Some good news out of New Zealand arrived today. The Immunisation Awareness Society, an anti-vaccination group has just lost its charity status.
The Charities Registration Board (the Board) has determined that the Immunisation Awareness Society Incorporated (the Society) is not qualified for registration as a charitable entity and that it is in the public interest that it be removed from the Charities Register. While the stated purposes of the Society are to advance education, the Board considers that its main purpose is to promote a point of view. The courts have held that promotion of a point of view lies outside the legal definition of a charitable purpose to advance education. –Charities Registration Board, New Zealand
I completely agree with this decision. There is a difference between education and opinion, the main one being that in order to educate the public you must first speak the truth. Lying to the public about made up dangers (i.e the debunked Vaccines Autism claim) isn’t education and certainly isn’t a charitable purpose. It good to see that New Zealand health authorities are looking out for the public interest.
I wish our own authorities in Australia, especially New South Wales would take a more hard line stance against questionable organisations that act against public health. I have a good feeling that recent developments in the Australian state of New South Wales will soon see health authorities coming down hard on certain organisations with regard to activities that endanger the public, or breach regulations.