There are some complete nutcases within the anti vaccine community. It’s almost a prerequisite to be light on in the old belfry in order to be against vaccines. The stupidity is rampant. But this one takes the cake!
Frankie Vazquez is well known to the those involved in calling out anti vaxxers. His most infamous act was to threaten to blow up Michael’s Oriental Restaurant in Brisbane, the venue for one of Sherri Tenpenny’s seminars at the beginning of 2015; if the event was cancelled (which ultimately it was and no sign of a bomb). He did something similar to Sydney’s Kareela Golf Club (that was a fire and not a bomb). He has a history of making threats and engaging in vulgar language and he is also a prolific maker of inaccurate and offensive memes – many of which I collected and corrected. Some examples appear on the appropriate page on this blog.
Vazquez has a daughter, who is completely unvaccinated. He is a classic child neglector and has the poor girl completely hooked it would appear as the many pictures of the pair seems to show.
But recently he showed another aspect of his stupidity and I attempted to act. The stupidity stems from his refusal to pay his rates, claiming that his local council – Salisbury City Council in Adelaide’s northern suburbs – had no power or right to charge rates and were therefore illegal. He even tore up his rates notice right in front of the woman at the counter. It’s on a video that Vasquez uploaded to the public on one of his many Facebook pages, and I wish I could add it here but videos can’t be added here.
But here’s the reality of that, and here’s me putting on my legal hat (I’m pretty good at this – I am recognised by one Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria as a paralegal). Vazquez’s claim is derived from the idea that the Federal Constitution doesn’t recognise local government. Now whilst this is true, it is also totally irrelevant. The explanation for this is the fact that the Federal Constitution DOES recognise the States – heck it has an entire chapter devoted to it (Chapter V). That was a requirement as part of the deal to create the Commonwealth in the first place – that the colonies/states retain the powers they had where appropriate. Sections 106 to 108 gives the States that power. The history of the Salisbury council can be traced back to before Federation. The original Yatala Council was formed in 1853. The relevant Constitution therefore is the state Constitution of South Australia, the first edition of which was created in 1855. The current edition has it’s roots in 1934. Section 64A of that Constitution recognises local government thus;
There shall continue to be a system of local government in this State under which elected local governing bodies are constituted with such powers as the Parliament considers necessary for the better government of those areas of the State that are from time to time subject to that system of local government.
The manner in which local governing bodies are constituted, and the nature and extent of their powers, functions, duties and responsibilities shall be determined by or under Acts of the Parliament from time to time in force.
Now that insinuates that there may be state legislation governing rates. And lo and behold, the Local Government Act 1999 gives such power under section 147!
All land within the area of a council is rateable, except for land within a specific exemption (see especially subsection (2))
None of the exemptions listed applies to Vazquez.
I was in Adelaide late last week and on the back of the video I paid a visit to the very same counter Vasquez did on Thursday morning – August 25 – at about 9:30am, and sought to encourage them to take action. It was a shame I didn’t bring the video with me and I could have showed the girl at the counter (it was naturally a different girl to the one in the video). All I was told was that any special action would be seen as victimisation, and they had to follow proper procedure. I couldn’t say or do anything about it without more evidence – especially as I later remembered that in fact lawyers had apparently already been engaged by Salisbury Council according to Vazquez.
Another point – Vasquez apparently has a sign outside his property, invoking a High Court decision from 1991 to stop anyone entering his property without any consent. I had a look at Plenty v Dillon, a case where a farmer was successful in trying to stop the police from serving a summons. That doesn’t apply here, because the Council can take the matter to court, and a court can issue an order (not a summons – as was the case with that High Court case) demanding the debt be paid – even in Vazquez’s absence. This would go to a state collection agency, and the order would be valid legal reason to enter the property and seize goods to the equal value of the debt. If Vazquez has a car that would cover it.
I’m not giving up. I do have to make some time, but it is my intention to press ahead wanting action taken. I may even take it to a Change.org petition, but that almost seems like a waste of time. Of course I may reconsider, but it depends. There may be other options, like political at state level. But that may have to wait until I am next in Adelaide.