Free Speech Rights Under Attack in Australia
Whatever you believe about vaccination, surely those who disagree with forced inoculations and medical treatment have the right to their views and to choose whether they’ll be subjected to medical treatments of any sort, including vaccination. But the right is under siege in Australia, as the Australian Vaccination Network struggles against obvious attempts to shut them down.
Australian Flag (by erjkprunczýk) with Fist-Held Syringe Superimposed
by Heidi Stevenson
The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) has actively advocated for vaccination choice and provided information about vaccine risks for many years. Suddenly, the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading (DFT) has decided that their name is misleading and demanded that they change it. They have refused to state how it’s misleading and provided no advice about what change is required. They simply demand that the name be changed.
This may seem like a minor problem, but when an organization has existed for a long time, has a website based on their name, and trades under that name, being forced to change it is onerous. Nonetheless, AVN has done its best trying to cooperate, but they haven’t even been informed of how their name is supposed to be misleading! They have sent polite letters stating that they want to cooperate and asking the DFT to provide guidance. You can see three of them by clicking on these links: 27 December 2013, 18 February 2013, and 6 March 2013.
They’ve gotten no response to their requests. So AVN requested a stay of the order, which is normally a fairly routine procedure. But their response was to declare that they must change their name immediately because it’s an emergency! AVN has existed since 1994—nearly 20 years—and it’s suddenly an emergency that they change their name?
After all, their actions against AVN clearly demonstrate that the Department of Fair Trading is most assuredly not living up to its name. It is, in fact, doing the oppositve—attempting to shut down a legitimate organization that is precisely what it claims, an organization that is a network of people in Australia on the subject of vaccination.
Obviously, there’s more to this than the desire to see their name changed. This is nothing less than part of an ongoing program designed to destroy the AVN. What reason could there be, other than to silence their voice?
So, AVN’s president, Greg Beattie, attended a hearing on 20 March 2013 regarding their request for a stay. Note that this now has moved into a legal matter requiring attorneys and their costs. Clearly, there’s no reason for doing this. After all, the AVN indicated willingness to cooperate, but they don’t know what needs to be done to satisfy the DFT—and the DFT has refused to advise them.
For this hearing, the DFT paid a group of people as expert witnesses. Why would they need expert witnesses for a simple extension hearing? And how much was paid to them? In any case, their expertise—whatever it is—seems not to have come into play, or if it did, it wasn’t clarified to AVN. Perhaps they should, instead, look inward and consider changing their name. I’ll even help them out: The Department of Speech Suppression would be ever so much more accurate!
AVN’s barrister laid out the reasons for granting a stay to allow the AVN staff time to consult with the membership. The government’s solicitor didn’t respond to what was said, merely stated that the public’s interest requires that AVN change it’s name now! Why, though, wasn’t explained.
To save money, both Beattie and AVN’s barrister appeared by telephone, since they are not located in New South Wales. DFT’s solicitor, though, in a show of pettiness, complained that it was an imposition, and the Member—Australian term for a judge—went along with it. Therefore, AVN’s barrister must show up in person, which means that AVN must cover the cost of flights and expenses.
Lest you have any doubts about DFT’s attitude towards AVN, the night before the hearing, AVN’s barrister was contacted by DFT’s legal representative. He treated AVN”s barrister extremely rudely and called AVN “fucking wackos”. They don’t like having their actions pointed out to the public, so deny AVN’s right to post the fact of this abominable behavior.
Attack on the Right to an Independent Viewpoint
AVN is clearly under attack. It isn’t because of any actual crime. It’s simply because they’re espousing a viewpoint that runs counter to the government’s. What’s under attack is the right to free speech. The point that needs to be understood is that this is not about whether vaccinations are good or bad. It’s about whether an organization or individual has the right to espouse a point of view that’s different from the government’s.
As it now stands, the government is acting as an enforcer of corporate interests. Big Pharma and Big Medicine want to promote and sell vaccines. AVN, apparently, is making headway against their profit machine … so the government is attacking AVN in the pettiest manner possible. There can be little doubt that the goal is to shut them down, to quiet their voice.
This is not the first attack on AVN. As reported earlier, a vicious attack on Meryl Dorey, AVN’s founder, was launched. She was subjected to vile pornographic messages and threatened over and over by phone. A distributed denial of service attack was launched against their website. Yet, the police and agencies that are supposed to protect people from such treatment failed to respond.
Last year, on the basis of two complaints, the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) launched an investigation of AVN. They ordered AVN to include a statement on their site that states:
the Australian Vaccination Network’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere;
the information should not be read as medical advice and;
the decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.
Obviously, only the medical monopoly is granted the right to make statements about health issues. It matters not if they’re right or wrong, the general public is not supposed to question them.
The HCCC also stripped their right to fund raise. AVN fought back and that right was returned to them.
The AVN has won an extension until June to consult with members, but have been forced to place a consumer warning notice on their website reading:
Consumer Warning: NSW Fair Trading has directed Australian Vaccination Network to change its name because it regards the name to be misleading. The Australian Vaccination Network is challenging this Direction and the challenge is currently before the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
AVN was quite happy to do so. It clearly indicates to anyone who isn’t completely blinded to the corporate-owned government that freedom of speech is no longer considered a right. You can see it posted proudly at the top of every page on their site.
If you can possibly help AVN, please do. It’s clear that they’re in a battle for their existence, and equally clear that they’re also fighting for our right to hear the other side of the vaccine debate. Surely it’s obvious that this is everyone’s cause. Whether you agree with AVN or disagree vehemently, surely it’s obvious that they have the right to express their point of view. If the suppression doesn’t stop here, where will it stop?
You can contact the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading and tell them that their function is not defined as suppression of speech. It’s to provide a fair ground for everyone to trade. The right to free speech belongs to us all, not only those who agree with the government.
The phone number is (02) 9228 5276.
As AVN has stated, “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.”