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The Australian Vaccination Network, Inc. (AVN) deplores the recent decision by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in upholding an illegal act of discrimination by the Maroochy Shire Council who had denied two children a place in child care because of their vaccination status.

These children's parents, Greg Beattie and Jacqui Butcher, made an informed choice that the best way they could protect their children's health was by not vaccinating them. Since vaccination is not compulsory in Australia, this decision was within their rights.

We can only assume that the Inquiry Commissioner, William Carter, Q.C., judged in favour of the Council as a result of the awful pressure the medical community can bring to bear when their interests are threatened. If this was the case, we would like to offer him our sympathies and say that we understand why he may not have voted as his conscience demanded, but rather gave in to political expediency.

The Council's contention in this case was that unvaccinated children can put vaccinated children at risk. Not one of the expert witnesses sponsored by the Council was able to show anv evidence that this was so. In fact, Mr. Beattie was able to show documentary proof from refereed medical journals that children who have received live-virus vaccines such as polio, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, etc. can contract these diseases themselves or transmit them to those they are in close contact with. Despite this, the 50% of Australians who have chosen not to vaccinate their children have not demanded that vaccinated children be excluded from child care centres, preschools and schools.

Mr. Beattie says that he will appeal this decision if funds can be raised to cover his legal expenses. Anyone wishing to contribute to this cause is urged to contact the Australian Vaccination Network on (066) 871-699 or P0 Box 177, Bangalow NSW 2479. They can also write to us at P0 Box 9086, Manly West, QLD 4179. Unless this decision is overturned, the rights of every Australian parent to make informed choices about the health of their children or themselves is in grave peril.

If we were talking about excluding children with AIDS from schools, the country would be up in arms. Instead, we are talking about excluding perfectly healthy children whose parents have chosen to keep their health intact by not vaccinating them.

The AVN warns that a very dangerous precedent has been set by Commissioner Carter and that we must all get together to ensure that our rights as parents and Australian citizens are not abrogated.

THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK, INC. - PO Box 177, Bangalow NSW 2479, phone 066-871-699, fax 066-872-032, van@mypostbox.com, www.ozemail.com.au/~shotinfo

PO Box 9086, Manly West QLD 4179, fax 07-3893-2423, frameco@powerup.com.au

Press Release Contact: Meryl Dorey - phone (066) 871-699