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Free speech issue or Public health issue?

bowerbird

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A NSW-based anti-vaccination group has been been stripped of its charitable status.

<<<snip>>>>

It was told to advise people it was against vaccination and that the information on the web page should not be read as medical advice.

Anti-vaccination group loses charity status - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Anti-vaccination group has lost it's ability to call itself a charity and ask for donations. It said it would support itself in any event.

But I would like opinions as to where people stand on this.

On the one hand is freedom of speech and opinion

On the other hand is at least two dead children - one from pertussis (Whooping cough) and the other from a vaccine preventable virus.
 

spud_meister

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Well, we don't have actual freedom of speech, so that's not an issue, but, I agree with the decision, it is proven that vaccines save lives, many more than could possibly be put at risk by them. For the website to possibly mislead people, in that it wouldn't have a warning, is irresponsible, and, as pointed out, can lead to death.
 

bowerbird

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Well, we don't have actual freedom of speech, so that's not an issue, but, I agree with the decision, it is proven that vaccines save lives, many more than could possibly be put at risk by them. For the website to possibly mislead people, in that it wouldn't have a warning, is irresponsible, and, as pointed out, can lead to death.

I agree - and it is true that we do not have a "bill of rights" like America does

I just thought I would throw this out there for people to think on
 

rathi

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I don't mind the organization loses its charitable status . Even applying my American definition of free speech, the right to speech means you cannot be censored, getting tax breaks is a separate issue.
 

bowerbird

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I don't mind the organization loses its charitable status . Even applying my American definition of free speech, the right to speech means you cannot be censored, getting tax breaks is a separate issue.

Thank-you for the reply - I was hoping to stimulate some debate on how far we should support "free speech" because personally i think twonks like this should be hung and quartered
 

rathi

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Thank-you for the reply - I was hoping to stimulate some debate on how far we should support "free speech" because personally i think twonks like this should be hung and quartered

I would disagree. Tax breaks are a privilege, not a right, and taking them away for endangering public health is perfectly acceptable in my book. On the other hand, I wouldn't support the groups members being arrested either. Always remember that any law you make to bash someone else can be turned back onto you.
 

Yossarian

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Well, we don't have actual freedom of speech, so that's not an issue, but, I agree with the decision, it is proven that vaccines save lives, many more than could possibly be put at risk by them. For the website to possibly mislead people, in that it wouldn't have a warning, is irresponsible, and, as pointed out, can lead to death.

Not quite true; in Australia we have a fairly absolute freedom of political communication which the High Court has found to be 'implied' within our Constitution. Also, we have a version of free speech protection in the form of various statutory defences to the tort of defamation. Having said that, these provisions obviously do not operate as broadly as the US First Amendment.

Regarding the anti-vaccination group, I think it was ludicrous to classify them as a 'charitable organisation' in the first place, but they should absolutely be allowed to publicise their views, even if they are misleading. Many people have the impression that anti-vaccination groups are raising their profiles and that vaccination rates are declining, but this is simply not the case. Even if it was the case, I don't think it would be right to censure such a group on a shallow utilitarian basis.
 

jamesrage

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Anti-vaccination group loses charity status - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Anti-vaccination group has lost it's ability to call itself a charity and ask for donations. It said it would support itself in any event.

But I would like opinions as to where people stand on this.

On the one hand is freedom of speech and opinion

On the other hand is at least two dead children - one from pertussis (Whooping cough) and the other from a vaccine preventable virus.

It looks like the government saying do what we want and say what we want or we will not let you accept charitable donations or call yourself a charity. Sounds like a dangerous precedent. All fine and good when it is someone whose speech you disagree with but I bet you will be screaming bloody murder if the government decided to do the same to you.
 

mikhail

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The anti-vaccination people are morons who dont appreciate medical advances.They like to give themselves a pat on the back for making other children more likely to get fatal illnesses.
 

bowerbird

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The anti-vaccination people are morons who dont appreciate medical advances.They like to give themselves a pat on the back for making other children more likely to get fatal illnesses.

Some of the problem is that they no longer see these diseases and so do not appreciate how ill the person can become from them. We have had a small pertussis outbreak here (whooping cough) mostly adults who had not had a booster for years. The whoop is unmistakable and even for the adults it was no easy ride.

I have seen Tetanus cases and Meningococcaemia - believe me vaccines are better
 
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