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The Health Australia Party (HAP) will create a new paradigm, a middle ground where Australians can come together, seek consensus and share values and aspirations. A new political space based on grass roots consultation, transparency and relevance that aims to improve the health of the Nation starting with the health of individual citizens, through to local councils, to state and territory governments, and finally to the national government and to international alliances. Only if Australians can come together rather than fragment will the ongoing health, affluence and lifestyle of our country be assured.
The HAP is focused on improving the health and wellness of Australians. When the HAP talks about health it does so holistically in terms of improved wellbeing and functionality, including our relationships with each other and the wider world. The HAP believes that good health is the synthesis of emotional, spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing of the whole person, and that person’s relationship with other individuals and the wider community.
However the HAP’s aims are broad and ambitious, and include not only the personal health of all Australians, but the health of our national economy, the health of the environment, the health of our democracy and the health of our society.
We recognise that the nature of Australian society is rapidly evolving. The way we communicate, receive and share information has changed. The 24hr news cycle and real time national and international events feeding into our lounge rooms, our phones and computers has created a new information reality. Whether we like it or not we are ‘connected’ in a new way – the internet and social media has, and is, changing the fundamental fabric of our society.
This new connection brings with it both advantages and challenges, in addition to existing problems that need resolution. These are all challenges that must be addressed in a coherent, collaborative and strategic manner. This is the holistic approach, the new progressive methodology that the HAP wishes to bring to the national political table in an effort to improve the health of Australia in every way, and to positively influence every aspect of our lives.
What we need to make right.
The HAP wishes to influence Australia in a constructive and positive manner. But problems exist, and we must acknowledge and understand these problems in order to correct them. We have no wish to dwell on the negative, but we believe that the following issues must be addressed.
- The political process and the management of the nation’s affairs have become unbalanced. The inability of politicians to find common ground for the greater good has disappointed and disenfranchised many people whose only engagement with politics or politicians is voting when legally mandated to do so.
- The left/right polarisation, perceived dishonesty, the litany of broken promises, accusations, abuse and the general tone of the political debate has created a ‘trust deficit’ which has further alienated many Australians from politics and their political leaders. Australia has had its political Icons who have changed the country for the better, but these are not people or actions that come to mind when you ask an average Australian what they think of current politicians or the governance of our Nation. The average Australian does not in general respect political leaders.
- The lack of transparency in political donations and their use to provide access to cabinet members further weakens trust in our political system and individual politicians.
- Even though Australia is in general an affluent country, the divide between rich and poor is growing ever wider. The current taxation laws worsen this inequality. The welfare (Centrelink) system, although providing a perceived ‘safety net’, has created an underclass of people surviving on or below the poverty line.
- Individual rights are being continually eroded, freedom of speech and fundamental human rights are being restricted, often in the name of the “greater good”, but with little real need or justification. We do not defend freedom by undermining it, and we don’t attack civil liberties in the name of defending democracy.
- Rates of chronic disease are growing and affect an alarming percentage of the Australian population. Mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, are increasing as is the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Diabetes has become endemic. The population is ageing; people are living longer but often without an adequate quality of life or with appropriate personalised support.
The goal of the HAP is to make a positive contribution towards the resolution of these and other issues facing our Nation. The following policies are a starting point towards this objective.
Policies/Statements of Principle
Australia is experiencing an epidemic of chronic disease which is rarely discussed by officials or in the media. The current medical business model provides no incentive for drug manufacturers to promote good health, as more Government money is spent on pharmaceuticals and speculative or biased research. The HAP will lead an open and objective analysis of this model. Rather than assume that the only way to achieve better medical care is to spend more money, the HAP will demonstrate through scientific and economic analyses that the best way to manage long-term health costs is to make people healthier. The result will be a happier and more productive community where quality of life matches longevity. It will also help make the health budget sustainable.
So instead of an increasingly more expensive disease management system, the HAP will focus on the creation of health as being the primary goal. Parts of the present system are indeed world-best, especially emergency medicine services and some non-pharmaceutical developments such as eye surgery pioneered by the late Professor Fred Hollows and the Cochlea ear technology developed by Professor Graeme Clark. Australia is fortunate to have many devoted, caring and skilled professionals working within the current system including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. The HAP respects and supports their contributions, and will promote the establishment of Integrative Medical Centres where patients can access the best of conventional and natural medicine, and where practitioners from all disciplines work cooperatively together. The HAP will encourage extension of this practical cooperation into our hospitals.
The health of Australians and their quality of life is directly correlated to the health of the environment. Clean air and water, well planned cities and urban environments and the protection and setting aside of pristine natural and high value heritage areas are essential for the ongoing physical, emotional and spiritual health of Australian communities and the Nation as a whole. The HAP supports the development of sustainable, renewable power sources in preference to the continued expansion of fossil fuels.
The HAP is committed to a prohibition on the use of old growth forests for woodchipping or pulping purposes and to a phased transition to a plantation hardwood and softwood industry. The HAP believes there should be a vigorously policed moratorium on the importation of any illegally harvested rainforest timbers. The HAP embraces sustainable agriculture rather than the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, and community gardens where organic, spray free crops are encouraged along with organic mulching and manures to enrich the soils (i.e. sustainable farming practices) where our food supply is grown. Food co-operatives and more community-based food production should be fostered in each region to reduce the dependence on imported food sources.
The HAP believes in balanced free enterprise, where government has a role to play in ensuring that neither big business, big unions nor government bureaucracies distort the economic system and prevent economic prosperity being shared reasonably by all. Wealthy individuals and corporations should not be overtaxed, nor should they be able to escape paying a reasonable share of taxation. The widespread practice of moving revenue offshore to avoid paying Australian tax should be stopped. Nationally, the HAP will support a balanced mix of revenue collection and expenditure that promotes prosperity whilst ensuring fairness for all citizens.
The world is now embroiled in more conflicts than at any other time in history. The HAP’s preference is to pursue avenues to minimise conflict where possible. However the Party acknowledges that this may not always be possible, and it would be naive to not plan for the need for a Defence capability. Hence HAP supports a robust, state of the art, well equipped Defence force, guided by a properly-articulated value system. The Party would like to see Defence take a leadership role in the region, assisting with peacekeeping, stabilisation and humanitarian projects. HAP does not believe Australian military forces should be deployed internationally, except as part of sanctioned peace keeping activities, or in exceptional circumstances. The Party does believe that Defence can play a very positive role in diplomatic relations with other nations, and by participating in internationally sanctioned peacekeeping operations it can help stabilise countries experiencing humanitarian crises. Defence procurement decisions need to be transparent and insulated from lobbying.
Military veterans often pay a high personal price for serving their country. There may be disagreement as to the politics of some military action, but the vast majority of Australians recognise that those who serve do so in good faith, and often suffer as a consequence. The HAP values their service and will pursue outcomes that contribute to their health and wellbeing.
The HAP believes that the education system needs to be a creative response tailored to the individual’s particular learning styles and aspirations rather than the one-size-fits-all approach particularly with the education of children. The HAP believes in meeting the requirements of a standardised curriculum, tertiary qualifications and occupational requirements through individually tailored innovative teaching and training techniques. Knowledge needs to be a creative response to the natural world rather than attempt to dominate it. The future success of the planet will be decided not by survival of the strongest and hardest, but survival of the healthiest, wisest and kindest, and education is the foundation upon which awareness of this truth is built. The HAP believes that teachers should hold a respected place within our community and be appropriately resourced and supported.
Science, Technology and Research
Science and technology have become an essential part of our daily lives. They have delivered great benefits to mankind, but have also caused immense harm to individuals and the environment. The HAP believes that the key to ensuring that science serves and not controls our community is objective and targeted research. We see many examples, especially in the field of medical research, where researchers have been influenced by vested interests and produce research findings that are biased by these influences and lead to wrong decisions being made by people and politicians. The HAP will support more funds being directed into targeted objective research in all areas of science, and will conduct a review of Australia’s major scientific and research bodies to ensure their true impartiality. In the field of health, the HAP will promote objective and unbiased research into the full cost-benefits of natural medicine, including a review of existing international research in all languages.
The HAP recognises that the issues of immigration, border control and the treatment of refugees are among the most difficult as well as potentially divisive within our community. The HAP does not profess to have all the answers. However, first and foremost, the HAP sees every human being as valuable, precious and entitled to freedom and self-determination. The protection and humane and dignified treatment of anybody seeking asylum once they arrive in Australia or its territories, and regardless of their ethnicity or religion, is fundamental to the HAP.
Senior citizens have helped build the society we now benefit from and as such should be treated with respect , and dignity. Safe, effective and affordable health care is a priority as well as a pension that allows a good quality of life. The infrastructure and networks needed to ensure that our seniors are given the care they require is a priority. They should be assisted to gain access to natural medicine which is not covered by Medicare. Our Elders should be given a voice and treated with great care and respect.
Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
The HAP supports the present moves to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Australian constitution.
Spirituality, Morality, Ethics and Religion
The HAP believes that people are at heart spiritual beings. However many people of goodwill look to high standards of morals and ethics instead of spiritual values. The HAP believes that the two are effectively different sides of the same coin and respects both positions. The HAP believes that our society is ready for and needs a reawakening and rediscovery of the central purpose in the evolution of humanity and the planet.
The HAP sees freedom of religious practice as a fundamental right, and believes that the diversity of religious practice enriches Australian society in the same way as multiculturalism has. The HAP will promote inter-faith understanding and cooperation through dialogue and education and a continued search for shared values.
The HAP believes that leadership involves helping others to achieve their greatest potential. Leaders should not dominate or corrupt others in any way. The HAP will promote a balance of male and female participation in leadership roles to maximise the co-operative, loving and forgiving qualities inherent in all persons, but which can be marginalised in male-only leadership groupings.
The HAP is committed to ongoing grass roots consultation not only with its members and supporters but with the wider electorate through regular community forums and focus groups.
The HAP will encourage the free expression of views by all Australians, and encourage balanced debate on issues that affect us all. The HAP will support media that does not market negative stereotyping and separation, but which advances positive ideas to unite the nation, and reports on what we share with each other and the Earth we inhabit, rather than what divides us. The HAP will promote a media that is balanced and represents all opinions without fear or favour. To that end the HAP strongly supports an appropriately resourced national broadcaster.
Law and Order
The HAP shall uphold principles intended to promote personal security, mutual tolerance and respect among all peoples, as well as protection from violence or threat from self-serving, coercive and lawless people or groups. The HAP shall expand the protection given to Australian citizens from fraudulent use of internet hacking and phishing.
The HAP supports the development of positive communication between nations, regarding foreign aid, migration and refugees, scientific and cultural exchanges, trade and essential defence alliances.
The Arts (Music and Entertainment)
The HAP believes in giving more support for the arts particularly as a means of education.
The HAP will promote architecture that focuses on passive solar and the use of alternative technologies that lower our carbon footprint. In addition the HAP supports architecture that encourages the development of communities both in rural areas as well as in large cities.
Aspirations for the future
Whilst not current policy, or seen as possible in the immediate future, the HAP will encourage consideration of the following ideas as possible future initiatives.
- The HAP is concerned to provide choice and diversity in the health sector within the gold standard of universal free healthcare – Medicare, arguably the greatest social reform of the last century. The HAP aspires for some type of Government accepted Recognition Process for natural medicine practitioners that recognises both measurable competencies, as well as years of practice and experience, that would lead to a greater involvement in the national healthcare system.
- The HAP aspires to the eventual establishment of special Community Clinics, places of healing in each town and city where practitioners of all modalities can choose to volunteer to staff the Clinic, and where people can find a quiet place to relax, be given a Health Assessment and then referred to practitioners who suit their particular needs.
Please Note: Our full policy statement is available at https://www.healthaustraliaparty.com.au/index.php/policies/