The AVN was started in 1994 by a group of parents and health professionals who were concerned about the lack of scientifically-based information on the ‘other side’ of the vaccination issue.
Back in 1994 we were feeling that the government and the medical community, in general, tended to exaggerate the safety and benefit profiles of vaccinations whilst downplaying their risks and true effectiveness.
For that reason, our group was formed with the express purpose of:
- promoting discussion about medically-referenced information on vaccine safety and effectiveness;
- lobbying to ensure that vaccinations are never made compulsory for Australian children; and
- supporting those who have chosen not to vaccinate or to vaccinate selectively.
From the beginning, we have operated as a volunteer-run community organisation. Until recently, we were a membership and donation driven group whose only sources of funding were provided by our membership and sales of books, videos and DVDs in our web shop.
In 2009 however, an organisation was set up with the goal of forcing our organisation to close down. This group has filed dozens of complaints against us with various government departments and media outlets. They do not believe that freedom of speech or communication should be protected in Australia and want to close down the debate on this issue.
As a result of one of these complaints, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) issued a public warning against the AVN. We fought against this warning and recently won our case in the NSW Supreme Court on the 24th of February, 2012. The HCCC has been ordered to pay our costs and have removed the warning. The Supreme Court stated that both the investigation and the warning were Ultra Vires (beyond their power) and their conduct of this investigation was illegal.
You can read more about both the complaints and the HCCC investigation in the other pages of the About Us section.