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|For All Australians… A Healthy Choice
|Alternative therapies good, lockdowns and mandates bad.
We’re not a single issue party, we’re sensible and balanced. Honest.
|Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: Melton, Point Cook, Werribee
|All over the place. Really. HAP’s preferences vary wildly from region to region, and honestly, I can’t see an overarching theme here. In Eastern Victoria, they favour Shooters Fishers and Farmers and Animal Justice (which are about as different a pair as you can get), while in Western Victoria the Angry Victorian Party edges out SFF and Animal Justice is way down on the ticket. The Metropolitan Regions aren’t any better. Labour DLP, Angry Victorians, Justice Party (not to be confused with Animal Justice, Liberal Democrats, and Sustainable Australia all pop up in the top 5. If you’re looking for a sense of where HAP sees its political alignment, you won’t find it on their Group Voting Tickets.
Policies & Commentary
The Health Australia Party (hereafter referred to as HAP) is anxious to assure us all that they’re not just a single issue party. Really. I mean, look at their huge policy living document. It has headings and everything. They want you to know that the “Health” in their name also covers the environment and the economy. And yes, they do have quite a number of policies dealing with everything from instituting an optional Swiss-style system of national service which would lead to the creation of citizen soldiers, to special visas for immigrants and refugees to become an agricultural workforce, to vague motherhood statements about how great the Arts are.
At the core, though, HAP is driven by a nearly fanatical devotion to alternative therapies and distrust of so-called “Western” medicine. Cate’s excellent review of HAP thoroughly covered their general philosophy, and their insistence that they are not anti-vaccination, so I won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say that, for all their protests, there is a strong anti-vaccination message running through their health policies, all dressed up as “freedom of choice” and “personal responsibility”.
Through the covid pandemic, the loudest voices against vaccinations have leaned heavily on the idea that mandates remove “freedoms”, and it should be up to us whether we choose to protect community health. (Oh, and that vaccines don’t work/are untested/will kill you.) HAP’s policy document is very slippery in this respect, but the message is the same. All over their health policy are unfounded accusations about widespread lack of informed consent, medical corruption, lack of properly conducted trials (again, because of corruption) that risk people’s health, lack of support or actual suppression of alternative health treatments, etc.
I’ve been following the anti vax/mandate/lockdown movement (aka the “cookers”) for years now, and these are very familiar talking points. Very familiar, completely unfounded talking points. HAP is being sneakier than most of these groups – you have to sit through their videos and podcasts to catch them being explicitly critical – but the message is the same, and the lack of evidence is the same. And no amount of angry denial is going to achieve anything if what you’re saying is identical to those who are just being open about it.
Just in case you were in any doubt about the completely unscientific nonsense HAP is peddling, here’s a quote from co-founder Dr Isaac Golden:
… if people want to immunise in other ways, or not use any method of immunisation, that should also be their right – WITHOUT PENALTY OF ANY KIND.
(My bold, their capital letters.)
“Other ways” here refers to so-called homeopathic immunisation, noted by Cate in earlier reviews as something that Golden is pretty darn keen on. It’s pseudo-science, thoroughly debunked, yet HAP would have us believe that it’s a viable, safe alternative to a thoroughly tested vaccine developed under stringent scientific protocols. One that is being suppressed by authoritarian bodies whose motives are venal at best, oppressive at worst. HAP is fond of comparing these organisations to Nazi ideas and practices.
Their media policies are a dead giveaway. HAP are all about doing away with negative stereotyping and separation, and encouraging all opinions without fear or favour. To accomplish this, they’ll use the ABC, and also set up a media oversight body with the power to assess independence and performance, and issue penalties for breaches of established media performance.
Quite what “established media performance” means, is not defined, but given HAP’s continued insistence that both they and alternative therapies are being systematically suppressed, I’m not exactly hopeful that this would be in any way the fair and balanced system they claim to want.
This is all bound up in HAP’s belief that people should have an unfettered ability to say anything about anyone without consequence. Whatever happened to free speech, they lament. Why can’t we criticise anyone anymore? Don’t take my word for it. One of their own videos has quite a lot to say about sooky men and sooky women who, apparently, should just harden up and cope with people saying nasty things. Oh, and they really don’t like fact checkers on Google, Facebook, etc. Who are they, anyway? They might be paid trolls! How do we know?
The “can’t trust Google” and “paid trolls” accusations pop up regularly in cooker circles. The “truth” is being kept from us, for a variety of reasons. HAP haven’t quite gone to the extent of some other groups in trying to set up their own social media and search engines, but again, the core message is the same. They’re being discriminated against and persecuted when all they want to do is present “alternatives”.
Possibly the most annoying thing about HAP is that they do have some excellent policies worthy of consideration (most of which haven’t changed from their 2018 election bid). Their environmental initiatives are, for the most part, well-considered, with an eye on future-proofing. Protecting water from privatisation, funding renewable energy, encouraging real dialogue between agricultural stakeholders, and banning use of harmful pesticides feature heavily. Unfortunately, so does a somewhat hysterical anti-fluoridation policy and a frankly embarrassing screed about electromagnetic radiation. And yes, the latter does talk about how 5G is not safe to roll out and how we must Protect The Children from getting leukaemia due to EMR exposure.
For every well-researched, grounded and realistic policy, HAP has a handful that are either unworkable or, frankly, nonsense. They undermine themselves at every turn, and there’s just not enough here that isn’t kissing up to the lunatic fringe . They won’t be as low on my ballot as some, but they’re definitely going to be in the bottom half.
Just a reminder that Loki and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂