For many years former Greens Leader Dr Bob Brown has been the go-to parliamentary argument from authority used by the Australian Vaccination Network. It is true that in the past he entertained a conga-line of anti-vaccinationists (Meryl Dorey claims repeatedly that she and her friends were allowed to use the Senator’s parliamentary office), even citing some of the AVN’s discredited claims in the Australian Senate. See this post from our favourite cast-iron flying pig for the 1997 Hansard.
That was 16 years ago. We had always thought that it would be incredible if he had not altered his views, given that the AVN has been highly discredited since that time. Hey, bigger names have been duped, and it still happens. For the past three years we have been begging Dr Brown for a clarification. Nothing.
New AVN President, Greg Beattie, even had a testimony from Dr Brown on the website for one of Beattie’s anti-vaccine books. The review was disappeared once Dr Brown was made aware of its existence. Lucky I saved a copy:
Recently the AVN published a blog post, using Dr Brown’s image, decrying the totalitarian nature of the Greens Party. The AVN pined for the days of yore, when nobody really knew what the AVN was about, or how they behaved. Senator Richard Di Natale and friends were accused of all sorts of skullduggery, by AVN members. This blog post of letters is spectacularly spectacular in its spectacle. This is a small glimpse:
So, back to the title of this post.
Given that the AVN were again misusing the name and image of Dr Brown, one intrepid member of Stop the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network took matters into their own hands and contacted Dr Brown directly.
Here is the reply from Dr Brown, used with permission as a public statement [my bold]:
I support the work of Greens Senator Richard Di Natale in promoting vaccination to ensure Australians are protected from needless death or damage.
It is true that in the 1990s I endorsed the right of true conscientious objectors against compulsory vaccination. However, my view then, as now, was that vaccination is in in the interests of public health and should be promoted.
My endorsement for conscientious objection does not extend to orchestrated campaigning against public vaccination and I have grown very concerned that upholding the right of conscientious objection has now become part of the campaign against public vaccination.
I have not been consulted by AVN in using selected quotes from me and I do not support AVN’s campaign against public vaccination.
PS You may treat this as a public letter.
In addition, Medical Observer has just released this article regarding the new turn of events: Bob Brown distances himself from AVN. The article contains AVN sadface, from new president Greg Beattie (‘where did it all go wrong’, he must wonder):
Greg Beattie, spokesperson for the AVN, told Medical Observer he did not want to comment on the letter but he said the AVN would be “disappointed if [Bob Brown] had a change of heart”.
Thank you Dr Brown. And a huge thank you to Dear [citizen].
Dorey, last Friday: “He [Senator Bob Brown] understood our concerns and fully supported the right to freedom of choice and information. Not only did he allow our delegation to use his office for the nearly 2 weeks we were at Parliament (which included helping us to get appointments with parliamentarians and using the telephones and photocopying facility as well), but Senator Brown was one of the people who asked questions on notice and also helped us to introduce the amendments which eventually codified the right for parents to register as Conscientious Objectors to vaccination. ”
Beattie, today: “He [Bob Brown] is probably not that well-informed about our organisation,”
Indeed. What a difference a week, and one letter, makes.
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