Health Australia Party

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Health Australia Party
Party President Adjunct Professor Kerry Bone
Convenor Judith Anne Cooke
Founded 2013 as Natural Medicine Party[1]
Ideology Anti-vaccination, anti-fluoridation, Naturopathy [2]
Website
www.healthaustraliaparty.com.au

The Health Australia Party (HAP) is a registered minor political party in Australia, registered on 7 November 2013.[3]It was formed in 2013 by naturopath Andrew Patterson of Sawtell, New South Wales.

It was known as the Natural Medicine Party until 8 October 2015.[4] The HAP was involved in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance in 2013.[5][6]

The party has been criticised for its support of pseudoscience, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories, as well as for its policies and misleading name.[7][2]

Policies[edit]

Patterson identifies five pillars that his party aims to make healthy with a philosophy rooted in natural medicine: people, society, democracy, environment, and economy.[8]

The HAP is critical of both the Coalition's "no jab, no pay" legislation and the Labor Party's health policy. The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the HAP is against water fluoridation in Australia; that its manifesto "reveals a preoccupation with homeopathy, home birth and conspiracy theories about medical research"; and that it supports chiropractic treatment of infants with colic.[9] The party describes their criticism of the "no jab, no pay" legislation as support for informed consent.[10] According to the 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".[2]

The HAP's national 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."[11]

2016 Federal election[edit]

The Health Australia Party fielded senate candidates for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia in the 2016 federal election.[12] It was in the first column on the NSW Senate ballot paper,[13] with party founder Andrew Patterson as the lead candidate.[9] Victorian candidate Dr Isaac Golden stated that the party "was created in 2015 largely in an attempt to expose and counter the damaging effects of this insidious influence on Australian healthcare systems,[14] and "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".[15]

The party gained less than 0.5% of first-preference votes in each state except New South Wales where it gained slightly over 1%.[16][needs update]

Criticism[edit]

Steven Novella 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.[7] 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".[7]

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners deputy chair Dr Sue Page has criticised the HAP's policies. Professor John Dwyer of the Australian Health Reform Alliance stated that he was "concerned" that the party could be elected based on its polling position in NSW, saying, "Even allowing that they're well-intentioned, the policies that they're putting forward are dangerous and frankly ignorant."[8] 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."[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Weber, David (28 June 2016). "Election 2016: Revamped Health Australia Party broadens policies, but raises ire of AMA". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Health Australia Party". Australian Electoral Commission. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Natural Medicine Party". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b c Novella S (29 June 2016). "Australia's New Antiscience Party". Science-Based Medicine. 
  8. ^ a b 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. 
  9. ^ a b Koziol, Michael (12 June 2016). "Vaccine sceptics' prime position on NSW Senate ballot paper could lead to election win". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Official Statement "No Jab No Pay/Play" Legislation" (PDF). Health Australia Party. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Bone, Kerry (13 June 2016). "Health Australia Party". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  12. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Doran, Matthew (10 June 2016). "Senate ballot paper spots picked". ABC News. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  14. ^ Golden, Isaac (13 June 2016). "Health Australia Party". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Golden, Isaac. "Attacks on Natural Medicine: A Need to Respond". Health Australia Party. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  16. ^ "Senate Results (in progress)". Federal Election 2016. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 

External links[edit]