Tassie Libs back antivax ex-GP for Bass

3 minute read

Dr Julie Sladden, a Liberal candidate in Launceston, shut down her GP clinic in 2021 after refusing the covid-19 vaccination.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has backed his choice of former GP Dr Julie Sladden as a Liberal candidate in the upcoming state election after copping criticism from the AMA over her stance on covid-19 vaccinations.

Appearing in a video with prominent anti-vaccination politician Russell Broadbent several weeks ago, Dr Sladden said she was “forced” to shut her clinic in Riverside, Launceston, in 2021 because she “simply refused to get jabbed”.

In the two years since, she has been “writing and advocating and speaking out on behalf of people who have lost their jobs or suffered injuries from the injections”.

Since 2022, Dr Sladden has also served as a councillor in West Tamar.

For the upcoming state election, she’s been preselected as a candidate for the lower house in the electorate of Bass.

Bass itself has five seats, three of which have gone to the Liberal party at each of the past three elections.

The federal seat of Bass, which overlaps the state seat almost exactly, is held by Liberal MP Bridget Archer with a small margin.

The AMA’s Tasmanian division said it was “highly concerned” about the message that Dr Sladden’s preselection sent.

“The Gutwein/Rockliff government was rightly commended for how they handled the covid-19 crisis, which included mandating covid vaccinations for many staff working with vulnerable people in hospitals, general practices, schools, aged care facilities and disability homes,” AMA Tasmania vice president Dr Annette Barratt said.

“It is untenable for any government trying to urge Tasmanians to follow the best clinical advice and vaccinate to have one of its own undermining that message.”

Dr Barratt urged Tasmanians to seek health information from reliable and reputable sources.

“The Tasmanian community looks to their leaders for accurate information supported by qualified experts and rightly so,” she said.

“Doctors have an even higher standing in the eyes of the community when talking about health matters.

“With that privilege comes a responsibility to be careful about what you say and ensure your medical opinions are based on peer-reviewed evidence.

“Covid vaccines have saved lives and continue to do so.”

Mr Rockliff told AAP that Dr Sladden’s views on vaccination were part of the “broad church” of the Liberal Party. 

“That’s what Tasmanians want, they want real Tasmanians prepared to step up and stand up for their communities,” he said.

Australia’s island state will be heading to the polls on 23 March, around a year earlier than expected.

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