Meryl Dorey fights to keep misleading title

I have seen evidence that there was even an attempt to have me deported from Australia via complaints to the Dept of Immigration…

– Meryl Dorey adds another angle to her profile as a Freedom Fighter –

Not for the first time, a salient point was serendipitously driven home on the Facebook page Stop The Australian Vaccination Network.

Last Friday night a young lady unleashed some criticism that highlights the cunning purpose of the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network’s name.

Apologies for the overt racism in there. This is far from the neatest example but it does show how persuasive first impressions can be. No doubt this has been Meryl Dorey’s intent all along. To divert attention away from her role as an antivaccine lobbyist.

Simply claiming to not be antivaccine is rather pointless however. Years ago (circa 2005) the proud antivaccine conspiracy group Vaccine Truth made a mockery of the USA NIIC phrase. Meryl took the opportunity to lift the same phrase straight from them.

Before becomming the Australian Vaccination Network in 1996, her group of antivaccine lobbyists was the Vaccine Awareness Network. Thus I was slightly amused to see an AVN contributor suggest to Meryl they switch to “Australian Vaccine Awareness Network”. More amusingly this was supported by Meryl’s most vocal Pit Poodle.

The misleading name has secured media attention and a cornucopia of false balance. Genuinely concerned and in-need parents have been fooled. People have donated money believing advanced safety testing of vaccines was an AVN priority. They scored a Charitable Fundraising Authority. Life was quite comfortable until Stop The AVN formed and exposed schemes, scams, fraud and theft.

This led in part to an investigation by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission. It found that the AVN website:

  • Provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • Contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • Quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous

Under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, the HCCC had recommended the AVN put an unambiguous disclaimer on its website to convey:

  • The AVN’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 provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

Whilst the AVN insist that the HCCC findings were “overturned” on appeal, this is not the case. A Supreme Court ruling found the HCCC had acted outside it’s jurisdiction in posting a public warning. Ms. Dorey’s aim to have the findings abolished was firmly rejected. The HCCC public warning was removed.

The AVN disclaimer is available here, which essentially covers the points sought by the HCCC. There is thus no doubt. The AVN is an antivaccination lobby group. They are antivaccine, against vaccination, purport to offer alternatives to vaccination and falsely claim to posses a “data base” of vaccine injuries.

Recently as Dorey promoted her latest conspiracy-themed seminar series there was renewed focus on the salient point in question. What Jane McCredie has referred to as:

This country’s most prominent anti-vaccination group, the confusingly named Australian Vaccination Network…

Medical Observer recently reported under Anti-vax lobby rejects AMA call for a name change:

Australian College of Midwives executive officer Ann Kinnear told MO her organisation forwarded an email invitation to an AVN event to about 1400 NSW members before angry midwives told her the Health Care Complaints Commission had in 2009 declared AVN an anti-immunisation lobby.

“Subsequent information that’s come to hand has made me realise it’s a mistake,” Ms Kinnear said. […]

“If a major health organisation understandably is taken in, members of the public would have little hope of realising that they were not accessing independent, credible advice,” AMA (NSW) CEO Fiona Davies said.

Dr Brian Morton, chair of the AMA’s council for general practice, said AVN’s name was “duplicitous, it confuses the public, they are anti-vaccination and they certainly don’t report the evidence”.

Last weekend a suitably tabloid themed heading from the Sunday Telegraph carried some further developments. Doctors unite to smash the anti-vaccine group:

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts have been urged to force the change on the NSW-registered group in a letter signed by Associate Professor of La Trobe University Dr Ken Harvey.

His call is backed by experts from the Australian Medical Association and the University of Sydney.

As the AVN is registered with the Office of Fair Trading the government can in fact order a name change.

Dorey of course continues with the line the AVN is not antivaccination but “pro-choice”.

Predictably Ms. Dorey has afforded her critics ownership of the term “smash”, despite it appearing only in the headline of the story.

She must have been delighted. In a rambling, stumbling diatribe Dorey included:

They would have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to date trying to “Smash” our small, volunteer-run organisation… We are David to their Goliath and because we stand for truth, freedom and democracy… […]

The idea that a group of doctors can unite to SMASH an organisation that questions a medical procedure sounds more like economic protectionism than true concern to me.

Wait. Economic protectionism? As in restriction of international trade? Subsidising locally produced goods or produce? Taxing imports via the application of tariffs? I think, comrade, that Meryl has been hanging out with her fellow freedom fighters at Conspiracy Central a bit too much.

Which gets to the reasons a name change has become more and more an issue of public safety. The AVN has become less and less about opposing vaccines and merely spreading fear and confusion on the topic. This is the result of a hard working group of volunteers, concerned GPs, medical organisations, certain journalists, reputable parenting forums and the self sabotage of the AVN by Meryl Dorey herself.

Today Meryl Dorey can be found on conspiracy podcasts playing laser tag warriors with some of the more unhinged members of society. If not skepgoating individual skeptics as part of an organised hate group, it’s absurdities such as the above claim that, “hundreds of thousands of dollars” has been spent targetting her alone.

The constant criticism of conventional medicine is commonplace, as is quite evident in this “media release” . Setting out to send a message of defiance on name change, it again squeezes in the notion of being “under attack”.

Let me choose one example to drive home how antivaccine Ms. Dorey really is. Here’s an ABC article warning on the dangers of co-sleeping, including Baby Talk audio. On July 6th, the ABC also reported criticism from the Victorian coroner regarding inconsistent warnings. Almost half of all sudden infant deaths involve co-sleeping. The coroners criticism was welcomed by experts in the field.

Here is Meryl Dorey advising a member of her group in November last year:

Yesterday Meryl sought to encourage another member to contact the families of SIDS cases to “find out if the children were vaccinated before their death”.

Dr. Ken Harvey would appear to be completely correct in his observation that, “The deceptive name of the organisation has potentially deadly consequences”.

Quite so, and this is simply one example that carries a single insight into how far out of step Dorey is with safe advice. More so, the AVN is less and less representative of adherents to alternatives to medicine and even genuine vaccine opponents. As polarising as certain choices clearly are, few Aussies accept there is a war to be fought or that General Dorey is their leader. Added to this is the reality that many new parents are now well aware of the AVN’s lethal, conspiratorial approach.

I’m not sure what the AVN should be called. Something in ancient Sanskrit maybe? Just don’t dare suggest they’re antivaccine.

What would ever give you that idea?

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

3 Responses to Meryl Dorey fights to keep misleading title

  1. Linda says:

    I do believe that Dr, oops sorry, Mrs Dorey was giving medical advice regarding co-sleeping. Yes?

  2. B says:

    Anyone else notice the most eye catching thing on Meryl’s ‘save our name’ page was the donation button? She screams about free speech from a facebook page that restricts posts to only those who agree with her. She screams about harassment while contacting the family of dead babies and sending her cult members after others .. She is Australians Biggest Hypocrite.

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