I note that in the University of Wollongong academic Professor Brian Martin’s recent book chapter “A vaccination struggle” (chapter 8 of Nonviolence Unbound, Sparsnäs, Sweden: Irene Publishing, 2015), he writes on the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, Inc. (here referred to by the old initialism AVN):
AVN responses 3: dealing with complaints
5. The AVN could transform itself so that its operations are less susceptible to complaint-based attacks. As an incorporated body in the state of New South Wales, the AVN was subject to regulatory control by a number of bodies, such as the Department of Fair Trading. If, for example, the AVN dissolved and reconstituted itself as a network, it would no longer be subject to DFT rules.
Option 5 is for the AVN to transform itself so that it becomes less vulnerable to harassment and control via regulatory agencies. One possibility would be to wind up the AVN as an incorporated body and to relaunch the AVN, perhaps under a different name, in a different form. Another possibility is to set up the AVN as a business in another country. Its operations in Australia would not be subject to the same controls as a business registered in Australia.The N in the abbreviation AVN stands for Network. Actually, though, it has operated as an organisation, with a constitution, elected office bearers and other aspects required by legislation covering incorporated bodies. In contrast, SAVN is an actual network, without the formal features associated with an organisation. Option 5 has high transition costs. It might involve getting rid of assets, ensuring continuity of website operations, and enabling the membership list to become a contact list in a network. The DFT has rules covering closing down of an incorporated body, and these could be applied in an onerous fashion. (Many incorporated bodies fizzle out through lack of activity, but given the scrutiny of the AVN, this would have been an unlikely scenario.)
One complication involved the AVN’s website. If the AVN changed its name to Vaccination Choice, SAVN would have challenged the AVN’s domain name of http://avn.org.au/ and, if possible, taken it over. A possible counter option for the AVN would have been to set up a spin-off organisation to host the web domain. This is a small indication of the machinations involved in the SAVN-versus-AVN struggle.
Indeed this is the option that has been adopted by the AVN, as I wrote previously. So there you have it: a former paid member, and by his own admission in this latest book chapter, defender of the antivaccination AVN group, is providing advice on how the AVN can avoid complying with public health laws.
As an update on how the AVN is following this advice, I note they have now officially given up their Twitter account
and blog, leaving them with no official online assets whatsoever. One presumes the organisation will be wound up as Professor Martin suggests. The AVN have now effectively been stopped, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all who’ve been involved in Stop the AVN over the years. Our fight against nonscience will aways continue, however, as reflected in the “change of focus to all anti-vaccine cranks in Australia”. Full post here.