Sunday, June 26, 2016

Party Games 25/55 Health Australia Party

The Health Australia Party presents a pleasant picture of itself. Its 5 points of Healthy People, Healthy Economy, Healthy Environment, Healthy Democracy, and Healthy Society sounds nice in a wishy washy sort of way, but when you get into the details you find that their view of these things aren't quite what they seem.

Well start at the start with Healthy People, which I'll start out by admitting pushes a few of my buttons. Despite their policy, natural medicine (things like homeopathy, accupuncture, chiropractic) is not on an equal footing to conventional medicine. Where there has been any testing, it has been shown not to work, and indeed even counterproductive at times. They question why natural medicine has received only a tiny amount of funding from Australia's medical research funding providers. The answer is not that the funding bodies are in the pocket of big pharma, the answer is that no serious and viable research proposals have been put forward. They question how effective GPs when they can only spend minutes with a patient rather than an hour as some natural practitioners do. You know why GPs have such little time? Because they have so many patients. Because people trust doctors. I'd like to see a natural practitioner see as many patients as a GP does on a daily basis.

On a similar note, vaccinations are not something of dubious merit that should be a choice of parents similar to what colour clothes they'll buy their kids. Vaccinations have taken what used to be a number of serious and common diseases and made them things of the past.
Hospitals used to have wards of people with polio in iron lungs. These are now seen as relics of a bygone age thanks to vaccination. In recent years we've seen outbreaks of diseases we thought near gone because people felt that their children didn't need to be vaccinated.

Finally, flouridating water is not poisoning people. Flouride is found naturally in various concentrations in every water supply in the world. Bumping it up to a level where it can have a significant positive effect on people's oral health (while still within the naturally occuring range of concentrations) is a hugely cost effective public health measure. The people who object to water flouridation don't object to the use of chlorine to kill water bourne diseases in the water supply, or would they prefer a more natural drinking experience?

The outlook of the party on these issues is less surprising once you read the bios of the party executive and their candidates. Homeopaths, chiropractors, herbalists, and so on.

Since I try to find some positives for every party, I will point out that the Health Australia Party supports marriage equality, stronger protection for whistleblowers, and better public transport. However that's not enough for me to hope that getting the number 1 spot on the NSW senate ballot paper won't be enough for them to repeat the LDP's performance last election.

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