Vaccination: more free speech, not less

vaccinationFree speech means being able to comment publicly about many issues, including health. We support the national immunisation program, but acknowledge the right of opponents to speak out. Civil Liberties Australia does not believe that the government has a right to prohibit the speech of individual anti-vaxers, nor to compel an individual presenting at a conference to voice an “official” government opinion.

The government and individuals should counter misleading advice by using their own speech to promote facts, not by silencing the voices of others.

Already, the protest against an anti-vax campaigner has managed to air her views more widely than if nothing had been said against her, and she had been – quietly – permitted to go ahead with her addresses to mere handfuls of the already converted anti-vax community who are likely to comprise the majority of her audience.

Many people would never have heard of the US anti-vax speaker if she had not been publicised by people trying to curtail her right to free speech. It is an irony that their efforts to suppress her views are only giving them more widespread currency.

 See CLA’s statement on immunisation …

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5 Comments

  1. My question still stands Ed. The Wikipedia link you posted only talks about where there were outbreaks of measles. There is always outbreaks of measles. I had it and so did my wife when we were kids. A few days in bed and you’re right to go. Is this disease as scary as the pharmaceutical industry would have us believe? When was the last time in Australia or the the US when a person died from this killer disease?

    In the western world, here was a death from measles in 2013 in Wales in the UK, during an eight-month outbreak in the Swansea area, where about 1200 people were infected, 88 needing to go to hospital.
    With measles, some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die.
    • As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
    • About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.
    • For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.
    http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html – Ed.

    Anthony Shakespeare
  2. No need for name calling Rohan. The pharmaceutical industry are the kings of selling fictitious vaccination advice and make billions of dollars by scaring parents with patent nonsense. For example the killer disease measles. We are constantly bombarded with death rates of over 100,000 per year. When was the last time anyone died in Australia or the US from measles? Look it up.

    This site has figures for Australia and the USA – Ed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles_outbreaks_in_the_21st_century#Australia

    Anthony Shakespeare
  3. Any talk that threatens the lives of our children, who do not have a voice of their own, can not be tolerated in any way shape or form. This woman is a threat. A public health threat. Her lies are being believed, and no amount of government countering is working any more. These people are not listening. They falsely believe and project that vaccines are some sort of conspiracy and won’t be convinced otherwise. There is no other way. The woman can not be allowed into Australia. We don’t want this nonsense, especially when she puts her fingers in her ears when told the truth.

    Thank you.

    Timelord
  4. I support free speech. Censorship leads to many problems: Who is to do the censoring? Who is to decide on the rules? How can we know who should be censored? There is a danger of censoring people who have new ideas just because those ideas are unfamiliar.

    David K Clarke
  5. I presume that the CLA considers selling fictitious diet pills to be a form of health scam; a fraudulent practice that should NOT be protected by the provisions that seek to ensure free speech in our society. So why isn’t the selling of fictitious vaccination advice similarly a health scam and fraud? How is Sherri Tenpenny, a charlatan who makes money out of scaring parents with patent nonsense, so different to Peter Foster? Why do you frame Tenpenny as an “alternative opinion” maker whom you wish to protect, when you do not afford Peter Foster the same luxury?

    Rohan Gaiswinkler

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