In a report on the ABC’s Lateline program on August 4, it was stated that the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) had been found guilty by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) of potential breaches of charity fund-raising laws.
The AVN raises much of its income from donations based on its status as a charity. But according to the Lateline report, the AVN had committed a number of breaches of charity fund-raising laws, including fund-raising without an authority, unauthorised expenditure and failure to keep proper records of income and expenditure.
The OLGR has given the AVN 28 days to show why it should be able to keep raising funds as a charity. (At time of writing, there was no statement from the OLGR on its website regarding this case.)
Ken McLeod, a leading campaigner to ensure the AVN is portrayed for what it really is – an anti-vaccination network – was one of several people to lodge a complaint last year about the AVN with the NSW Health Care Complaints Committee. The report of the HCCC’s investigation found that the AVN was guilty of providing misleading and inaccurate information, and that it was a potential “risk to public health”.
McLeod was interviewed regarding the AVN’s charity fund-raising, citing one specific example that was under investigation by the OLGR. This was the AVN’s claim to be putting anti-vaccination information in the “Bounty Bags” given to mothers of newborns. The organisation that manages the bags said it had never dealt with the AVN and that it never would because of the AVN’s stand against vaccination.
According to Lateline, the OLGR said it had also identified possible breaches of the Charitable Trust Act which will be referred to the NSW Department of Justice and the Attorney General.