Friday, December 14, 2012

Australian Vaccination Network ordered to change name

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This is beautiful: The government of New South Wales, Australia has demanded that the Australian Vaccination Network, which goes into conniptions whenever anyone suggests that its flagrantly anti-vaccination rhetoric makes it an anti-vaccine group, must change its name to something a little less Orwellian:

The NSW Office of Fair Trading doorstopped the home of Australian Vaccination Network president Meryl Dorey yesterday with a letter of action, labelling the network's name misleading and a detriment to the community.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts fired a broadside at the AVN, saying the information it provided was a public safety issue of "life and death".


"People do not have the freedom of choice when it comes to endangering others ... it's the equivalent of saying a bloke can speed down the road and endanger others," he said.

Mr Roberts said he was prepared for any appeals the AVN might make.

"This is an order, it is not a request," he said.

I think this order toes a fine line between the principles of public safety and civil liberty. While I generally oppose government attempts to interfere with privately owned entities so long as they’re following any applicable laws (I’ve found no indication that the AVN has violated any laws or ordinances), I equally believe the government has the responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of its people (at least in principle, regardless of how often it may screw up in practice). And if that means forcing a belligerent group of medical frauds to end their pretense of serving as a credible source of impartial information, that’s perfectly fine by me.

(via @DrRachie; RT: @BadAstronomer)