Complaints to Government Bodies
Return to Dossier of Attacks on the AVN
Health Care Complaints Commission
In July of 2009, Ken McLeod, a member of Stop the AVN and the Australian Skeptics, filed a complaint against both the AVN and its President, Meryl Dorey, with the Health Care Complaints Commission in NSW. Amongst other claims, McLeod said that freedom of speech in Australia was not protected under the law and therefore, the HCCC should use its power to gag both the AVN and Ms Dorey so that neither the group nor the individual would be allowed to make any statements regarding vaccinations or health. Despite the fact that the HCCC did not have jurisdiction to investigate this claim, what followed was a 2 year witch-hunt which saw the AVN’s charity authority withdrawn and the organisation driven to the brink of closure.
In December of 2009, the AVN presented a legal opinion prepared by its lawyer to the HCCC stating that in their opinion, the HCCC did not have jurisdiction to investigate the organisation because the complaint was not a valid complaint under the Health Care Complaints Act. The HCCC disagreed. Two subsequent written opinions by barristers were also given to show that there was no jurisdiction to investigate the AVN but these complaints were disregarded. It took a Supreme Court case which might have cost the State of NSW several hundred thousands dollars (and did cost the AVN tens of thousands of dollars), to prove that the AVN was correct and that both the investigation and the later actions of the HCCC in citing the organisation were, in fact, Ultra vires or illegal.
You will read a great deal more about Mr McLeod on these pages as time goes on, but in the meantime, below is his original complaint and at this link, you can read more about the HCCC and their ‘investigation’ of the AVN.
Original HCCC Complain from Ken McLeod
NSW Department of Fair Trading
Australian Securities and Exchange Commission
Dan Buzzard who is associated with both the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN, has been filing complaints with government authorities and writing to venues where the AVN was hosting seminars for several years now. The first image below is a letter he sent to the NSW Department of Fair Trading complaining about the fact that our RealAustralianSkeptics blog did not mention the Australian Vaccination Network. Well, the reason for that is that the blog is actually ON the Australian Vaccination Network’s website!
Please note that on August 29th (image 2), Buzzard complained that the AVN has ‘defied’ the Department of Fair Trading because to date, the AVN logo does not appear on our blog. Unfortunately, either the Department has neglected to reply to him or he has forgotten that they did. In a letter from the Department to the AVN dated June 21, 2012 (image 3), it was stated that since this blog is located on the AVN’s website, they would not be pursuing this issue further.
Back in April of 2012, the AVN received a letter from the Department of Fair Trading in response to a complaint from an unknown party stating that as an incorporated association registered in NSW, we were required to have our full name on all printed matter and that included our website which, at that point in time, said AVN, Inc. – Not Australian Vaccination Network, Inc.
We were completely unaware of this requirement but since our website was being redesigned at that time (including the logo), we simply changed the details to suit the Department.
When we wrote a letter to the Department informing them that the website had been changed, we also informed them that as a test, we looked up the websites of 15 random incorporated associations registered in NSW (we selected them by searching their database for incorporated associations and several of these are very large and well-funded groups) and out of those 15, 14 of them did not have their full name and the word “Inc.” or “Incorporated” on their page or pages. It seemed to us that since it is apparently common for associations not to have this information on their website, we had once again been singled out for ‘special treatment’ from a government department.
Below is the response I received from the Department on the 19 of April, 2012 in regards to this issue: