AMA (NSW) President Prof Brad Frankum says the Health Australia Party is missing the point and should leave healthcare policy to people better suited to the task.
“I am concerned that a one-issue political party has sprung up around wanting to put unproven alternative health products on equal footing with thoroughly-researched medical practices.
“The Health Australia Party wants to promote people’s health but it is going about it in entirely the wrong way and is actually ignoring the great work that people like GPs already do.
“It says it wants to prioritise encouraging people to be healthy to combat chronic disease, when that is exactly what people like GPs and their practices are already doing.
“One of the biggest chronic disease threats facing Australia is the rises of diabetes and it is outright dangerous to be espousing the idea that a disease like that can be treated with alternative therapies,” Prof Frankum said.
“Unfortunately, in its policy document, the Health Australia Party descends into the conspiracy theory usually associated with the anti-vaccine movement.
“While its members have denied it is an anti-vaccination party, it certainly gives all the appearances of being part of that movement.
“It talks about the need for a thoroughly-researched vaccination program – as though the Australian immunisation schedule isn’t – and confuses the issue by saying this will help manage chronic disease.
“Immunisation is very effective in preventing the spread of infectious disease but can’t really help against conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, or other chronic diseases that come to mind.
“The Party also says it will seek out corruption in medical research, another hallmark of anti-vaccine-style conspiracy theory.
“Medical research is not incorruptible but it is very robust and people who are doing fraudulent research are rare and there are checks and balances that wind up exposing them.
“For instance, the work of disgraced former doctor, Andrew Wakefield, whose debunked research forms one of the bases for the anti-vaccination movement was found out.
“Unfortunately, the anti-vaccination movement is blinded by its own ideology and holds up this corrupted research as evidence and at the same time it throws unfounded accusations at good research that disagrees with its point of view,” Prof Frankum said.
“It’s unfortunate that this party has secured the first spot on the Senate ballot paper.
“Even if you are dissatisfied with the performance of the major parties, please don’t vote for the Health Australia Party.
“Despite their name, they are not experts, doctors, or particularly qualified to be advocating for people’s health.
“While it may be the case they want to improve people’s health, their ideas will not be at all helpful.
“They should leave health advocacy to people better suited to the task like doctors, nurses, and health policy experts,” Prof Frankum said.
Media contact: Lachlan Jones (02) 9902 8113 / 0419 402 955