Australian Vaccination Network Loses Charitable Status
14 October 2010 at 3:48 pm
The NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has rescinded the charitable status of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) after a two month investigation.
But the national, volunteer-run lobby and support group says the move is a political decision because its message of an individually informed health choice conflicts with the government's policy of pro-mass vaccination.
The Government investigation included an audit of the AVN by Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing.
In its Notice of Revocation of Authority to Fundraise For Charitable Purposes, the OLGR says as a result of its inquiries the Minister is satisfied that the authority should be revoked under the following grounds:
- that any fundraising appeal conducted by the holder of the authority has not been conducted in good faith for charitable purposes
- and that the Organisation has failed to publish a disclaimer on its website as recommended by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).
The Rescind Notice says that this has resulted in an unacceptable risk of potential donors to the Organisation being misled when making a decision whether or not to make a donation, which has led to appeals not being conducted in good faith.
Meryl Dorey, a spokeswoman for AVN says the inquiry found several errors with their bookkeeping system and some minor problems with the way in which they accounted for fundraising income.
She says had the OLGR based its decision upon the simple errors which were found during the audit – errors which any small, volunteer-run organisation can and does make – it would have been unfair but not unexpected.
However, Dorey, says what makes this decision difficult to understand is that the revocation was based solely upon a questionable decision by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) which they believe is not relevant to the OLGR's mandate.
She says there has been a two year campaign to shut down the AVN.
She says that in a democracy, it is always in the public's interest to allow citizens access to full and accurate information on all issues so they will be empowered to make their own decision about vaccination.