Vaccine group aims to win out west
PUBLIC demand for information about vaccination has prompted the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) to increase the number of workshops it is conducting around the country.
Meryl Dorey, who leads the group from a base in Bangalow, is in the middle of a three-week tour of Western Australia - the third time she has visited the state in three years.
South Australia, Victoria and Queensland are on her agenda for the new year, she said.
"We are increasing the number of seminars we are running because there is a huge demand for this information that is not being filled by the medical authorities," she said from Perth.
Ms Dorey stressed that the AVN was not an anti-vaccine organisation, but one that was "pro vaccine safety".
"What the AVN is about is giving information to people who want it," she said.
Two recent seminars in Western Australia had been well received, with a lot of people attending, including a number of pregnant women.
The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) revoked the AVN's licence to fundraise as a charity last year after a warning from the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) that its website contained information that was "misleading and incorrect".
The then gaming and racing minister said the group "breached charitable fundraising laws and potentially misled the public" and was no longer permitted to accept charitable donations.
The AVN launched a civil suit against the commission in the NSW Supreme Court which is due to begin on November 9 in Sydney.
"We are hopeful of winning on the grounds that the complaint against us was not valid and that the HCCC failed to carry out a proper investigation," Ms Dorey said.
The AVN had had to depend on donations from members since the OLGR ruling, but its barrister in the civil action was acting on a pro bono basis, she said.
"He is not doing so because of the vaccination issue but because this is to do with human rights.
"Do we have a right to access all information before we make a decision - even if it is information the government disagrees with?"
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