Some good news about the Australian Vaccination Network. At last.
Back in July I wrote:
Australian Network for Plant Conservation. Australian Network for Art and Technology. Australian Network on Disability. Australian Fitness Network. Australian African Network. Australian Homestay Network. Australian Vaccination Network.
One of these names is not like the others. There is a network devoted to conservation of plants, one with the objective of supporting artists, another which works to aid people with disabilities, one which wants everyone to become healthier, one which provides support and community for migrants from Africa, and one which links people with holiday accommodation. All of these organisations with “network” in their name have as their aims the promotion of what the other words in their names mean.
The exception is the Australian Vaccination Network, because despite what a naïve person might think from just seeing the name, this organisation exists for the sole purpose of opposing vaccinations of all kinds against all diseases for all people of all ages. There are no exceptions. I have asked many times for an example of a single vaccine that the AVN would support or consider worthwhile and I have never even received a cricket chirp in response. The organisation claims to be pro-choice, but the only choice that they consider is to say “No”.
There is now a move to get the relevant government authority to force the AVN to change its name to something more representative of its aims. The President of the AVN, Meryl Dorey, is squealing about this and making absurd claims about dictatorships and fascism and freedom of speech and how an evil conspiracy of doctors and skeptics is trying to suppress her right to provide balanced information to parents. She is even claiming that nobody can tell any organisation what its name should be, but I know I had to make two passes through the bureaucracy last year to register a business name because my first choice shared 80% of its letters with a company in another state.
The news came through late in the evening of December 14 that my wish had come true. The following story appeared in the Herald Sun newspaper:
Minister orders anti-vaccination group to change its name
A controversial anti-vaccination lobby group has been slapped with an order to change its misleading name or be shut down.
The NSW Office of Fair Trading doorstopped the home of Australian Vaccination Network president Meryl Dorey yesterday with a letter of action, labelling the network’s name misleading and a detriment to the community.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts fired a broadside at the AVN, saying the information it provided was a public safety issue of “life and death”.
“This is not a victimless issue, it’s about the ability to stop pain and suffering,” he said.
Mr Roberts likened the AVN’s message to sanctioning speeding.
“People do not have the freedom of choice when it comes to endangering others … it’s the equivalent of saying a bloke can speed down the road and endanger others,” he said.
Mr Roberts said he was prepared for any appeals the AVN might make.
“This is an order, it is not a request,” he said
I’ll have some more to say about this as soon as I can acquire the official notice from the Office of Fair Trading.