Dick Smith’s role in setting up the Australian Skeptics & surpassing the Vaccination Debate

Newsletter 209 Part 2 The Suppression of Scientific Debate on Vaccines in Australia

29 August 2018

As you read the information below please take note that the Australian Government has mandated with financial incentives 16 vaccines (~51 doses) for children for welfare benefits and access to early childhood education. This has resulted in discriminatory social welfare policies, the banning of many healthy children from early childhood education and university students who cannot choose careers in health without receiving 10 – 16 vaccines. These are vaccines that most adults have never used and they did not control these diseases in the Australian community by creating herd immunity.     

Currently the Australian government is “educating” the population to believe that vaccine reactions are “rare” and that vaccines are thoroughly tested before they are approved in populations. This information is false and I have provided the evidence in my university PhD research.

The evidence is also provided in this 4 minute video clip of the recent law suit against the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that found that vaccine manufacturers are not testing vaccines with true inert placebos or for long-term cumulative health effects before they are marketed in the population.

In the 70’s and 80’s it was known that vaccines were causing thousands of injuries and deaths and this was resulting in many law suits. But these disabilities and illnesses were covered up when the US government passed a law in 1986 removing liability from pharmaceutical companies for any damage that is caused by a vaccine. 

As Australia does not have a vaccine injury compensation scheme (unlike many other countries) the Australian government has health ministers that are informing the community that “vaccines do not have any side-effects” (Victorian Health Minister, Jillian Hennessy) and a Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt who dismisses the risks of vaccines as an “anti-vaccination campaign“.

So how have we reached this point in Australia where politicians and journalists are being “educated” with false and misleading information about vaccines provided by lobby group activists and rogue doctors that are condoned in making false claims about university research in the mainstream media and on social media?


Dr John Cunningham (Spinal Medicine not Vaccination) 

This is a result of the establishment of the powerful Australian Skeptics / SAVN and Friends of Science in Medicine lobby groups. Prominent activists in this organisation have a loud voice with politicians, in the media, and on social media and they are providing false information about my university research on vaccines. This includes Ken McLeod (a retired air traffic controller), Dr. John Cunningham(spinal medicine – not vaccination) and Dr. Rachael Dunlop (PhD in heart research – not vaccination).



Retired Air traffic controller Skeptic Ken Mcleod

The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) that runs the industry sponsored Australian Immunisation Conference, supports these lobby groups to promote false information about vaccines. This includes PHAA president, University of Wollongong, Professor Heather Yeatman (Nutrition – not vaccination) who has been permitted to advertise the government’s false claims about vaccines on the University of Wollongong website – without ever having specialised in vaccination or infectious diseases.

How did the Australian Skeptics and its offshoot lobby groups come into being?

The Establishment of the Australian Skeptics in Australia 

In July 1980 prominent Australian, Dick Smith, collaborated with renowned skeptic, James Randi, founder of the US Committee of Skeptical Inquiry (an organisation that promotes corporate interests) to set up the Australian Skeptics lobby group.

Dick Smith also funded the first full page advertisement for the Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN) – an offshoot of the Australian Skeptics – in the Australian Newspaper in 2008/09.This advert derided the Australian Vaccination Network – a grassroots citizen group advocating for choice in vaccination.


Australian Skeptics L-R; President Eran Segev, Philip Peters, Peter Rodgers, secretary John Sweatman, Dick Smith founder of Australian skeptics, Vice President Richard Saunders, Vice President Rachael Dunlop, Peter “Ratbag” Bowditch

At this time I was presenting my university research at the Australian National Health Promotion Conference in Perth (2009), in the PHAA newsletter (2009) and at public forums with the Australian Vaccination Network.  

The advertisement funded by Dick Smith was written by the Australian Skeptic Committee and future adverts were funded by the SAVN page subscriber and other doners (Eran Segrev, Australian Skeptic president 2012).

SAVN was set up as an anonymous facebook page in 2009 called Stop the AVN (SAVN) Facebook Friends with the only contact being “The Young Australian Skeptics”. This anonymity enabled the SAVN facebook friends to use abuse and ridicule to defame professionals and academics who presented the risks of vaccines – with impunity.

Whilst the funding arracgements for the Australian Skeptics/SAVN lobby group are hidden, their agenda that focuses only on infectious diseases that are claimed to be prevented by a vaccine provides evidence that they are not a true grassroots citizen group. This is because they are actively suppressing and ignoring the skyrocketing chronic illness in children, including autism, that is increasing with the expansion of the vaccination schedule

This is further evidence that their agenda is not solely about the “health” of children as would be the case for a true grassroots movement. This is an example of astroturfing and the spreading of propaganda. In 2013 Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens, defended the disreputatble activities of many SAVN activists in the Australian Federal Parliament – with false information about this lobby group.

The push for the No Jab No Pay social welfare policy was driven by the  Australian Skeptics/SAVN activists and the Friends of Science in Medicine in the News Corp (Murdoch) media and on Mia Freedman’s MamaMia blog, It was approved by Scott Morrison, the Social Services Minister in 2015 for implementation in January 2016 based on false and misleading information.

Here is a 5 minute comment on this web of conflicts of interest of lobby group activities that is being described to the Washington Board of Health. Please also watch this 4 min clip describing the history of the removal of liability from big pharma for any harm caused by vaccines –  The US Loses Landmark Vaccine Law Suit.

Judy Wilyman PhD
Bachelor of Science, University of NSW
Diploma of Education (Science), University of Wollongong
Master of Science (Population Health), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong.
PhD in The Science and Politics of the Australian Government’s Vaccination Program, UOW School of Humanities and Social Inquiry. 



This entry was posted in Anti Science, Australian Skeptics, Dr John Cunningham, Dr Judy Wilyman, James Randi, SAVN, Skepticism, Skeptics, Stop the Australian Vaccination Network and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dick Smith’s role in setting up the Australian Skeptics & surpassing the Vaccination Debate

  1. That picture does represent roughly the number of members the Australian skeptics have in Sydney.I attended one of their meetings and encountered 10-12 people out of 4 million.
    So its essentially a name only organisation. I spoke to a few and sized them up from my considerable knowledge of Randi Pseudoskeptics. Only found one honest person there. Others asked to do a simple experiment made it clear they were dysfunctional by insisting on cheating in a gross fashion.Overall they showed they likely lacked self confidence and wanted to be told what to think by an opinion leader there, who did just that.


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