I'm writing to you to express serious concerns about one of the speakers on the programme at the Blue Lotus for this year's festival.
Meryl Dorey is the head of the AVN, an organisation known to promulgate misinformation in support of an untrue and dangerous anti-vaccination position. This activity genuinely puts lives at risk.
The AVN is subject to a Public Health Warning by the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission, and was stripped of its charity status by the NSW OLGR due to serious irregularities in its fundraising activities.
I have several concerns for Woodford itself. First of all, for the patrons. There will be impressionable young families and people who wish to start new families attending the Blue Lotus. It is infants who are most at risk from vaccine-preventable diseases. Imagine the heartbreak caused to young families such as the McCafferys, whose daughter Dana was taken by Whooping Cough - a disease of which Meryl Dorey claims "you didn't die from it thirty tears ago and you're not going to die from it today". I don't want a young family's memory of Woodford being the day Meryl Dorey lied to them and caused their baby's death.
Secondly, I have concerns for the festival. There is already a public backlash brewing about Dorey's inclusion on the bill, with prominent faces including Mia Freedman picking up the story and several ABC and independent journalists showing interest in the story. I think the very best outcome Woodford can hope for will be to drop Dorey from the bill and issue an apology for including her in the first place. Otherwise the backlash will only grow.
Thirdly, I do worry about regulatory issues. If Dorey conducts any public appeal for funds while at Woodford, she will be in breach of the NSW OLGR's ruling - and although she will not be in NSW at the time, her recent actions in public fundraising have sparked an investigation in WA and would do the same in QLD. The headline "Group breaches fundraising laws during Woodford" isn't going to be a good look for the festival, is it?
For more information on the AVN's deception and law-breaking, feel free to join us on Facebook at Stop The AVN. http://www.facebook.com/stopavn/
You can write too: firstname.lastname@example.org @woodfordFF
UPDATES: Mama Mia has featured a post by Peter Bowditch on the topic of the Woodford Folk Festival.
The Companion Wiki to this site has an activity hub on the topic of Woodford and Dorey, including social media backlash, other blogs and calls to action
posted @ Saturday, December 10, 2011 1:28 PM