Direction to Australian Vaccination Network Inc to adopt a new name

In Australian Vaccination Network Inc v Department of Finance & Services [2013] NSWADT 266, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal was asked by AVN to undertake a review of the merits of a decision by the Department, requiring AVN to adopt a new name.

The ADT having examined the evidence held that:

  • AVN’s main object is the dissemination of information and opinions which highlight the risks of vaccinations, at [54].
  • An ordinary member of the public would be likely to be misled into thinking that one of AVN’s objectives is to give a pro-vaccination message or, at least, to provide comprehensive information about vaccination. That is not the case. (at [78]).
  • The Department’s decision, directing AVN to adopt a new name, should be affirmed, at [113].

The ADT provided some guidance to AVN as to the appropriate form of the new name, saying at [113]:

…the name should reflect AVN’s scepticism about vaccinations. Although I do not have to decide this issue, and my opinion is not binding, a name that includes the word “risk” or “sceptic” and vaccine or vaccination would be acceptable. Examples include Vaccination Risk Awareness Association Inc or Vaccine Sceptics Network Inc. Other combinations of those words would, in my opinion, be acceptable. …