Dear AVN: Get lost

An interesting development against the Australian (anti)Vaccination Network: disband, you are harming kids.

Australian Vaccine Network under pressure to cease operation | News.com.au.

The controversial anti-immunisation Australian Vaccine Network should “immediately disband”, the Senate voted yesterday.

Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale won the support of all major parties for the motion Tuesday and says it is important the Parliament take the lead in expressing its disdain for the group’s activities.

“I think it is important that we take them on, that the community recognise them as a group that is actively harming kids,” he told News Limited.

Here is the press release from Di Natale.

The text of the motion was as follows:
That the Senate –

(a) notes the low vaccination rates in certain parts of Australia, and the threat this poses to the health of Australian children;
(b) notes the irresponsible campaign run by the Australian Vaccination Network, which is spreading misinformation about the risks of vaccination and discouraging parents from vaccinating their children;
(c) calls on the AVN to immediately disband and cease their harmful and unscientific scare campaign against vaccines.

A very strong statement made by the Australian government but what does it mean? Perhaps some of our Australian readers can enlighten us. This seems strange for the government to step in and pretty much just “ask” that they close themselves down. We’ve brought up the issue of free speech before and that does not seem to apply in Australia like it does in the U.S. But the obvious question (other than what will the AVN do) is why is there no alternate to this, like officially shutting them down?

Regardless, this statement of disgust and total removal of support for the org should kill it in the media at least. But in the public? There will still be some who stand by this misguided, dangerous anti-vax position.

Tip: Token Skeptic blog and Sean Kelly

  4 comments for “Dear AVN: Get lost

  1. Chris Howard
    June 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I think we’re going to hear the old chestnut of “We must really be on to something if “THEY” are trying to shut us down, man!”

    That always seemed like blame shifting to me. It’s as if the persons believing can’t stand the thought that they could be in error, or at fault, so they paint their failures as successes by blaming “The Man.”

    Hopefully this significantly weakens AVN.

  2. June 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Oooh I got a mention – thanks!

  3. DW
    June 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I wonder if this is just the beginning strike in forcing the shutdown of AVN operations. While I’m not a lawyer nor a senate member I believe that acknowledging the problem and requesting them to take responsible action from the Australia Senate will set things in motion allowing them to be forcibly shut down if it can be proven that their actions cause direct harm to children. Let’s see what happens when they ignore that Senate request.

  4. Luke
    June 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    The media has definitely turned against the AVN and in support of vaccination here in Australia. Since early 2013 I’ve heard about one news announcement a week urging Australians to get vaccinated. The AVN definitely won’t disappear in spirit though, as they still have a lot of support from the alternative medicine community.

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