Wollongong Uni, Brian Martin & Judy Wilyman: How Far Is Too Far?

As many of you know a recent comment from one Judy Wilyman has drawn enormous attention.

Judy is a strident antivaccination lobbyist. On the matter of addressing or providing evidence, Judy’s record is arguably less than ideal. Perhaps more times than a reasonable person would accept Judy has inferred conspiratorial motives block her from exposing vaccines’ flaws.

Judy told an audience in W.A. that only “scientific research” would be presented to them. Then that the media only report on vaccine preventable fatalities in order to, “coerce us into vaccination” and as such “run fear campaigns”. It follows then that “We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests”.

She continued with her Orwellian “science”:

There is no measure of delayed responses of vaccines or long term health studies of children monitoring the combined effects of vaccines. That’s the hard evidence that we would need to say this programme (childhood vaccination) is safe.

Writing to the Hon. Ms. Nicola Roxon [then] Federal Minister for Health, in November 2011 Judy asserted, “The Australian government will be committing a crime against humanity by introducing [immunisation incentives]”.

And that:

There is no historical evidence that vaccines controlled any of the infectious diseases listed in government immunization policies – in any developed country.

There’s a video considering this point here. Still, Judy worries over the “Conflicts of interest that exist in the science that is used in policy-development”. Or as she claimed with unusual confidence, when putting Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek “on notice” last January :

Until these issues are addressed the public is rejecting coercive or mandatory immunization policies that result in the discrimination of healthy individuals

What are these issues Judy has taken up on our behalf? You can read them in full conspiracy tilt here. Suffice it to say the lead up included:

The community has lost confidence in the ability of the Health Department to make decisions in the best interests of the public due to the lack of integrity in the science being used and the conflicts of interest in individuals on government advisory boards. There is overwhelming evidence for this and I will list this below. As a result of this corruption of the scientific process the community has lost confidence in the Government’s Childhood Immunisation Schedule as it is clearly driven by profit and not safety.

The community, for whom this policy is designed, is saying no to coercive mandatory immunization policies. Choice in vaccination in Australia exists more in theory than practice and this is not acceptable to the public. It is unethical for a Government to link considerable financial benefits to a Public Health policy involving a medical procedure which has not been proven safe or effective.

The community?! Yet this is not the view of the community. Judy signed the letter, “PhD Candidate”. She is studying at the University of Wollongong under Dr. Brian Martin – himself a defender of antivaccination “dissent”. How far is too far? Is Dr. Martin in agreement? Does the University of Wollongong condone ultimatums to our Health Minister, made in reflection of their student body?

Former Australian Of The Year and Founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Professor Fiona Stanley, is someone who has received awards for 17 years due to her work on children’s health. Long described by Judy Wilyman and Meryl Dorey as a corrupt human being who forces what Dorey calls “instruments of death” onto children, she merely described their combined message as “bizarre” and “so misinformed it’s crazy” [MP3].

Mind you, I have no problem with addressing conflicts of interest related to therapeutic goods’ manufacture, use and/or regulation. Far from it. Yet the need to ensure best practice in legislation and industry does not equate to verification of blanket corruption or hard evidence of “a crime against humanity”. The fact is that the evidence to support attacks on vaccines is simply not there.

Which raises a question of profound morality. Judy Wilyman makes much of her “PhD researcher” status. She makes excessive use of her association with the University of Wollongong. Her supervisor Dr. Brian Martin is president of Whistleblowers Australia and a professor of social sciences at the same university. Dr. Martin has been investigating “suppression of dissent” for around 33 years. He has authored a great number of articles and papers on the topic, 15 books and 5 booklets.

Perhaps Judy is selective in the conflicts of interest she rails against?

Some of you may remember the name David Lewis. He wrote a letter in response to Brian Deer’s BMJ articles on Andrew Wakefield. He chose to defend Wakefield after attending “a vaccine safety conference in Jamaica, where Andrew Wakefield discussed his research”. It was a five star extravaganza paid for by the “vaccine-safety” promoters. Wakefield was the headline act. Why was he there? Lewis is from The US National Whistleblowers Center, and was luxuriated with others similarly inclined.

In attending what was a grand conspiracy-riddled event designed to polish the evidence vacuum of “vaccine safety” into a slick profit making machine, Lewis informs us greatly as to how whistleblowers and dissent observers network, think and of course, defend those who claim innocence regardless of evidence. The US National Whistleblowers Center contact details are on Brian Martin’s website under “Suppression of dissent” Contacts. I stress strongly I am making no assumptions from a listed contact. However, one is able to identify trends emerging here.

Whistleblowers must surely hold evidence and facts above the status quo. They aim to expose wrongdoing at risk and/or great cost to themselves. As such they have contributed greatly to justice and in cases where the greater good has not been realised, have educated the public and made us aware. Yet a whistleblower is an individual. Usually focused upon one case of wrongdoing. What of those who form these organisations? Is their reliance upon dissent and whistleblowing a conflict of interest?

What of those, like Lewis, who would insert themselves into a controversial case of profound impact that has run it’s course? The whistleblowers in the Wakefield/MMR scandal were those who exposed his fraud. His colleagues who dissented, other staff at The Royal Free who were misled and of course journalist Brian Deer. Deer, asked to do a ho-hum story on the matter discovered a trail of money and wrongdoing and ultimately blew the whistle.

A glance at Dr. Martin’s publication list is informative. Understanding, defending and profitting from dissent is Dr. Martin’s life’s work. His Suppression Of Dissent website opens with:

This site deals with attacks on dissenting views and individuals. The general field of “suppression of dissent” includes whistleblowing, free speech, systems of social control and related topics. The purpose of the site is to foster examination of these issues and action against suppression. It is founded on the assumption that openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power.

I do rush to add I have no problem with this. Dr. Martin claims a very neutral tone. I perhaps have more than a neutral interest. I spent many years investing huge amounts of time in defending the magnificent strides Australia made in illicit drug policy. Human Rights gave us Harm Reduction. Then suddenly, from world innovators in the mid 1980’s to the Evangelical puppetry that took hold during the great stupor of the Howard years, I saw incalculable inhumanity in my own nation.

Thus I strongly agree that “openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power”. The evidence for even greater change is overwhelming. I dealt in it for many years. Similarly I was exposed to ample abuse of minority groups and am familiar with appalling abuse of power and corruption.

Also then, I would hope I have the experience that justifies my bemusement of Brian Martin’s self righteous defence of this “Air Guitar” of suppression of dissent and claimed oppression put on by Meryl Dorey and his student, Judy Wilyman. Their endless mantra is an insult to so many tangled in corruption from the gutter to the halls of power. It is bereft of morality and I sincerely question Dr. Martin’s defence of neutral academic interest.

When it comes to critical thought and morality we have a grave responsibility. To evidence. Not the evidence that we want, but that which is.

So now we must ask more about our devotee to suppression of dissent, Dr. Brian Martin, who inserted himself in the defence of the AVN. How far is too far? Why did he attack the real whistleblower, Ken McLeod, and in doing so wrench the hearts of the McCaffery family? The whistle was blown on a cruel charity fraudster, a scam artist, a fear monger and one who had made a long living from donations gathered from members with the promise of urgent action to solve manufactured dissent.

The AVN took in $1.8 million between 2004 and 2010. It’s estimated they owe over $180,000 in unprinted magazines for which they have already been paid the subscription fees. This blog is dotted with the fraud making the AVN many tens of thousands more and numerous scams to keep fear running. Does Brian Martin seriously defend and enable such conduct with the defence of academic neutrality?

Brian Martin publishes using his title at University of Wollongong and his UOW email address. So again, how far is too far for this university to turn a blind eye to sickness, degradation and incredibly the corruption that yields a profit for the AVN? Research and academia at the University of Wollongong appear synonymous with antivaccination schemes.

At what point does dissent become denial? Or rather, why should denial ever be labelled dissent? How can a PhD supervisor support denial and antisocial tactics in the name of education? Wilyman markets herself as currently completing my PhD in environmental health policy at the University of Wollongong, very quickly moving on to claim against all consensus:

The diseases that have been increasing since the late 80’s include allergies, anaphylaxis, ADHD, autism, coeliac disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases (e.g. arthritis and diabetes). The medical journals and animal studies link the ingredients of vaccines as a cause of these diseases. Although the increase in these diseases correlates to the increasing use of vaccines, the government has not funded research that would prove or disprove this plausible link.

However, The Australian Immunisation Handbook notes; Research has constantly replicated no link in the following:

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and any vaccine.
  • autism and MMR vaccine.
  • multiple sclerosis and hepatitis B vaccine.
  • inflammatory bowel disease and MMR vaccine.
  • diabetes and Hib vaccine.
  • asthma and any vaccine.

If Judy Wilyman has her way, Dr. Brian Martin will turn a blind eye from evidence, from research and from moral obligation. His position at UOW brings more responsibility. Has he already jettisoned it in lieu of allowing dissent to thrive, no matter the consequence? How far is too far to move the line of ones personal interests and career over ones responsibility in academia?

If Wilyman has her way she will become perhaps the first person to receive a PhD solely from attacking successful public health policy. From lying. From selectively abusing research. From ignoring evidence. From appealing to conspiracy. Judy is doing no research as we understand it, despite the puffy chested bragging. She is reviewing literature from which she draws scurrilous error to envelope in semantics and put forth as argument.

In the last 2 1/2 years Wilyman appears to have completed 3 papers. All on the same topic. Arguing that not enough Aussie women die from cervical cancer to justify the HPV vaccine. Her 4th project was a poster – a synopsis of this argument using the same graphic. In 6 1/2 years she has published 12 times including another poster and a brochure.

Vaccines only exist thanks to corruption, Wilyman ultimately concludes in light of them having no benefit. Some dark, wicked machine that runs only to profit from making fellow humans sick. Sadly, Wilyman now adds, this includes the grieving parents of a tiny baby. Somehow in this delusion Judy includes others who value evidence, human and consumer rights and the quest for truth more than anything. “They” are all against Judy Wilyman.

This video out-take from Lateline is a quick synopsis of how Meryl Dorey sought the medical records of the same infant. Dorey demanded access to the infant’s medical records and contended that Paul Corben, Director of Public Health at the North Coast Area Health Service misled the public by confirming a pertussis fatality. Corben wrote to the family:

Ms. Dorey called me on the 12th of March seeking details of your daughter’s illness and death… Ms. Dorey contended that I had misled the public in attributing your daughter’s death to pertussis.

This was a key reason for forming Stop The AVN and lodging a complaint. Since then slurs against and abuse of the family has been arguably frequent. Reasonablehank covers the latest in a long string of pleas from the family for compassion.

The University of Wollongong look set to bestow a highly prized academic title upon a fraud. A woman who, no matter how passionate, no matter how driven, no matter how dedicated, is quite simply wrong. How possibly can the University of Wollongong award a doctorate to an antivaccination lobbyist? In absolute dissonance to the position of the worlds medical community no less?

There is no scientific doubt. Vaccination is an overwhelming success. All that Dr. Martin and the University of Wollongong can achieve by affirming and rewarding a fraud, is to drive down vaccination rates, mislead and confuse the public, spread disease, counter public health programmes, cost Australia ongoing millions and ultimately take lives. Innocent lives.

Dr. Martin insists he has no opinion either way. Just an interest. His topic list includes ample conspiracy theory interest however. Origin of AIDS, fluoride in water, vaccination. Areas wherein “dissenters” cause harm. Indeed his article defending Meryl Dorey attacking her critics and science itself, was published with reference to The University of Wollongong.

Thus this raises their position on the support or not of Australia’s vaccination regime. The article is entitled Debating Vaccination: understanding the attack on the AVN.

Debating vaccination quote

Dr. Brian Martin: Debating Vaccination

Should Dr. Martin justify how he can defend Meryl Dorey’s conduct as “dissent” when it is not backed by evidence. At what point does Ms. Dorey’s misinformation cause harm and how does seeking to impede public harm by legislative and regulatory means constitute an abuse of free speech? As an observer or an interested academic at what point should Dr. Martin accept he has already legitamised the antivaccination stance?

What ethics apply to someone who calmly claims to have a neutral interest in what is apparently dissent? When is the outcome of Dr. Martin’s work deemed to have contributed to a demise in public health? There is no doubt persisting with the demonstrably flawed antivaccination mantra at academic levels has catastrophic effects on vaccination rates. Can Dr. Martin really claim impartiality as he contributes to the reduction in immunisation? Indeed, is defending the AVN even moral or humane?

Ms. Dorey quotes Dr. Martin on her website to justify her actions. This pseudo-neoconservative plan has worked well. Dorey’s aim has been firstly to avoid serious discussion or examination of evidence. In creating an enemy and fabricating malignant actions such as threats, bullying, abuse of venue owners, needing security and so on the illusion that Dorey is abused begins to take hold.

Secondly, by continually naming and embellishing an entity as the enemy, whilst attributing malignancy, gives a constant psychological peg for readers to identify with. So it’s constantly “skeptics, The Australian Skeptics or Stop the AVN”. Dorey argues all are linked and an abundance of funds is bent on destroying her. To the conspiracy mind this makes absolute sense.

I’ve already deconstructed Dorey’s claim that her opponents don’t believe in free speech. It is fallacious and again fills the void that should be filled by evidence confirming she is an authority on the topic.

Recently in preparing more work Dr. Martin sent, as is his practice, a copy for comment to critics of Ms. Dorey. I asked why Meryl censors her websites and why she had not replied to emails I had sent defeating her pertussis and autism arguments. He replied in part:

Can you give me any example of a person who has been systematically vilified, subject to numerous formal complaints and who has received threats and pornography and yet who is quite happy to open the target group’s discussion forum to people from the attacking crowd? As soon as SAVN launched its campaigns, it closed down most prospects for genuine dialogue. I think it is completely unrealistic to expect openness from targets of this sort of attack. To complain about censorship by those being attacked this way is, to my mind, to misunderstand who are responsible.

Complaints are justified and serve a larger public interest. They are a legal avenue to raise dissent – something Dr. Martin would be well aware of. The HCCC findings were not quashed by Justice Christine Adamson in The Supreme Court of NSW and accordingly remain valid. Thus, I would argue Ms. Dorey is taking an easy way out. Dr. Martin is an intelligent man. Clearly he must realise that orchestrated attacks upon a public health policy such as vaccination will be resisted.

Ms. Dorey and the AVN were found to be dishonest and pose a risk to public health. That an appeal was won against displaying a web page to this effect does not change this.

The reality is that Meryl has no evidence and even more so, less regard for authority. Asked recently to remove an advertisement promoting an illicit and dangerous therapeutic good – the subject of a TGA warning – Meryl opened an appeal for $50,000 to fight the TGA. A “legal fighting fund”.

Threats and pornography cannot be levelled at opposition to Ms. Dorey. It is a cheap shot in no way linked to those keen to engage with Ms. Dorey and Dr. Martin lowers his own image in repeating these manufactured tactics.

Dr. Martin co-authored the article Exposing and opposing censorship: backfire dynamics in freedom of speech struggles in which we note:

The normal aim of censorship is to suppress speech, publications and other forms of expression in whole or part. But sometimes the act of censorship creates more attention to and support for the censored work and its creator than would have occurred without the intervention of censors. This process, which we call backfire, is most likely to occur in societies that place a high value on freedom of expression. […]

Devaluing the target makes attacks seem less objectionable, at least to most people. Censorship of liars and thieves does not generate the same outrage as censorship of courageous dissidents. Therefore it is predictable that those who want to curtail free speech will denigrate targets and critics. […]

Devaluation of targets can be countered by arguing for the value of all people, by exposing double standards and by exposing the technique of devaluation.

In his own words then, by devaluing “the target” (SAVN) through baseless accusations of intimidation, pornography, threats, oppression and labelling legal and vital defence of public health as an “attack”, Dr. Martin can defend Meryl Dorey’s censorship. She has no obligation to provide any evidence or engage in discourse. Yet, this is defensive relativism. By coaching Dorey to continue with the plan of persecution over evidence, filling her blogs with endless self pity and insinuation of abuse, threats… etc, attention is (in theory) drawn away from the lack of evidence.

But how far is too far? It is still cowardly censorship and such defence does not fool observers. By attacking critics as “vile, hate groups, pond scum, communists, losers, paedophiles” and more, Meryl has significantly weakened the justification of the argument. If the McCaffery’s can reciprocate in a polite and pleasant manner – albeit they’re begging for mercy – may I highlight the double standard at play and simply reject this defence.

More so, as has already happened by ignoring any discourse and censoring her sites Dorey has lowered any respect that critics and other interested parties would gladly afford her. Her only avenue to integrity is by engaging with the scientific and medical communities and all families of Australia.

Clearly serious questions arise as to Dr. Martin’s very well experienced manipulation of both sides of this issue. Given the absence of evidence to support antivaccination arguments and the abundance of evidence supporting all vaccine regimes Australians have a right to ask questions. Is Dr. Martin really an impartial observer or now an active player lending academic credence to the antithesis of the Immunise Australia programme, cleverly playing off two groups for his own benefit? In the present climate documenting and publishing on the antivaccination issue would prove very interesting.

In the past Dr. Martin has avoided answering what he thinks of the abuse of the McCafferys because, “I haven’t studied the area of offensive speech sufficiently for me to express an opinion.” Thus he abstained from “a viewpoint”. Will his answer about all of Dorey’s and Wilyman’s transgressions similarly come from hiding behind the emotion of a computer terminal? Is his entire zeitgeist of human morality, compassion, right and wrong down to what he has studied?

Review the above conduct of Meryl Dorey if you wish and ask if lacking sufficient knowledge of a very specific notion would let you off the hook for moral awareness or moral obligation. How many of you studied the area of offensive speech before forming an opinion well enough to express it on the treatment of the McCafferys?

I for one suggest this is a crafty defence. In defending and enabling antivaccination fraud there is a cost to Australian health that is solely the responsibility of Dr. Brian Martin. Already he is in quite some debt.

Is Dr. Martin incapable of discerning when denial has replaced dissent and in doing so destroyed the truth? It appears he would argue so. How far will the University of Wollongong go in defending this conduct? Do both Dr. Martin and the University condone an organised risk to public health, demonstrated to mislead the public through selective use of research. One that now seeks to use it’s Fundraising Authority to fight a Therapeutic Goods Administration order to remove advertisements for a dangerous, corrosive and illicit cancer “cure”?

What is the stance of both regarding Judy Wilyman’s misguided PhD venture? Her academic freedom is of great significance but if that freedom is allowed to be abused under the auspices of Dr. Martin and/or The University of Wollongong then not only have they failed Ms. Wilyman, but made a mockery of Australian Higher Education.

We don’t need a PhD to work this out, University of Wollongong. You have an ill informed renegade student threatening Federal Health ministers, our national immunisation programme and also the health of the Australian public. Her supervisor has burned the moral bridge between personal gain and community responsibility.

How far is too far? The time for action has long since passed.

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About @advodiaboli
I'm not really a cast iron flying pig.

9 Responses to Wollongong Uni, Brian Martin & Judy Wilyman: How Far Is Too Far?

  1. Unfortunately, Brian Martin ceased even the faintest sniff of objectivity the day he became a financial supporter of the AVN. He subscribed to the magazine when he didn’t need to: Ms Dorey could have easily provided him with copies. Now that the AVN has its CFA again, Dr Martin, by Ms Dorey’s own admission, must be a financial member of the AVN.

    No COI there, right? I’m right, right?

    • @advodiaboli says:

      I haven’t studied conflict of interest in this context to allow me to make any comment :/

      Well it’s an undeniable slur upon his integrity simply placing whatever gain he’s planning above and beyond both his role in defending whistleblowing as of high credibility, and attempting to palm off Dorey’s denial and crookery as dissent.

      A shame for UOW.

      • thh1859 says:

        I don’t understand this sentence.
        “Well it’s an undeniable slur upon his integrity simply placing whatever gain he’s planning above and beyond both his role in defending whistleblowing as of high credibility, and attempting to palm off Dorey’s denial and crookery as dissent.”
        Who is doing what to whom?

      • @advodiaboli says:

        As it’s a reply to the preceding comment the “he” is Brian Martin. The author of the comment correctly notes that as a member (at that time) of Australia’s most dishonest and socially harmful anti-vaccine/anti-health lobby group he “ceased [to have] even the faintest sniff of objectivity“. Martin defended his choice to become “a financial member of the AVN” by claiming it provided access to the group magazine. In reality however he could have obtained copies from the AVN president – Meryl Dorey.

        Thus, there was a reason other than magazine access for which he joined this group. As an academic employed by University of Wollongong, publishing articles, supervising PhD students, Vice President and International Director (and past president) of Whistleblowers Australia, Martin had an interest in maintaining academic and intellectual integrity. Let’s call these points Role A.

        Relying upon these positions and the specificity of his body of work regarding suppression of dissent (citing such as references), Martin had strongly defended Meryl Dorey and cast meaningless doubt upon the globally accepted scientific consensus supporting the value of vaccination. He further argued her demonstrably fallacious anti-vaccine activity was genuine “dissent” and quite falsely presented the AVN as “a citizens group”. In fact this group of conspiracy theorists engaged in evidence denial. In order to secure the respect of critical readers, Martin needed to maintain an image untarnished by quackery and crackpots. Let’s call these points Role B.

        Maintaining the integrity of both Roles A and B suggest a real need to preserve his objectivity.

        Ultimately Brian Martin failed spectacularly in defending his academic image or any shred of objectivity. But at the time this post was published it was clear Martin’s choice to join a group that engaged in despicable sabotage of public health and defended unpleasant individuals (from scam artists to criminals) was a poor one. Ergo: one may assume that to risk both Role A and B that some inherent reward was available or possible.

        This leads to the reply including: “…it’s an undeniable slur upon his integrity simply placing whatever gain he’s planning above and beyond (Roles A and B)”.

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  6. Smut Clyde says:

    Can you give me any example of a person who has been systematically vilified, subject to numerous formal complaints and who has received threats and pornography and yet who is quite happy to open the target group’s discussion forum to people from the attacking crowd?

    Orac at Respectful Insolence comes to mind.

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