial had been conducted was nothing short of fraudulent. His son’s internal organs had been replaced with those of another baby, the coroner had made many errors on his report and the child had been overdosed with Warfarin whilst in hospital, leading to internal bleeding which was then blamed on Alan Yurko.

In one of our very early newsletters, I asked our members to write letters of support to Alan who, at that time, was in solitary confinement in prison and really appreciated that little bit of kindness – especially from people living so far away.

I had only just gotten my first computer at about this time and email was still a new and exciting mystery to me. So when I received a very politely-written email from someone named Peter Bowditch asking me why the Vaccination Awareness Network (as we were called at the time when we were only operating in the area of Northern NSW) was supporting a child-killer, I took his email seriously and answered with the information I had about Yurko’s case.

In reply, I received an incredibly vile email (from memory) telling me that our organisation was supporting people who killed children so we must all be child killers too. Not only that, but he wrote to the warden of the gaol where Alan was imprisoned (and sent me a copy of that letter) stating that a letter-writing campaign was starting from Australia and asking if the warden could please stop any letters addressed to Alan from our country

I could not believe the cruelty involved in that sort of action and even though Alan Yurko was eventually cleared of all charges several years later, Bowditch still claims that he killed his son. Why? The answer to that question is only known to Bowditch who obviously feels that he knows more about this case then the authorities in the United States. To this day, he continues to call Alan Yurko a child killer and, as you will see, that judgement applies to anyone who questions vaccination or mainstream medical procedures as well according to Bowditch.

From that time in the mid to late 1990s to today, though Bowditch has written to me over the years, I have never responded to him. I did not want to have anything to do with an individual who would behave in this way so I simply ignored him and got on with what I needed to do. He has not done the same, having set up entire web pages to abuse me and anyone associated with the AVN.

Earlier this week, Bowditch wrote an article on the Mamamia website called The Anti-vaxxers reach a shocking new low.

In this article, he makes accuses me of doing certain things of which I am innocent and demands that the AVN change its name because he does not agree with us calling ourselves the Australian Vaccination Network since he considers us to be anti-vaccination despite all the available evidence to the contrary.

A day after the article appeared, I received a call from Howard Sattler’s producer at radio station 6PR in Perth asking if I would agree to be interviewed by Howard about this article and stating that Peter Bowditch would also be speaking. I agreed and wondered how the interview would proceed since I have heard how incredibly abusive Bowditch can be in this sort of situation. The only reason I agreed to participate in this show was because I know that Howard Sattler is a very fair-minded  individual who is in no way opposed to vaccination but has – what is a very rare trait in Australian media – a strong commitment to freedom of speech and transparency in all issues.

I will put a copy of this interview below so you can download and listen to it and I strongly urge you to both do this and to share this interview with others.


Tomorrow, I will be writing a second blog highlighting all of the inaccuracies and incorrect statements spouted by this man (unlike Bowditch’s attitude towards myself and others he disagrees with, I will call them inaccuracies and errors – not lies) but today, I would like to ask you to read through a Twitter thread of a conversation Bowditch had with one of the AVN’s Facebook page members – a woman who has been seriously bullied by members of Stop the AVN.

In this thread, Bowditch (RatbagsDotCom) asks SAVNGodComplex (a woman whose sister was badly injured by medicine and whose child is vaccine-injured) about the sexual pleasure she and others who question vaccination get from dead babies.





I’m sure you will agree with me that this is an incredibly inappropriate conversation for a grown man to have with a woman whose only ‘sin’ is questioning a medical procedure.

During the interview linked above, Howard Sattler asked Bowditch about this Twitter conversation:

HS: Talking about abuse, (because Bowditch made the ridiculous claim that the AVN abuses those who vaccinate!) is your Twitter account RatbagsDotCom?

To which Bowditch replied, “It certainly is.”

HS- You’ve sent tweets off to people saying things like this: “How many dead children in a pile do you need to trigger a spontaneous orgasm?” Is that right?

PB – That’s right, yes. I’m waiting for them to answer that question. For some reason or other, they don’t.

Howard then went on to read through several of the other Twitter comments from this man (shown above). At no time, did Bowditch express the least regret or embarrassment about having spoken like this about caring parents.

Peter Bowditch has, for many years, held an esteemed and respected position with the Australian Skeptics. He has been a past President of the organisation and a regular guest at all sorts of events hosted by this group. He has had regular blog spots on, not only the Mamamia website (which deals, for the most part, with women’s issues, raising families and young children) but on other news sites where people have the right to know that the person who is setting himself up as an authority on an issue actually has a history of dealing with innocent people in this way.

Does Bowditch deserve respect? Does anyone who treats others in this way deserve anything but their disgust and ostracism? Should he be allowed to set himself up on blogs (especially blogs where women with young children will come across his rants) as an expert or social commentator on any issue at all?

Bowditch can claim that he cares about children and about the health of the community, but those claims become nothing more then hot air when you look at his actions which, to use a cliché, certainly do speak louder than any of his words.

Respect has to be earned and Bowditch has done nothing to earn the honours which he so obviously feels he is entitled to.

If I were involved with the organisations he is so active with – the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN – I would be kicking up a stink to ensure that the group disassociated itself from anyone who acts in such a shameful manner. Especially when there is no effort to apologise or make amends for this sort of abuse. Anyone can make a mistake, but when faced with the knowledge of how badly someone has acted, a person who has any conscience, any feelings of kindness for their fellow man, any remorse whatsoever, would unreservedly apologise for their actions. Bowditch has done none of this. Indeed, he seemed to be proud of his actions which is inexcusable!

Oh, and one last thing. For the first time since my initial email to Bowditch all those many years ago, I jumped in to the Twitter thread quoted above. I did not respond to Bowditch – but I did reply to the woman who I saw being abused and bullied so badly.

It was an ill-advised action on my part, but here is what I said:


I just could not believe any man treating a woman in this way – perhaps I was raised in a time when all people were expected to treat others with respect – whether they were male or female.

Bowditch’s response to me (though I did not address him at all – nor would I ever have contacted his wife and children though I hope he is kinder to them then he is to total strangers) was typical:

Memo to Meryl Dorey at the Australian Vaccination Network (28/4/2012)

Do not even suggest that anyone contacts my family. I realise that you have in the past harassed the family of at least one child who died of a vaccine preventable disease. But don’t start on me.

You might think you can get away with continual defamation of Australian Skeptics. You might think you can get away with continual lies about the activities of the members of Stop the AVN. What you will not get away with is involving my family in your insane campaign to harm children. If you don’t like me asking tasteless questions about dead babies then stop spending your days trying to increase the number of dead babies.

If you or any of your followers come near my family I will react and it will not end well for you. Don’t even suggest it in a joke. And if you think that’s a threat, think again. It’s a promise.

This behaviour is typical of the man and the abuse continues. Come on, Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN! Do the right thing and get rid of any association you have with Bowditch and anyone else who behaves in this dreadful manner lest you be rightly tarred with the same brush.