Split in ranks ‘fails to dilute’ anti-fluoride message

Peter Farago
ORGANISERS of separate public rallies protesting plans to fluoridate Geelong’s water supply are confident the competing marches avoided diluting their message.
In fact, Barwon Association for Freedom from Fluoridation (BAFF) president Keith Oakley and No Fluoride Protest March Group organiser Peter Linaker say “the more, the merrier”.
BAFF’s rally was the first when the group marched on Tuesday from Johnstone Park to Barwon Water’s Ryrie Street head office at 4pm before heading around the block to Little Malop Street’s State Government Offices, home to a regional office of Department of Human Services.
About 35 people attended.
“It (two marches) might initially confuse the public but there are angry people all over the place,” Mr Oakley said.
“What’s happening is there’s going to be quite a few people demonstrating about putting this poison in the water supply.
“One of ours (members) is helping Peter organiser his march.”
But that was where BAFF’s “official” support for yesterday’s rally stopped.
Mr Linaker resigned as BAFF secretary after a public meeting at Geelong West Town Hall last year.
“He made that decision himself,” said Mr Oakley, who did not attend yesterday’s march.
Mr Linaker said he resigned “over a matter of public interest.”
Mr Linaker said BAFF had not invited him to Tuesday’s rally and he thought it was not his “place” to attend.
Mr Linaker said his protest gave opponents to fluoride who had not previously spoken out a chance to make their voices heard.
“People who are actively against fluoridation are not large in number,” Mr Linaker said, “but there are many people who don’t know what they can do (to oppose it).”