When Australians are handed their ballot papers on May 18, they’ll see a list of micro-parties, many of which don’t provide a lot of context in their titles.
The Pirate Party.
The Rise Up Australia Party.
The Science Party.
At first glance, the Health Australia Party might be an appealing one to vote for. Most of us believe in a healthy Australia.
What you don’t know when you see it listed on a ballot form, however, is that it used to be called the Natural Medicine Party. In 2015, it adopted its current name, a rather ambiguous one that serves to make it appear far more mainstream.
Some of the Health Australia Party's policies include:
- 'Natural' medicine (i.e. alternative, non evidence-based medicine), should be placed on an equal footing with pharmaceutical (i.e. evidence-based) medicine.
- Fluoride is a 'toxic chemical waste' product and should not be placed in public water supplies.
- There is no such thing as a vaccine that is entirely safe and effective, and adverse events are a real issue that must be factored into a responsible policy. The Party rejects the 'No Jab, No Play' policy, arguing the importance of freedom of choice in healthcare, and that individuals should have the right to use their preferred method of allopathic or natural medicine.
Of course, if you agree with these policies, you should vote for the Health Australia Party.
But most of us would be excused for thinking - from their name alone - their policies are in line with what the Australian Medical Association considers the hallmarks of a healthy Australia.
Dr Kean-Seng Lim is the President of the Australian Medical Association (NSW), and says what the Health Australia Party stands for is in opposition to the AMA.
Speaking to Mamamia, he said "The stance of this association is quite simple and quite clear, and that is that we support all evidence-based treatments, and we support an integrated and coordinated healthcare system which is best able to provide care to patients throughout their lifetime."
In particular, Dr Lim is concerned that any public group who questions the efficacy of vaccines poses a risk to the Australian community.
"When it comes to vaccinations specifically, vaccinations are one of the most highly evidenced and proven ways of improving the health of a community," he said.