Health Australia Party
|Founded||2013(as Natural Medicine Party)|
The Health Australia Party first contested an election under that name in 2016, where it secured almost 1.2% of first preference votes in New South Wales and less than 0.5% in three other states. The party also contested the 2018 Victorian state election, running for five legislative council seats.
The party has been criticised in the main for being anti-vaccination, although the party itself has denied this. In addition, criticisms have been levelled concerning their views on pseudoscience, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories, as well as for its policies and misleading name.
For the 2016 Australian Federal Election, the party fielded senate candidates for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. It was drawn the advantageous first position on the ballot in New South Wales, with Andrew Patterson the lead candidate. The party gained less than 0.5% of first-preference votes in each state except New South Wales where it gained slightly over 1%.
During the campaign, the party came under fire for their apparent anti-vaccination policies, including by the Australian Medical Association, and the Green Party. The party denied this, with party spokesman Jason Woodforth telling ABC News that the lack of support for the 'no jab, no play' legislation in Victoria did not mean it was anti-vaccination, and went on to say that the party "believes in safe and effective immunisation [and] always has."
According to its website, the party was founded with a view to 'promoting open and transparent Government decision making, balance and honesty of information, and stimulating individual freedom of choice and thought.' Party co-founder Dr Isaac Golden has written that the party was founded, in part, "to respond to the well funded, sustained and coordinated attacks on natural medicine in Australia which have placed our homeopathic profession at risk, as well as all natural therapists".
The party's policies are based on five pillars: people, economy, environment, democracy, and society. The party's president, Kerry Bone, stated on the party's website that, "True freedom of choice in health care, facilitated by a supportive and empathetic government and informed by balanced media representation, is what we seek."
According to ABC, the party "also supports animal rights, food cooperatives, the Tobin tax system, which supports the taxing of foreign currency transactions, more academic freedom in universities, a Swiss-style national service system, and greater restrictions on herbicides and pesticides".
Criticism of 'No Jab, No Pay/Play' legislation
During the 2016 elections, the HAP opposed the Coalition's 'no jab, no pay' (also 'no jab, no play') legislation. On its website, the party describes its criticism of the "no jab, no pay" legislation as support for informed consent, and expresses concern about penalising unvaccinated children by excluding them from preschool. HAP cites the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, who also opposed the regulation, and references vaccinations programs in Denmark and Japan, which provide less coverage than the Australian system but produce excellent results in controlling disease.
Steven Novella, a neurologist most notable for his work within the skeptics community, has written that the party subscribes to the Big Pharma conspiracy theory and takes a number of pseudoscientific and anti-science stances such as promoting homeopathy and claiming that electro-smog gives rise to electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Novella writes that "The HAP appears to be just a group of CAM practitioners trying to use the political process to advance their quack profession".
Professor John Dwyer of the Australian Health Reform Alliance stated during the 2016 election campaign that he was "concerned" that the party could be elected based on its polling position in New South Wales, saying, "Even allowing that they're well-intentioned, the policies that they're putting forward are dangerous and frankly ignorant." Andrew Miller of the Australian Medical Association charged that the party's new name was misleading, stating, "There should be some requirement of honesty in the way that these party names are put forward and I think this is getting pretty close to the borderline of being exactly the opposite of what its name suggests."
- The HAP believes that sodium fluoride, hydrofluorosilic acid and other chemical products called “fluoride” are toxic chemical waste products that are classified as class 6 poisons and should not be placed into public water supplies.
- "Health Australia Party - Australian Electoral Commission". 2015-11-24. Archived from the original on 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Weber, David (28 June 2016). "Election 2016: Revamped Health Australia Party broadens policies, but raises ire of AMA". ABC News. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Natural Medicine Party". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Senate Results - Australia Votes". Federal Election 2016. ABC News. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Cockburn, Gerard (2018-10-27). "Fringe factor: your guide to the minor parties". The Age. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Vaccination – Health Australia Party". www.healthaustraliaparty.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Novella S (29 June 2016). "Australia's New Antiscience Party". Science-Based Medicine.
- Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
- Wood, Alicia (5 September 2013). "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
- "History – Health Australia Party". www.healthaustraliaparty.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- Doran, Matthew (10 June 2016). "Senate ballot paper spots picked". ABC News. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- Massola, Tom McIlroy and James (2016-06-10). "Federal election 2016: former MP Rob Oakeshott to stand for Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Subscribe to The Australian". www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Atfield, Cameron (2016-06-10). "Federal election 2016: Record field for Queensland Senate ballot paper". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Koziol, Michael (12 June 2016). "Vaccine sceptics' prime position on NSW Senate ballot paper could lead to election win". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "AMA (NSW) President: Health Australia Party misses the point". www.amansw.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "AMA warns against 'misleading, dangerous' Health Australia Party". SBS News. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "Health Australia Party is dangerous: Greens". SBS News. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Health Australia Party (2018-11-29), Media lies - the Health Australia Party is not anti-vaxx, retrieved 2018-11-30
- Golden, Isaac. "Attacks on Natural Medicine: A Need to Respond". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "Health Australia Party - Full Policies" (PDF). Health Australia Party. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Bone, Kerry (13 June 2016). "Health Australia Party". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "Official Statement "No Jab No Pay/Play" Legislation" (PDF). Health Australia Party. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- Mackenzie, Bruce (17 June 2016). "Election 2016: Health Australia Party criticised for candidates' 'alternative health beliefs'". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 17 June 2016.