The Australian Medical Association says voters should carefully consider the policies of the Health Australia Party, particularly their stance on vaccines and fluoride. The political party favours natural medicines and has secured the number-one spot on the NSW Senate ballot paper.
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30 Jun 2016 - 10:14 AM  UPDATED 30 Jun 2016 - 1:34 PM

Medical experts have issued a warning to voters to carefully consider the policies of the Health Australia Party, ahead of Saturday’s federal election. The HAP is in favour of natural medicines and has been branded "anti-vaccine" by the Australian Medical Association. The AMA said it was concerning the party had secured the number-one spot on the NSW Senate ballot paper.

“People may be misled by the name of the party,” AMA NSW President Brad Frankum said.

“It sounds good but when you look at their policies, it's misleading and dangerous.”

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Previously known as the Natural Medicine Party, the HAP changed its name to take on what its national party spokesman Jason Woodforth called a “broader range” of policies. One of the key measures was to have natural medicine put “on an equal footing” to pharmaceutical medicine.

The party also supports animal rights, euthanasia and a different “paradigm” to manage chronic diseases. Home-schooling and home-birthing are other initiatives the party favours. Mr Woodforth told SBS the party was not “anti-vaccine” but it does object to the Commonwealth’s No Jab, No Pay legislation.

“It violates basic medical ethics of informed consent,” Mr Woodford told SBS.

“Informed consent needs to be non-coercive.”

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The No Jab, No Pay legislation means that unless a child is fully vaccinated, or a plan is in place to catch up on missed vaccines, parents are ineligible for certain government payments. The AMA says the HPA’s "lukewarm" support for vaccinations makes them anti-vaccine by default.

“The simple fact is that many hundreds of thousands of lives are saved by vaccinations,” Mr Frankum said.

The HAP also opposes fluoride in public water supplies, with its policies calling the “medication of a population through the water supply a breach of accepted medical ethical codes.” Mr Woodforth, who is a former LNP member, said fluoride is a “toxic waste product,” another claim disputed by the AMA. When asked by SBS what voters would be getting if the HPA is voted in on Saturday, Mr Woodforth said they can expect “truth, openness and transparency in government.”

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