Fluoride Action Network

Anti-fluoride campaigners defy law again

Source: The Warrnambool Standard | October 3rd, 2008 | BY JARED LYNCH
Location: Australia

ANTI-FLUORIDE campaigners returned to Warrnambool’s CBD yesterday, deliberately defying local bylaws.

The campaigners, who are running a citizens’-initiated referendum, set up a polling booth near a pedestrian crossing on Liebig Street.

It was the second time they had used the location in an attempt to win more votes to stop the fluoridation of Warrnambool’s water supply.

Fluoride was added to the water supply this week as part of a State Government initiative to improve dental health.

The city council said the booth was illegal because it did not have a permit and posed serious safety risks.

Campaign organiser Stephen Juhasz maintained the tent was safe and said he was prepared to take the matter to court.

“What is more important — democracy or a silly bylaw, which restricts freedom of democracy?” he said.

“It is is my understanding we would win this (in court).

“We are not trying to be arrogant or aggravate the council. All we are doing is providing a community service and giving people the chance to have their say on fluoride.”

The council issued the campaigners an infringement notice on Friday when they first set up in Liebig Street and slapped them with a $227 fine yesterday.

The group initially erected its polling booth on the Civic Green but, Mr Juhasz said, hardly anyone visited there.

“Here is a lot more visible and accessible for people.”

The council’s media manager, Kim Sweetnam, said the group was breaking the law.

“Any structure that is set up on a footpath needs a permit,” she said.

“It (the polling booth) is not safe and they (the campaigners) are not abiding by the same process everyone else has to.

“If they continue to stay there we will take further action.”

The campaigners said it was not too late to stop the chemical being piped into people’s homes.

They are hoping to get 10 per cent of the eligible vote to seek an injunction order on fluoridation. “It is never too late,” Mr Juhasz said.

“In Quebec city in Canada they have just recently turned it (fluoridation) off.”