Tomorrow (and possibly Friday) there is an appeal hearing before the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal to decide on whether the Australian Vaccination Network’s name is misleading. To illustrate their stance, I note their book on vaccination, recently released for free, contains 27 references to the word “poison” (they are not poisonous), close to 100 mentions of vaccination being ineffective, over 50 on the word danger / dangerous, etc. If that doesn’t illustrate the anti-vaccination stance of the AVN I don’t know what would.
The research shows that up to 53% of Australians have concerns about vaccination. It is important that these parents get their information from a credible source. People need to know that Australian Vaccination Network is a fringe group of hard core vaccine refusers. Their name deliberately seems amibigous in order to present themselves as presenting serious research on both sides. They merely present non-scientific information on the anti-vaccination side. Your doctor is often your best choice when you have questions concerning your health.
I note the comments by New South Wales Fair Trading’s Principal Solicitor in his decision that is being appealed:
All in all, the available information shows, in my opinion, that the AVN is mostly concerned with opposing vaccination and mandatory immunisation. When issues have two sides, it takes just one of them.
One would expect that an organisation with the name ‘Australian Vaccination Network’ would provide comprehensive and credible information on vaccinations in Australia, and a balanced view on what is involved in the processes and benefits and risks involved, as well perhaps on where and how such treatment can be obtained. The AVN does not do this. Its views are anti-vaccination, and it advises against being vaccinated or taking part in immunisation programs. Complaints received by NSW Fair Trading support this view of the AVN. Parents of young children may be particularly interested in learning about issues concerning vaccination and may easily come across the name Australian Vaccination Network in an Internet search, only to find its issue is opposing vaccination. The name does not suggest that it is anti-vaccination.
The issue here is not with the nature, objects or functions of the AVN or what it espouses, but rather with its name. It can adopt another that is not unacceptable. Free speech is not the issue.
- The Australian Vaccination Network Inc’s message is anti-vaccination.
- Its name does not reflect that message or its true nature, objects or functions.
- Its name is likely to mislead the public
As such, the name is unacceptable for registration as a name under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009.