One of the tactics that’s employed by the Australian Vaccination Network is to impersonate their opponents. It’s childish certainly, but we have come to expect such pathetic tactics from this organisation. Misrepresentation and deception are the tools of choice for pathological liars so it came as no surprise that Meryl Dorey, who was president of the AVN at that time set up a website to impersonate Australian Skeptics Inc.
It is a poor impersonation and the intended deception is clear for all to see. The fake website in question is: AustralianSceptics.com and the whois record shows that it belongs to the AVN, plus it’s common knowledge that they own this site.
So back in May 2012 I wrote to the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading to notify them that the AVN was in violation of the ASSOCIATIONS INCORPORATION ACT 2009 (NSW) by refusing to identify that this website belonged to them.
I am writing to inform you that The Australian Vaccination Network Inc has recently established a new website at http://australiansceptics.com with the title “The REAL Australian Sceptics”, this is a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive the public by purposefully using a confusingly similar name to Australian Skeptics Inc.
Despite the requirement under Section 41 of the ASSOCIATIONS INCORPORATION ACT 2009 (NSW) which states “An association must not issue any letter, statement, invoice, notice, publication, order for goods or services or receipt in connection with its activities unless the association’s name appears in legible characters on the document.”. The Australian Vaccination Network Inc has not included their name anywhere on the publication at http://australiansceptics.com. This publication is being promoted on their official Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the domain name australiansceptics.com is registered to “Australian Vaccination Network” there is no doubt that this publication belongs to them.
PO Box 72
While I did receive a response from Fair Trading to say they would write to the AVN I never had the opportunity to see the correspondence that took place between the AVN and Fair Trading; until now.
The group Stop the Australian Vaccination Network was able to obtain copies of the correspondence between the Department of Fair Trading and the Australian Vaccination Network and sure enough on page 84 is a copy of the letter that Fair Trading sent to Meryl Dorey regarding my complaint the 11th May 2012.
Then on page 89 I found the blatant lie that Meryl Dorey told to fair trading in order to avoid complying with the law.
Simply linking to another website is not the same as hosting it. If it were then it would mean the entire internet consists of a single website. I am disappointed that Fair Trading chose to ignore the law breaking activities of the AVN and accept such an obvious lie. I will be following up on my original complaint as a result.
The correspondence released by fair trading is available here: AVN Trouble with Fair Trading (14 MB)
It’s a big file to go through and I expect I’ll beable to dig up a lot more dirt from it over the coming weeks.
I received an identical reply from OFT when I submitted a similar complaint. I was as pleased as you are to see the correspondence from OFT to the deceptively-named AVN. I particularly liked the way that Meryl Dorey replied to that communication using AVN letterhead stationery that did not include either "Incorporated" or "Inc" after the organisation's name. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah (a good Yiddish word*) to reply to an official letter about the correct way that an organisation's name is to be shown and not to use that correct form.
This whole matter might be moot after next Friday, when the AVN will be required to change it's name and, of course, display the new, non-deceptive name on all official documents. I have the champagne on ice.
* Ms Dorey is herself Jewish, which is why there was open-mouthed surprise at her recent attempt to link vaccination to the Holocaust. The surprise didn't last long, however, as people simply reminded themselves who was speaking and thought about her record of civility and historical accuracy.