Anti-vaxxers have few friends in politics.

On the 9th of May the Australian Vaccination Network sent out an email to every political party they could find demanding to know what the parties stance on vaccination was. Unsurprisingly the majority of responses have been in favour of vaccination and public health.

As expected the Australian Vaccination Network is not happy about this and has sent out a newsletter calling upon their members to vote on parties that oppose public health measures.

The Federal election will be taking place in just over a month and we here at the AVN have been busy polling the political parties to find out what their views are on that basic of human rights

-AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

Contrary to the ideology of anti-vaccination campaigners, there is to right to threaten and endanger the community, nor is there a right to neglect the health of a child. Anti-vaxxers like to cry “Human rights, Human rights.” but only for people who embrace their ideology. Anyone else is to be suppressed and silenced.

Some of the answers we’ve received (like those from the Sex Party and the Pirate Party) could have been written by people who are members of the hate group, Stop the AVN. In fact, the Sex Party got help from members of that organisation before sending us their response.

And the larger parties – the Greens and the Liberals – who are responsible for this unconstitutional policy, never even bothered to respond which is incredibly arrogant.

-AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

Meryl Dorey wonders why the Greens do not respond to her when she has this abuse to hurl at their leader.

Meryl Dorey hurls abuse as B52

B52 is a common pseudonym of Meryl Dorey that she used to hurl abuse at people between 2010 and 2014 when she accidentally revealed herself to be the notorious B52 Troll by signing off as B52 under her personal Facebook account back in 2014.

Dorey exposed as b52

Dorey accidentally reveals herself to be B52 in 2014

This is the first time B52 has been seen since 2014 so I assume she has forgotten that this pseudonym is compromised.

Considering the Greens and Liberals spearheaded the No Jab, No Pay legislation I think their position on the matter is quite clear. The Australian Labor Party has also made it’s views on public health clear.

We believe the science is clear – vaccines save lives.

According to a recent World Health Organisation report, before widespread vaccination in 1980, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. In 2013, the number of deaths from measles had fallen to around 145,000.

Vaccines mean less disease and considerably fewer deaths.

Higher rates of vaccination are vital for infant children who are too young to be vaccinated, as well as the elderly and sick that may be too frail to be vaccinated. They are also vital to people for whom a vaccine may not produce a strong immune response.

That is why it is so important we maintain and encourage high rates of immunisation across the country. Australian Labor Party

With support from the two major parties and the Greens it is almost a certainty that the next Federal Government will uphold the current legislation. No matter what the anti-vaccination movement tries to pull.

The AVN will not advise you how you should vote – that is not within the terms of our Code of Ethics.

…..

We are asking you to vote 1-12 below the line – giving preference to candidates representing any of the following 7 parties who have made this pledge. With your help, we can get 5-6 people elected to the Senate who will speak for us. -AVN Newsletter, 1st June 2016

To start off with a “Code of Ethics” is in no way compatible with anti-vaccination. That’s like training your cat to do differential equations, it just isn’t going to work. However true to form Dorey proceeds to tell her readers how to vote, right after acknowledging that it would be unethical to do so.

The Parties that the AVN are asking there members to vote for are all minor parties.

Health Australia Party
Consumer Rights and No Tolls Party
Greg Beattie, Independent (former AVN President, running for the Senate in QLD) – Website to be advised
Rise Up Australia Party
21st Century Australia
Non-Custodial Parents Party
Voteflux.org

So long as no mainstream parties are willing to oppose public health Anti-vaccination campaigners will continue to be limited in the damage they can cause. The public is not stupid and the overwhelming majority of people recognise the value of modern medicine.

Of all the responses to Meryl Dorey, most of which she posts on the AVNs blog. By far the best and most comprehensive comes from the Australian Sex Party.

The Australian Sex Party was contacted by notorious anti-vaccination campaigner and science-denier Meryl Dorey, asking for our position on “both No Jab, No Pay/No Play legislation and the right of Australian citizens to make free and informed health choices for their families without financial penalty or discrimination.” Here is our response:

Dear Ms Dorey,

I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Australian Sex Party, to your request for information on our position on vaccination issues. I’d like to request that my response be published in full, and unedited, on both your website and social media. Please do share it widely.

The Australian Sex Party believes in individual liberty, and the freedom to make choices regarding your own life. With this freedom, however, comes responsibility. As members of our community, and beneficiaries of the privileges provided by the community, we have an obligation to ensure that exercising our freedom does not put others at undue risk.

No Jab, No Pay. The Federal Government’s No Jab, No Pay measures aim to reduce the spread of preventable disease1. Knowingly and willingly putting one’s own child and others at risk of dangerous and preventable diseases is irresponsible, reckless, and antisocial. The Australian Sex Party does not believe that those who choose not to participate in our collective enterprise of disease prevention should be rewarded with tax benefits or rebates. In Australia, parents are not forced to vaccinate their children. Those who contribute to the broader community’s health by vaccinating their children (or have genuine medical exemptions), receive a contribution from the community in the form of the FTB-A end-of-year supplement, Child Care Benefit, and Child Care Rebate payments. The Australian Sex Party supports this public health measure.

No Jab, No Play. Victoria’s No Jab, No Play laws were introduced to protect public health2. The Australian Sex Party believes that if a parent wishes to use our community’s early childhood education and care services, they should be expected to play their part in protecting the community from preventable diseases. Those who choose to endanger the health of others by not vaccinating their children should not be welcome to do so in an early childhood care setting.

The right of Australian citizens to make free and informed health choices for their families without financial penalty or discrimination. The Australian Sex Party supports the right of Australian citizens (and others) to make free and informed health choices for their families. The Party does not, however, believe that going against the best scientific information available, represents an informed health choice. The anti-vaccination movement encourages parents to “do your own research”, however doing “research” by reading web-pages is not comparable to actual research done by scientists who work hard to protect us all from dangerous and debilitating disease. The Australian Sex Party rejects the insinuation that expecting all parents to participate in preventing diseases is a form of discrimination.

The safety and efficacy of vaccination is not an area of scientific controversy3. The claim that governments and scientists are all conspiring to mislead us for some nefarious purpose is absurd and irresponsible. The dangers of complications from vaccines are much lower than the dangers posed by childhood diseases such as measles4. The claims of the anti-vaccination movement have been thoroughly debunked5. Choosing not to vaccinate your children amounts to medical neglect; this is a serious ethical issue. Whilst it can be tempting to imagine that we parents have access to some special kind of knowledge that somehow eludes the scientific community, it’s just not so. We at the Australian Sex Party would like to encourage parents who are questioning what’s right for their children, to follow the advice of the scientific and medical communities, rather than charlatans and conspiracy theorists.

Regards,

Darren Austin
Senior Policy Advisor
Australian Sex Party
sexparty.org.au
References
1. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubp/rp/BudgetReview201516/Vaccination

2. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/vaccine-safety-myths-facts

3. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/no-jab-no-pay/

4. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/vaccination-children/no-jab-no-play/frequently-asked-questions

5. https://violentmetaphors.com/2014/03/25/parents-you-are-being-lied-to/

I think it’s fair to say the anti-vaccination campaigners have few friends in politics. They might be incredibly loud, abusive and crash public health seminars.  But in reality they are a very small minority of the population and enjoy little support from the general public. They think they can look big if they make enough noise but all I see are desperate fringe dwellers.

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