Forced rename: Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network

NSW Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres has expressed relief at the painstakingly long court battle with the Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network, finally being brought to an end.

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal has ordered the association, which peddles controversial theories about vaccination and encourages parents to consider other options, to change its name the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics (correct spelling) Network Inc.

The organisation had challenged a direction by the Department of Trading to adopt a name that "more accurately reflects its anti-vaccination stance".

Magistrate Nancy Hennessy had suggested that a name which included the word "risk" or "sceptic" would be appropriate.

Mr Ayres said he was pleased to see the association had adopted a name which reflected its purpose, given its "overwhelming focus on the publication of anti-vaccination messages and information".

While the battle with the State Government is over for now, the association appears to have failed to find peace with rival group Stop the AVN.

In a statement on the AVN website, which retains its original domain address and acronym despite the name change, the association claims it was left with no choice but to use the American spelling for "Skeptics" after enemies of the group registered an Australian Business Number under the Australian version.

"Regardless of the process, we are happy to state that we now have a new name that describes what our organisation represents at least as well as our old name did," the statement read

"The endless government complainants continue unabated, but at least we know that our name will be above reproach in the foreseeable future."

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the vast majority of children in NSW were fully immunised for their age and that "vaccines used in Australia had gone through extensive testing to determine their safety and effectiveness".

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