Are those who want to mandate vaccines completely clueless?

by Meryl Dorey

Anti-choice campaigner, Alison Gaylard
Anti-choice campaigner, Alison Gaylard

My local newspaper, The Northern Star, ran the following article regarding the proposed punishments of law-abiding Australians trying to make informed choices for the protection of their children. These parents — the majority of whom are (according to numerous Australian government studies) highly educated and well-researched on this subject — believe that:

1- Vaccines carry serious risks including the risk of lifelong disability or death. 

2- Vaccines are not as effective as doctors have claimed them to be.

3- Healthy unvaccinated children do not carry or transmit diseases to others, though their vaccinated counterparts do (e.g. those who have received live virus vaccines and those who have been vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough), who recent studies show may be more likely to infect others with the illness)

4- In a democratic nation such as Australia, that is a signatory to the Nuremburg Code, personal informed choice is sacrosanct and must never be abridged in any way.

Many of you may not know this, but the AVN was instrumental in the lobbying efforts to introduce a conscientious objector clause into Federal legislation so that a generation of parents between then (the late 1990s) and now was able to access all government benefits. Now, moves are afoot to wipe out our hard work on your behalf.

Below are my responses to this article (the original article is in block quotes below). I would love to hear your feedback on what you are willing to do to protect your rights. Please suggest ideas (visits to politicians, protest marches, letters, petitions, etc.), and let me know whether you would be prepared to be one of those who takes action against these tyrannical moves by our pharma-controlled government, by clicking here to send me an email with your contact details and ideas.

Vaccination supporters welcome government crack down

Luke Mortimer

Northern Star

11 April, 2015

NORTHERN Rivers Vaccination Supporters has welcomed moves by the Federal Government to crack down on parents avoiding vaccinating their children.

Well, this is no surprise! The Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters is a small group of people involved with Stop the AVN (SAVN). They have always favoured compulsory vaccination. I would be very surprised if they were ever quoted as being supportive of health rights or the right to freedom of choice or speech. That is not their way.

ALISON GAYLARD: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. And science is factual.

No, Alison; I’m sorry to have to tell you that science is neither factual nor wrong. Science is a process by which hypotheses are tested. And there are few hard and fast rules in science. Some examples of indisputable facts are: yes, the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west; yes, living things respire, reproduce, and die. Scientific conclusions are, by their very nature, open to debate, interpretation, and testing. That process is what we call science.

In recent days, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison confirmed to media outlets the government was reviewing ambiguous legislation that allowed parents to object to immunisations for personal or philosophical reasons.

It’s strange that Minister Morrison describes this legislation as ‘ambiguous’. It is anything but. The legislation describes exactly how those who object to getting their children vaccinated can still access government entitlements. And the important word there is ‘entitlements’ — because these are things that ALL citizens and residents of Australia are entitled to. Our Federal Government is signatory to many international treaties and codes that enshrine our right to make free, informed health choices.

In fact, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC), and various other government and medical industry bodies all state — quite unambiguously — that they support this right and that it is one of their core values.

So is Minister Morrison unaware of these facts? Or was he elected into public office to protect a multi-trillion-dollar international business model (that of Big Pharma) instead of the rights and needs of his constituents?

Mullumbimby’s Alison Gaylard, a founding member of Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters, hoped the review would go some way towards improving the North Coast’s immunisation rates, which were the worst in the country in 2014.

The vaccination rates may or may not be “the worst in the country”, but no matter how bad they are, they are still orders of magnitude higher than they were in 1991, when our rate of infectious diseases such as whooping cough was far lower than it is today. So we have had an overall increase in vaccination rates along with a concomitant increase in disease. How, then, is it possible to blame the unvaccinated? And yet, read on and see that Ms Gaylard does just that!

Ms Gaylard helped start the group after her two daughters became ill with whooping cough.

Please note that both Ms Gaylard’s daughters had been vaccinated against whooping cough. Read that again: they had been vaccinated. The vaccine failed them both. But Ms Gaylard, rather than face up to the known ineffectiveness of the vaccine (not conjecture on my part: many, many studies have and still do demonstrate that the vaccinated may be unprotected), Ms Gaylard blames some nameless, faceless unvaccinated people for the failure of the vaccine to protect her children.

If I go out for a drive today and run into a light pole, I have as much right blame the full moon or the orange juice I had for breakfast as Ms Gaylard has to blame the unvaccinated for the failure of a vaccine. In fact, I would go further and state that placing the blame on the unvaccinated is not only unscientific and without any evidence; it is plain dumb.

We have a high number of conscientious objectors in this area, especially in Mullumbimby. I think it will (improve immunisation rates),” she said.

Well, no doubt there are some families who will vaccinate their children because they rely on government payments to put food on the table, a roof over their head, and clothes on their children’s backs. It is those least able to afford these financial penalties who are being targeted and who will be most likely to make the decision to vaccinate purely for financial reasons. Do we really want to live in a society in which people are forced to give their children medical procedures that — let’s face it — have real and (in some cases) quantifiable risks, against the informed choice of those who love them most, their parents? In my case, the answer is, no: I do not want to live in such a society. It is immoral, unethical, undemocratic, and just plain wrong. If there is a risk, there must always be a choice.

We have a high number of people who’ve bought into the anti-vaccination stance, so as to whether they’ll be concerned about whether they’ll lose childcare benefits or facilities, I’m unsure how it’ll impact here. We’ll be watching with interest. Our demographic here is so diverse.”

Those who have “bought into the anti-vaccination stance” — which is how Ms Gaylard and her ilk characterise anybody who doesn’t buy into their peculiar brand of magical thinking — have generally made their choice after:

1- having a child who was injured or killed by a vaccine or vaccines;

2- knowing someone who was injured or killed by a vaccine or vaccines; and/or

3- spending many hours (commonly in the hundreds or thousands of hours) researching this issue for themselves.

After all, it is so easy to say yes to vaccination; it is far harder to say no in today’s society. So that decision must be respected by a government that is truly representative of its citizen’s rights.

Ms Gaylard said there was indisputable evidence regarding immunisation’s benefits.

I would welcome Ms Gaylard’s providing such “indisputable evidence” of vaccination’s benefits. Calling vaccinations immunisations is the first clue that Ms Gaylard has no idea what she is talking about since even immunologists and paediatricians admit that vaccines don’t immunise and therefore, the words cannot truthfully be used interchangeably.

If Ms Gaylard is a woman of her word, I would like to challenge her to a public debate on this issue. Since she is so sure she has this “indisputable evidence”, let her present it in a fair and open forum to allow those in attendance to hear and see it and decide that for themselves.

If she feels that she is not qualified to present the facts behind the benefits and safety of vaccination, she is more than welcome to find a medical professional, government health official, or anyone else to take her place.

Come to the party, Alison. If you really are firm in your convictions, support them with the evidence.

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.

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?

WRONG!

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.

Interview on 2CC Canberra: Ken McLeod and Meryl Dorey

Sherri Tenpennyby Meryl Dorey

As mentioned in the last blog post, Canberra Radio 2CC interviewed both Ken McLeod from Stop the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (SAVN) and myself regarding the up-coming vaccination seminars with Dr Sherri Tenpenny.

SAVN admins appear to be a little bit embarrassed by Mr McLeod’s ‘performance’ on the program and the usually resourceful admins were unable to find the audio file for this interview. When a member of the Facebook group asked if Ken McLeod had been interviewed on 2CC, SAVN admin, Katie Brockie Kate Squires (correction by admin) replied:

It did indeed happen. Our own Ken McLeod was on as well, but was hoodwinked by Ms. Dorey’s appearance. Not sure if there’s a copy of audio. 

Well Katie, never fear! We have a copy of that audio and have transcribed it for your reading pleasure! And perhaps, while we’re at it, you can explain how I hoodwinked Mr McLeod when he was interviewed before me and was able to say whatever he wanted to say without interruption?

Freedom of speech? Not in their Australia!

SAVN has been trying their hardest to get Dr Tenpenny’s visa to enter Australia revoked and to bully the venues where she will be speaking to break their contracts to host these talks.

It is obvious, listening to Mr McLeod, that SAVN has no respect for personal rights or freedom of speech. He is also not above bending the truth in order to besmirch the reputation of the good doctor.

Below is a transcript of the interview which took place on January 7, 2015. I have provided a copy of the text to the presenter, Mr Rod Henshaw, and if he provides me with any corrections, I will be sure to update this blog. I do not believe there are any errors in this text however.

Interviewer: Rod Henshaw (R)

Interviewees: Ken McLeod (K), Meryl Dorey (M)

R:              A number of Australian doctors and expats … experts I should say, not expats. Well, maybe they’re expert expats, but a number of Australian doctors and experts are calling on the federal government to stop a prominent anti-vaccine campaigner from entering the country. Sherri Tenpenny is the author of the Saying No to Vaccine and is due to begin an Australian speaking tour in March, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is currently receiving advice on the issue, but Ken McLeod is from the Stop the AVN organisation. Ken, thanks for joining us.

K:              Oh, good afternoon Rod.

R:              Why shouldn’t we let Sherri Tenpenny into the country?iStock_000011256677XSmall

K:              She’s a very effective campaigner against vaccines and that’s not a good thing. She claims that vaccines are responsible for mass murders, including the Sandy Hook School massacre, that vaccines cause SIDS, autism, they disconnect the brain from the universe, etc, etc. We’re afraid that the end result of her tour is that some well-meaning parents will be conned. Sherri Tenpenny is not your average ratbag, she’s in a class of her own. We’re frightened that if enough parents are deceived the end result is misery, extra stress on the health department budgets, occasionally death and so on.

R:              But aren’t you underestimating the average intelligence of the average Australian in this case? I mean, aren’t you … there’s two questions I’ve got here, but that’s a first one. Are you … aren’t you assuming that the parents can’t pick and choose for themselves and work out what’s right and what’s wrong?

K:              You’re quite right. Most people, and I’m saying right up there in the 90% of the population can follow good advice, but there is that small number who can be dissuaded and that’s been proven in the statistics and that percentage of it is the number of people that we are worried about.

R:              But we do hear people from other walks of life coming out with totally outrageous things and we’ve heard it with Muslims in this current climate and all that sort of thing. Now, this doesn’t really differ too much from there because we can actually say well you’re an idiot, we don’t believe you, go back home if you want to and all this sort of thing, but at least we give them the right of free speech which you don’t seem to be willing to give … to extend to this person.

K:              That’s right. Yeah, it is a very difficult issue and I would say that your right of free speech ends where it has any effect on … an effect on the health of my children.

R:              Yeah, is that really the answer? You haven’t really answered the question. You’re saying she can’t come because we don’t agree with what she’s saying and you put a few very vibrant examples there, sure, I give you that, but still she’s surely entitled to express those opinions if she so desires and we’re so entitled that we can say bugger off, go home, we don’t want you and we don’t believe you, but let’s hear you first.

K:              Oh well, the problem is of course that in … what you might call an opinion is actually a disproven fact. She shares things that are clearly untrue, disproven by the science, and it wouldn’t matter if no one was hurt. So Australia has a proven track record of barring entry to people who can cause disharmony or endanger public health and I’m referring to Julien Blanc, the chap who ran seminars on how to seduce women and just use them for sex, David Irving, the Holocaust denier. We would say that Miss Tenpenny is up there in that league, but we do recognise that this is an incredibly difficult decision for the minister. We should … we are saying that the minister should, at the very least, deny Tenpenny a working visa, which mean that there would be no speaking fees, no payments, no entry fees, etc, etc.

R:              Okay, I am playing devil’s advocate with this, as you can probably tell (both laughing), but I am serious about the democracy thing, I mean, it reminds me of an old line out of one of those BBC television series, I forget which one, where they say democracy is fine, but why give it to the people? And it comes back to …

K:              (Laughing)

R:              … my original thing is couldn’t … shouldn’t we be …

K:              Yeah.

R:              … trusted enough to make our own minds up on this?

government-lies-truthK:              Yeah and that is the problem. I mean, if we’re discussing the existence of aliens and flying saucers and so on no harm is done, but where someone is using misinformation to persuade parents not to vaccinate their children and being very, very convincing about it, we think, you know, there’s a barrier there. There’s a bar that has to be brought down.

R:              Okay, well we’ll have to leave it there. We do have somebody from the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, but I’ll put you on hold just in case you want to have a listen and we’ll go to her and then … but in the meantime I do thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

K:              Yeah, thanks Rod.

R:              Thanks Ken. Ken McLeod is the … from the Stop the AVN organisation and, as I mentioned, we do have somebody from basically the other side of the coin, if you like. Meryl Dorey is founder of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. Meryl, good afternoon.

M:            Good afternoon. Thank you.

R:              I don’t know how much you heard of that. Do you have a comment, a response?

M:            Oh, well I heard much of it. I don’t know how long Mr McLeod was on, but I heard some of the things that he claimed that Doctor Sherri Tenpenny was saying and it reminds me of a statement made by, I think his name is Goebbels, tell a lie long enough and often enough and it becomes the truth because what Mr McLeod was saying was not what Doctor Tenpenny has ever said. She has never claimed that vaccines cause mass murder, she’s never linked them with Sandy Hook, this is all just an attempt to smear her and personally …

R:              But can …

M:            … I think that if …

R:              Just before you go any further, I got to play …

M:            Sure.

R:              … devil’s advocate with this one too. How can you say she hasn’t said them? Can you prove that she hasn’t said those sort of things, those statements … made those statements?

M:            Well I’ve been following Doctor Tenpenny for over 20 years. She is above all an extremely moderate and intelligent person. All of her information comes from peer-reviewed journals. She has done over 20,000 hours of research in mainstream medical journals to gain the information that she shares with people who come to listen to her, so I would be very strongly … I would say very strongly that she’s never said any of those things. You know, if Mr McLeod has any proof of that let him prove it, let him show it.

R:              He seemed pretty …

M:            Until he does that …

R:              … straightforward and pretty strong with his views on that …

M:            He …

R:              … so I don’t think … I think … in fact, I would just suspect that in the court of law the defamation laws might come in if he’s wrong.

M:            Well, I hope they would too. I really do hope they would, because I don’t think that people have a right to tell lies about other people …

R:              That’s what I’m …

M:            … simply because ….

R:              That’s why I’m questioning whether he would actually go so … be so silly as to make those sort of statements if he couldn’t back them up.slander

M:            Oh, he’s done it before, so … I mean I have no doubt that he does not have the information to back that up. Like I said, let him prove it. If he proves it I will apologise and say sorry Ken, I was wrong, but I’m pretty confident that I won’t have to do that and what I want to say about this whole situation is that Australia is a democracy and in a democracy we have the right to disagree with each other, but we should also be defending others’ rights to say things that we disagree with. Australian parents are intelligent, they are very concerned about their children, they have every right and every ability to make these decisions for themselves after looking at both sides and asking appropriate questions from both sides. This …

R:              Meryl, it does come back … it’s incumbent on me to come back to say how can you prove that not vaccinating your children is going to be a good thing when we know so well that there is so many research papers and there has been so much documented evidence that kids do die unless they’re not vacc … unless they’re vaccinated?

M:            Okay, now first of all we have documented evidence as well. There is science on both sides and both sides … we don’t tell anyone that they shouldn’t vaccinate. Nobody tells anyone that. Doctor Tenpenny does not tell anyone that. All the AVN says is that there are risks and benefits to vaccination and it behoves all parents as responsible adults to get both sides of this information before making a choice for their children. The woman who is organising this series of seminars actually lost a child because of vaccination. My eldest child was vaccine-injured. Many parents who have chosen to look into this issue only did so after seeing one of their loved ones either die or suffer a serious reaction to a vaccination. We were not told that these things could happen. All the AVN is saying is that you need to get this information so that if your child has a reaction you know how to respond, you know what to do. You have a choice; vaccination is not compulsory. Everyone has the right to make this decision and it is wrong for any government, any medical community, to suppress, actively suppress, information that is sourced from peer-reviewed, mainstream medical literature that discusses the known risks and side effects …

R:              Well Immigration Minister …

M:            … of vaccination.

R:              Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is currently receiving advice on this issue, as I mentioned. How do you reckon he’ll go? Do you reckon …

M:            I have no idea.

R:              Do you think that there is a weight of evidence on the side perhaps of the people like Ken McLeod? And I will add that he is only one of a number of Australian doctors and experts who are calling on the government to stop her coming over here in the first place; it’s not just him.

M:            Okay. Ken McLeod is neither an expert nor a doctor. Ken McLeod is a member of a hate group called the Australian … Stop the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. Their founder had an AVO order against them for making threats against myself for having phone calls coming from their home making threats against myself. This is the sort of organisation that they are dealing with. If the Minister for Immigration is making a judgement based on the law he will allow Sherri Tenpenny … Doctor Sherri Tenpenny to come to Australia. If he is making an emotional decision based on peer-pressure brought about by these people then he probably won’t and if he doesn’t it’s going to be a shameful situation for Australia. We should all have the right to speak our truth and people can listen to it. If they don’t want to … not listen to it if they don’t want to and they can also argue it and discuss it. I have been trying for many years to set up a public debate on this issue with everyone from the health minister on down and they continually refuse to present their information to the general public to let them make a decision. The parents of Australia are capable of doing this, they should be allowed to.

R:              Okay, you make a fairly strong argument. Then again, so does Ken, but as you say Ken has got to back that up and …

M:            Yes.

R:              … it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. So if he’s wrong and you’re right why don’t you serve him with a legal notice?

M:            Well, it’s not my name he’s smeared here, but I certainly think that Doctor Tenpenny would be interested in hearing what he has said, especially since she can prove that it’s not true and he has to prove that it’s true. He can’t just go about saying things like that without the proof to back it up.

R:              Yeah. It’s only one flaw there in Australian law … defamation law, truth is not necessarily a defence, that’s the trouble, but I think …

M:            Yeah.

R:              … you’re on the path there, you could be … it could be a very interesting result in court when both side … where both sides are presented accordingly.

M:            Thank you for the opportunity to speak here.

R:              Thank you Meryl.

M:            I appreciate it. Bye bye.

R:              Bye bye. Meryl Dorey, founder of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. On 2cc. It’s 3:42.

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.

Strangers to the Truth

By Meryl Dorey

Hi there, and hasn’t it been a long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog? That’s because I’ve been on a sabbatical in the U.S. with my sisters since the middle of August this year. I got back into Australia on December 18th and am settling back in, happy to be home (though not happy about the heat!).

I want to thank Stop the AVN (SAVN) and their mates at the Australian (Pseudo) Skeptics for waiting until my return to stir up trouble – it would have been terrible to have missed all the fun!

Now, I have a front-row seat to view the excitement and am enjoying seeing them lather themselves into a frenzy of terror at the idea that – shock, horror – parents may be able to hear a medical doctor provide referenced, scientific information demonstrating that vaccines don’t always work as expected and may cause harm and even death in an unknown number of those who take them.

The truth is being told”, says Jack Skeptic – “we can’t have that!”

No worries”, replies Jill Skeptic; “I believe in science, so we will pull in our tame pollies and journos and handle this situation quick smart!”

Giving Pinocchio a run for his money

13760385_sBut I have to say that there are a LOT of long noses appearing in SAVN’s camp.

As you probably have already heard, Dr Sherri Tenpenny is coming out from the U.S. to speak to parents about the risks and ineffectiveness of vaccines. (And if you support the right to free and open communication about this issue, I urge you to click this link and book your tickets to the seminar nearest you as well as the dinner with Dr Tenpenny.) These seminars will, according to SAVN, cause the end of the world as we know it and they must be stopped! SAVN have even gone so far as to approach the Minister for Immigration to demand that he cancel the travel visas of Dr Tenpenny and other speakers coming in from overseas. Incredible, I know; but these are the same people who approached the Minister for Immigration to try to get me deported a couple of years back because I question the medical mantra regarding vaccination. Unfortunately for them, I’m an Australian citizen, so things didn’t quite go as well as they had expected.

Bad publicity is good publicity

Publicity like this – even if most of it is negative – can’t be bought. And the constant shrill cries of “Cancel her visa – and off with her head!” from that lovely gang of terrorists has gotten even the most pro-vaccination among us scratching their heads and asking, “Why?”.

The truth hurts

First, I was approached by a producer at The Project – a programme with a long history of not reporting fairly on this subject. His name was James Pattison, and he said that he wanted to interview me regarding Dr Tenpenny’s speaking tour. I explained that neither I nor the AVN were organisers of these events, and that I could not comment on what would be covered at the seminars, but I would be happy to discuss the freedom-of-speech aspects. The only stipulations I had were that they devote more than the 2 minutes planned for the piece (since this is a serious issue and deserves more time to do it justice) and that the interview be live so that they couldn’t quote me or any of the other speakers out of context.

James checked with his higher-ups, and approval was given. In addition, we agreed, that he would get his supervisor to send me the list of questions prior to the crew arriving. A camera crew would be out just after 5:30PM to go live to air at 6:30 PM.

At 4:31 that afternoon, James left a message on my answering machine saying that they couldn’t go ahead with the interview. When I called him back, he said that because I was in regional NSW, they were unable to get a camera crew here. They were, however, able to get a crew out to Allison Gaylard’s house in Mullimbimby, 20 minutes away.  I guess there must be some kind of territory for these things, and that I am right outside of it. So sad!

For those who have never heard of Ms Gaylard, she is a founding member of the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporter Group – an organisation set up to help increase the vaccination rate on the Far North Coast of NSW because the tens of millions of dollars spent by Federal and State governments on vaccine promotion apparently aren’t working!

Ms Gaylard has two fully vaccinated children who contracted whooping cough several years ago. Despite this evidence of vaccine failure, Ms Gaylard lays the blame for her children’s illness at the door of some imaginary unvaccinated children, stating that the ‘low’ vaccination rate in this area meant that there wasn’t herd immunity and that, according to her, herd immunity would have stopped the bugs, germs and viruses from “penetrating in”.

But back to The Project

Members of SAVN were reporting that The Project had a blanket policy to never interview anyone with an opposing viewpoint on the vaccination issue – freedom of speech at its finest – and that poor James, being new on the show, had been unaware of that policy.

Word to the wise, Jimmy, me boy-o: if you have to compromise your word over this issue, how many more times will you be asked to do so, and how far are you willing to go to keep that job?

But, then again, James may have felt justified if he’d listened to the lying liars at SAVN. Liars like the brave, anonymous Ancient Illyria (cited below) who told him at 1:54 PM on the 7th of January that I was ”…telling people that she [I] refused to go on the show.”

James Pattison

The ridiculous thing is, Illyria linked to the post below where I specifically stated that I had been asked to go on the show but The Project had not followed through.

The Project

Whoopsies, Illyria, I smell something burning! Could it possibly be your pants?

Then, I was interviewed on Canberra Radio, 2CC along with Ken McLeod, one of the founding members of SAVN.

Ken uttered some real corkers! He claims that Dr Tenpenny had stated that vaccinations were the cause of many mass murders in the U.S., including the Sandy Hook shooting.

His ‘evidence’ for this is a Facebook posting Dr Tenpenny made back in 2012:

Sherri Tenpenny

The article Dr Tenpenny referred to can be found at this link. It was written by the mother of a violent child who posed the question – why is my son like this? Why are so many children in America like this and who is going to take care of them and prevent them from committing the tragic mass murders that are becoming so much more common of late?

Did Dr Tenpenny say that vaccinations caused the Sandy Hook shootings? Of course not! Anyone with a brain (which apparently excludes many of SAVN’s most prominent voices) knows that she didn’t. She posited that vaccinations, antibiotics, fluoride, GMOs, and environmental chemicals – all of which are known to be able to adversely affect the brain – could have contributed to the increase in mental illness and violence in the U.S.

Is this a controversial statement? Not at all – it is based in science. It is simply not considered to be politically correct.

So Ken McLeod – no stranger to quoting things out of context in order to make it appear that vaccine sceptics are wrong or worse – has done that again on the radio. No big surprise there. Just another shameful exaggeration to advance his aim of suppressing our right to discuss health issues in Australia.

A case of mistaken identity

Lastly, and most amusingly, a SAVN member posted on the SAVN’s Facebook page, “Banned from the AVN: Celebrate it Here”.

Joey

He claims to have been right next to me and my family at Sydney Airport this morning whilst I was returning from a trip overseas. Apparently, I am very sick and spreading germs, and he announced who I was at the top of his lungs in the terminal, loudly enough so that I and my family were able to hear it. Unfortunately for him however, I was up in Bangalow at the time and haven’t been at Sydney Airport since December 18th!

My deepest sympathy to that poor woman who must bear some sort of resemblance to me. It can’t be easy to have to go through life being mistaken for someone so hated by so many lunatics!

Speak up or be judged by the company you keep

It is obvious that some SAVN members are complete strangers to the truth. I don’t judge them all on the behaviour of their ‘leaders’, but I do judge them for being members of a hate group that is actively trying to suppress and censor debate on a scientific issue. And I judge them for not speaking up and opposing the hatred being spewed by the group they have joined. Their silence speaks volumes.

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 all 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 necessary to make informed health choices.

False Balance? You mean, censorship, don’t you?

important_Opinion

by Meryl Dorey

Radio 4BC in Brisbane had the temerity to call me a few days ago to comment on a new QLD government initiative which would send out reminders to everyone who hasn’t vaccinated either their children or themselves and will also allow pharmacists to administer more vaccinations to more people.

As one of the representatives of an organisation supported by thousands of Australians who are skeptical about the medical evidence regarding vaccine safety and effectiveness, this radio station obviously felt that it was important to give a balanced view on the issue. And balanced, for those who don’t understand it, means at least two sides.

The pseudo-skeptics, on the other hand, disagree with the station’s decision to interview someone from the AVN.

Now, it’s OK to disagree – don’t get me wrong. Discussing and even arguing (politely and respectfully) about important issues is the basis of a civil and democratic society. And both I personally and the AVN as an organisation believe strongly in the right to discuss and examine all sides of any issue. This is the reason our organisation was formed 20 years ago and it is our core belief to this day.

But the hate groups, the Australian Skeptics [sic] and their splinter group, Stop the AVN, want the right to call the free and open airing of information on this issue ‘false balance’. They say that because they disagree with questions about vaccination (and other medical issues) and they are self-proclaimed arbiters of all issues scientific, anyone who does not support their point of view should not be given a platform to present their information. And make no mistake – it is their open intention to suppress this information and to harass, abuse and have the government cite anyone who dares to discuss the problems with vaccination publicly.

Below are links to the recordings of that program – I am putting them here in case the radio station gives in to pressure from these groups and takes those recordings down – this has happened before.

Dr Dylan Wilson


 

Meryl Dorey

 

Here are some of the hate-filled posts and tweets from SAVN members, including Rachael DunlopRachael Dunlop, VP of the NSW Skeptics [sic] (see one of her tweets for an idea of how this so-called professional deals with scientific issues). This organisation and SAVN have initiated a campaign to target this radio station to prevent them from ever allowing anyone on air who does not toe the party line on vaccination.

I hope you will take 5 minutes to drop the station a quick line and thank them for their fairness in allowing this information to be aired and to ask them to continue to do so. Here is their Contact Page.

Rachie re 4bc

 

Tierney re 4BCPlease 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.

 

Did NSW Fair Trading Illegally Leak Private AVN Information?

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In November 2013, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal affirmed that the NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) may lawfully order us to change our name. Then, in December, our attempt to process the new name was thwarted when that name was somehow leaked to outside parties. This happened within hours of our payment failing due to an unauthorized access on our credit card. This enabled them to ‘get in first’ and register the name for themselves.

(Note: individuals can register business names immediately, whereas incorporated associations have to wait for OFT to register an official name on their behalf.)

This was not the first time we suspected sensitive information had leaked from OFT. Just one month prior, members of ‘Stop the AVN’ publicised the decision regarding our forced name change (mentioned above) before we ourselves were aware of it. At the time, the only parties with access to this information were OFT and the Tribunal itself. The event in December galvanised our suspicions.

Our contact at the OFT undertook to investigate the alleged leak, but despite this promise, it appears that no investigation has taken place and all communication with our contact has been cut off by the OFT without explanation.

During the past six months, many of our members have asked about the progress of this investigation. Each time, we have had to reply that we were still waiting. To date, we have had no adequate response nor any indication that an investigation has or will take place.

On May 15th of this year (six weeks ago) we issued the Commissioner with a statement of events, and asked for confirmation of its accuracy. We indicated the statement would be used to brief our members about what had occurred thus far.

We have been asked to sit tight ever since while a response could be prepared. And we have, until now. Our final deadline to OFT passed five days ago. The Committee has now decided to go ahead and release the statement.

Below is the letter, complete with the statement and an outline of our concerns. In addition, you will find subsequent correspondence between OFT and AVN.

——————————————————–

May 15, 2014

The Commissioner,
NSW Fair Trading

Ref: Your correspondence of 14/3/2014
by email to commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear Commissioner,

Regarding the possible leakage from your office of sensitive information concerning our organisation.

Please read the following document and advise as to whether any of the information in the enclosure or the summary (below) is inaccurate. We request your response in writing no later than the close of business on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Should you require more time to respond, please contact us. In response to queries from our members regarding this issue, we intend to inform them using the information in the summary and full-text letter below. If we do not hear from you within this timeframe, we will presume that you agree with these statements and will proceed accordingly.

In summary:

1- No formal investigation took place. It is clear that sensitive information provided by the AVN, somehow flowed from NSW Fair Trading to third parties. Despite the disturbing nature of this situation, NSW Fair Trading has neglected to conduct an investigation.

2- Ms Lunney, our contact at the department, expressed deep concern about what had occurred. We were surprised then to be told that she was unavailable to speak with us subsequently.

3- It seems that someone within NSW Fair Trading did indeed release information to a third party. However, instead of treating this situation with the seriousness it deserved, a carefully-worded letter was sent to the AVN by Mr Stowe, the Commissioner of Fair Trading, giving us assurances of things we hadn’t alleged whilst avoiding those we had.

Kind regards,
Greg Beattie,
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc

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Is the NSW Office of Fair Trading leaking privileged information?

Members of Stop the AVN have obtained information that was not in the public arena at least twice in recent months.

The first instance occurred on the 25th of November. When the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) decision was handed down in the case of the AVN against NSW Fair Trading, members of Stop the AVN issued tweets about our loss before we ourselves were informed and before this information was public knowledge. We confirmed with the Registrar at the ADT that the only person who had knowledge of this decision at the time the tweets were issued was the solicitor for NSW Fair Trading.

The second instance occurred in December of 2013.

At 11:36 AM on the 20th of December, Meryl Dorey faxed and emailed a copy of a Form A1 (application to reserve a name) as well as a credit card payment form to the Department of NSW Fair Trading.

Unfortunately, due to an unauthorised access of the AVN’s credit card, the payment was rejected on December 24th.

1- Within hours of the payment failure, members of Stop the AVN had registered the exact same name we had tried to reserve as well as three variations of that name with ASIC.

2- On Boxing Day (December 26th), the AVN’s President, Mr Greg Beattie, received a call from Mr Rick Morton, a journalist with the Australian newspaper, who asked him why our name registration had failed. At this point, we ourselves were unaware of any problem with the payment and Mr Beattie told him as much.

3- On January 2nd, Mr Morton published an article (Appendix A) stating that the AVN had failed to register the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network. The only time that name (including the hyphen) had been written down was on the paperwork the AVN had submitted to the Department on the 20th of December.

4- That same day, January 2nd, the AVN was made aware of a blog post from Mr Dan Buzzard (the text of which was later posted to the AVN’s PO Box in Bangalow). (Appendix B). Mr Buzzard stated that on the 24th of December, his “investigators” notified him that we had attempted to register the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network.

5- Also on the 2nd of January, the following online comment was posted on the website of the Northern Star newspaper in response to their story about the AVN’s ‘failure’ to register our name.

Sandra_Harvey of Ocean Shores wrote:

“So to reserve a name without paying for it until their hand is forced once again by NSW Fair Trading has backfired. Dan Buzzard registered the name Australian Vaccination Sceptics Network with ASIC. If they had simply paid up like any sane person who wanted to register a name, they would have nothing to complain about”

All of these events took place well before we ourselves were aware of the failure of our payment and at a time when our name reservation should not have been public knowledge.

When ASIC reopened in January, the AVN enquired as to whether any of the above information might have been available to the public on their database. We were informed that name reservations do not appear on the database until they have been registered with the relevant state authorities. In fact, they themselves don’t have access to name reservations from the various states so nobody could have found out about this from them.

On Monday, January 6th, Mr Beattie spoke with Ms Robyne Lunney, our contact at Fair Trading, to inform her of Mr Buzzard’s claims and the article published in the Australian newspaper. Ms Lunney was disturbed by these events and said she would investigate and get back to Mr Beattie. She requested more details which were provided later that day by email. [Appendix C]

On trying to follow up with Ms Lunney, Mr Beattie was twice told by Fair Trading that she was not available and would no longer be available to speak with him.

On the 11th of February, Mr Beattie sent an email to Ms Lunney asking how the investigation was progressing. [Appendix D].

He received a response on the 13th of February, but not from Ms Lunney. Instead, Ms Christine Gowland was the correspondent.
Her only response to Mr Beattie’s question about the ‘investigation’ was:

“A response to the other issues raised in that email and your earlier email regarding events following your name reservation will be provided shortly under separate cover.”

After having no other contact with the Department regarding this matter, Mr Beattie sent the following request to Ms Gowland on March 3rd, 2014:

Dear Ms Gowland

I understand from the last sentence in your email (below) that the matter of sensitive information falling into the hands of a third party is still being investigated by your office. Can you please advise me of the name and contact details of the branch or person conducting this investigation so that [I] may ask further questions directly?

[It is our understanding that proper procedure for such an investigation is that it be conducted by a separate branch and that the party requesting the investigation (in this case, the AVN) be informed of these details.]

Ms Gowland did not respond to Mr Beattie’s request for further details about this investigation. Instead, the next correspondence from her was received by the AVN on the 12th of March 2014. It was a letter informing him that the AVN had 5 days in which to comply with the order to ensure that our name was changed on all documents and on our website.

On March 13th, Mr Beattie wrote to Ms Gowland acknowledging her advice regarding our name change and reminding her that he had yet to receive a response to his request from the 5th of March for details on the internal investigation.

Ms Gowland responded on the same day as follows:

“A formal response will soon be provided to you regarding issues raised in regards to information surrounding the new name.”

On March 14th, Mr Beattie sent the following email to Ms Gowland:

Dear Ms Gowland

Thank you for your email. I must ask why you have neglected to identify the party conducting the investigation. Surely we are entitled to make enquiries to this party regarding time-frames and other issues. Is it a formal investigation? I ask because these are the questions being asked of me by our members.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards
Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

On the 21st of March, the AVN received a letter by postal mail from Mr Rod Stowe, Commissioner of NSW Fair Trading. This letter [Appendix E], was signed on March 14th but not posted until March 19th. The letter simply stated that Mr Stowe assured the AVN that NSW Fair Trading had not disclosed any details regarding the name Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network to the media or in any public forum.

The use of this language is interesting. Whilst members of the media were clearly privy to this information, the AVN has never alleged that NSW Fair Trading had released it directly to them. Why then did Mr Stowe use these words? The fact is that information which was not in the public domain and was sent by us to NSW Fair Trading under current privacy legislation, somehow made it to these parties. The question is – how did this happen?

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Wed, May 21, 2014 at 5:02 PM
Subject: Re: Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network     Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

Thank you for your further correspondence on this issue, which is currently being considered. A formal reply will be forthcoming following careful consideration of the points raised.

I will shortly provide you with an updated reference number for this matter.

Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Mon, May 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Subject: Ref: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian     Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

I write again to further acknowledge your latest correspondence.

The reference number for this matter is FTMIN14/1376.

Unfortunately, the Commissioner will not be able to meet your stated deadline for a response to the issues raised, especially due to the fact he has only just today returned from overseas leave. However, please be assured the matter is under consideration and a response will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Divider 1

From: Greg Beattie
Date: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: Ref: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.
To: commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear XXXXXXXX

Your ref: FTMIN14/1376

Please be advised that our committee intends to commence preparing the information for our members after close of business next week (June 20). We request that the Commissioner notify us before that date if he feels that any of the information in the timeline we sent him is inaccurate or otherwise not in order. We presume the Commissioner is familiar with the issue, having previosly considered the allegations. If any substantial inaccuracies can be identified before the time mentioned above, we will be happy to delay informing our members to allow further time for investigation.

Please ensure a copy of this email is forwarded to the Commissioner.

Kind regards

Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian     Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

Thank you for this latest e-mail, which will be considered in the preparation of the Commissioner’s response to your previous correspondence on this issue (FTMIN14/1376).

Regards,
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

Divider 1

Date: Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 7:17 AM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.
To: commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au

Dear XXXXXXX,
Thank you for your email. It has now been more than five months since this matter was raised. Despite its concerning nature (something clearly acknowledged by your own representative) we still have not had an adequate response. I reiterate that our committee intends to prepare the information for members after close of business today (June 20, 2014). We will also consider whether further action is warranted.
Please ensure the Commissioner receives this email.
Thank you for your assistance.
Yours sincerely
Greg Beattie
President
Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Divider 1

From: <commissioner@finance.nsw.gov.au>
Date: Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: FTMIN14/1376 – Correspondence from Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc.

Dear Mr Beattie

I acknowledge your email and have made the Commissioner aware of it.
We are expediting the Commissioner’s response and hope to send it to you today.
Regards,
XXXXXXXX
Office of the Commissioner | NSW Fair Trading

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.

The Great Vaccination Non-Debate?

by Meryl Dorey

One sided debateThere is one side of the vaccination issue supported by those who believe parents should be able to access a broad range of information from many different sources. This side is not afraid of scrutiny and in fact, has been asking for better, more transparent research for decades. That side is represented by the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (AVN) and the other pro-information, pro-choice groups in Australia and overseas.

In opposition to this open and democratic viewpoint on scientific issues, there are organisations and individuals whose raison d’étre seems to be to prevent parents from accessing information freely and to threaten, harass and abuse anyone whose viewpoint on medical issues is not in accord with their own beliefs. That side is represented by the pro-vaccine lobby: the Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN, certain members of both State and Federal Parliaments and some sections of the medical community.

Healthy Lifestyles Expo

In May of this year, I am going to be speaking at an event on the Sunshine Coast called the Healthy Lifestyles Expo.

The organisers originally contacted me in October last year to see if I would be interested in participating in a live debate on the subject of vaccination. Both sides would be presented and the moderator would ensure that equal time was given to each speaker with ample time allowed for questions from the audience.

Since this is something that both the AVN and I have been wanting to facilitate for some time, I was quick to agree.

The organisers were having a very hard time finding someone from the medical community to debate me, however.

They contacted Queensland Health, their Medical Local, a large number of doctors and even Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics. None of them would agree to defend vaccinations publicly.

The reasons given for the refusal to participate in a debate were:

a. There is no debate – there is only one side to this issue.
b. If people have questions, they should see their GP.
c. Fliers would be provided so a debate was unnecessary.

After a few weeks of trying, the debate was called off and instead, the AVN booked a stall at the Expo. As stall-holders, we were entitled to present a seminar which we were happy to do though we still would have preferred a debate.

At this point, the organisers posted an advertisement for my talk on their website at this page.

Almost immediately after this information was posted, the Expo’s website was attacked – twice. The organiser’s were signed up for many pornographic email lists (something that regularly happens to my own email address) and they found themselves targeted by a stream of hate messages on social media from people using the tag #stopavn.

They also received an angry post from Matthew Berryman, an SAVN member who works at the University of Wollongong.

Here is what one of the organisers of this event stated on their blog about Mr Berryman and the whole campaign to stop this debate from taking place:

“…the first comment by Matthew Berryman who has [a] PhD in complex systems modelling and analysis, yet tends to resort to name calling if he is rebutted, a very grown up response.

Mr Berryman sent the organisers of this event a letter accusing them of paying me to speak (in 20 years of public speaking on this issue, I have never taken payment for any of my talks though that is usually offered) and saying that the event was ‘unbalanced’ because they didn’t have a speaker from the anti-choice side!

The organisers offered Mr Berryman the opportunity to either debate me or, if he preferred, to get a stall and speak on the stage himself, just as the AVN was doing. He declined, stating that he was not qualified to speak on this issue.

Where we stand today

At this point in time, there is a possibility that Dr Rachael Dunlop from Stop the AVN and the NSW Skeptics may be debating me (please note – I have just heard from the organisers this morning. Dr Dunlop has said she will not debate me). For those who don’t know her, here is one of the Twitter posts she wrote about myself and others who have made an informed choice not to vaccinate:

Rachie Twitter

The organisers have stated that, regretfully, if someone from the other side does not come forward by the 9th of May, the debate will be cancelled and we will go back to just me speaking on the issue with no opposing viewpoint which would be a shame.

We need a conversation and a debate

The AVN wants parents everywhere to be able to hear both sides of this issue. We want them to be able to ask questions, discuss this subject openly without fear or favour and, in the end, to make the choices they think are best for their family. Without the participation of the pro-vaccine lobbyists – those same people who have been trying for years to make vaccination compulsory – it becomes almost impossible to provide parents with that balance.

We ask anyone who is reading this – whether they be a medical doctor, specialist, health official or from another area of the field of science – who would like to debate the subject in a respectful manner, to contact the Expo organisers via their website contact page.

We also ask that those who believe in free choice on health issues write a quick note to Wayne and Annie, the Expo organisers, to thank them for their strength and commitment to freedom of speech and scientific debate.

I’d love to see you at the Expo!

If you are going to be on the Sunshine Coast on the 24th to the 25th of May, 2014, I would love to see you at the Expo. Please do drop by the AVN’s stand and say hi.

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One last note:

QLD Health has been given a free table next to the AVN stand on which to display flyers and other information about vaccination. When asked if they would also be sending someone who would be able to answer questions or discuss this issue with the parents in attendance, they said they would not and that anyone who had questions should be contacting their GP.

It is this sort of unresponsive behaviour; this running away from those whom they are supposed to be serving, that has many QLD parents questioning the commitment of their health authorities to the protection of the children of that State.

The AVN will always be there to support our members and to answer their questions. We will always be there to help members who are being discriminated against or harassed in some way because of their vaccination decision. We believe strongly in everyone’s right to make informed choices and wish that our elected representatives would take their responsibility seriously in regards to this issue as well. Citizens and residents of a democratic nation should not be living in fear that their government will take away their inalienable rights to read, discuss and decide about health issues as they see best.

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.

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.]