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Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Meryl Dorey begging for money for lawyers (2010)

When one of her ridiculous applications for Apprehended Violence Orders against people she would like to silence was dismissed on August 22 this year, Meryl Dorey of the deceptively-named Australian Vaccination Network was ordered to pay the winning party’s costs. She immediately started a public appeal for other people to pay the bill for her. Asking for money is nothing new for her, and here is a story that appeared in The Millenium Project almost exactly three years ago.

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AVN begging again (4/9/2010)
[Link to original article]

Yet again, Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network is asking people to give her money. This time it’s for the $150,000 that some lawyer needs to mount a case against the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission. You can read Ms Dorey’s plaintive cry for funds here. You will notice that she mentions two previous occasions on which the HCCC was apparently found to have been operating in a manner which did not meet with her approval, or as she puts it “seems to have a long history of being partial to the medical profession whilst coming down hammers and tongs against those in the natural health arena”.

She then goes on to give two examples which she describes as “The Walker Inquiry into the HCCC – available here; and the inquiry into the HCCC’s botched investigation of Graeme Reeves – found here, are but two examples”.

I have for a long time called for a dump truck of salt rather than a pinch when assessing anything said by Ms Dorey, so I can safely report that the “Walker enquiry” was not “into the HCCC”, but was a “Special Commission of Inquiry into Camden and Campbelltown Hospitals”. The HCCC certainly came under criticism, but it was not for “being partial to the medical profession” and had absolutely nothing to do with “those in the natural health area”. The legislation covering the HCCC was subsequently changed to clarify how the Commission should act in similar circumstances in the future. Strike one.

The “botched investigation of Graeme Reeves” again had nothing to do with “those in the natural health area” and the criticism of the HCCC was simply that they had acted according to the law as it stood at the time and had not taken any action against Dr Reeves because he had already been deregistered. Strike two.

In summary, Ms Dorey didn’t like the way that the HCCC followed up a whistleblower complaint by going after the source of the problem, the poor management staff and systems of hospitals, rather than attacking individual doctors working within the system, and she didn’t like the way they couldn’t take action against a deregistered doctor. There was no protection of real doctors and no mention of alternative “medicine” practitioners. If those are the best cases against the HCCC she can find then she might need a lot more than $150,000 to pay lawyers to take them on.

Of course, she could always just run the requested (not ordered) notice on her web site for a few weeks and then get on with the business of harming children, but that would not fuel the conspiracy claims and paranoia.

Another thing she might like to do is be a bit more specific when she cites court cases. Justifying the $150,000 she says:

In speaking with many other organisations and seeking out the best possible legal advice, we have discovered that this is not the first time the HCCC has stepped outside of its jurisdiction to persecute a non-profit organisation. There is another group who was in our situation less than a decade ago.

They fought against the HCCC – all the way to the Supreme Court. And they won! It cost them $150,000 – but they got every cent back and more because the court found that the HCCC had acted outside of its jurisdiction when they tried to prosecute this organisation.

I don’t know which Supreme Court she might be talking about, but I checked the records of cases with the HCCC as defendant in the New South Wales Supreme Court, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone who won against the HCCC, let alone ” got every cent back and more because the court found that the HCCC had acted outside of its jurisdiction when they tried to prosecute this organisation”. In fact, there were no cases involving any organisation, all were cases involving individual doctors. Could Ms Dorey be mistaken? Could this be Strike Three?

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