Fluoride Action Network

Australia’s Fluoridation Proponents Won’t Debate

Source: IFIN Bulletin #623: International Fluoride Information Network | July 31st, 2002
Location: Australia

Last year, the Association for Science in the Public Interest (June 2001) and the American College of Toxicology (November 2001) both held debates on the policy of water fluoridation – which my dad, Paul Connett, attended. The debates never took place, however, as both organizations, despite sending invitations to the main institutions in the US that promote fluoridation (e.g. ADA, CDC, NIDCR),  failed to find one proponent among them who would agree to an open, public debate.

Such was the case this past weekend in Australia (see message below), where proponents of fluoridation (including the Australian Dental Association) again refused an invitation to debate.

As noted by the Salt Lake Tribune, fluoridation proponent’s refusal to debate is “a studied insult to the voters and to the Jeffersonian idea of an informed citizenry making informed public decisions.” See http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/utah/f-debate.htm

See also http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/nz/advocates-debate.htm

Michael Connett


Message from David McRae, Geelong, Australia:

The statement, recorded below, is the record of the motion passed at the highly successful and quite extraordinary public ‘debate’ on water fluoridation, held in Geelong, Australia, on Saturday 27th July.

The ‘debate’ was extraordinary due to the very large yellow chicken, sitting in a chair on the stage, debating with Professor Connett. The chicken was in place of a representative of the Australian Dental Association. They were invited to send someone to argue for the benefits of water fluoridation, but sent a letter stating that they would not send anyone to “this forum …nor any similar event that may be proposed in the future.” The chicken was duly recruited to stand in their stead, and was regularly invited to say something by the professor . The Mayor of Geelong, councillors and other officials expressed surprise that this was the best that the ADA could provide.

The motion read as follows:

‘To send a statement to the Victorian Health Minister John Thwaites, the chairman of Barwon Water and the Council of the City of Greater Geelong, that  –  having heard a scientific presentation/debate on the dangers and ineffectiveness of water fluoridation, and having noted that those promoting fluoridation were unable to defend the practice in open, public debate, we call upon the Victorian Government and Barwon Water to cease any plans to fluoridate the Barwon Water supply.

We further call upon the government of the State of Victoria to conduct a review of water fluoridation, carried out by independent personel, not beholden in any way to the Victorian government or its health department, the Australian Dental Association, or any other known pro or anti fluoridation bodies.’

The motion was carried:
Against  –  0
Abstained  –  1
In favour  –  all the rest (78 attended the meeting)

(The mayor and councillors did not vote)

The meeting sent a very strong statement, and will hopefully prove to be a turning point in the fiasco of water fluoridation (a scientific and policy disgrace) in Australia.


David McRae


People and organizations approached, that have failed to provide a speaker to support fluoridation

1. Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch Dr David Curnow (vice president) and Garry Pearson (CEO).

The ADA, this year has been vigourously lobbying MPs and the government with fluoride promotional packages.

Response:  “not available to participate in the proposed fluoride forum É.. nor any similar event that may be proposed in the future.”

“Dentists are personally convinced of the validity of this measure (fluoridation), having seen dramatic improvements in community dental health ÉÉ.”

Mr Pearson went on to say that the ADA is “not a research body” and relies on other organizations for their fluoridation information.

In our opinion, for a health issue so embroiled in controversy regarding its status as either Ôpanacea or poisonÕ, this comment by the ADA reflects a serious lack of professional responsibility.

2. Health Minister Thwaites

Numerous statements reported in the Geelong and Melbourne press, saying that Geelong should be the next place to be fluoridated. Has toned his statements down lately, saying that public opinion should be gauged.

No response.

3. Dr P Woodruff (Geelong dentist)

Has been in Geelong Advertiser articles saying that fluoridation would be good for Geelong

“I am not a public speaker”

4. Dr P Robins (Geelong dentist)

Has written letters to the newspaper saying that Geelong should be fluoridated

Dr Woodruff refused, on  behalf of Dr Robins.

5. Dr H Savery (retired medical practitioner, Geelong)

Newspaper letters and articles claiming that fluoridation is effective and safe and would be good for Geelong.

“Debate?  I am too old for that sort of thing”

6. Dr John Reed (Geelong dentist)

Writer of a recent article in the Geelong Independent, singing the praises of fluoridation.

No response.

7. Barwon Health, Chairperson and CEO

The major healthcare organization in this region.

No response.