I'm back! (4/5/2013)
Almost normal programming has resumed. I'm back from my break. I still have a few distractions out there (I haven't found the new place to live yet so there's still that to do, plus the actual move) so there might not be an update every week for a while, but at least things are moving again. I also have a bit of housekeeping to do, such as checking for broken links, so there will be some invisible stuff to do as well to catch up.
The great court attack is over (4/5/2013)
The attempt by Meryl Dorey, former president of the Australian Vaccination Network, to abuse the legal system in order to stop me talking about her and her activities eventually came to nothing, as it was always going to do. On April 26 the application was dismissed in Lismore Local Court. I attended by video link and my only disappointment was that Ms Dorey wasn't visible on the screen I was looking at when she broke down while arguing with the magistrate after the decision was handed down. Anyone who wants to waste six months of my life because they don't like me disparaging their ridiculous and dangerous ideology can cry in public all they like and the only sympathy they will get from me is that I will point at them and laugh.
I have ordered a transcript of the proceedings and I will have as full an analysis of it as copyright allows shortly after it arrives. In the meantime, here is the timeline of Ms Dorey's action against me. (I have redacted the names of the two other people that Ms Dorey tried to intimidate. One of these cases is yet to be heard.)
September 5, 2012 – Ms Dorey filed three applications for APVO against me, [Dan R] and [Dan B].
September 20 – Ms Dorey went on radio and described all three defendants as criminals and implied that we emailed pornography to her.
September 27 – First mention for all three applications in Ballina Court. Interim orders were placed on [Dan R] and [Dan B]. No order was placed on me. Applicant was to provide personal and witness statements by October 11, defendants to respond by October 25. [Dan R] had his mention adjourned to October 11.
September 27 – Ms Dorey published a blog post in which she said: "The judge (sic) declined to grant an interim AVO against the third defendant, Peter Bowditch". There can therefore be no doubt that she was at all times aware of the fact that there was no interim order applying to me. http://nocompulsoryvaccination.com/2012/09/27/interim-avos-granted-against-savn-founder-and-member/
September 28 – Ms Dorey approved the following comment and allowed it to be published on the AVN's blog: "Congratulations! Well done! As it concerns Bowditch, check out Auslii database. You will find that he has a criminal record and was incarcerated for aggravated assault. You may already have done so, but providing the justice with examples of Bowditch's internet criminality might prove to helpful". I have never been convicted of any crime, and it was this very lie that initiated the context in which I made my supposed "threat" to Ms Dorey in April, 2012.
October 11 – Ms Dorey attended Ballina courthouse to file her statements but was asked to make some corrections and resubmit them on October 15.
October 11 – [Dan R] attended Ballina court but Ms Dorey failed to appear, so the application against [Dan R] was dismissed. Ms Dorey subsequently successfully applied to have the dismissal annulled. The grounds for this appeal are not clear, as Ms Dorey had been present at the court house on the day.
October 14 – The day before they were submitted to the Court, Ms Dorey's three statements were published on Tim Bolen's web site in an article titled "Australian Skeptics Dragged into Court over Rape, Mutilation, and Death Threats Against the Australian Vaccination Network Leadership" http://www.bolenreport.com/skeptics/Skeptics2/Meryl%20Dorey%20death%20threats.htm
October 15 – Ms Dorey submitted her statement to Ballina Court.
October 25 – I submitted my response.
November 15 – Mention in Ballina Court. As I had requested that the full hearing be conducted in a convenient place for me (I live in Wentworth Falls) the matter was adjourned to Lismore Court on December 10 to set a date for my attendance at a hearing by video link. (Ballina has no video facilities).
December 10 – Mention adjourned to January 15 to set a date for hearing by video link.
January 15, 2013 – Mention to set a hearing adjourned yet again to February 26. Ms Dorey was given permission to provide the Court with a supplementary statement. (The statement when supplied contained no relevant material that could not have been included in her October, 2012, submission.)
February 6 – Ms Dorey failed to attend a mediation session with [Dan B]. As she could not be contacted the mediation had to be adjourned to a later date.
February 26 – Date of April 26 set for full hearing by video of the application against me. The Notice of Listing included a hand written note from the Court staff instructing me to arrange for my end of the link.
February 27 – The April 26 date was vacated and the matter adjourned (presumably at Ms Dorey's instigation) to a sixth mention on March 5 to consider either extending the non-existent interim order on me or to place such an order.
March 5 – The April 26 date for a full hearing was reinstated, and no interim order was placed on me.
April 8 – Seventh mention – this was an administrative hearing to record in the court records that I would be appearing by video link from Parramatta Court on April 26.
April 23 – Ms Dorey published a comment about the AVO proceedings on Facebook in which she again used the word "criminal" and announced her imminent victory in court.
April 26 – Case dismissed. And she cried.
Here is a relevant collection of documents submitted to the court. As Ms Dorey gave her first statement to Tim Bolen it would require hide to the bone for her to whine about me publishing what she had to say.
I get told. (4/5/2013)
I appreciate it when people send me information that helps me become more informed, because when I am more informed I can change my thinking.
From: JAN ELROD
Date: Sat, 04 May 2013 07:29:03 -0700
You're an idiot – many herbalist use CRA that DONT SELL products.
How can someone be a herbalist and not sell anything? Also, CRA is totally about what you have to take to cure all the illnesses in the world. No products, no cure. Remember, I've read the training manual.
It's not about selling products, its about helping people regain their health. Our health care in america is a joke and so corrupt it isnt even funny! It's all about money and thru natural therapies and products and a way to get to the root, CRA people can regain their health.
So your herbalist doesn't charge any money to treat you? I find that a little hard to believe. Almost as hard as I find it to believe that CRA isn't quackery and theft distilled to almost its purest essence.
I pity you
Save your pity for the people with serious illnesses who fall for the fraud of CRA and don't get better.
You can see more about the Contact Reflex Analysis fraud here.
It hasn't been all beer and skittles (4/5/2013)
Well, there has been some beer (I even had a couple after the resolution of The Great AVO Attack), but I haven't played the skittles game for years and I can't eat the confectionary because my endocrinologist says not to. I haven't been totally idle, and my regular column in Australasian Science magazine has been going on. I highly recommend a subscription to this excellent publication and if you are in Australia you should insist that your newsagent carries it.
I recently spent a few weeks on crutches because of a broken ankle, and on one of the visits to my doctor during the treatment I took the opportunity to have a vaccination against pneumonia. These reminded me of my earliest memory of being vaccinated.
Shortly after my twelfth birthday I was rushed to hospital to have my appendix removed. Back in those days it wasn't the keyhole job it is today so I had to spend a few days in the hospital to recuperate. Another thing about the olden days was that there was no gender separation, and one of the other patients in the children's ward at Hornsby Hospital was a girl about ten or eleven years old.
The forces of irrationality and nonscience are alive and well in Australia right now. A member of the South Australian Parliament is apparently trying to introduce legislation banning the chemical spraying of the population by the vapour trails behind high-flying jet aircraft. I'm not sure how this rates against the 1897 attempt by the Indiana legislature to pass a law allowing squaring of the circle which coincidentally would have set the value of π to be 3.2, but it would be fun watching the debate. I'm reminded of when someone told me that the NSW Parliament would have to legislate against any sea level rise due to global warming or they would risk a voter backlash from people with expensive, low-lying waterfront properties.
More AVN woes. (4/5/2013)
While I've been away the Australian Vaccination Network has been receiving much attention from people who matter.
The NSW Office of Fair Trading is continuing its action to get the AVN to change its deceptive name. The AVN is resisting as hard as they can and have appealed to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. I attended an ADT hearing and the matter has been adjourned until June, with both sides having deadlines to submit arguments before then. As a condition of the Tribunal staying the order for the name change the AVN was required to put a notice on all its web sites saying "Consumer warning: NSW Fair Trading has directed Australian Vaccination Network to change its name because it regards the name to be misleading. The Australian Vaccination Network is challenging this direction and the challenge is currently before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal". Unfortunately the Tribunal didn't follow the normal practice and specify a minimum type size for the message, so it is being displayed in very small type on two of the three web sites (and not at all on the third) and is partially obscured by a photograph on the AVN's Facebook page. Also, the text is displayed as an image so that search engines can't detect it. I hope the next time the ADT asks someone to display a warning it looks at the way such warnings are ordered to be displayed by other government authorities.
You might remember that the AVN had a massive victory in the NSW Supreme Court last year when the judge ruled that because of a clause in the legislation (written in 1993) she had no choice but to find in the AVN's favour. Amendments to the particular legislation are working their way through the NSW Parliament as I type, and all members of all parties in both houses have said that they will support the changes. Homeopaths, chiropractors and other peddlers of woowoo will be eternally grateful to Meryl Dorey for having this loophole in the law removed, thus exposing them to action by the Health Care Complaints Commission when (not if) they provide dangerous, non-scientific advice to their victims.
I have been particularly amused by some of the comments made by parliamentarians about the AVN and I will bring along a selection of quotes next week.
And one last thing … (4/5/2013)
I hoped it wasn't someone playing a cruel April Fool's joke when I saw this news in the Ottawa Citizen on April 1.
Yes, folks, the beloved William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group and its descendants has gone to the great cesspit in the sky, taking the Gutless Anonymous Liar with him. Sadly, he died quickly and not of cancer. I posted a message to his memorial guest book, but unfortunately some technical glitch prevented it from being published.
I will maintain my own memorial to him here by archiving his correspondence with me and also the wonderful messages he sent wearing his Gutless Anonymous Liar mask. It would be a tragedy for this valuable collection of literature to disappear.
Well, there is something else ... (4/5/2013)
Three cancer quacks have threatened me with legal action for saying nasty things about them. Here is the scoreboard so far. What is it that people say about karma?
William P O'Neill
It's a brief update this week for several reasons. I'm still reorganising my real life, I'm still looking for my next accommodation (I looked at a rental property during the week and I must remember to congratulate the estate agent on his PhotoShop and creative writing skills. At least the address was correct.) and while I was away the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reorganised their web site and changed the URLs of the very many media releases that I have linked to from here. If they had just changed folders things might have been easer to fix, but they completely changed the addresses in a way that doesn't allow any systematic fix – each one has to be done manually.
I am still waiting on the transcript and recording of the court hearing. I assume they will eventually arrive, as my credit card was charged with an alacrity that is highly uncharacteristic of the legal world.
Next week's update might be a bit light on as well. I will be going to the MindBodySpirit Festival, listening to a lecture on the supposed conflict between science and philosophy at the Blackheath Philosophy Forum, attending (and maybe speaking at) the monthly meeting of Western Sydney Freethinkers, looking for somewhere to live and squeezing in anything else that needs to be done. Friends have suggested I should drink some mead and chase some wenches at the Blacktown Medieval Fayre, but there is a limit to even my multitasking ability.
The LULZ have started (11/5/2013)
So far the best response I've had to the news of my court victory has come from our old friend Patrick Timothy Bolen, spokessphincter for cancer quacks and patient-molesting dentists. Tim made a contribution to the case by publishing Meryl Dorey's court statements before they had been submitted to the court, and he went on to fantasise about pornography. I asked Tim if Ms Dorey had advised him of the outcome of the matter (I won! She lost!) and this is part of the reply he posted to Usenet.
Meryl Dorey just set you up. She just completed one more step in the "How to set up to legally kill a stalker" handbook. Go ahead and act as though you can now keep pursuing her. Don't be a wimp. Go ahead and increase your activities.
Not afraid are you?
Or is your life just about pretty cupcakes?
I don't know what Tim thinks I should be afraid of. There was a court case which I won. It's all over. But Tim is like that. He continually rants about court cases that are about to destroy some of his enemies, but the court cases fade into history when the actions wither away to nothing.
And the cupcakes thing – Tim has an obsession with cupcakes and cannot understand the concept of doing something for charity. And why would he? He's spent his life working for crooks who steal money from desperate, gullible or ignorant people.
The mail rolls in (11/5/2013)
Now here's a coincidence for you. The television program tells me that if I turn on the TV now I can watch the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic "You've Got Mail". I check the computer, and sure enough, I have mail. I don't know if it's the sort of mail that triggers a love affair though.
Date: Sun, 12 May 2013 18:44:14 +1000
I was just curious as to how you would explain to me why this so called 'ridiculous' claim that homeopathy is 'ridiculous' in the first place ?
Because the principles of homeopathy deny everything we know about physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, logic and common sense.
As a patient who was bed ridden after having a severe case of food poisoning, the a severe case of adult chickenpox , resulting in chronic fatigue syndrome . I was bed ridden for almost a year . After countless visits to drs , I still had no answers . They were completely useless . Only until I seeked out a homeopath did I start to come good and made a full recovery within weeks.
So, two things that people recover from without much medication or treatment and one that has a large psychological component. And you got better. And homeopathy had nothing to do with either the food poisoning or the chicken pox and provided the placebo that is often necessary for people to get off their arses and stop feeling sorry for themselves. By the way, I had adult chicken pox. It felt far worse than a really bad case of the flu. I think I took a week off work, although it might have been two weeks.
The information I just read sounds like it was written by an ignorant , miss informed teenager who clearly likes to write off who are an obvious threat to them.
Homeopathy is no threat to me. The only way it could harm me would be if I were silly enough to use it instead of real medical care.
The only thing I got from that information was that your a complete tosser and have no 'scientific' evidence to back up that homeopathy does not help autism or help breast cancer .....
It's not up to me to prove that homeopathy or any other form of quackery doesn't cure something. It is up to the sellers of the stuff to prove that it does. So far they haven't even come close, not that they have ever really tried. The quacks know the truth and they know that any properly conducted research would reveal homeopathy for the ridiculous nonsense that it is.
Thankyou for reading you wanker .
Sent from my iPhone
Replied to from my Dell Vostro 460
You can see more about homeopathy here.
The AVN get mentioned in Parliament. (11/5/2013)
It's been a bad week for anti-vaccination liars. A big-circulation newspaper has started a campaign targeting irresponsible parents who refuse to vaccinate their children but insist on sending their pox-ridden offspring to schools and child-minding centres. The big news, however, is that the Bill to remove the loophole that the AVN jumped through last year has been closed. Once the Bill has passed through the final rubber stamping quacks will no longer be able to hide from complaints by relying on legislation drafted before the invention of the World Wide Web.
But first, a question put to the Minister for Fair Trading:
AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK
Mr JOHN FLOWERS: My question is addressed to the Minister for Fair Trading. What action is the Government taking to protect the community from being misled by the Australian Vaccination Network?
Mr ANTHONY ROBERTS: I thank the member for Rockdale for his question and applaud his determination to ensure that the people of New South Wales are not misled by false claims emanating from fringe groups such as the Australian Vaccination Network Inc. As members of this House know, the Australian Vaccination Network [AVN] actively advocates against the use of vaccinations and denies that immunisation is responsible for a dramatic reduction in many serious diseases in the past century. It does this despite overwhelming evidence that vaccination is a safe, effective and rigorously studied practice that provides people with a high level of protection against numerous diseases, including several that can be fatal.
It is incredibly irresponsible for an avowedly anti-vaccination group to advertise itself as a balanced source of information on vaccination. Such action is not only misleading to the public but also dangerous to those who believe they are referring to evidence-based medical advice. This danger is further highlighted by recent comments by the head of this group, Mr Greg Beattie, who stated, "Don't trust your GP." The Australian Vaccination Network does not provide comprehensive or credible information on vaccinations. Nor does it offer a balanced view on immunisation.
The Government, the medical community and the Australian Medical Association led by Associate Professor Brian Owler are in agreement that the name "Australian Vaccination Network" is unacceptable. To address this issue in the public interest, in December last year the O'Farrell-Stoner Government introduced the Associations Incorporation Amendment (Unacceptable Names) Regulation 2012. This amendment expanded the classifications of unacceptable names to include any name that is likely to mislead the public in relation to the nature, objects or functions of an association. Following the commencement of this amendment, on 14 January this year Fair Trading issued the Australian Vaccination Network with a direction to change the name of its association. This was done on the basis that the name was undesirable because it had the potential to cause confusion, mislead the public and, most importantly, it was against the public interest.
On 8 February 2013 the association sought an internal review by Fair Trading of that decision. The internal review was completed by the principal solicitor of the Department of Finance and Services on 19 February and affirmed our original decision. The review found that the Australian Vaccination Network does not provide a balanced view of the processes, benefits and risks involved with immunisation and that, "Its views are anti-vaccination, and it advises against being vaccinated or taking part in immunisation programs." The review went on to comment that when issues have two sides the Australian Vaccination Network takes just one of them. On 8 March the association put forward some alternative names and Fair Trading responded to the association on 12 March.
I and, I believe, this House and the Government are of the opinion that the names proposed do not accurately reflect the true nature, objects or functions of the association.
At the eleventh hour, the association lodged an appeal in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal against the name-change direction. At the most recent hearing of the tribunal on 22 March this year, the president of the tribunal placed conditions on the organisation, including that a prominent consumer warning be published on the association's website and its Facebook page by 26 March this year. This warning states that Fair Trading has directed the association to change its name because it regards the name as misleading, and that the direction is currently being challenged in the tribunal. The warning will reduce the chances of consumers being misled while the tribunal proceedings are finalised. I inform the House that this matter is currently listed for hearing on 13 and 14 June this year. The Liberals and Nationals are determined to safeguard public health and have acted decisively to do so. Associate Professor Owler stated:
The State Government should be commended on its efforts to improve the health of children through its support of vaccination and its stand against the anti-vaccination lobby.
He added that the Government has shown a strong commitment to children's health. The recent introduction of the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, which I can proudly say has been supported by both sides of the House, is further evidence of the action the Government is taking in this space. Two members of this House to whom I wish to pay tribute are the Minister for Health, and Minister for Medical Research and the shadow Minister for Health. Through their strong cooperation and hard work in this area, they have united in a common cause. [Extension of time granted.]
The people of New South Wales may rest assured that the Government and this House stand firm in their commitment to protecting our community. I thank all members of the House for their continued support as this issue is being tackled. On behalf of this House, I give notice to the Australian Vaccination Network that we are united in our stance to protect the most vulnerable in our community. The best way to do that is to ensure that we have a vaccination program that increases our level of herd immunity.
You can see the full day's transcript of Hansard for the Legislative Assembly here.
Watch this space for an update during the week covering the debate on the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013, but I would just like to quote one Member's speech now. This person is a member of the Parliamentary Committee with oversight of the Health Care Complaints Commission, so we can expect prompt action as soon as the Bill becomes law.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [6.25 p.m.]: The Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 proposes several amendments to the Health Care Complaints Act. As a member of the Parliament's Joint Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission, it is those issues to which I wish to address my remarks. The new provisions will allow the Health Care Complaints Commission to initiate and investigate on its own motion. This addresses a disappointing situation concerning an organisation known as the Australian Vaccination Network, which is a Bangalow-based organisation that is opposed to childhood immunisation that has successfully undermined many parents' confidence in the benefits of immunisation. The Australian Vaccination Network's former director and founder, Meryl Dorey, has undertaken extensive media interviews across Australia using free national media, radio and print to promote her claims that vaccines are toxic and harmful to children. Ms Dorey claims:
Passing through measles infection is sometimes required, for whatever reason, to strengthen some part of a person's vital force.
Ms Dorey insists that highly infectious childhood illnesses such as measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox are benign. There are many good reasons to spare our children the illness and scarring that can result from these diseases. The foremost in my mind is to protect unborn children who are exposed to horrific consequences in the event that their unprotected mothers are exposed to and catch rubella. Ms Dorey reportedly insists that whooping cough cannot kill children. Whooping cough is an horrific disease that causes immense distress and suffering to babies and their tiny lungs.
In addition to all the media coverage, there is a website and a quarterly magazine called Informed Voice. The zeal and success of the Australian Vaccination Network accumulating scientific fact and truth about immunisation is, sadly, having deadly effects. The Australian Vaccination Network's campaign has been rampant in my community of Northern Rivers, and childhood immunisation rates have fallen below 70 per cent compared with 90 per cent for the rest of Australia. In the Byron shire, which is home to the community of Bangalow, the rate has fallen below 50 per cent.
In 2009 tragedy struck in my community of Lennox Head when four-week old Dana Elizabeth McCaffery died of whooping cough. By all accounts, this newborn baby fought bravely, but in the words of my local paper, the Northern Star, she never had a chance. The standard schedule of immunisation at that time was two months, four months and six months. The Northern Rivers Health Service, given the appalling immunisation rates in the region, has brought forward the first round to six weeks, but because Dana was four weeks this would not have saved her life. Her parents support immunisation, but they never had that chance.
The only things that could have prevented her death would have been if there had been no whooping cough outbreak in the region and if the disease had not been rampaging through the community. That is why our low immunisation rate can be held directly responsible for this tragedy. Following Dana's death responsible and qualified members of the medical and scientific communities formed an organisation called "Stop the AVN". However, the network lodged a complaint about the organisation with the Health Care Complaints Commission. The commission's investigation concluded:
In addition, the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing investigated and cancelled the network's charitable status. The network appealed against the Health Care Complaints Commission ruling and the Supreme Court found deficiencies in the authority of the commission to investigate. That was a disaster. The network had shielded itself from the commission's orders by the clever use of legal technicalities and the decision was presented in the media as a court endorsement of the organisation. I was horrified when I saw the front page of the Northern Star featuring a full-page photo of Ms Dorey with the headline "Vindicated!".
I have pursued the problem of the Australian Vaccination Network as a member of the Joint Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission, and I know that others have also pursued the issue. I am surprised that the commission and NSW Health have not acted more promptly to make these amendments, although I am delighted to see them before the House today. They will close the loopholes that allowed the Australian Vaccination Network to continue issuing its misleading and deceptive information. Countering the dissemination of dangerous information by any non-health care provider is the highest priority. I hope that when this bill is passed the Health Care Complaints Commission will immediately return to its investigation of the Australian Vaccination Network. The whole point of Parliament's passing this legislation is to empower the commission to do just that.
I understand that NSW Fair Trading has ordered the Australian Vaccination Network to change its name. That order has been appealed and it is now being considered by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. I wish it well. I point out to the Health Care Complaints Commission and the Minister for Health that irrespective of NSW Fair Trading's success it will not be enough. The network will continue its activities and the Government must do whatever it can to protect the lives of our defenceless babies and small children. I call on the Health Care Complaints Commission immediately to stop the Australian Vaccination Network spreading misleading information and I ask the media as a whole not to facilitate the dissemination of such dangerous messages to vulnerable parents who are already bombarded with confusing information and who somehow believe that the network's role in the immunisation debate is evenly balanced. It is not.
You can see the full day's transcript of Hansard for the Legislative Council here.