Diluted Thinking

in Australian healthcare

AVSN Blog - An Organisation Under Siege

On 21 March 2013 the AVSN published a blog post entitled "An organisation under siege". It was online for only a few hours before no longer being available. The AVSN made no comment as to why it disappeared, but as the post contained an instruction to "forward this message widely", here it is:

An organisation under siege

You need to know. Because if you don't know, how can you ever take action? And you MUST take action! The AVN is not just fighting for its right to exist - it is fighting for your right to make free choices regarding your health and the health of your children. We are doing this with under $3,000 in the bank and we need a quick input of at least $5,000 to pay for legal costs this week alone! Government bodies are trying to stop us from speaking, from publishing and from helping others. We have been advocating for your rights for almost 19 years - can we count on you to oppose these efforts and advocate for us today?

The NSW Department of Fair Trading (DFT), is intent on silencing the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) and anyone else who expresses views that are seen to be critical of current government vaccination policies. They apparently feel that this aim is so important, they can behave in ways that would shock and appal any reasonable person - regardless of that person's viewpoint on the vaccination issue.

The DFT is insisting that the AVN change its name. Despite polite requests from us to find out why our name should be changed and what part of 'Australian - Vaccination - Network' doesn't describe what we do and have done for all these years; despite the most reasonable of letters from us saying that we wished to work with them on this and do whatever was necessary to stay within their regulations(to read these letters for yourself and see how reasonable the AVN has been throughout this process, please click the following links - December 27th, 2012, February 28th, 2012, March 6th, 2013); they have made it very clear that nothing less than our total destruction (and with it, the destruction of your right to make choices and become informed about vaccinations) would satisfy them.

An emergency name change?

On Wednesday this week, the AVN's President, Greg Beattie, attended a hearing before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal regarding our application for a stay of the order to change our organisation's name.

The night before the hearing, he discovered that the DFT had paid for a panel of expert witnesses (we believe there were four) to appear on their behalf - one of them apparently represents the Australian Medical Association. We are unsure of the affiliations of the others, but feel it would be correct to say that each of them would have been paid many thousands of dollars by the taxpayers of NSW for their appearances.

Expert witnesses. To attend a hearing about a stay application. About the name of a non-profit organisation with a turnover of far less than $100,000 per annum. Think about it

Our barrister was contacted by the legal representative for the DFT the night before the hearing and was roundly abused by this practitioner who told him that our side were f*cking wankers and worse (those were his words - I'm not making this up).

A mere formality

Normally, these hearings are just a formality and, except in the case of an emergency, the stay would be granted as a matter of course. The DFT however wanted to turn this formality into a circus, with their 'expert' witnesses and overly adversarial solicitor.

The ADT Member actually asked the opposing solicitor why there was such a big rush considering that our name had been used for 18-odd years. The only response made was that it was in the public's interest to make us change our name NOW! Well, if by public he meant the corporate pharmaceutical money machine, he was probably right.

Our barrister did a masterful job of setting out the reasons for our request for a stay of the DFT's decision. The government solicitor insisted that it was in the public's interest not to allow us this time to seek the advice of our membership and requested that the Member (what the 'judge' is called in an Administrative Decisions Tribunal action) make a decision. Since the Member had only allocated an hour for the hearing, he decided that everyone would have to come back again on Friday for a half-day hearing - including the 4 witnesses, Greg and our barrister.

Greg and the barrister had appeared by telephone hook-up to the ADT as a way of saving costs for the AVN since both are outside of NSW.

The government solicitor stated that it was an imposition on him and his case to have our representative on the phone rather than present in court and the Member allowed his objection, saying that the AVN could pay for our barrister's flights, fees and other costs!

So, what should have been a quick and easy 'routine' application has turned into another expensive day in court.

A government department of, by and for corporate interests

The fact is that one of our government's key roles is to protect the health and freedom of Australian citizens. In contrast with this goal, however, the policies of some government departments and ministers seem to be to restrict our rights and freedoms. This is demonstrated so clearly by their relentless pursuit of the AVN and others who support health choice.

Can we count on you?

What will it take to get you involved? What rights are you willing to lose before you reach the proverbial final straw?

Will it take the loss of your job because you've been forced to be vaccinated? Having your family or children discriminated against because you want to be able to make health choices that may not necessarily be the same as what the government recommends? Being prosecuted for mentioning your own experiences with health treatments because they were not sanctioned by the TGA? When is enough enough?

The AVN was set up to fight for the rights of everyone to be able to make their own health choices, and to provide the information that was missing when it came to vaccination. We fought for you and now we need you to fight for us, we cannot do this alone and those that oppose freedom of speech and choice know this. We need your help NOW!"

The Department of Fair Trading is working to close down a legally-constituted organisation which represents and advocates for Australian health consumers and natural therapists. Will you call them today on (02) 9228 5276 to express your disgust about their unfair activities? Will you contact the Minister for Fair Trading's office and pass on a message to the Hon Anthony Roberts telling him in no uncertain terms that you are a voter in Australia and you will not support either him or his party at the next election unless they choose to uphold their name - the Department of FAIR Trading

You can act now - or you can wait for the knock on your door telling you your right to say no to drug-based therapies and medical vaccination has been taken away for good. The choice is yours.

Please help us out with a donation and by contacting the Department of Fair Trading and Minister Roberts-and forward this message widely!

To donate to our fund for legal expenses, via our website, please click here (any amount would be appreciated).

If you would prefer, please FAX your credit card details to 02 6678 0894.

Or, to donate by direct deposit, please pay into the following account and send a confirmation email to [redacted]:

AVN Gift Fund account

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Send an email to [redacted] confirming your money transfer and leave your surname on the deposit so we can send you a receipt.

Please note: Should we raise more money than is needed for our legal expenses, any excess will be applied to the daily running costs of the AVN or to any special projects which the committee chooses to fund.