Monday, March 25, 2013

Deadline for the Australian Vaccine Network (AVN)

The inappropriately named "Australian Vaccine Network" or AVN for short was ordered by the NSW Fair Trading Commission to change its name to reflect its staunch anti-vaccine position rather than continue to mislead parents by 21 March 2013.
The future of the Australian Vaccination Network is in doubt, following the government rejection of five suggested new names for the group because they don't reflect its anti-vaccination stance.

The AVN has until March 21 to change its name or it faces deregistration, after NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts issued a formal order that its name misleads the public.

The organisation does not present a balanced case for vaccination and has no medical evidence to back its anti-vaccination stance, he says.
The current AVN president, Greg Beattie proffered equally misleading name change suggestions that were rejected.
AVN president Greg Beattie told News Limited it was vital the words Australia and Vaccination remained in the group's name because they defined what the organisation was about.

He said the group had sent a letter to the Fair Trading Department to ask whether they would accept one of five suggested name changes.
These include Australian Vaccination Information Network and Australian Vaccination Choice.

"We can't just change our name under the Association's Incorporation Act, we must go through a process of consulting with our members and we need a 75 per cent majority vote," Mr Beattie said.
Mr. Beattie is able to keep "Australia" and "Vaccination" in their name and in fact can just add an "A" to the acronym to make it reflect what it really is, "Australian Anti-Vaccination Network".  This would be beneficial to them as typing in "AVN" will fetch you a porn site.

The AVN (the anti-vaxx one) has filed an appeal with the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and granted a stay until a hearing which has been set in June.
The AVN is fighting a December ruling by Fair Trading that it must change its name, and the warning was put in place on the condition that the group will not have to change its name until its challenge is heard in June.
However a condition has been set that the AVN must place a prominent warning on their website, blog and Facebook page by 26 March 2013 that directs consumers to the current order and misleading name.
Tribunal president, Judge O'Connor, responded to a bid by the AVN to stay proceedings on Friday by placing a number of conditions on the organisation.
A prominent consumer warning must be published on its websites and Facebook page by March 26.

It will state: "NSW Fair Trading has directed the AVN to change its name because it regards the name to be misleading.

"The AVN is challenging this direction and the challenge is currently before the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal."
We'll see what the AVN will do and keep you posted.

Update: Since it is 26 March 2013 in New South Wales, Australia, the AVN website and Facebook pages have been updated with the requisite warning.  Let's hope it serves to caution unsuspecting parents looking for factual vaccine information and irritate the AVN on a daily basis.

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