Are Meryl Dorey’s critics really against free speech?

Well, they’ve (The Australian Skeptics) actually said it. It’s been said several times. We don’t have freedom of speech in Australia. Many of them have said that and I have quotes on the internet, you can see it.

Meryl Dorey speaking to Tiga Bayles on Let’s Talk 98.9 FM, 19th December 2011

Meryl Dorey has never been one for facts. Recently her claim that her critics, “say that we don’t have freedom of speech in Australia” (Let’s Talk transcript), has lurched into full gallop. It’s always been around as a demonstrable distortion of documented facts, which I’ll get onto. It pops up on Facebook during tirades to fellow members or on her website posts where it sits in competition with “health fascism”, how “disease mongering” is profitable, that the pharmaceutical industry is in “a secret pact with mainstream medicine” or stupidly comparing herself to the bogus “Lord” Monckton.

Those of us following Woodford Festival’s ill conceived decision to host this threat to public health as an “expert” on such a crucial health topic as vaccination, will be familiar with the “free speech means free pass” argument. Dr. Rachael Dunlop made the following observation writing on ABC’s The Drum:

The argument that has been circulating in favour of letting Dorey speak at the festival has been one of free speech. But this is not about free speech.

Dorey is entitled to voice her opinions but not her own facts. And when a public health warning has been issued about her information, it is the responsibility of the festival organisers to make people aware that she is not an authority on vaccination, that her information has been deemed misleading and she does not support you getting your kids vaccinated.

You could argue suppressing my right to yell “fire!” in a crowded cinema is also about free speech, but when people’s safety is at risk, common sense must prevail.

We’re also entering the 5th year of a pertussis epidemic which began in Ms. Dorey’s hunting grounds and from there spread across Australia. The festival attracts lovers of alternative thinking who can only be harmed by Ms. Dorey’s manipulative diatribes. As such, the organisers of Woodford Festival made an extremely poor, ignorant judgement call and are now complicit in risking Australian health.

Dorey’s talk and opposition to it have little to do with free speech. As I contended recently, her track record of scams, misappropriation of funds, exploitation of members, copyright abuse, lying to the media and much more reveal a cowardly bottom rung con artist who makes an easy living by misleading Aussie citizens and authorities. Her disdain for our laws and insult to our intelligence is blindingly obvious. Charity fraud (including misappropriation of business names), copyright abuse and non compliance with health authority legislation/regulation carry feather touch penalties.

The other fairly outrageous caper I find irksome is how Dorey lies to those who lend support. Those who trust her to tell the truth. She’s a convincing speaker, making her victims easy game. This angle to her grossness literally blossomed as Dorey took Tiga Bayles for a goose, abusing his not insignificant ignorance and blind trust almost ferociously. Tiga simply believed what she said and replied accordingly.

In a sad turn of events Tiga is denied any facts and quickly made the fool. By show’s end he’s almost worshiping at Dorey’s feet, convinced she is fighting “the haters”. Added to this is the sheer volume of effort given by Meryl Dorey toward misleading Tiga about her critics. If she has such a vital role to play in promoting “informed choice”, can’t she just knuckle down and get on with it?

Putting the AVN aside entirely, I always find it a bad sign when one agent has to define their own qualities by highlighting what are supposedly negative qualities in an opposing agent. For Meryl Dorey, the libellous and slanderous attacks on her critics have now become an indispensable binary dance of her own making.

Scarcely moments into the show Dorey misleads the audience and once again leaves little doubt as to why she must be challenged and held accountable:

We have the Health Minister in Queensland saying that it’s nonsense to look at the other side of the vaccination issue. And the National Health and Medical Research Council, which is the government body that’s involved with this, says that you have to be able to make an informed choice. So all we’re doing is trying to support what the National Health and Medical Research Council says, and allow people to make an informed choice. If doctors and the government were doing their job, we wouldn’t even have to be here. I could be off having fun with my family and instead I’m sitting here working. [….]

…. but there is an organisation called the Australian Skeptics, and they set up about three years ago a sub-group called “Stop the AVN”…. They just think everyone should vaccinate, just listen to your doctor, nobody who is not a doctor is able or has a right to talk about this information…. And they say that we don’t have freedom of speech in Australia, which is not correct. [….]

But people need to be aware of what vaccines they are giving their children, why they’re vaccinating and how effective and how safe the vaccines are. And this organisation, Stop the AVN, says you’re not entitled to know that. And I think that people should be aware that there is such a strong push, from a very small section of the community, to stop them from being informed.

All of this is false and Dorey knows it to be. If SAVN are recommending listening to one’s doctor, how can they also say people aren’t entitled to know “how effective and how safe the vaccines are”? That’s exactly what critics of vaccine deniers wish people to know. The show transcript is a cornucopia of infuriating lies, and we need to expose the genesis of Dorey’s musings on opposition to free speech. However, it must be said clearly that linking Stop The AVN with Australian Skeptics actually occurs only in Meryl Dorey’s mind.

SAVN was set up by a private individual after Meryl Dorey harassed the grieving parents of an infant who died from pertussis. 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.

Despite Corben’s clear email to this effect Dorey simply denies it. What ensued was a vindictive letter writing campaign and visits to family members by AVN intimates. It was not until The Australian Skeptics awarded Ms. Dorey the 2009 Bent Spoon Award for the traditional annual celebration of the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle, that Dorey’s hatred for all things skeptical was unleashed. Perhaps Meryl has difficulty accepting just how many critics she has. Yet I suspect painting this picture of a looming enemy is not only compulsory for conspiracy theorists, but far easier than providing evidence.

Dorey continued to mislead Tiga regarding free speech:

Tiga: […] And it’s our right as parents and family members to be making free and informed decisions, and give free and informed consent, if we disagree.

Meryl: They disagree with what you’ve just said. They say we don’t have freedom of speech and you don’t have a right to say no.

Tiga: And by the way, Phil said, no the skeptics don’t tell lies, well, he didn’t say they don’t tell lies, he said they don’t say there isn’t any freedom of speech, they might imply that.

Meryl: Well, they’ve actually said it. It’s been said several times. We don’t have freedom of speech in Australia. Many of them have said that and I have quotes on the internet, you can see it.

Tiga: But even to imply it, Meryl.

Meryl: Well, it’s more than implication because they actually have said that.

A caller, Phil, had quite honestly said that it may be implied (as Dorey is doing) that freedom of speech is opposed by those who object to demonstrable falsehoods capable of harm, being voiced without contest. Here’s the exchange:

Tiga: And the skeptics… is it right then what Meryl… was Meryl correct when she said the skeptics say that we don’t have freedom of speech. Is that something the skeptics would say? In this regard?

Phil: Well, it may be implied. But this isn’t a freedom of speech issue.

Tiga: But it may be implied, Okay.

Later Dorey and Tiga excel themselves:

Tiga: What are these people, like governments, doctors, Stop the Australian Vaccination Network, the skeptics, what are these people when it’s controlling, and the haters that are out there. What’s the difference, probably even much better off under a communist system.

Meryl: That’s right. There isn’t any difference. And Stop the AVN is a hate group. They definitely are. They act like a hate group, they’re abusive, they’re bullies. So, yeah, I agree with you 100% with what you’re saying and it’s anti-democratic. You know, in a democracy we do have this right to choose, we do have the right to speak, so anyone who says we’re not is not democratic, and I think we all want to live in a democracy.

I recommend browsing the transcript. Or you may download the entire 45 minute audio here (or listen below) and make up your own minds about pre-show collusion, Tiga’s arguably conspiratorial anti-medicine beliefs and Meryl’s hilarious claims that she doesn’t lie nor object to the position of doctors defending vaccination. There’s monumental abuse of indigenous health realities from both sides. A few moments of listening hint that Tiga is far too proud to ever admit what a fool Dorey has made of him.

So, what is the source of Dorey’s claim that her critics would deny free speech? Would any academics or critics seriously advance such a primitive notion? Is Dorey cognizant of perhaps a different reality, that exposes this position as an intentional lie? Or could she prove (as intimated) that critics of anti-vaccination propaganda, “say we don’t have freedom of speech and you don’t have a right to say no”?

It’s possible to turn this right around and find that the evidence shows something quite different. Meryl Dorey is really about saying what she wants even if it has been shown to harm individuals or society in general.

In his complaint to the HCCC Mr. Ken McLeod addressed the issue of AVN free speech on page 6. [Item 5] Is the AVN protected by a right of free speech?

Contrary to the perceptions of an Australian public raised on a diet of Hollywood movies, there is no right of free speech in the Australian Constitution. On the contrary, Australian legislation and case law are littered with restrictions on speech, from contempt of parliament, national security, contempt of Court, sub judice rules, criminal defamation, breach of copyright, racial vilification, etc. For example, see Jones v Frederick Toben.

In 2002, a judge of the Federal Court of Australia found that Töben’s website “vilified Jewish people”, and ordered Töben to remove offensive material from his site. In May 2009, he was sentenced to three months in jail by Justice Bruce Lander after being found guilty of 24 charges of contempt, in that he continued to publish offensive views in defiance of Court orders {Jones v Toben [2009] FCA 354}.

Likewise, cancer quack Jillian Margaret Newlands has been ordered by the Queensland Supreme Court to cease providing her quack cancer cure and dangerous advice, such as advising clients not to seek chemotherapy treatment. [Public Statement by Qld Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading Peter Lawlor, Thursday, April 23, 2009 “Unregistered health provider ordered to stop misleading cancer patients”]

So, in Australia, one is entitled to free speech provided that one does not harm an individual or society in general. As Oliver Wendell Holmes USA CJ, put it so succinctly;

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre.” [Source]

The AVN is clearly harming individuals and society and is not protected by any right of free speech. Indeed, by explicitly including “health education” in the Health Care Complaints Act, speech is clearly not protected here, as speech is necessarily a part of the education process.

In her reply to the HCCC Ms. Dorey accuses Mr. McLeod of a “jihad-like mentality” (yet maintains taking offence at the term “quack”) and offers, Response to Section 5 of the McLeod Complaint – So Called Right of “Free Speech”;

Contrary to Mr McLeod’s ʻAmerican TVʼ version of Constitutional Law (under which he has adopted foreign terms such as “Right to Free Speech” derived from the US Constitution), there is in fact an implied freedom of communication and discussion on political and government affairs contained in the Australian Constitution and embodied within the federal system of government…. It has been found by the High Court of Australia that these sections, when read in context, provide that members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to be directly chosen at elections by the people and that therefore this requirement embraces all that is necessary to effectuate the free election of representatives at periodic elections, including the right to unfettered communication and discussion of all matters relating to government and public policy [Citation].

Freedom of communication on matters of government and politics has been determined by the High Court as being an indispensable incident of the system of representative government that the Constitution creates…. This freedom of communication and discussion is protected against the exercise of federal and state legislative and executive power and extends to all those who participate in ʻpoliticalʼ discussion (such as the AVN) and therefore is not limited only to electors and elected [Citation].

… The High Court has extended this freedom of communication on matters of government and politics extends to all non-verbal conduct [Citation], which would include content on the AVN website and all published materials of the AVN which is the subject of this complaint from Mr McLeod.

It is submitted that the HCCC should approach this complaint with this attitude of balance, and act to responsibly and lawfully when weighing up the competing interests at stake in the circumstances regarding the subject of this complaint. The High Court cases cited above confirm that the HCCC has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the ʻgag orderʼ and other similar provisions of the Health Care Complaints Act are not attempted to be implemented in response to this complain (sic) in a way that would offend or restrict the AVN’s constitutionally protected freedom of political expression. [….]

In closing on this particular subject, I submit a statement made by the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, as quoted in August 22nd, 2009 edition of the Daily Telegraph. In a speech before Federal Parliament, Mr Smith stated that, “We understand, respect and recognise free speech. We value the capacity of someone to come to our country and say things, even if we do not agree.”

The full epic ramble covers three pages most of which I have spared you. Dorey failed to address Mr. McLeods argument on free speech content that may be inherently malignant. Instead an irrelevant attempt to suggest that the AVN engages in political discussion akin to “communication on matters of government and politics”, is made repeatedly.

In aligning herself with “an implied freedom of communication and discussion on political and government affairs contained in the Australian Constitution and embodied within the federal system of government”, Dorey assumes quite some self-promotion. The citations are related to media outlets and political speech as implied by the constitution, both during and outside of election time, qualified privilege and publication without malice, amongst others.

In short Ms. Dorey seems to have little grasp on the notion of responsible free speech. Ken McLeod has made a very good case as to why free speech despite it’s great value must not be abused or used as a tool of demonstrable harm. Meryl Dorey sees her role as so lofty, the HCCC should stand back and make way. It’s arrogant in the extreme and speaks volumes as to how Dorey sees herself.

Nonetheless that is the source of Dorey’s repeated claims that “the skeptics”, of which Ken is not a member and SAVN, “say that we don’t have freedom of speech in Australia”. Item 5, page 6 of a complaint raised against Meryl Dorey. Period.

It is clear that the HCCC agreed with McLeod’s version, having reviewed Dorey’s material and finding her a risk to public health. Dorey is entirely cognizant of the above. Yet she has again chosen to misrepresent the facts in an attempt to cast opponents as malignant. At worst this is a dispute over the interpretation of free speech under the Australian Constitution.

Using free speech to lie to Tiga Bayles about free speech in such a manner as to intentionally engender ill will and hatred toward others is perhaps the most eloquent justification as to why Ms. Dorey must be stopped from speaking to the detriment of others. What she should say is:

I, Meryl Dorey believe I have a right to say what I want regardless of the consequences to individuals or society and hide behind this as “free speech”.

That is what the evidence shows and it’s backed by her conduct. In essence Dorey is shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre and wants to keep doing so.

One repetitive issue did come up again. As I’ve noted earlier, Dorey believes Nicola Roxon’s recent announcement on immunisation incentives should have led with instructions on how to become a conscientious objector. As if the health minister should be actively promoting disease, disability and epidemics. She had Tiga fired up in no time:

Tiga: So, the government is responsible also for misinformation.

Meryl: Very much so. And we’re going to be complaining about that, but unfortunately what happens is you complain to the Ombudsman, and the Ombudsman says, oh well, tell the minister for health about this. It’s the Minister for Health who’s misinforming people in the first place. So there’s really no way to complain.

Tiga: Typical.

It’s hard to find analogues to this. Perhaps media announcements on how to get exemptions from total fire bans should take precedence over any warnings? Life savers pointing out where the most dangerous rips are outside the flagged zone? SES telling residents where to hide from rescuers as bush fire tears into town? Light houses leading you onto the rocks?

Meryl Dorey’s idea of free and responsible speech is a dangerous one.

Meryl Dorey and the Woodford “free speech, democracy” thing

The comments of Joe Stella, editor of The Daily Grind on ABC’s The Drum [December 13th, 2011] on the topic of free speech, highlights Ms. Dorey’s abuse of democratic freedoms.

He chips in here at 1:40, and the same video can be found on yesterday’s post. His blurb on Dorey’s appearance at Woodford is:

It’s up to individuals in the audience to go seek out alternative views if they so want. It isn’t a university or public school… it’s a festival. Everyone’s entitled to their views no matter how wrong. […] It’s perfectly fine in a democratic country for people to be wrong.

And I really er, obviously she’s a nutter and vaccinate your kids and that’s all very important, but the tenor of those who oppose her right to speak, saying ‘oh she should have a disclaimer on her website before she can put her views’, or ‘she shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public’, ah, I find that really unsettling in a democratic society.

Mr. Stella exhibits a poor appreciation of the dynamics pertaining to the HCCC request that Ms. Dorey place a notice revealing her anti-vaccination position on her website. The AVN qualifies as a health service in NSW and is thus subject to the HCCC mandate. This qualification as a health service has been established in the NSW Supreme Court during the AVN appeal against the HCCC decision. This was conceded in court by Ms. Dorey herself on July 28th, 2011.

The HCCC decision was backed by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr. John Carnie, speaking on ABC’s The World Today, July 13th, 2010. Our TGA’s Complaints Resolution Panel investigates breaches of the Therapeutic Goods advertising code and when complaints are upheld, requests for notices to be published on the offending site. Would Joe Stella suggest this is also a matter of “tenor” that we should “find really unsettling in a democratic society”?

If anything, it is the toothless tiger status of health regulators that has been shown up as a problem time and again. Retraction demands are simply ignored by colleagues of Ms. Dorey, in the full knowledge the drain on public funding renders it not in the community interest to prosecute. Had Dorey doused her ego in cold water and ignored the HCCC and their public health warning her right to deceive Aussies and place community health at risk would be just as in tact as it remains today, minus the scathing public attention.

It’s almost an Aussie tradition when it comes to alternatives to medicine. They lie about efficacy or evidence, someone complains, the complaint is upheld, a request to publish a retraction or warning is made, they point and laugh at the impotent request and life returns to normal.

Ms. Dorey’s right to speak freely has never been a factor. It is her refusal to comply with authority that concerns her critics. That underscores the recklessness of providing a platform to a skilled manipulator who snubs simple laws that everyday Australians comply with daily.

In revoking the AVN’s Charitable Fundraising Licence (October 20th, 2010), the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing acknowledged the HCCC decision and Ms. Dorey’s refusal to comply. In doing so they found that consumers may be misled into making donations, or purchasing membership “in good faith”. The import of this decision is reinforced by the fact that the OLGR found 23 breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, following a 2010 audit of The Australian Vaccination Network. Charity fraud.

The Northern Star reported at the time that the AVN provided a media release which:

…said the OLGR had found several errors with the network’s bookkeeping system and some minor problems with the way in which fundraising income was accounted for.

And:

“Had the OLGR based its decision upon the simple errors which were found during our audit – errors which any small, volunteer-run organisation can and does make – it would have been unfair but not unexpected,” Ms Dorey said.

“What makes this decision difficult to understand is that the revocation was based solely upon a questionable decision by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) which we believe is not relevant to the OLGR’s mandate.”

So, how did we get from “errors which any small, volunteer-run organisation can and does make” to 23 breaches of the Act? Was it really “based solely” upon the HCCC decision? Here’s Dorey’s famous email to members in which she copies and pastes items a, c and f from the OLGR’s letter of revocation, forgetting that readers may wonder just what items b, d, e and any other content may have referred to.

From that day forth Dorey’s claim to members has been this consistent deceit. The HCCC do not have authority. The OLGR decision is based on the HCCC’s “illegal” investigation and thus also carries no weight. Only 6 days ago Dorey informed her rapid turnover membership, via her various internet outlets, of The attack against the AVN – a repeat of the information:

It has been brought to my attention that newer readers may not be aware of the circumstances behind the warning by the HCCC against the AVN…. The HCCC does not have the authority to recommend that the AVN put this or any other statement on its website…. The HCCC has adopted pro-vaccination assumptions and values. In other words, it has adopted a partisan position. That is not its role.

By issuing a public warning about the AVN, the HCCC overstepped its mandate…. The complaints to the HCCC against the AVN are part of a systematic campaign to shut down the AVN…. Those who have attacked the AVN have ridiculed and slandered AVN members, made false claims about their beliefs, made numerous complaints to a variety of official bodies, and made personal threats against individuals. The HCCC has allowed itself to be a tool of opponents of the AVN.

If Ms. Dorey cannot accept the “tenor” of the NSW Supreme Court and the role of public health authorities, then defending her as a matter of democratic integrity is quite ambitious. She has conceded herself that the AVN indeed falls under the HCCC mandate. Regarding the constant myth of personal threats made against her by complainants, Howard Sattler raised this with Dorey last year:

Or download audio here.

Before a group of fed up volunteers exercised their democratic freedoms, the simple fact is that the AVN and Dorey had run amok for close to 17 years. Donations had been continually asked for and received for a Bounty Bag insert that didn’t exist. Bounty Bags themselves had never heard of this and would never entertain antivaccination propaganda. On page 18 of Meryl Dorey’s trouble with the truth Pt. 1, Ken McLeod reports on Dorey’s charity fraud:

Meryl Dorey’s Yahoo! Group Message #29638 of 41210 dated Mon May 29, 2006 7:16
“Hi All,
In the latest edition of Informed Voice, we put out a call for funds because we desperately want to be able to accomplish some very specific goals of reaching more people with our information and also hopefully, getting more members/readers – you name it. The goals were as follows: Need to raise approximately $20,000 over the next 12 months to successfully lobby Federal Parliament for chages (sic) to legislation taking away the need for parents to see doctors in order to register as conscientious objectors to vaccination $17,000 would allow us to advertise our services and our magazine in the Bounty bag. This information is currently given out to every woman who births in hospital in Australia – exactly the people who need our information the most!” “your donation will go towards the ability to offer our services and our magazine in the Bounty Bag which is given to every woman who births in hospital.”

The Internet Archive shows that this appeal has appeared on the AVN’s website since 3 February 2007. The same appeal appeared in Meryl Dorey’s emails, in the AVN magazine “Living Wisdom” and the AVN HPV brochure. This appeal remained on the AVN website until 17 July 2010.

Well, “your donation” didn’t go toward women “who need our information the most!”. This is not free speech. This is outright calculated fraud, running for years, that highlights Dorey’s disdain for, and exploitation of her members, the Australian public and new mothers. And what does such conduct say about her ongoing claim of helping Australians make an informed choice beyond sheer mockery? More so, there has been no lobbying of Federal Parliament to seek changes in the requirements for conscientious objection.

Does Meryl Dorey seriously think her necon’ ramblings about “illegal” HCCC investigations and “a systematic campaign to shut down the AVN” can expunge the import of such outright crime? Other smaller brand names have been abused in this manner also. Added to this are breaches of copyright that Dorey put down to “ignorance”. Ignorance? Not likely. On September 1st, 2010 Kate Benson in the SMH wrote:

An anti-vaccination group is under fire for allegedly breaching copyright laws by selling newspaper and medical journal articles online without permission from the authors. […]

The packs, which were selling for up to $128, included home-made books filled with articles photocopied from journals around the world, information on drugs taken from MIMS, the medical guide used by doctors and nurses, and copies of brochures inserted in medication boxes by pharmaceutical companies. […]

Dorey continues to sell articles in the AVN shop that are available freely elsewhere online. Frequently they are available on the author’s own website. The same can be said for videos. For sale from Dorey or watch online at the click of a mouse. Of the antivaccination, conspiracy theory, HIV/AIDS denial, fluoride fear mongering, fake cancer cures and pro-Scientology/anti-psychiatry books on sale virtually all are available cheaper elsewhere.

Despite the pleas of impartiality, the rank offence and mockery is at times breathtaking. As reported by reasonablehank, Dorey recently wrote, in a pitch to sell an AIDS denialist’s DVD:

In honour of Australia winning the ‘right’ to play host to a huge international conference on AIDS and HIV, here is a DVD that will give you information on the origin of and treatments for this disease that is being blamed for tens of millions of deaths since the 1980s.

Dorey is documented as scamming her members out of $12,000 for a non-existent “vaccine-autism” advertisement in 2009. In 2008 she milked the emotion of members in a dramatic telling of a family with a baby newly born to a hepatitis B positive mother “on the run from vaccination”. Whilst the situation was factual Dorey made Peter Foster look like an amateur as she relayed “reports” from the father, took full credit for saving them from DOCS and terrified members with tales that this could happen to anyone. Unless of course, the AVN was funded. The “fighting fund” she opened immediately, made almost $12,000.

Incredibly Dorey then informed her members of her intention to breach the Charitable Trusts Act 1993:

If you did make a donation but we haven’t heard from you by 7th October 2008 about this matter, we will assume that you have no objection to the AVN utilising your contribution for the administrative and operational purposes of the AVN and the Living Wisdom magazine.

The OLGR reported [bold mine]:

During the course of the inquiry evidence of possible breaches of the Charitable Trusts Act 1993 was detected in relation to the following specific purpose appeals conducted by AVN:

Fighting Fund – to support a homeless family, allegedly seeking to avoid a court order to immunise a child with legal and living expenses. The appeal ran for a short time in 2008 and raised $11,810. None of the funds were spent on this purpose.

Advertising Appeal – initially this was an appeal for the specific purpose of raising funds for an advertisement in the Australian commencing in March 2009 and concluding July 2009. The specific purpose was changed during the course of the appeal to fund advertisements in Child magazine. This appeal raised $11,910. None of the funds were applied to the specific purposes. It is noted that AVN did spend some $15,000 during the period December 2009 to July 2010 on various forms of advertising.

Bounty Bag Program and Vaccination Testing – for a number of years AVN has solicited for donations generally in a manner where, despite it not being AVN’s intention, one specific purpose was created in that donations could only be spent on one or more of four purposes, including funding the provision of AVN material in the Bounty Bag program and testing of vaccines. No funds raised have been spent on these two purposes.

It’s anyone’s guess how many scams Dorey has gotten away with. A favourite fiction of mine is that which she launched within weeks after the family on the run story ended. She’d had calls from nurses who’d been “forced into vaccinating” despite prior adverse reactions, she lied. Their new “life threatening” reactions were mysteriously dismissed by hospital staff. But with her trusty Google, Meryl Dorey diagnosed Lupus Panniculitis. Oh my, what could be done?!

In a master stroke Dorey announced “Pain Free Funding”:

A couple of our members have recently donated part of their Maternity Immunisation Allowance to us. They said that 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. We thought this was a great idea! If you are in a position to give us a portion of your Maternity Allowance, we would be very grateful – just one more idea that hopefully won’t put too big a hole in anyone’s pocket.

I think even the silliest of us can see the HCCC decision played only a minor role in the OLGR’s revocation of the AVN’s charitable fundraising status. In view of the above it is clear that the AVN present a cleverly deceptive face to the Australian public, creating the illusion of authority and authenticity on the topic of vaccination.

Australians have a right to expect our health and charity regulators will act when culpable individuals and organisations exploit laxity in existing legislation. Particularly for their own ideological and financial benefit, with no regard for the consequences of their actions. There’s far more going on here than someone exercising their democratic right to free speech.

New Yorker Meryl Dorey snubs our legislation, exploits loopholes and publically abuses our regulatory bodies. She makes a dishonest living from scamming and lying to Aussies.

Seeking to impede or put an end to this is no threat to our democracy and no threat to free speech.