Health party in hot water over vaccine stance

3 minute read

The Health Australia Party denies criticism it is anti-science and anti-vaccinations but concerns remain

The controversial Health Australia Party (HAP) has denied criticism that it is anti-science and anti-vaccinations, but experts are concerned that it is misleading the public to push an alternative health agenda.

The small party, formerly known as the Natural Medicine Party, drew heat after being picked for the first spot in the NSW Senate ballot – a position that was thought to have helped the Liberal Democrats’ David Leyonhjelm’s polling in the 2013 election.

HAP opposes the “No Jab, No Pay” legislation that strips families who don’t vaccinate their children of welfare payments.

But this was not because they were opposed to Australia’s vaccination system in general, Victorian candidate, Dr Isaac Golden (PhD), told The Medical Republic.

Instead, HAP was opposed to the economic punishment of parents who did not vaccinate their children, he said.

“We believe that it is basically a denial of human rights to be coerced into having invasive medical procedures without giving informed consent,” he said. “This is the heart of the Nuremberg Code.” 

Dr Golden has been a homeopath for 30 years and is a proponent of homeopathic immunisation.

As well as repealing “No Jab, No Pay” HAP wanted more research comparing the long-term health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children and a national vaccine damage compensation scheme, Dr Golden said.

“The vaccination damage reporting system in Australia is woeful,” he said. “This doesn’t make us anti-vaccination; this makes us concerned. But if people want to vaccinate then we have no problem with that, vaccination is an established part of mainstream medicine.”

Dr Sue Page, deputy chair of RACGP Rural, said she was concerned that voters would be misled by the group’s name and that if HAP members were elected they could have real impacts on health funding.

“What if they get into government in a position where they are able to block bills, or slow them down, because they say they want more research into something like a cancer drug?” Dr Page warned.

A major issue for HAP, however, is the Labor party’s proposal to remove Medicare funding from a range of alternative therapies.

Labor’s decision came in the wake of a NHMRC review that identified 17 natural therapies with a lack of evidence of effectiveness, including homeopathy, naturopathy and massage.

HAP said it wanted to put natural medicines on par with mainstream medicine in government funding.

 Dr Page pointed out that the HAP candidates almost exclusively came from an alternative medicine background, and had vested interests in securing funding for these therapies.

It was concerning that HAP policy specifically stated the party wanted to “change the paradigm of chronic disease”, she said.

HAP policy documents have also referred to fluoride as a “poison” and called for its removal from the tap water.

In a social media post, the party also defended chiropractic manipulation for infants with colic, a procedure that the Chiropractic Board of Australia has denounced.





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