NEW president of the Australian Vaccination Network, Greg Beattie (pictured) said he was no stranger to controversy and looked forward to continuing the watchdog role of the group.
Mr Beattie, from Gympie in Queensland, has stepped into the hot-seat role after Bangalow-based former president Meryl Dorey stepped down to pursue other projects within the AVN.
"We are looking forward to the coming year with optimism," said the author and father of seven children, all of them un-vaccinated.
"We have several projects on the boil and we think the organisation will grow this year."
Mr Beattie was the subject of opposition for his views on the medical industry's push for widespread vaccination. His own children were banned from using a local council playground because they had not been immunised and could have posed a risk to other children.
"We are determined that people have access to good quality information," he said. "Our health bureaucracies are engaged in marketing vaccines to all of us. Wherever we have a situation like that our society usually has a watchdog. Our biggest activity as a network is as a watchdog and we accept the antagonism that comes with it.
"Certainly vaccines are a huge vested interest for the medical industry and it would be difficult for medical professionals to come out and say that vaccines are not the best for you. Certainly there is hostility towards us out there."
Mr Beattie said the rotation of officers, like Ms Dorey, was quite normal particularly in an organisation that was targeted by hostile opposition.
Ms Dorey said: "I am not leaving the AVN - I don't know if I could while there is still a threat to those of us who believe in informed choice for all Australians - but I will be stepping away from the day-to-day jobs of the presidency and devoting myself to special projects as well as having a bit of a rest."
Ms Dorey also took the chance to thank their supporters.
"Without your help and support, this group would have closed down years ago. Instead, we are here - still working for the parents of Australia, still opposing government lies and suppression, still fighting for the health rights of the families of this great land," she said.
The AVN said it would discontinue its newsletter, Living Wisdom, "due to the extraordinary pressures placed on us by both the government and those organisations whose goal is to shut our group down".