AVN seeking legal advice
THE Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) is considering its options after the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) cancelled its authority to fundraise on Thursday.
NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Kevin Greene, approved the revocation, effective from this month, after an investigation found the group breached NSW charity laws and potentially misled the public
AVN media spokeswoman Meryl Dorey said about 10 to 15 per cent of the group's operating revenue came under the jurisdiction of the Charitable Fundraising Act.
“This will make a hard situation more difficult – we are used to difficult,” Ms Dorey said.
The OLGR found the organisation had been fundraising without authorisation to do so.
It is understood that between July 2, 2007 and June 2, last year, the AVN was without authorisation to fundraise.
Ms Dorey admits this was true but claimed the OLGR was aware of the AVN's fundraising status.
“During this time we were unable to find an auditor,” Ms Dorey said.
It took the AVN 12 months to find an auditor and then another year before the audit was conducted because the AVN was put at the bottom of the new auditor's work pile, Ms Dorey claims.
The OLGR also found there had been unauthorised expenditures. Ms Dorey said she did not know what these expenditures were.
The findings also said the AVN had failed to keep proper records of income and expenditure.
The group was also found to not be operating in ‘good faith', a requirement of the Act, because it had failed to comply with recommendations by the Health Care Complaints Commission.
The HCCC ordered the AVN to place a disclaimer on its website stating its purpose was to provide information which was against vaccination and its information should not be taken as medical advice.
Ms Dorey said the AVN had strong support from solicitors and barristers and it would consider its legal options.
Ms Dorey has stepped down from the role as president of the AVN but would not reveal the identity of her replacement or any of the other committee members.
“They are too scared they will be threatened,” Ms Dorey said.
She has claimed committee members have been subjected to death threats and hate mail for their activities.