The HCCC issued a press release earlier today, describing the AVN as a risk to public health and safety and warning the public that they provide information that is inaccurate and misleading.

The public statement was issued after a fortnight’s grace during which time the AVN were instructed to issue a disclaimer on their website stating that;

The public warning follows a 12 month investigation into the AVN after 2 complaints were received.

The Commission’s investigation of the complaints focussed on the material presented by the AVN on its website www.avn.org.au. The Commission established that the AVN website:

The AVN was given 2 weeks to post the disclaimer in a prominent position on their website. When the deadline passed, the HCCC was forced to issue the public statement.

Meryl Dorey, media spokesperson and immediate past president of the AVN responded by repeating she does not believe the HCCC has jurisdiction over the AVN and she is seeking legal advice in this regard. (She has been “seeking legal advice” about this matter for what seems like the duration of the investigation).

In a blog post entitled “AVN vigorously opposses HCCC notice” Meryl (who refers to the AVN as a “consumer advocacy and vaccine safety watchdog group”), states:

“Three times since this investigation started last September, the AVN has provided the HCCC with information on their lack of jurisdiction. Each time, this information has been ignored.”

“The HCCC states that our information is misleading because we do not include data on the benefits of vaccination,…..nobody would expect……those who argue against fluoridation of the water supply to write reports about the benefits of mass medication without individual consent.”

So apparently fluoride in drinking water is “mass medication” now?

But it gets even more hilarious.

Unbiased and fully-referenced? Meryl, surely you jest. Even you have admitted you don’t tell both sides of the story. And as for fully referenced? Well the HCCC had something to say about that too.

  • The AVN website contains information that is incorrect and misleading and quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.
  • Fully referenced also might not mean what you think it means Meryl. For example, copying and pasting incorrectly attributed references from whale.to is not considered “fully referenced”.

    Meanwhile Meryl is still screeching “free speech” and “democracy”. A comment left on her blog offered a much more sinister reason for the HCCC “witch hunt”.

    Tracy says:
    July 25, 2010 at 11:51
    Doctors are hired assassins for the pharmaceutical companies and the government. Paid to kill and injure … method of death and grievous bodily harm … vaccinations. I tell you, there is something very sinister going on that they are going to such extraordinary lengths to silence the truth!

    Hold on to your tin foil hats people!

    Not only do the Australian public now know the true nature of the AVN‘s agenda, Meryl appears to have got herself in some hot water over scanning and posting a pro-vaccine magazine article on her blog. The article, published in Cosmos Magazine, got her ire when she was apparently misquoted after declining to be interviewed. The publishers are now seeking legal advice about the breach of copyright and will be taking action to have the article removed.

    And in another schemozzle, Meryl appears to have passed on the email list from her subscriber base to a third party, which breaches email privacy laws in Australia. Although in a blog post published today she denies this is the case.

    This came about with the distribution of a media release from the International Medical Council on Vaccination, announcing their support for the AVN and “condemning the attempts of an Australian Government body to censor and suppress their work.” It was signed by well known anti-vaxers Sherri Tenpenny, VacTruth, Moms Against Mercury, and even Judy Wilyman, amongst others.

    AVN readers have already begun to write to the HCCC complaining about the findings. One suggested:

    Or perhaps the science tells us that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks? There’s no debate about that.


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    • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

      Hi Elizabeth, did you see the column alongside the article though? See this link.

    • elizabeth

      Don’t get too chirpy yet.

      SMH has a charming article on the heroine Meryl Dorey, who has bravely fought on since the night her son stopped breathing (it’s okay, he started again).

    • Andy

      “Mass supplementation” more like.
      .
      And supplementation, according to alt-med promoters, is a good thing.

    • Clinton Roy

      Fluoridating the water supply sounds like mass medication to me, what am I missing?

    • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

      haha! Gold.

    • lisa

      To paraphrase a recent WA Labor Premier on the subject of a sacked Labor Minister who said he had legal advice that his actions were clean: “Meryl is always seeking legal advice because she always needs legal advice.”

    • Frying Dutchmen

      Only Triple J issued the HCC’s release. Seems that the HCC is a paper tiger.

    • http://semiskimmed.net Rob
    • http://semiskimmed.net Rob

      I’ll just copy a couple of comments to here which I’ve made over at the AVN site, in case they never see the light of day there. First this comment I made on their response to the Cosmos Magazine article, which has been “awaiting moderation” for nearly 48 hours now:

      “The article says that I have been quoted in other media outlets (way to go ‘science’ magazine! Where are your references and who was your source or is this just a convenient way to make something up and get away with it?) as saying, ”the dangers of vaccines outweigh the benefits.””

      Perhaps they meant your webinar from the 31st July 2009 in which you said (http://www.antivaxxers.com/?p=85):

      “So, vaccines do absolute nothing to reduce the rate of infection or to reduce the spread of infection. The two things that we’re told they’re specifically supposed to do, they don’t do. And I think that if parents knew this they would certainly think twice about vaccinating. And when we weigh up the benefits versus the risks of vaccination, the benefit we’re told is that our chidlren will become immune to the disease. … You are not made immune by vaccination. …. So I think this is a really important thing because if we’re weighing up the benefits versus the risks then we’re told that there is no benefit, then what’s the point of taking the risk.”

      You are saying that vaccines don’t confer immunity so have “no benefit”, but do carry some risk. Thus the risk outweighs the benefit.

      And just now, at their vigorous opposition to the HCCC decision, also awaiting moderation:

      “Our legal advisors had previously written to the HCCC [...] disputing their jurisdiction to either investigate or censure our organisation which is not considered to be either a healthcare provider or a health educator under the HCCC Act. Three times since this investigation started last September, the AVN has provided the HCCC with information on their lack of jurisdiction”

      Do you have some evidence that AVN aren’t within the HCCC’s jurisdiction? By whom is the AVN “not considered to be either a healthcare provider or a health educator”. With its outreach to parents and production of “Educate Before You Vaccinate” literature, the AVN does seem to provide a “health education service”. This would make it reasonably fall into HCCC jurisdiction as defined by the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (see Section 4 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/hcca1993204/s4.html) unless you can show that the AVN has exemption.

      Their claim that the HCCC doesn’t have jurisdiction, when the jurisdiction was decided months ago, strikes me as being like an offender in the dock with their fingers in their ears stamping their foot and yelling “I don’t recognise the legitimacy of this court!”, as if that’s going to help them.

    • http://confutata.wordpress.com Squillo

      “(She has been “seeking legal advice” about this matter for what seems like the duration of the investigation).”

      –I suspect she is actually seeking legal advice she likes. Kind of like seeking science she likes…

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    • AndyD

      The AVN’s purpose is to provide misleading information about the importance and efficacy of vaccination, in order to perpetuate the substantial amount of one-sided, anti-vaccination information available everywhere.
      .
      Needed fixing.