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Anti-vaccine lobby group back in WA
Anti-vaccine lobby group back in WA

An anti-vaccination group that sparked a political row in Perth last year is back in WA charging parents $15 for its public forums.

The Australian Vaccination Network held meetings in Busselton and Perth this week and will hold others in Jurien Bay and Geraldton next week. Last year, the Uniting Church in Perth refused to let the NSW group use one of its halls and the State Library came under fire when it let the group use one of its buildings instead.

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing also stripped the group, based at Bangalow near Byron Bay, of its charity status after health authorities found its information was biased and said its website should state that its claims were not medical advice.

Spokeswoman Meryl Dorey attracted criticism this year when she likened a court order for a child to be vaccinated to rape.

She wrote on the group's Facebook site it was "assault without consent and with full penetration" but was forced to apologise after some of her own supporters found the comments offensive.

But Ms Dorey claimed "strong support" for her group in WA yesterday and said the meetings were aimed at drawing attention to problems with vaccines for the flu, cervical cancer and whooping cough.

About 90 people, mostly parents of young children, had attended a forum in Floreat on Tuesday night.

She said parents were still not given all the information about vaccines, including side effects.

"I always say to people to go to their doctor and get information but get the other side as well so they can make a real decision about whether to vaccinate," she said.

Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said the group was trying to whip up anti-vaccine hysteria again.

"They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they're presenting real evidence," he said.

This led to parents refusing to get children and themselves vaccinated, which affected everyone, particularly the most vulnerable who benefited from herd immunity and, in that respect, they were a danger.