BREAKING: AVN wins in AVN v HCCC #StopAVN

The Australian Vaccination Network, led by Meryl Dorey, has won the case it brought against the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission.

UPDATE: Please also see my followup on why the AVN won.

Justice Christine Adamson found that the HCCC did not have jurisdiction to investigate the complaints made about the AVN. The reasoning for the judgement will be published later, but rested on the technical wording of the Health Care Complaints Act. I wrote a summary of the last day’s argument in AVN v HCCC on Thursday.

None of this has anything to do with the truth of Meryl Dorey’s claims, nor the fact that her organisation is solely anti-vaccination. Nor does this necessary resolve any of the other legal issues facing the AVN, though it may affect them.

Meryl will justifiably be delighted at her victory and will no doubt crow that this is a victory on all kinds of fronts. It isn’t. It’s a technical matter of jurisdiction, which unfortunately means the HCCC overstepped it’s bounds in issuing the public warning. This case does not affect the truth of the warning.

I have no legal expertise whatsoever, but I’m concerned that this judgment may well set a precedent that renders the HCCC less able to tackle quacks who operate at the edges of the law’s various definitions around what constitutes ‘health care providers’. Perhaps we’ll need to lobby for better legislation as a result.

One thing’s for sure: none of this changes Stop AVN’s resolve. The AVN is dangerous and should be held firmly to account.

UPDATE: There will be more to say when the judgement is published, hopefully Monday.

54 Comments

  1. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:53 | Permalink

    Thanks Dave. I’m awaiting the published judgement. Fixing this situation may require legislative change.

  2. Chris Higgins
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:53 | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this Dave.

  3. Guy
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:53 | Permalink

    How disappointing. Now it’s time to start lobbying the government to change the HCCC rules. Deliberately spreading false and misleading health information should be illegal.

  4. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:53 | Permalink

    Who has jurisdiction then? Any judicial guidance?

    God, what a…pisser. *grumble*

  5. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:56 | Permalink

    Thanks for this update as well as your prior, informative post. Like you I fear that the AVN will use this decision for all sorts of nefarious claims.

    However, we just have to keep up our efforts to thwart these groups in their attempts to destroy public health.

  6. DrBaka
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:37 | Permalink

    Thanks for being our eyes and ears, Dave. Crap judgement. Time for new legislation, I guess.

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