November 30, 2011 Leave a comment
The talented Hugh Laurie chats to Leigh Sales, in the extended interview for ABC 7:30
Skeptical musings on the denial of evidence
November 28, 2011 7 Comments
On Friday November 15th after Nicola Roxon and Jenny Macklin announced the Stronger Immunisation Incentives reform, Meryl Dorey went on a lying frenzy.
First up was ABC 612 Mornings programme with Terri Begley. You can listen in the player below or download the audio here.
Let’s deal with Dorey’s second lie first. That Nicola Roxon’s media release makes no mention of Conscientious Objectors. This is also being propagated on the AVN’s Yahoo! email list as “despicable” on the part of Nicola Roxon. There’s “no mention” of it cries another AVN member whilst yet another writes authoritatively:
That exemption is rendered effectively unavailable to all those parents who hear, officially or semi-officially, only that there is no exemption, as is implicit in Dr Roxon’s media release, which is therefore highly deceptive.
Highly deceptive? Implicit in Dr. Roxon’s media release? [R]endered effectively unavailable? What planet are these people on? You can read the release in my prior post in PDF (on page 2) or visit the Health Ministers web page here. And what do we read smack bang in the middle of this “highly deceptive… despicable” media release?
Existing exemptions will continue to be available for people who register as conscientious objectors to immunisation.
Would that stop Meryl Dorey from lying on air? Surely our self styled guru would at least read the media release. Search for the words “conscientious objector”? As Meryl told Terri Begley:
I have not seen anywhere in this information that’s coming out today to say that you are entitled to be a conscientious objector and still get the money. If the money is being given out it should be given out to all, whether you vaccinate or not, um, otherwise it becomes a matter of discrimination and I don’t think the Government wants to be discriminating against people, that is the wrong thing to do.
Frankly, that’s just not good enough. There are a lot of implicit accusations there, all wrong and all based on ignorance at best or Dorey’s own deception at worst. This is perhaps Roxon’s mistake here. She has failed to see that such a move will give the antivaccination lobby a soap box from which to embellish their misinformation and promote Conscientious Objection. Dumping the Maternity Immunisation Allowance and linking Family Tax Benefits as an “incentive” to complete vaccination schedules, may well become an incentive toward Conscientious Objection.
Earlier Dorey tries to make a link between pertussis vaccination of very young children in the ACT and the notification levels of pertussis in all age groups. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System data do not provide notification for each state and territory by age. I’ll get onto that again after we visit Dorey’s second ABC interview.
You may remember Dorey’s reply to the HCCC over complaints made. In September 2009 she wrote [bold mine]:
… the current increase in the incidence of pertussis has nothing to do with any purported decline in the rate of vaccination. Instead, we are seeing an outbreak of pertussis despite a substantial increase in vaccination against it – an experience which is being duplicated in every country for which mass vaccination against this illness exists.
She cited articles with the opposite argument to hers and even went as far as plagiarising a WHO graph. Despite the HCCC finding against her Dorey has made this claim often only last July blaming the vaccine for an increasing death rate. She makes this claim again on air except this time implicates the USA claiming [bold mine]:
…they are actually blaming the use of the whooping cough vaccine for this outbreak that’s occurring in the countries where the vaccine is being used.
This has also been picked up over at Thinking is Real which includes a terrific piece by piece breakdown of Meryl’s earlier distortion of an article she’d posted to Facebook. Dorey claimed it as proof that the pertussis vaccine is “ineffective”, where it says no such thing. It’s essential reading for those interested in Dorey’s tactics. Indeed the article reinforces all we know about pertussis immunity and the newer acellular vaccine.
Then it’s on to Louise Maher for Drivetime on ABC 666. Again you can listen below or download the audio here.
By this time Meryl has discovered CO still applies but is arguing government flyers and media reports aren’t stressing this fact loudly enough. Dorey’s risk to public health is borne out again as she raises the need for parents “who have done their research” to be able to avoid vaccination, get CO forms signed and still be able to collect FBT, way above the vital need to have their children vaccinated.
Nicola Roxon’s intent to raise the profile of vaccination schedules as essential to public health is being outdone by a conspiracy theorist arguing that the vaccines we’re using are not even known to “be safe and effective”, yet parents are being “bribed” to comply. Instead the government should be testing these perhaps unsafe and ineffective vaccines and comparing the health of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, Dorey suggests with a straight face.
Then the distortion about pertussis again [bold mine]:
… we’re finding in the United States and in all other countries that use the mass whooping cough vaccination that the vaccination is not leading to a decrease in disease.
No doubt Dorey would be aware that the ACT Government’s alert on pertussis includes informing the population about a targeted adult vaccination program and states under “What else can you do to protect your baby?”:
The efficacy of pertussis vaccination is beyond doubt. It’s role in saving infant lives is irrefutable. Whilst vaccinated children may contract pertussis they receive a much milder infection and experience non life threatening symptoms. All pertussis fatalities in Australia have occurred in unvaccinated children. It is quite outrageous on the part of the ABC that Dorey was given uninterrupted air time to spread her rapid fire calculated untruth designed to malign an essential vaccination for infant health and presently, infant survival.
Asked about pertussis Ms. Dorey answered in dissonance to government advice and claimed vaccination “doesn’t seem to be the answer”, then proceeded to present a statistically implausible correlation between the rate of vaccination of babies in the ACT and the notification level of pertussis across all age groups in the ACT. It’s simply the same old trick Dorey has been using now for years. Comparison of unrelated data sets.
The Dept. of Health and Ageing National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System represents the prevalence of legally notifiable diseases. It carries no information on the vaccination status, active immunity or lack thereof in the cases counted. Vaccine induced immunity for pertussis is temporary. It wanes and this is the primary concern in combating spread of pertussis. Of the 18 age groups covered, 16 are outside the age at which immunity can be said to wane. Of course, Dorey did not give age group specifics nor qualify her claim in the context of an epidemic.
Notification simply does not reflect the efficacy of pertussis vaccine induced immunity in vulnerable newborns. Notification does not reflect the origin of infection, but rather the location of diagnosis and compliance with the requirement to notify. This is further complicated by tourism, immigration, business travel, diplomatic and political visitors to our nation’s capital, potentially impacting on infection of the ACT populace.
Adults rarely experience the debilitating symptoms and as such represent a silent reservoir of infection. Around 11.3% of adults can be considered to have pertussis vaccine immunity. For this reason the ACT is offering free pertussis boosters. Authorities state:
Infants too young to be fully vaccinated are most at risk of catching the disease and suffering serious complications from pertussis. Most infants catch pertussis from their parent or carers.
Dorey claimed pertussis infection rates in the ACT were “seven times that of Tasmania and more than twice the level of most states and territories”. The second claim is false. No other state or territory is “more than twice” that of the ACT.
According to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System on pertussis notification, the rates per 100,000 citizens at present for 2011 are: ACT – 217.3, NSW – 157.1, N.T. – 127.6, QLD – 167.7, S.A. – 128.1, Tasmania – 31.9, Victoria – 137.7, W.A. – 112.5.
Dorey also said:
…even though we’ve had a huge increase in vaccination rates over 20 years it has not correlated with any decline in whooping cough, in fact we have more cases of whooping cough now than we’ve ever had on record and that is despite an over 95% rate of vaccination amongst children.
Again the irrelevance of quoting unrelated data sets is borne out. This statement falsely assumes pertussis vaccination that provides temporary immunity in small children should also be contributing to the eradication of pertussis in the entire community.
There are other very good reasons documented by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. In their November 2009 Pertussis Fact Sheet on page 2 we find:
In recent years, there have been periodic epidemics which have occurred at intervals of 3–4 years (1997–98, 2001, 2005–06, 2008– 09), set against a background of endemic circulation. However, increasing immunisation coverage has been associated with reductions in disease among immunised children and adolescents. Between 1998 and 2008, there were 84,758 notifications of pertussis nationally, ranging from 5,670 in 1998 to 14,347 in 2008. However, the increase in notification rates over time could also be due, in part, to better case ascertainment through the increased availability of serological testing and more sensitive tests (e.g. polymerase chain reaction).
Of the last 20 years only the last three show childhood infection rates that compete with adulthood rates. This is due to an epidemic, not a failure of vaccine efficacy. Pertussis vaccine induced immunity does not offer 100% protection against contraction of pertussis in all children. However it does provide sound immunity in the majority, and renders infections far milder than those that strike unvaccinated children saving the lives of those vaccinated.
The reason we have “more cases of whooping cough now…” is due to excellent reporting which shows up in Notification data and a present epidemic of pertussis. One contributing factor is the prevalence of misinformation such as that peddled by Ms. Dorey leading to a drop in infant vaccination. Ms. Dorey omitted to include a fall in immunisation rates predicates a rise in infection in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. In fact her deception can be further borne out if we quote from the article posted on her Facebook page. The one in which she claimed Californian pertussis vaccination was “ineffective”.
Under Waning Pertussis Immunity Comes as No Surprise Dr. Carol Baker writes in part:
The California epidemic was caused by underimmunization of some children, and by waning immunity in fully vaccinated children. It showed that we are not where we need to be to have herd immunity. The 2010 California outbreak caught everyone’s attention.
In June 2009 the Journal Paediatrics published an article on the fall out from parents refusing pertussis vaccination for their child – Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children. The authors concluded in part [bold mine]:
Vaccine refusers had a 23-fold increased risk for pertussis when compared with vaccine acceptors, and 11% of pertussis cases in the entire study population were attributed to vaccine refusal.
Ms. Dorey’s statement of a “huge increase” in vaccination in the past 20 years is misleading. In 1989-90 71% of children were immunised. In 1995 61% of children were immunised. In 2001 71.6% of children were immunised. By March 2006 95.1% of children were immunised. There has been no steady increase in pertussis infection to match the increase in vaccination. This epidemic began in 2008. 2007 notifications were the third lowest on record since data collection began in 1991.
Pertussis infections rise and fall dramatically and until 2007-2008 the bulk of infections occurred in adults. In 2001 there were 48.5 cases per 100,000. In 2002 there were 28.0 cases per 100,000. In 2003 – 25.3, in 2004 – 42.9…. by 2007 there were 22.6 cases per 100,000. As mentioned this makes 2007 the third lowest year since records began. It is higher than only the first two years, 1991 and 1992 (1.9 and 4.5 per 100,000 respectively) when the notification of pertussis was still new to health practitioners. More so, Dorey has this very information in front of her but simply chooses to cite selectively. Consider the variation in Australian pertussis totals in the far right column. This does not show a steady increase:
Little wonder the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission investigation established that the AVN:
The HCCC also stated that the AVN refusal to comply with requests may “…result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.”
Most frustrating is that this manipulation of unrelated data sets by Ms. Dorey has already been the subject of an upheld complaint, published on November 11th, 2009. Dorey’s obfuscation of her intent to mislead listeners and the failure of the ABC to properly disclose her biased agenda as an anti-vaccination lobbyist has also been the subject of an upheld complaint, published June 29th, 2010.
There can be no doubt that yet again Dorey has misled listeners in a most egregious manner that, in the context of the present epidemic, places the lives of Australian newborns at risk. The ABC has shown extremely poor judgement in putting Dorey to air as very few if any commentators can deal with the speed and volume of her misconception.
Dorey has absolutely no qualifications and as such should not be providing any on air information. She did not cite any scientific material, nor – for good reason – the source of her figures. Nor is her argument supported by any peer reviewed literature. Indeed quite the contrary.
In short the ABC has recklessly given Dorey a platform from which to seize control and misrepresent the Immunisation incentive, sway uncertain parents toward not vaccinating and repackage her lies on failing pertussis immunisation. In this light they have completely failed listening audiences.
Won’t they ever learn?
November 25, 2011 2 Comments
Joint Media Release from The Hon Nicola Roxon MP Minister for Health and Ageing and The Hon Jenny Macklin MP Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
November 25th, 2011:
Home Page of Federal Minister for Health and Ageing:
November 24, 2011 2 Comments
Back in May 1998 a systematic review of published results from clinical trials and the country they are published in was, well… published.
Two studies were conducted. In one, trials in which the outcome of acupuncture was compared to placebo, no treatment or a non acupuncture intervention were studied. In the second study randomised, controlled trials (RCT) of non acupuncture interventions in China, Japan, Russia/USSR, or Taiwan were compared to those published in England. Regarding the study of acupuncture:
Research conducted in certain countries was uniformly favorable to acupuncture; all trials originating in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were positive, as were 10 out of 11 of those published in Russia/USSR.
It was also found that trials in the second group were skewed to produce favourable results in China [99%], Japan [89%], Russia/USSR [97%], and Taiwan [95%]. In England, “75% gave the test treatment as superior to control”.
No trial published in China or Russia/USSR found a test treatment to be ineffective.
Conclusion: Some countries publish unusually high proportions of positive results. Publication bias is a possible explanation. Researchers undertaking systematic reviews should consider carefully how to manage data from these countries.
In 2010 a systematic review of systematic reviews of acupuncture for depression stated in part:
Acupuncture is often advocated as a treatment for depression, and several trials have tested its effectiveness. Their results are contradictory and even systematic reviews of these data do not arrive at uniform conclusions. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate all systematic reviews of the subject with a view of assisting clinical decisions. […]
All the positive reviews and most of the positive primary studies originated from China. There are reasons to believe that these reviews are less than reliable. In conclusion, the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment of depression remains unproven and the authors’ findings are consistent with acupuncture effects in depression being indistinguishable from placebo effects.
So on top of favouritism to acupuncture in certain countries, notably China, there is also an overlay of unusually high results. Indeed as shown in many studies and reviews initial study design and publication bias in Asian countries favours acupuncture efficacy. A few minutes searching will confirm this over and again. Thus, we can confidently be skeptical about studies raised in defence of acupuncture and stand firm that it’s “success” stems from study design and publication bias.
Yet, there’s also the issue of mythology and outright fallacies presented time and again regarding acupuncture’s origins. Appeal to antiquity is a major thought stopper when it comes to how acupuncture works and the other hanky panky around “forces” and “energy flows”. Consider:
Acupuncture is a traditional technique developed over two thousand years ago based on the insertion of needles or more recently electrical stimulation, based on the Chinese medical theory that diseases are caused by blockages in the ﬂow of energy within the body.
We can rather swiftly expose that story as a patently modern day fake. Some scam artists know that acupuncture as we know it, is only a few decades old. In reputable organisations or conventional medical service providers where it is offered, a cleverly worded non committal pitch, seems to please legal advisers whilst keeping the mystique alive. I particularly like this one from Arthritis M.D.:
Acupuncture is one of the key components of the traditional Chinese medicine system. Chinese medicine was documented in China in the 3rd century B.C. This system views the body… Traditional acupuncturists also believe… According to Chinese medicine… As acupuncture has evolved and spread across countries and continents, different acupuncture points have been reported. Chinese theory…
It’s one of the very few that acknowledge (but do not admit) the fallacious creation of the vast majority of the more than 2,000 acupuncture points, or acupoints. There was originally 365 to correspond to days of the year. But thanks to Western marketing, bogus diploma courses, bad science and general unaccountability manifesting in mock up journals things got more convoluted and sciency. So what are the problems with the story of a 2,500 year old therapy? Fortunately other sciences can explain.
We’re asked to believe that the technology to make needles far thinner that hypodermic needles existed around 500 BCE. Just on that, Reflexologists claim a history of up to 5,000 years in their appeal to antiquity. Historiologically this is absurdity on steroids, even out-dating Moses by 1,600 years.
Earliest Chinese texts are from 3rd century BCE, and no mention of any needling is in evidence. By 90 BCE needling of infected wounds and bloodletting was reported. Archeological and anthropological evidence is robust and unambiguous. Needles used were huge. It was not until the 1600s that the technology to manufacture acupuncture needles existed. So, immediately we’re down to a generous 400 years.
In 1680 the ﬁrst Western accounts of Chinese medicine [TCM was introduced by Mao in the 1960s] by Wilhelm Rhijn did not mention acupuncture points,”qi” or energy ﬂow. Needles were shoved into wombs and skulls for “thirty respirations”.The USA did try this technique for drowning victims from 1826, reporting 100% failure and that they “gave up in disgust”. Western reports of “acupuncture” from around the early 1900’s mention not one word of the practice we’re today told is 2,500 years old. Most tellingly there are no points, qi or meridians in these reports.
In fact, it mirrored mechanical nociceptor stimulation and endorphin release, with needles jabbed into sites of pain. By the 1900s, “Qi” is still “vapour emitted by, or arising from food”. Meridians are still inert vessels/channels with no bodily association. So, we’re down to a few decades – but how few?
Enter… The French. Georges Soulie de Morant coined the usage of “meridian” to justify his belief that energy or “qi” moved throughout the body. He is the ﬁrst properly documented human being to make that link. It was 1939. However, we had to wait until 1957 until another Frenchman, Paul Nogier, invented auricular acupuncture. Note this is not today’s acupuncture, nor the claimed ancient method. It is the notion of unseen energies. Similarly, today we hear much of non existent “toxins” where once we heard of disease carrying “Miasmas”. Some others in France accept this concept. Most French doctors claim this is “resurrecting an absurd doctrine from well deserved oblivion”.
So in respect of this practice supposedly a part of Chinese history, we’re down to 53 years, have no scientiﬁc or medical community support and seem to be nowhere near China. Also the Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] phrase is yet to exist also. Why? Interestingly enough, the only nation to strive to ban the acupuncture (of large needles jabbed into wounds, skulls and wombs) was China, between 1822 and WWII, under the Chinese Nationalist Government. Post Communist Revolution, Mao was faced with the reality of infection and disease as the few remaining Western or Soviet trained doctors worked in cities in a nation where 80% of the population was rural. An immediate problem for Mao was wide spread schistosomiasis. Vikki Valentine writes:
One of the Party’s first steps in medical reform called for massive campaigns against infectious disease. Thousands of workers were trained and sent out into the countryside to examine and treat peasants, and organize sanitation campaigns.
Enter his “Barefoot Doctors” who provided cheap and dangerous “alternative medicine”, and demonstrated the power of the Peoples Party when ordered to physically catch all fresh water dwelling snails capable of passing on the schistosoma parasite responsible for schistosomiasis. Ten million residents suffered from this and peasants called it “Big Belly”.
The schistosoma parasite when infectious swims about happily until it encounters a human. Then it burrows into the skin and becomes a schistosomula. It then sets up camp in the lungs or liver to mature.
Adults then infect the lungs and liver and also set off to invade the bladder, rectum, intestines, the portal venous system which carry blood from the intestines to liver, spleen, and lungs. Symptoms include seizures and the swollen belly.
A major platform of the Communist Party was a revolution in agriculture. A “Great Leap Forward” was needed in China. But Party leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong, knew that improving the health of peasants was integral to increasing agricultural production.
What followed was a backlash against Western-style “elite” medicine. The “bourgeois” policies of “self-interested” physicians who only treated rare and difficult diseases were denounced as “disregarding the masses.”
Mao was pleased with reports that the disease was wiped out in up to 95% of areas where it had been endemic. He claimed his party could “cure what the powers above have failed to do”.
Mao’s government coined the term “traditional Chinese medicine” – TCM – including herbal medicine, crude acupuncture, moxibustion and more in the 1960’s. Mao himself despised the notion, never using any “TCM”. Vested interests had little trouble manufacturing an entire fake history which – ironically – we in the West could access with ease, from a nation practically able to suppress the ﬂow of air, much less information.
Chinese do not use the TCM we have invented here in The West. In 1995 a group of visiting American medico’s were informed between 15-20% of Chinese use herbal medicine. Almost no Chinese medicine is used in and of itself but with mainstream medicine. It is considered a sign of poor class and ignorance by the Chinese in general to use any “TCM”.
The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association offer a celebration of meaningless “qualiﬁcations”, codes of ethics and standards, all carefully crafted by themselves. So, what’s happening within this multi-billion dollar industry that need face no medical tribunals, provide data nor adhere to Australian Medical Standards?
Today it is a Western marketing success that grew following Communist Dictator Mao’s smirking at – then – superior economies. Unable to apply widespread Western medicine, alternatives were used. The West was assured this was successful and superior. We were scammed via our own gullibility about the far East and The Orient, still are by the Wellness Industry and China has indeed had the last laugh. Acupuncture produces a documented placebo effect. If you think youʼre getting it, it works, whether you are, or not. Itʼs you, the recipient who does this “mystical thing”. Harriet Hall writes in Science Based Medicine:
In the best controlled studies, only one thing mattered: whether the patients believed they were getting acupuncture. If they believed they got the real thing, they got better pain relief – whether they actually got acupuncture or not! If they got acupuncture but believed they didnʼt, it was less likely to work. If they didnʼt get it but believed they did, it was more likely to work.
Acupuncturists can rationalize with great ingenuity. In a recent study using sham acupuncture as a control, both the sham placebo acupuncture and the true acupuncture worked equally well and were better than no treatment. The obvious conclusion was that acupuncture was no better than placebo. Their conclusion was that acupuncture worked and the placebo acupuncture worked too!
Certainly there are ancient practices involved in the modern TCM plaguing the growing hokus pokus that constitutes the “Wellness Industry” yet acupuncture is not one of them. What we have today is not a 2,500 year old practice but a relatively modern expression of bad science derived from archaic ignorance that’s been very recently polished and refined to seem like genuine therapeutic intervention. At it’s very best acupuncture may well be responsible for releasing endorphins. It is a placebo and thus as a reliable mode of treatment is utterly and absolutely useless.
Of course many herbs can have demonstrable effects. In truth those that do are few and regulation is poor. Contamination with mercury, arsenic and lead is common whilst interaction with genuine drugs can lead to serious adverse reactions. All TCM must be regarded as harmful in that it delays access to efficacious evidence based treatment and is buoyed by the deceptions or well meaning but erroneous beliefs of practitioners. Proponents are welcome to subject their “medicine” for clinical trials, yet time and again they emerge as alternatives to medicine.
To argue there has been an unbroken chronology of superior “natural” therapies is simply false. It’s a common myth proffered by the Wellness Industry. Archaeology is absolute in producing evidence that humans have for many thousands of years died much, much younger and from painful chronic diseases that were quite simply beyond treatment. Diseases we today do not encounter in developed nations. Like any alternative to medicine acupuncture cannot survive RCT except to emerge time and again as placebo.
Australia would do well to review how much we spend on education and insurance for this slick ritual.
November 22, 2011 5 Comments
A mere 15 days ago we had a look at the fact Consumer Protection in W.A. was investigating the Australian Vaccination Network as reported in The West Australian.
Along with an example of Meryl’s economic use of facts to construct fallacies it included this flyer given out during Dorey’s Supercalifragilistichomeoprophylaxis W.A. Tour 2011. Of course if you click, it will embiggen itself. We are interested in the far left panel. Yes, that’s correct that 33.3% of that side of the flyer. One third as it were. Under Become A Member Or Donate.
It’s awfully interesting because when the OLGR revoked the AVN’s charitable fundraising licence they mentioned that the AVN – which basically means Meryl Dorey:
… is not entitled to accept donations from members of the public via any method of collection including face-to-face and online appeals. AVN is not prevented from receiving donations from its members as this is not considered fundraising for the purposes of the charitable fundraising legislation.
Dorey aka the Australian Vaccination Network was also prevented from taking new memberships when the revocation came into effect. At first glance this may seem strange, but the OLGR is there to protect the public from charity fraud amongst other things. As the AVN had refused to comply with HCCC demands to warn the public about it’s antivaccination stance, the OLGR took the view that receipt of monies could not be judged to occur in good faith. Ergo, purchasing a new membership could feasibly be done under the stupendously erroneous belief that the AVN was presenting accurate information.
The wording of the OLGR revocation is clear in that Dorey is forbidden to conduct fundraising. The above flyer is directly soliciting for donations and membership. The OLGR’s definition of a fund raising appeal is:
The soliciting or receiving of any money, property or other benefit from the public constitutes a fundraising appeal if a representation is made (this may be implied) that the appeal is for a charitable purpose or for the support of an organisation having a charitable object.
An appeal may take a variety of forms — donations, sponsorship, telethons, the conduct of lotteries and competitions, the supply of food, entertainment or other goods or services, or in connection with any other commercial undertaking. A membership drive undertaken by an organisation is a fundraising appeal if one of the objects of the organisation is a charitable object.
The term is not limited to simple collections from the public.
If you have embiggened you’ll notice that (apart from charging $15 per head for attending her seminar), that the options for donations and membership include:
My understanding is that any number of people may have queried the legality of this grab for cash, not least because Living Wisdom is several editions behind and may not rear it’s woo again. The initial news item that Consumer Protection was “investigating” the AVN came from Cathy O’Leary. Meryl, calling herself a “Consumer Watchdog Advocate”, emailed her list subscribers on November 12th with the following media release. It wasn’t actually released in any media, but was emailed to Media Watch where it was seemingly ignored. So I guess it’s just an email.
Basically Meryl is trying to sully Cathy’s reputation by alluding to a Media Watch article on O’Leary. Needless to say this has no bearing whatsoever on the content, accuracy or implications of her article Anti-vaccination Group Under Scrutiny. In part O’Leary wrote:
The NSW-based Australian Vaccination Network held public forums in Perth, Busselton, Jurien Bay and Geraldton, charging $15 and giving out brochures asking people to donate to the group.
Notice Dorey does not actually refute the claim of asking for donations. Rather, she refutes the claim of there being an investigation. Dorey claims to have contacted Consumer Protection who “confirmed” this. She also makes the claim of discovering that Cathy O’Leary is a sole complainant – also “confirmed”. That strikes me as unusual. O’Leary did not lodge any complaint.
So in effect this “media release” is just another falsehood created by Meryl Dorey. It also goes on to say she filed complaints with MEAA and the Press Council. No-one cared. A “nameless” ABC contact suggested sections 1 and 5 of the Journalists Code of Ethics had likely been breached, Dorey thundered. Nothing happened. I do know that Cathy O’Leary is one of Australia’s most loved journalists since reporting on the AVN. Perhaps that was the real problem.
As for likening four small paragraphs in The West Australian to the News of the World’s demise and the scandalous abuses involved one can only call our new advocate for consumer watchdogs (which is what I presume a Consumer Watchdog Advocate is) quite deluded.
More to the point it seems things didn’t go to plan in dismissing this caper as the dastardly work of one journalist. Today on Facebook Meryl Dorey blamed volunteer group Stop The AVN for pretty much the same thing. Does she even pay attention? Apparently not. It seems the penny has dropped regarding being caught out asking for donations and more, a full 16 days since Cathy O’Leary’s article. Or perhaps some type of mail arrived? If so, I wonder if the word “investigation” was used.
Pleading innocence Dorey claims this flyer was inadvertently handed out at The Conscious Living Expo in Perth where they were being given away “for free”. Yes, free! Wow that’s mighty generous. You see, the requests for donations and option for membership had been crossed out with a “black texta”.
Stop the AVN, in their usual vile manner, is in the process of filing complaints everywhere they possibly can, saying that we took donations or memberships whilst we were out in Western Australia. Their evidence is a flu vaccination flyer that was supposedly handed out at the Conscious Living Expo. This flyer was being given away for free (we have updated the flyers to change the membership information – all the other information is unchanged).
I had crossed out the membership / donation information in black texta but either the person from SAVN who picked one up at our stand got one that had been missed or else, they were using an older copy that was not blacked out – because when these forms were originally printed, we were still able to take members and accept donations from the general public.
How absolutely amazing. What are the odds, eh? It’s all an oversight. A complete fluke that someone happened to pick that one up. Stupid, stupid Texta. Just another little error. Like with the OLGR. Saying 23 breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act is so excessive as Meryl pointed out last October. Just little errors:
… the simple errors …errors which any small, volunteer-run organisation can and does make
She continued on with Textagate:
As I have said numerous times, both here on Facebook, in our magazine and in other locations as well as at my seminars, the AVN is not allowed to take on new members or donations from non-AVN members because this group and various government departments have blocked that in an attempt to – as they say – stop the AVN. The fact that this assault on our freedom of communication has been allowed is a black mark against Australia and proof that it is very far from a democracy. […]
in (sic) the meantime, as much as I hate to respond to those horrible, abusive, heartless people who do not care one little bit about your children who have been killed or injured by vaccines, it was necessary to do so because they just love to sling the mud around and I value the trust and respect of our AVN members.
“… I value the trust and respect of our AVN members”. Gosh. Have I been a bit harsh judging Meryl as ripping off AVN members? What comes next?
If you believe that what is happening is wrong. If you think that the government should not be trying to shut the AVN down and that groups like SAVN that are – let’s face it – not information groups but simply hate groups who don’t want you to have the right to make informed health choices, then please support us with your subscription and / or by purchasing books. Use this link – (link here) to read our recent newsletter and then, subscribe as a digital, hard copy or professional subscriber. If you are already a member, please renew.
Spend as little as $25 to strike a blow for freedom and if you have friends or family or clients who you think would like to know about this issue, please sign them up for a gift subscription for as little as $25.
Hmmmm. Apparently not. Emotion, conspiratorial plotting, callousness toward your children[s] vaccine injuries/deaths and then more pleading for money via the incredibly inflated AVN Shop or the non existent hard copies of Living Wisdom. A link to AVN rubbish packaged as Christmas goodies. Would anyone fall for that?
What do we see above? On the one hand Dorey attacks a journalist for (supposedly) complaining about her, “giving out brochures asking people to donate to the group” at W.A. seminars. Dorey at no time refutes this. Then suddenly when aware of presumably more complainants she has a ready excuse. A Texta no less. With this Bart Simpson excuse she vilifies those who would challenge her antivaccination message, places herself so far above the law as to ridicule Australian democracy then asks for even more money. I’ve no doubt that stash of flyers has a bunch nicely blacked out in Texta now.
More to the point as well as being duped by Meryl Dorey, once in her clutches existing members (financial or group) are the target of back to back scams. Dorey invents stories that are designed to keep alive the myth of regular vaccine injuries, big brother callousness and abuse of your steadily eroding civil rights, along with the terror of mandatory vaccination. In this scam Dorey invents fictitious nurses that she diagnosed via Google with Lupus Panniculitis, brought on by compulsory HBV vaccination. What can members do? Why, donate their Maternity Immunisation Allowance of course. And why do this? Well fictitious members are already doing so because:
…without the AVN’s lobbying Parliament to get legislation put through to ensure their rights to government entitlements, they wouldn’t have this money or the Childcare Allowance anyway so they felt that we deserved part of it for our support of them.
Which is all a load of fiction in itself. Dorey and the AVN have no history of lobbying beyond writing offensive and ranting letters. Manipulation of emotion and embellishment are constant features in her scams. Donors never receive updates or breakdowns of where this money goes. This advertisement scam and this absconding family scam are two the OLGR confirmed raised money that vanished into Dorey’s pockets. In fact check page 81 of Ken McLeod’s comprehensive Meryl Dorey’s trouble with the truth part 3 to note:
A calculation of the total amount raised from all these appeals and scams, and others not mentioned here, approaches $500,000. None of it was processed according the relevant NSW legislation; where did it go?
In my mind it’s very clear who is vile, hate filled and cares naught for children.
I don’t believe her for a second.
PS: Do pop over to the site by @reasonable_hank, who had earlier published on Textagate. I mean, it’s not until you actually see a flyer with all that Texta….