AVN talk at the State Library of WA is going ahead as we speak, and that’s good.

I should have spoken up earlier.  It’s currently 6pm in Western Australia, Meryl Dorey is setting up for her talk at the State Library of WA.  As a believer in science and reality based medicine, I am disappointed this is going ahead.  I am also glad.

When Meryl first announced her talk in Perth at the Uniting Church in The City, many people from the StopAVN group contacted them to let them know the reality behind the Australian Vaccination Network, what they really stood for and would really be talking about.  UCiTC were shocked, and decided in the end to cancel the booking.

The Australian Vaccination Network then looked around and lined up a new venue, the State Library of Western Australia.  They told Meryl they often have controversial groups talk, so would not cancel.  True to their word, once contacted by StopAVN members they responded in a similar way and allowed the talk to continue. 

StopAVN members then started contacting politicians, media, and other people higher up the State Library food chain complaining to the Minster for Health and then to the Minister for Arts (whose portfolio covers the venue) and asking for this talk to be stopped.  In my humble opinion, this was going too far.  This is the reason why I am also glad the talk is going ahead.

Ewelyn Beatrice Hall is often quoted as saying…

“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

The State Library’s stance sounds very much like it’s based in this statement.  They are willing to give anyone and everyone a location to voice their words whether they agree or not with the speaker.  They made the choice to make this their policy and they are sticking with it.  This is not something to scoff at, it’s something they should be proud of.

In going up the food chain to the Health and Arts Ministers asking for the talk to be stopped, the StopAVN members took things too far.  Alerting the venue to the truth behind what the AVN stand for, their true goals, the investigations they’re under is fine.  In fact that’s good, the AVN are full of misinformation and lies, there is no way they would be honest to venues about any of this.  Venues deserve to know the truth and have the right to reject people who wish to use their facilities.

Podblack has gone about things in the right way.  She informed the venues and when it continued she decided to go out there, observe the misinformation Meryl is giving and has some fliers that she may or may not give out depending on who she feels.  She also created a website to counter the AVN’s false claims and misinformation so that people can realise the facts.

Podblack as per usual has done the honourable and correct thing throughout this.  My hat goes off to her.

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One thought on “AVN talk at the State Library of WA is going ahead as we speak, and that’s good.

  1. I agree that the State Library was not in a position to cancel this event. They clearly stated their policy on providing services to the public and explained under what conditions they would consider cancelling an event. They are not public health experts.

    I think it was entirely appropriate, however, for people to ask the health dept to consider cancelling the event in the interest of public health. Parents in WA are anxious about the current child flu vax scare, and therefore more vulnerable to the misinformation and propaganda from the AVN right now.

    I’m not at all comfortable defending the notion that “vaccine deniers” have a right to say what they like if the end result is preventable deaths and needless suffering. At some point we need to stop and assess the repercussions of their free voice on public health.

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