AVN launches court action

THE Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network Inc (AVN) has launched a civil suit against the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) in the NSW Supreme Court.

The suit was lodged in response to the HCCC’s public warning about the AVN in July last year.

The case is listed for directions and will be mentioned for the first time in Sydney today. The mention will involve case management only at this stage.

When contacted by The Northern Star, AVN president Meryl Dorey said she was unable to comment on the matter.

The AVN is challenging the findings of the HCCC’s investigation into the Northern Rivers-based vaccination information group.

The HCCC launched its investigation after it received two complaints about the AVN.

The first was from Stop the AVN president Ken McLeod and the second from Toni and David McCaffery, whose baby daughter died from whooping cough in 2009.

The HCCC’s investigation established on July 26 last year that some information on the AVN website was “misleading and incorrect” and that it “should not be read as medical advice.”

In response to the HCCC findings, the AVN accused the HCCC’s cinvestigation of being biased. Mrs Dorey previously told The Star that the whole investigation was handled in an “extremely irregular manner”.

Following the HCCC’s warning, the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) revoked the AVN’s fundraising authority after finding the organisation had breached NSW charity laws.

The revocation took effect on October 20 last year and the then-Minster for Gaming and Racing Kevin Greene said the group “breached charitable fundraising laws and potentially misled the public”.

The revocation meant the AVN was no longer permitted to accept charitable donations.

The AVN is now fighting that decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which will hear the matter on May 18 and 19.

A spokesperson for the OLGR said his department’s revocation took into account the HCCC’s warnings.

“We will observe the Sup-reme Court proceedings against the Commission to ensure that any relevant matters are considered,” he said.

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