UPDATE: The Queensland Health Minister has released a statement regarding this issue. The full text can be found here.
UPDATE: News Editor Rick Morton just spoke to Festival Executive Director Bill Hauritz about the decision to bring Meryl Dorey into speak.
Q: Does the Festival feel it appropriate to give a platform to a woman who has been officially discredited as any type of vaccination expert?
Bill: Look, I’m not going to get into that. There are a lot of discredited artists and talkers and singers and songwriters at the Festival and we’re about giving a voice to a diverse range … something like 400 artists there.
Q: But surely if a singer/songwriter is discredited, that doesn’t pose a public health risk does it?
Bill: Who says it is dangerous? There are a lot of people out there who believe this whole vaccination thing is not an open and shut case. Is anybody willing to say that all vaccinations are 100% safe?
Q: I don’t think even doctors say that, Bill. Is Meryl billed as an expert for her talk?
Bill: I suppose she would regard herself as an expert, yes. Look, when this issue hit the floor yesterday I typed into Google ‘doctors against vaccinations’ and there are page and pages and pages of results of information. I wonder about the tactics of the science lobby.
Q: Why do you call it a lobby? That seems fairly indicative of your personal views don’t you think?
Bill: I didn’t mean to call it a lobby. I just get wary when people are trying to sell stuff on the Internet.
Q: I don’t think scientists necessarily want to sell anything?
Bill: Look, it doesn’t make a difference. We’ve already entered into contracts with Meryl Dorey and we cannot break those contracts now. We’re 10 days away from opening the gates to the festival. The damage is already done.