Category Archives: Skepticism

AVNs latest fundraising swindle falls apart.

The Australian Vaccination Network gave us an unexpected, but very welcomed gift on Christmas Day. At 9pm on the 25th they sent out an email announcing the cancellation of the High Court Challenge and that they were keeping the donated money.

The History of the High Court Challenge is a long one and one of the biggest fundraising scams the AVN has pulled to date. The scheme was hatched last year via the AVNs Newsletter.

The AVN has received initial written advice on fighting No Jab, No Pay, and at present we are seeking a barrister or QC who is able to give us an expanded broad-based advice on the potential for a High Court action to stop these discriminatory and potentially unconstitutional laws.

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Again, when we call in the pledges next year, you will be asked to make good on your promise, so please don’t pledge more than you can afford, but if everyone who is receiving this information makes a pledge – no matter how small – we will be a power to be reckoned with.

High Court challenges do not come cheaply, and the total cost could and probably will exceed half a million dollars; but the potential benefits of taking this action are, to quote the MasterCard commercial – priceless.
-AVN Newsletter, 23 December 2015

So the usual patter of promises and begging for money begins. The AVN has been holding dodgy fundraising campaigns for over 20 years, no doubt they expected this one would be business as usual but this one has quite the fall out.

Just keeping you all in the loop, we have some excellent news on the legal front. The AVN has retained the services of a barrister to write a detailed opinion regarding the ways in which No Jab No Pay / No Play can be opposed through the court system. Since No Jab No Pay is Federal legislation, we feel that one of the best ways to oppose it is through a broad-based approach that includes taking a case to the High Court of Australia.

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Since it looks like legal action may be impending on this matter, can we please ask that if you have not already pledged, you do so without delay?

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Remember, we will not be calling in pledges for sponsorship for this court case unless we are given advice that there are strong legal grounds for opposing the legislation. But if we are given that advice, we will need to initiate proceedings quickly so we will be calling in pledges at that time. -AVN Newsletter, 6th Febuary 2016

In March the AVN began pushing its members to give money under the pretense that legal action against the governments No Jab No Pay legislation was imminent.

AVN Newsletter, 26th March 2016

Finally in June it was announced that the legal team had been finalised and the case was moving forward to the High Court with a fearless band of lawyers..

AVN Newsletter, 9th June 2016

This brings us to the Christmas Day announcement. I don’t know why they sent out a newsletter on Christmas, perhaps it was in the hope that fewer people would be paying attention at this time.

The AVN committee would like to sincerely thank you for your support of our High Court challenge against the tyrannical ‘No Jab, No Pay’ federal legislation.   As you would be aware from previous communications, the AVN received preliminary advice from a barrister in March to the effect that we had potential grounds to mount a challenge to the constitutional validity of ‘No Jab, No Pay’.  On the basis of this advice, we retained a legal firm and invited our members and supporters to sponsor the legal challenge.  Our legal firm then retained the services of a leading SC (Senior Counsel) and barrister in the field of constitutional law and human rights.  SC is the equivalent of Queen’s Counsel (QC).   Unfortunately, having considered every possible avenue to challenge ‘No Jab, No Pay’ – including the possibility of challenging the Immunisation Register legislation – counsel has advised us not to proceed due to the poor chance of success and the high costs of a High Court challenge.  As you may be aware, the Australian Constitution does not guarantee most of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by some other western democracies.  Our constitution relies on the principle of representative democracy, which unfortunately, does not serve well the interests of unpopular minorities.

We were absolutely devastated when we received this advice as we wanted so much to believe that justice still exists in Australia.  Our heart goes out to those parents most affected by this law.  It’s difficult to imagine a more callous and inequitable piece of legislation; legislation which violates various fundamental rights, such as the rights of the child, the right to privacy and bodily autonomy, and the right to work.

However, we do not believe in quitting.  We are fighters who never give up no matter how much the government and vested pharmaceutical interests want us to.  There is simply too much at stake.   This is your fight just as much as it is our fight, so we need your help to decide the best way forward.   At the present time, we have removed the Sponsorship option from our website and shop page. We are also requesting that sponsors cancel any regular internet banking sponsorship that they have set up through their bank unless they would like to continue their support of the AVN. Thanks to their generosity, altogether we raised $152,203.73.  The total cost of the AVN’s advice was $72,526.37.

These are the options as we see them:

  1. We can refund the balance of of each sponsor’s donation returned to them at $0.52 on the dollar (after deducting the costs the AVN paid for legal advice-on a pro-rata basis), which we are more than happy to do.
  2. We could use the donations on several “Plan B” options that we have been discussing with our solicitor. These options include investigating a range of alternative legal avenues by which to introduce much-needed transparency and accountability into Australia’s vaccine program.  Currently, there is none.  Vaccines are being licensed and recommended without sufficient evidence of effectiveness and/or safety.  This needs to change.  Australians are being maimed every year by vaccines which don’t even work.The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) which licences vaccines, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) which recommends vaccines, and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) which recommends taxpayer subsidisation of vaccines, need to be held to account once and for all for the harm they cause.  The tort of misfeasance in public office may be one way to go about this.  A far cheaper way would be to lobby our representatives for a Royal Commission into Vaccination.  As you would know, the balance of power shifted in the Senate following the recent federal election, so there may be fresh opportunities in this respect which weren’t available to us last year.
  3. We could also use the donations to start the process of finally bringing together the people who could help start a retrospective fully vaccinated vs fully unvaccinated children’s long term health outcome study. Or help fund the real change that needs to happen in Australia, that is, education of members of the general public, most of whom are blindly following vaccine recommendations out of fear or deference to authority.  To this end, we could bring top international experts to speak in Australia.  We could also purchase advertising around Australia that promotes free and informed consent to vaccination.We also want to hear from you and welcome any other suggestions from our members or sponsors as to how the legal funds could be best utilised.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us to share your ideas.

We will never give up this battle! We will not rest until your rights to choose how to prevent and treat an illness as well as your ability to decide how to raise your children (their diet, their education and their health) is guaranteed and protected in this previously great democracy of Australia.   We are the AVN.  We have been here for you for over 22 years and if it is within our power to do so, we will be here for you as long as you need us.   Thank you again for standing with us!

Yours in health,

The AVN National Committee

This is where the fun begins and its the gift that keeps on giving. Over the past few years the anti-vaccination community has become increasingly bitter and divided and the once unquestionable AVN is now being scrutinized by anti-vaxxers. Something that would never have happened a few years ago.

When challenged over the claimed $72k legal expenses the AVN is refusing to answer the questions from their donors.

These comments have since been deleted from the AVNs Facebook page. However the anti-vaxxer infighting continues in other groups, again this type of criticism and in-fighting would not have happened a few years ago.

But that’s not the end of the AVNs trouble over their latest swindle. NSW Fair Trading is back with a new investigation into this sham association.

The Australian newspaper reports that NSW Fair Trading authorities will investigate the Australian Vaccination-sceptics Network (AVSN) for “potential breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act and the Associations Incorporation Act”.

On Christmas Day, the anti-vaccination group announced that it had called off its High Court attempt to overturn the federal government’s so-called “no jab, no pay” policy.

This means it would shelve the lawsuit after being advised by legal counsel that there was a “poor chance of success” and despite raising $152,000 from supporters to pay costs.

NSW Better Regulation Minister Victor Dominello said the government took the potential breaches “very seriously”, according to The Australian. “NSW Fair Trading will review this matter to assess whether there have been any breaches of relevant legislation and regulations.” Australian Skeptics

Next year should be an interesting one.

Media picks up on anti-vaxxer stalking

Following on from last weeks blog post the media are now starting to reveal the full extent of abuse targeting Peter Tiernan. The man whom myself and many others already stated is not Reasonable Hank. However the anti-vaccination movement has never been one for caring about facts. Last weeks information was sourced directly from the anti-vaxxers Facebook groups. Now the main stream media is getting Peter Tiernan’s side of the story.

tiernan-paper-article-minPETER Tiernan is being bombarded by threatening calls and messages from anti-vaccination activists and fears “one absolute nutter” could attack him or his family.

All because some activists think he is Reasonable Hank, a pro-vaccination blogger who has been enraging the anti-vaxxers for years.

The problem is Mr Tiernan, a 51-year-old physiotherapist who works in the Byron Shire, is not Reasonable Hank and never has been. Jane Hansen, Daily Telegraph

After the revelation that they are targeting the wrong person it might be expected that the harassment might tail off.

 

However the offenders continue to incite threats and intimidation to be directed at Tiernan and show no remorse for their actions.

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The ABC even reveals that they are targeting his children. I already mentioned last week that they were posting photographs of his children. Now it’s revealed that they are trying to contact them.

The activists, who run the Anti-Vaccination Australia Facebook page and the Septic Skeptics website, believe they have unmasked Reasonable Hank whose real name is reported to be Peter Tierney.

However, the activists have mistakenly targeted Peter Tiernan.

Mr Tiernan said the case of mistaken identity began two weeks ago when his wife received a message on Facebook from someone saying “I’d like to talk to you about your husband”.

The person also tried to contact Mr Tiernan, his 14-year-old daughter, some of his friends, and other family members on Facebook. ABC News

A few anti-vaxxers have taken to extortion and blackmail to try and silence Reasonable Hanks whistle blowing activities.

Mr Tiernan said it was the first time he had heard of the blogger, so he began searching for him on Facebook.

He became alarmed when he saw threats against Reasonable Hank being posted online.

“They were sending messages to him using my profile picture from Facebook and saying ‘We know who you are’,” Mr Tiernan said.

“They told him if he didn’t take his blog down they would expose me and my family.”

Mr Tiernan said his daughter’s school had also been named on social media, and photos of him with his family had been taken from his Facebook page and shared by the anti-vaccination campaigners. ABC News

One of the main perpetrators Belgin Colak openly brags about her involvement in the stalking campaign.

Belgin brags on twitter about doxxing

“Time to Join the Fun”

Belgin has book on victims family

“We have a whole book on his family”

She also claims to have a “big fat book of his whole family” suggesting that she has probably spent the past several weeks going through the profiles of her victims family members. This wouldn’t be the first time that anti-vaxxers have targeted, friends, family and employers of their victims if the victim doesn’t give them what they want.

Anti-vaxxers to prove how they stalked.

These people are really so deranged that they are going to provide evidence of how they stalked, menaced and harassed an innocent member of the public. I hope the law will come down hard on them for this one.

More crimminal harassment and stalking by anti-vaxxers.

So anti-vaccination campaigners are on the attack again in full force. This time they are attacking a physiotherapist in NSW by the name of Peter Tiernan. Going so far as to track down his employer and family members.

It would appear that Breana Elizabeth, Belgin Colak and Brett Smith from the Facebook group Anti-vaccine Australia have been stalking him for several months on the assumption that he is the man behind Reasonable Hank.

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We give great pleasure in announcing that after several weeks of investigations we have found and located ‘Reasonable Hank’. We urge all of our members who have had any defamation or any personal information collected and posted publicly by him to go and take screenshots NOW as he is aware and they are covering their tracks and the page “things anti-vaxxer say” has already been removed. -Anti-vaccination Australia, 3rd November 2016

The Facebook thread then continues with photographs or Peter and his family members, including his children being distributed among the group. Several commenters have even expressed a desire to visit him at work. With at least one individual seeking his home address.

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FacebookID [sapereaude691] effective 03.11.2016

There is normally only one reason that anti-vaccination campaigners seek out their targets address and it’s not the send a Christmas card.

While anti-vaxxers are not shy about committing criminal acts of stalking and harassment against anyone who promotes the benefits of vaccinations. Or anybody who loses a child to vaccine preventable disease. This is the first time that I’m aware of them going after someone who literally has no connection to the fight against vaccine preventable diseases.

Those of us who have had to deal with anti-vaccination thugs for the past few years have become accustomed to hiding certain information about ourselves. However in this case the victim had no reason to ever expect that he would suddenly become the target of such a hostile mob. As a result much of his personal information was readily available on his social media profiles which the anti-vaxxers then raided.

So what has Peter Tiernan done to incur the wrath of the anti-vaccination movement?

Nothing, literally nothing.

All this is because his name just happens to look a little to similar to their desired target.

So no, Hank, in a crafty bit of wordsmanship altered his name from Peter Tiernan to Peter Tierney. Nice one Shank. nudge nudge wink wink. -Brett Smith, 2nd November 2016

I can categorically state that the man being targeted here is not Hank, nor does he have any connection with SAVN. However the anti-vaccination movement is not known for intellect only its vileness and this type of behavior is far too common.

A special shout out to the great detective work of Breana Elizabeth and Belgin Colak who have worked tirelessly over the last few months with me tracking this slime ball’s every move. It’s time for us all to focus on the real enemy here, Bad Pharma, and unite a movement that will need cohesion and unity to defeat the multi billion dollar Pharma machine and their toxic media and political buddies. -Brett Smith, 2nd November 2016

Stalking, menacing and harassing is currently illegal within all states of Australia. So is inciting violence towards another person. It is my hope that the perpetrators of this latest harassment campaign will be dealt with under the law. They are certainly not shy about admitting to their actions.

Increased accountability for medical professionals.

Accountability plays a vital role in Science because without it there can be no consequences for people who spread harmful and misleading information. It’s one of the reasons that peer reviewed papers identify the authors and institute that submitted the paper, and why citing your sources is so important.

So in the medical field where practitioners have the ability to cause direct harm to people it is especially important to hold individuals to account for any advise or information they provide to the public and Reasonable Hank has been doing that for sometime with his excellent Anti-vaccine Nurses and Mid-wives segment.  Where Nurses and Mid-wives who use their medical credentials to spread deceptive health advise on social media are routinely called out.

Now the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is stepping in to take action:

The NMBA has become aware that there are a small number of registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives who are promoting anti-vaccination statements to patients and the public via social media which contradict the best available scientific evidence. The NMBA is taking this opportunity to make its expectations about providing advice on vaccinations clear to registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives.
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Any published anti-vaccination material and/or advice which is false, misleading or deceptive which is being distributed by a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or midwife (including via social media) may also constitute a summary offence under the National Law and could result in prosecution by AHPRA. Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia

Of course the anti-vaccination movement that likes to scream “accountability” for medical professionals has done a complete about-turn (as expected) and is upset by this latest increase in accountability in Australia.

This sentiment might have been acceptable, if it wasn’t coupled with the organization also prompting people to tattle on each other. You see, the board is also urging members of the public to come forward and report nurses and midwives who may be expounding anti-vaccination beliefs. Surely anyone who goes against the grain deserves to be punished? , idiot.

Yes, anybody who “goes against the grain” needs to be punished that’s how professional standards work. It looks like anti-vaxxers are losing again and we will continue holding them to account.

Anti-vaxxers are nothing but losers.

Anti-vaccination campaigners are called plenty names and deservedly so since these are the people responsible for the recent return of many vaccine preventable childhood diseases. But one often overlooked name is “loser!”

Over the past 6 years the Anti-vaccination Movement in Australia have been a movement of losers. It all started back in 2010 with the establishment of the activist group Stop the Australian Vaccination Network which was setup to counter the lies a deceit of the now infamous Australian Vaccination Network (AVN).

Since that time Anti-vaccination Movement in Australia has faced a barrage of never ending failures and setbacks. In just 6 years we’ve seen:

The rapid decline of their leading lobby group
Welfare cuts to anti-vaccine families resulting in improved immunisation rates
The complete derailment of a leading Anti_vaccination tour, before it even started

These are just highlights. It would probably take me all year to list every action taken against the Anti-vaccination Movement. For anyone following the fight against anti-vaxxers saga it will be clear that we are winning and they are the losers.

The latest attack on public health comes in the form of a propaganda film named “Vaxxed”. Which was set to screen at the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival. Until it was cancelled that is.

A controversial anti-vaccination documentary has been withdrawn from the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival.

The festival committee says it faced a firestorm of abuse after announcing Vaxxed would be included in the October event, and last night issued a statement because some members felt “personally and professionally threatened’’.

The decision to include the film in the festival drew widespread criticism, including calls from Australia’s peak health association for it to be pulled from the program.

Public Health Association of Australia chief executive Michael Moore said the decision showed a lack of understanding of the impact the film could have on parents.

His sentiments were echoed by Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy, who said it was dangerous to promote a message against vaccination.

“I have no hesitation looking the anti-vaccination movement in the face and condemning what they do as being unsafe, unhelpful and scientifically wrong,” she said. Bendigo Advertiser

This is the latest setback for the anti-vax movement and true to form the victim card is out and being exploited to its fullest potential. Not only has the festival committee failed to substantiate any of the accusations made against their critics. But the accusations are now being repeated by their followers.

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They may scream the loudest but the reality is that anti-vaccination is a movement of losers who are unwelcome and unwanted by the Australian Public who do not appreciate the spreading of misinformation into the community.

Channel 9 should quit funding crime.

Crime pays, and it pays quite well especially when 60 Minutes is involved.

Last year “Wellness Blogger” Belle Gibson was revealed to have lied about having cancer in order to defraud the public of nearly $300,000. After receiving widespread condemnation for her actions Gibson was invited by Channel 9 to do and interview with Tara Brown on 60 Minutes.

It has now been revealed that despite repeated denials from the Nine Network. Gibson was paid a total of $75,000 to do the interview after publically acknowledging that she had lied about having cancer.

Disgraced author Belle Gibson was secretly paid $75,000 for appearing on Channel Nine’s flagship current affairs show, 60 Minutes, after her global cancer hoax and charity fraud were first exposed.

But documents obtained by Fairfax Media now reveal the broadcaster paid her much more for the exclusive interview. Invoices and remittance advice show Nine made two separate payments each of $37,500 to Ms Gibson’s lawyers in July 2015 under the reference, ’60 Minutes – Belle Gibson interview’.The Age

Earlier this year Channel 9 staff where detained in Lebanon after the network paid $115000 to professional child snatchers in pursuit of an exciting story. Although Channel 9 initially denied involvement with the botched abduction attempt, a spokesman later confessed to the network having fronted the $115,000 to the child snatchers.

So given this is now the second time (that I’m aware of) that Channel 9 has been caught I have to wonder how much money have they really paid to the crooks over the years. The fact the such a disreputable network is able to continue operating speaks volumes about the integrity of Australian Journalism.

Chris Savage sentencing delayed

The sentencing of notorious Anti-vaccination Health Menace Chris Savage has been postphoned until the 4th of November.

A judge has declined to sentence an Australian policeman-turned-backstreet medical advisor without more information on the man who in Hastings on Monday admitted a charge of criminal nuisance involving alternative treatment for a Hawke’s Bay diabetic.

Back in the Hastings District Court today, Judge Tony Adeane further remanded 53-year-old former Queensland police officer Christopher William Savage for sentencing on November 4, saying it could not go ahead without a full probation report an Savage, now a campaigner against vaccination. New Zealand Herald

The judge declined immediate sentencing because he wants to understand Mr Savages beliefs and intentions. Given that Chris Savage has previously asked if Medical Workers should be shot for administering vaccines. I fully agree with the judges decision to learn more. about him.

On his own website Savage even admits to fleeing Indonesian Authorities after targeting children with his unlicensed, unproven and dangerous treatments.

I got my second taste of Rockefeller medical tyranny courtesy of the Australian skeptic
marxists due to the Indonesianu government being informed. I had to leave Bali or face 5 years in an Indonesion prison. A cat and mouse situation then ensued to avoid the
authorities and safely leave Bali. –Chris Savage

Savage is also unable to return to Australia because he is a wanted man here as well.

savage_leaving-au

The website Chris Savage posted to Facebook is his online store where he continues continues to sell the same phoney medicine that has resulted in him fleeing two countries and being arrested in a third.

The Cancer Society is outraged a man on bail for allegedly administering an intravenous “treatment” that left a diabetes sufferer in hospital has been able to set up a website selling products he claims cure cancer.

Australian Chris Savage faces an assault charge after injecting a Hawke’s Bay diabetes patient with a magnesium treatment he allegedly said would cure the condition in April.

Savage was arrested the following month and has been living in Auckland on bail. Stuff.co.nz

Chris Savage clearly has no intention to stop. His current technique is to set up shop, then flee to another country when the authorities come knocking. Considering his tendency to flee the law and continue his business without remorse I am hopeful that the judge will be more inclined to issue a custodial sentence. The fact that he’s been remanded in custody is a promising sign in itself.

Shawn Dhu threatens to harm Reasonable Hank

Shawn Dhu is an anti-vaccination campaigner from Western Australia and an associate of Judy Wilyman. Both of whom were involved in the recent attack against the Telethon Kids Institute. Both of whom were applauded by the notorious Australian Vaccination Network for their actions.

AVN-7188-Dorey-June-1-2016-tweet-proud-of-protestors-at-Telethon

After hearing of the incident I was very tempted to write a scathing email to the Telethon Institute for their failure to provide adequate security at an event likely to attract AVN supporters (Yes, medical research has now come to this). The violent nature of AVN supporters is extensively documented with some of them being well known to the police.

However such an email would not achieve anything since whoever was in charge on that night now knows about the issue they face when dealing with the anti-vaccination movement. I personally avoid places likely to contain AVN supporters for my own safety and have for a number of years advised other people not to deal with them unless they understand the situation.

Reasonable Hank who works tirelessly to expose cranks and charlatans is no stranger to abuse from random cowards on the Internet. However recently the AVNs supporters have been taking things to the next level. Yesterday Reasonable Hank revealed that Shawn Dhu has made a public and explicit threat to assault him.

I’m coming for you mate and if I find out who you are and I can get my hands around your scrawny little neck because I bet you’re a scrawny little bastard with no soul or whoever you are reasonable Hank hear me well here del bigtree and here the world we’re coming for you mate so you better delete you goddamn facebook profile you better get the hell off Twitter and you better stop harassing victims with your bullshit because you my friend and not my friend. -Shawn Dhu

While it is not uncommon to receive threats and/or abuse from anti-vaxxers. Most offenders attempt to cower behind the veil of anonymity and are not as easily identified as Shawn Dhu. This is not the first time that anti-vaxxers have threatened physical violence and it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Chris Savage captured in New Zealand

Reasonable Hank brings word that Anti-vaxxer Chris Savage was captured by New Zealand Police and is now out on bail pending assault charges. Savage was charged by New Zealand police with assault after practising medicine without a license.

A man who claims he is a doctor has been charged with assault using a needle and is being sought by police after failing to appear in court.

Christoper William Savage, 53, has been charged by police in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, after allegedly using a needle as a weapon between April 9 and 23, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Mr Savage is a former Queensland Police sergeant who claims he’s a ‘Jedi doctor’ and has been offering medical services in New Zealand, despite not being registered with the New Zealand Medical Council – a requirement for practicing in the country. Daily Mail, 11th May 2016

We didn’t know what had happened to Chris Savage until Saturday, 4th of June when he made a plea to his fellow anti-vaxxers for money.

Savage-301-VRM-public-post-call-for-funds

In case there was any doubt as to the validity of this. Savage has even made his bail application available for us to read. (Very considerate)

Savage-297-bail-notific-May-30-2016

The bail conditions seem fairly standard and are what any reasonable person might expect. (Surrender Passport, Don’t approach victim etc.) However the one that I find most interesting is the “Not to administer alternative medicine to any other person” especially as Savage is continuing to sell his concoctions to pay legal fees.

Savage is due to appear in court on the 27th of June. This should be an interesting case and hopefully it will act as a deterrent to people who practice medicine without a license. Until then nothing can be shared that isn’t already public knowledge.

More Background on Chris Savage

Australian Vaccination Network goes public on benefits fraud

Yesterday the Australia Vaccination Network advertised on Facebook that it had located a doctor in Victoria who was willing to sign bogus medical exemption forms so that members can fraudulently claim Centrelink benefits.

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The post has since been removed from Facebook as the anti-vaxxers realise they will be subject to criminal investigation. When challenged on the “legitimacy” of the scam Meryl Dorey wrote a highly defensive response, this time signing her name to the post.

avn-dorey-defensive over-rorts

If you’re going to publicise the scam might as well go all the way and attach your name to it just in case the authorities were confused about who to prosecute. This is the type of stupidity that can only come from desperation.

Member questions responsibility

Yes April, advertising a public benefits rort on social media is irresponsible.