Health Australia Party – Policies 2016 Election
Detail of Policies Code Subject Detail
1.0 Healthy People
1.1 Health Australia is experiencing an epidemic of chronic disease which is rarely discussed by health officials or in the media. The current medical business model provides no incentive for drug manufacturers to promote good health. 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. So the HAP intends to: (a)Recognise that a broad, integrative approach to health care is required based on what is best for patients and free from corporate or personal vested interests. (b)Support a national system of health care which encourages collaboration between general practitioners, specialists, allied health professionals and natural health care practitioners. (c)Recognise that the present epidemic of chronic diseases in Australia needs to be managed using a different paradigm which includes natural medicine, and that potentially serious infectious diseases be managed using a thoroughly researched program of immunisation that is both safe and effective. (d)Fund methodically appropriate, objective, independent research into all aspects of natural and pharmaceutical medicine to reliably inform citizens and political leaders of the relative proven costs and benefits to the community. (e)Recognise that the requirement for the informed consent of the patient before administration of a medication or a medical procedure/intervention is a basic human right. (f) Defend the right of every person/parent/legal guardian to choose to decline invasive medical procedures/interventions with no resultant punitive action of any kind. (g)Transform the Australian health care system from a disease management system (albeit with some excellent features such as in emergency medicine) to a health creation system. Promote genuine preventative medicine involving making citizens more healthy in every way – intellectually, emotionally and physically. (h)Protect the future of Medicare. Quantify the potential for natural medicine to help maintain the financial viability of Medicare. (i) The HAP believes that Homebirth provides a safe option, and women should be able to choose homebirth without penalty. Safety has been studied by the Cochrane Collaboration review of homebirth which concluded that for normal pregnancies with suitably qualified persons in attendance, safety was at least as good as hospital births, but with far fewer medical interventions.
1.1.1 Natural Medicine The HAP believes that natural medicine should be placed on an equal footing with pharmaceutical medicine. Australians should be able to choose between pharmaceutical medicine practitioners and natural medicine practitioners without being disadvantaged financially for their choice. Survey evidence indicates that up to 70 percent of Australian adults use some form of natural medicine as a part of their regular health routine. The HAP will promote the integration of natural medicine with the existing Medicare system. A Natural Medicine Practitioners Board will be set up to appropriately accredit qualified natural medicine practitioners into the national health system, and to update, regulate and enforce practice standards.
1.2 Medical Research The HAP recognises that our country suffers when medical research is manipulated to produce results which serve vested interests, but which is then used by politicians to form the basis of public health decisions. The HAP will expose deliberate corruption in medical research using the considerable body of evidence which already exists in professional journals and elsewhere, and will support the recruitment of researchers with proven independence and integrity to undertake needed medical research which will then be published, whatever the findings. The HAP will review existing medical institutions to ensure that public money is spent only on objective and unbiased research which benefits all citizens. Government funding for natural medicine research is almost non-existent. Since 2009, the NH&MRC has funded only a single complementary health project, and spent less than $500,000, out of a total budget of over five and a half a billion dollars. This is less than one one-hundredth of one percent of total funding. The HAP will ensure that natural medicine research receives appropriate funding from the NH&MRC both by way of targeted calls for projects and strategic awards of funding, and by including natural medicine as a discrete research category alongside conventional medical research categories.
1.2.1 Academic Freedom The HAP recognises with great concern the attempts by well-resourced and influential lobby groups to stifle academic freedom within Australian universities and research institutes. The HAP will expose and oppose such attempts to prevent researchers from undertaking and publishing potentially controversial research, and will support the heads of institutions who stand up against individuals and groups who oppose academic freedom.
1.3 Maternity and Birthing The HAP would like to see reforms in the maternity services system in Australia, similar to that of New Zealand, where women can choose their lead maternity care provider and are eligible for free maternity care regardless of where they choose to birth, including those who wish to birth at home. The HAP echo’s The Cochrane Collaboration assessment of home birth, which concluded that in terms of routine pregnancies, and provided suitably qualified persons were in attendance, it posed no greater risk than hospital birth, and usually resulted in less interventions. Women have reported feeling more relaxed in their own homes, which in turn reduces stress levels, and enhances the ease and experience of birth. For this reason, the HAP would like to see support of midwives in private practice and a review of regulations that restrict their ability to care for women who choose to birth outside of the hospital system. Furthermore, the HAP believes that ongoing support must be provided post-partum, particularly for women who have suffered birth trauma or postnatal depression. Lactation consultants should be readily available to encourage a long term breast feeding relationship, as recommended by WHO, and a review of maternity payments is necessary to reduce financial strain that can disrupt pivotal bonding time.
1.4 Older Australians Senior citizens have helped to build the society which 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 their opinions listed to.
1.4.1 Euthanasia/Dying with Dignity The HAP is very wary of the State and medical professionals deciding when a life has lost its value. HAP ultimately supports ‘informed consent’ and believes that when a person is dying they should have the right to decide whether or not to artificially continue their life, or allow the dying process to take its natural course. HAP does not profess to have all the answers in this complex issue, and would need to see robust processes in place to ensure that patient decisions are indeed being made without influence or coercion from relatives, medical professionals, or others. However the HAP believes that all citizens deserve the right to high quality palliative care to give them genuine options in their final days, and that Australians should be supported to spend their final days at home with their loved ones if this is possible and requested.
1.5 Medical Malpractice Reform The HAP believes that the current Australian system is heavily dependent on medical malpractice lawsuits and is expensive, secretive, and compensation is often inadequate. It often does not result in an adequate and transparent analysis of the error thus enabling an improvement in medical processes. The HAP will review the Danish system as well as systems used in Norway, Sweden and New Zealand which appear to be patient based, equitable, relatively inexpensive, and transparent thus more readily enabling improvements in medical processes.
1.6 Mental Health Reform New policy being prepared.
1.7 Fluoridation The HAP believes that sodium fluoride, hydrofluorosilic acid and other chemical products called “fluoride” are toxic chemical waste products that are classified as class 6 poisons and should not be placed into public water supplies. Medicating a population through the water supply is in breach of accepted medical ethical codes as there is neither informed consent, nor the ability to opt out .It is noted that 97% of the Western European population and the population of Japan drinks nonfluoridated water.
1.8 Medical Cannabis The use of medical cannabis is now supported by a growing body of positive worldwide research. Most cannabinoids are nonpsychogenic and varieties can be grown to suit various medical conditions as well as providing benefit as a preventative health measure. Cannabis oil produced from the plant has also shown to be superior to other formulations in duration of action and efficacy. Cannabis has the potential not only to relieve the suffering of Australians with a range of medical conditions, but also to significantly reduce the current healthcare debt. It also has the potential to become an export earner and generate jobs for many people. It has use as a rotational crop (say with sugar cane) to preserve soil fertility and its fibre can be used for anything from paper manufacturing to biofuel and everything in between.
1.9 Illicit Drugs The HAP believes that drug addictions, whether pharmaceutical or illicit, are a medical problem and should be treated through the health system. However the consequences of drug addictions place a significant burden on the economy, our legal system and our health system. A holistic approach is required. In particular the real causes behind drug addictions of all types need to be revealed and the social causes addressed through thoughtful and integrated strategies. The focus should be on prevention of the need to use drugs.
1.10 Pharmacies New policy being prepared.
1.11 Domestic Violence The HAP is encouraged by the growing awareness of the immense damage caused by family violence. Existing efforts to combat family violence should be continued, and further innovative solutions sought. For example, pharmacies are usually supportive environments that abused women may already be visiting and it might lessen the fear of partner retaliation if a pharmacist was able to triage a range of help – counselling, police contact, ongoing security patrols, emergency accommodation, emergency food supplies, GP or other health professional referral, etc.
2.0 Healthy Economy
2.1 Industry, Business, Economics A healthy, vigorous, equitable economy creates the best possible opportunity for all Australia’s citizens to enjoy a good quality of life. Therefore the HAP will: (a) Support the principles of undistorted free enterprise where government has an important role to play in the provision of potentially unprofitable services and initiatives, as well as to provide reasonable regulations to ensure a level playing field for all participants in the national economy. (b) Recognise that the small business sector, including industry, commerce and the farming sector, deserves protection from unfair competition from large national and multinational corporations. (c) Limit concentrations of power in corporate business, financial institutions, trade unions, and the communications media that lead to inequality of services. (d) Cut unnecessary “red tape” that stifles competition. (e) Promote targeted “research and development” to further Australia’s future industrial growth. (f) Recognise that industry, business and economics should provide results that benefit not only individual stakeholders, but also the entire Nation. (g) Support an appropriate and well targeted “buy Australia” program.
2.2 The Economy 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.
2.3 Small Business The HAP considers the health of the small business sector to be fundamental in building wealth for all citizens, as It is only through promoting and sustaining small business that a genuine market for employment and a sustainable middle class is possible. Small business should receive a fair share of Government grants. The administrative burden imposed on small businesses by governments must be reduced. Previous inquiries have yielded some legislative improvements, but a further simplification of regulations and taxation methods is needed. The HAP will facilitate appropriate research to identify needed improvements to the system.
2.4 Tax/GST Reform 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 HAP does not support an increase in the GST until all genuine cost saving and revenue raising options have been thoroughly explored. Potential savings exist in the areas of negative gearing, superannuation inequities, tax avoidance through transfer pricing by international groups, and waste and unnecessary expenditure in the health sector. Alternative taxation systems such as taxing transactions should be independently examined. This kind of tax is popularly known as a Tobin Tax, and was first suggested by Nobel-prize winning British economist James Tobin in 1972. Savings through simplification of the taxation system are also potentially significant. Fairness and equity must take precedence.
2.5 Banking Competition within the Australian banking sector must be either maintained or increased. Small business lending could be facilitated by “small business finance companies” that involve “peer to peer” lending. Appropriate Government guarantees for deposits and certain types of loans generated by these types of organisations could be considered. The HAP will investigate the creation of a publicly owned National Community Bank. The National Community Bank will not compete directly with the Big Banks on their terms, but will help drive the transition to a healthier economy by supporting and underwriting the creation of local community banks.
2.6 Infrastructure Infrastructure projects generate jobs and overall prosperity to our country’s economy, and if possible we should always have appropriate infrastructure projects on the drawing board. However projects need to be well targeted and thoroughly researched to ensure economic value and environmental sustainability.
2.7 Tourism Australia is uniquely placed in the world in terms of being a safe and clean place to visit. As there are a growing number of affluent communities throughout the world, Australia should promote the country vigorously as a means of growing employment and especially in areas where logging and mining industries can be replaced with tourism. A well-developed tourist infrastructure should not only involve attractions, accommodation and entertainment, but also specialties such as eco-tourism and education tourism. For example, education could be tied to a vacation that could stimulate regional tourism, and each region could promote various specialties. Certain tourism regions could also benefit from the addition of light rail infrastructure, particularly if it could further link in to the major rail systems.
2.8 Science, Technology, The HAP strongly supports genuine scientific endeavours designed to provide sustainable benefits to Australia and Commercialisation of Research to the world. Institutions such as the CSIRO are national icons, and should be supported to the greatest extent possible with Government funds to ensure uncontaminated research for the public good. Australia should develop protocols to ensure that the nation receives appropriate commercial rewards from publically funded research.
3.0 Healthy Environment
3.1 Environment The health of Australians and their quality of life are directly correlated to the health of the environment. Clean air and water, nutritious food, 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 wasteful use of old growth forests for woodchipping or pulping purposes. The HAP believes there should be a vigorously policed moratorium on the importation of any illegally harvested rainforest timbers to support other nations’ efforts at curbing destructive practises globally. This general principle would also apply to other agricultural or wildlife products which we as a nation within our context found undesirable. The HAP will: (a) Encourage environmental rejuvenation including the improvement of forestry, farming cropping, livestock, silviculture and urban usage. (b) Support the development and implementation of clean, renewable energy sources as a primary focus of our energy based society. (c) Require comprehensive investigation into environmental hazards before granting extraction/mining approval. (d) Prohibit the use of old growth forests for woodchipping or pulping purposes. Promote the phased transition to a biodiverse silviculture and plantation hardwood and softwood industry.
3.1.2 National Agricultural Policy The most important thing for any city in the world is healthy functioning agriculture, as without a steady stream of food, fibres and fuels being produced from a nation’s lands and waters the nation and its cities cannot survive. Therefore the HAP will, when elected, do what has never been done before; we will lobby for a National Agricultural Policy. We will encourage all stakeholders, parties and peoples across this great nation to participate in the process to create a policy which, through national research, will reflect the priorities of the majority of Australians. The HAP embraces regenerative agriculture, building healthy fertile soils 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 and regenerative farming practices) where our food supply is grown. Once an agricultural policy is created we will enact policy to facilitate the implementation of that policy. Australia has no National seed security and the HAP will create policy to encourage a local seed production industry, including the storage and international sales of seeds of numerous varieties. The HAP values Australia’s native plant diversity and will encourage a national effort to conserve this diversity through collaborative and sustainable seed collecting, banking, research and knowledge sharing.
3.1.3 National Food Policy The HAP believes in the value of food co-operatives, and the fostering of community-based food production in each region to reduce the dependence on imported food sources, including both food from other countries and food from within Australian requiring extensive transport and storage resources. The HAP will promote the ability of Australian communities to grow food naturally, organically and sustainably. Long-term food production planning is needed to accommodate expected population expansion both locally and internationally. Australia has a massive comparative advantage over most countries in its potential to produce clean and nutritious food for our own population and the world, and the HAP will work to see that potential achieved. The HAP will promote food education beginning at primary school to ensure that children know what food is healthy and what foods can cause chronic illness, including obesity which is of grave concern amongst children as well as adults. These programs will be based on the latest evidence that is free from commercial influence. The HAP will investigate the outcomes of financial measures used in other countries aimed at reducing the use of ingredients in food shown to cause chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Such measures would only be promoted if there is unambiguous evidence showing positive health results, and if any funds generated were dedicated to nutritional education and treatment plans. The evidence-based value of permaculture will be promoted by the HAP.
3.1.4 National Water Security Water security is essential to Australia’s future prosperity. Much of Australia suffers from inconsistent rainfall patterns. Some areas can have 30% of the years’ rainfall in a few weeks, followed by years of dry seasons. Planning will be started to ensure that agricultural production can continue even during dry years. The HAP policy will aim to stabilise our production so as to break the cycle of boom and bust for rural properties. We will propose a National water security program that will protect Australia’s water supply from privatisation. There will be a 3 pronged approach to water security and stability. One will be based on capturing excess run off in large storage dams, the second will be prevention of evaporation and run off by incentives to keep all national and private land covered with ground cover year round thus preventing sediment movement which would fill storage dams, and the third will be a tax and monitoring basis of water quality monitoring at the lowest point on each property to encourage changes in behaviour by land owners. This scheme will carefully evaluate the full implications of future dam building which on one hand can create water security for some, but on the other hand can destroy large areas of flora and fauna, and change people’s livelihoods in rural communities, both positively and negatively. The Snowy Mountains Scheme can be used as an exemplar of how nation building schemes can benefit of the nation in some ways, but create great disruption elsewhere.
3.2 National Energy Production The HAP strongly supports sustainable energy systems that will generate new jobs and build a healthier environment. The HAP believes that by encouraging private investment in manufacturing and research, supported by Government research, Australia can become an international energy leader in clean, sustainable, and economically viable energy production.
3.2.1 Fossil Fuels Fossil fuel generators should be retired progressively over a reasonable time frame (maximum 15 years) and be substituted with sustainable energy systems. Fossil fuel subsidies should be progressively removed and funds redirected towards clean, renewable energy technologies. Many of the new sustainable systems are now comparable in production costs with older technologies and allow for local innovation and decentralised control that would create a regular markets operating with competitive prices. Progressively retiring Australia’s coal reserves may cause some loss of national income, but will help reduce global pollution and should be mitigated by the potential increase in revenue from sustainable energy.
3.2.2 Mining Mining, including coal mining and coal-seam gas mining, should only be allowed when suitable environmental protections are in place which genuinely take into account issues with land degradation, destruction of habitat, dispossession of small populations, and air and water pollution. State government corruption that has been found associated with mining projects should be exposed and eliminated. State laws should not advance the interests of miners to the expense of legitimate and civil protests against environmental and other damage potentially caused by mining. Mining companies should not have access to land without the owner’s permission, and the preservation of prime agricultural land should be mandatory.
3.2.3 Nuclear Energy The HAP believes that until nuclear energy can be produced with complete safety and until nuclear waste can be rendered completely harmless then Australia should not use nuclear energy, and instead focus on safe renewable alternatives. It is noted that Germany ended the construction of new nuclear power stations following the Fukushima disaster which threatens the health of the Pacific Ocean. The HAP believes that Australia would be wise to learn from this evidence-based caution. The HAP believes that Australia must undertake to safely store any nuclear waste produced in this country, and if considering storage of waste from other countries must ensure that such storage must not be imposed upon any unwilling communities.
3.3 Global Pollution and changing weather The HAP believes that there is overwhelming evidence supporting the claim that global weather changes are occurring for a range of reasons. Australia in 2016 has experienced its warmest summer on record and one of the driest, yet many northern hemisphere countries have experienced their coldest and most severe winters. Whilst there is some disagreement regarding causes, there is no disagreement that the planet is becoming increasingly polluted and that human activity is a major contributing factor. On the basis of pollution alone the HAP believes that human behaviour must change, and any energy-generating practices that further pollute the planet must be phased out. Human behaviour which compromises biodiversity must be controlled wherever possible, such as the dumping of wastes, especially plastics, into our waterways and oceans. Because fires are also a major cause of atmospheric pollution, the HAP will strongly support international efforts to reduce burning of forests as a land clearing device, and locally will support rural fire brigades and scientifically based burn-reduction programs. Australia is falling behind many other nations in our efforts to contribute to a reduction in global pollution, and our pollution emission targets are demonstrably less than they need to be to produce a meaningful impact on changing weather patterns. The HAP supports efforts by Australian organisations such as The Climate and Health Alliance to raise awareness about the health risks associated with changing weather patterns and the health benefits of emission reductions. The HAP aspires for optimal emission targets set by objective science and supported in a bi-partisan way by politicians, and will do whatever we can to achieve this goal.
3.3.1 EMR Pollution The HAP supports the following initiatives which are needed due to the changing electromagnetic environment in which we live. (a) The establishment of a national Agency dedicated to researching the situation about electro-smog, particularly EMR emissions from electrical and wireless devices that are potentially damaging or harmful to humans. That national agency, whilst based in Canberra, should have State branches in each of the major cities in Australia. The Canberra office would act as a clearing house or headquarters, but the real work to be done at the city or state level in the State branches. (b) The Agency would employ and communicate with scientists from different disciplines (physics, electromagnetics, medicine etc.), but also permit input from interested lay persons to ensure its purpose could not be “hijacked” by scientists who wished to maintain the status quo. The agency would ensure relevant information about EMR was made available to the public to encourage public awareness and discussion of the problem. (c) One task of the Agency would be to investigate and discuss claims made by the estimated 3 – 5% of the population who say they are electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS), or react negatively to EMR emissions from such wireless device sources as mobile phones, smart meters, Wi-fi, mobile phone towers, NBN towers, etc. (d) The Agency would investigate a “labelling scheme” to be used on each electrical device – particularly wireless devices – that are manufactured in or imported into Australia. The EMR output of each device would be measured and labelled to permit those who consider themselves EHS to determine what their EMR exposure might be if they use the device.
3.4 Rural Reform Australia must protect our arable land from urban encroachment, and from mining and farming processes that cause land degradation, and our Agricultural Policy will address these issues. There needs to be a stricter regime for the use of herbicides and pesticides. The HAP will investigate the feasibility of monitoring pesticides, herbicides and silt found in water leaving an individual’s property, and consider placing levies on unacceptable levels. Urban farming should also be encouraged through the use of vertical gardens and rooftop gardens, also garden collectives on existing public lands. Farmers should be able to control who can access their land for whatever purpose, but also be required to keep their land in the same or better condition as when they assumed ownership. Government investment in new forms of crops that would serve the Asian market should be considered. The world’s future lies in being able to feed people, and Australia is well placed to produce clean food for its populous near neighbours.
3.5 Land Ownership The HAP will initiate research to determine facts regarding land ownership in Australia. A balanced approach is required, especially in rural areas, where concerns about foreign ownership have been expressed by many citizens. Research to determine the full extent of foreign home ownership in cities is also required. A calm and rational approach to land ownership is essential. As a start, the HAP supports a stronger national interest test to be applied by the Foreign Investment Review board for purchases of agricultural land and water resources. A bi-partisan policy regarding land and water ownership by wholly owned foreign subsidiaries needs to be developed and the HAP will cooperate in that process.
3.6 Public Transport The HAP believes that the continual improvement of public transport infrastructure in our major cities must be given a high priority for economic, environmental and social reasons. Australia needs a coordinated system that utilises rail transport for long haul transportation and integrates with regional road transport feeder systems. This type of regional system may be able to further subdivide into a home delivery service for mail or parcels. Our road system needs to be upgraded to sustain high safety levels. We will also need to consider rail systems that link in to Darwin as the major port that will service the Asian market. Rail links will need to expand if we are to offer the promise of becoming a “food bowl” to Asia (or the world). They will also be integral for mobility and communications for all populations living in remote areas.
3.7 Architecture 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 will support architecture that encourages the development of communities both in rural areas as well as in large cities.
4.0 Healthy Democracy
4.1 Human Rights The HAP recognises and will protect the rights of each person embodied in the common law, statute and traditional way of life. The HAP will defend the political, legal, social and economic foundations of a democratic society to sustain a self-reliant and secure Australia.
4.1.1 Bill of Rights New policy being prepared.
4.2 Constitutional or Treaty Recognition of Indigenous Australians The HAP supports appropriate efforts to recognise Indigenous Australians either in the Australian constitution or through a Treaty. The HAP realises that at the moment there is disagreement within the Indigenous community as to which option is preferred. We do not have the answers, which can only be reached by Aboriginal peoples themselves, but the HAP will support the majority view when this debate is concluded.
4.2.1 Indigenous Affairs The health of indigenous Australians is significantly less than that of other Australians. Many attempts have been made to address this by successive Governments without success. The HAP will bring an holistic approach to this issue taking into account the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of indigenous Australians.
4.3 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 shall uphold the principles of the authority of just law in the protection of the nation-community against exploitation by individual or commercial groups that impact on the life-style of Australian citizens.
4.3.1 Whistle-blower Legislation Whistle blower protection is essential to promote a healthy democracy. Generous remuneration should be allowed when the information disclosed relates to issues that would be of major concern to the community in general. If the information released is of low grade interest, then prosecution under privacy laws or rules covered by confidentiality agreements that may be breached, should apply.
4.4 Leadership and Government The general Australian community has expressed dissatisfaction with political parties and especially the majority of recent political leaders. Many people are cynical, and simply fed up with politicians in general and how the current political process generates conflict with little nation building. There is a great need for political leadership which genuinely puts the country first and personal ambitions last. To this end the HAP will a) Promote leadership that helps others to achieve their greatest potential; b) Oppose leaders who dominate or corrupt others in any way; mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually; and c) Encourage a balance of masculine and feminine participation in government to maximise the co-operative, empathetic qualities inherent in all persons, but which can be marginalised in male-only leadership groupings.
4.5 Consultation 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.
4.6 Media 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. The impact of the decreasing range of media ownership will be studied, as will be the possibility of establishing an independent body that scrutinises the media, and assesses independence and performance, and which has the ability to level penalties for breaches of established media performance.
4.7 Foreign Affairs 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.
5.0 Healthy Society
5.1 Education The HAP believes that 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. Australia’s 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 HAP believes that teachers should hold a respected place within our community and be appropriately resourced and supported. In this mobile world education has to be located more closely to the workplace, but most of the educational opportunities are located within city structures – an expensive process for citizens living in regional locations. In summary, the HAP believes that we should: a) Provide Australians with access to high quality, affordable primary, secondary, and tertiary education that promotes intellectual as well as individual achievement and growth; b) Encourage Australians to think clearly and critically in their chosen profession; c) Develop a more holistic national curriculum.
5.1.1 Home Education The HAP supports home education as a viable schooling choice. Conducted responsibly, home education has been shown to result in positive learning outcomes, and balanced, happy children. Child led learning has been substantiated as an effective learning model, congruent with child hood developmental requirements. The home education community is diverse, but shares a fundamental respect for the individual needs of children. The HAP echoes the thoughts of the Home Education Association INC which among other things, believes “…home educators must be allowed to deliver an educational program that is based on the individual needs of the child and not constrained by year levels or subject boundaries…” Home education reduces the financial and infrastructure burdens upon government and the HAP firmly believes that the administration of home education should be made approachable and user friendly. The HAP supports an in-depth review to quantify the Government savings generated by home education, and believes guidance around the future financial assistance model offered to the home schooling community would be valuable.
5.1.2 Higher Education Current policies force universities and academics to go to various industries to obtain sufficient money grants to conduct research. This has proven to be a potentially corrupting relationship affecting the researchers and even university management. This link must be broken through either properly funded research grants by Government or an independent third-party supervising body holding, dispersing and generally supervising the integrity of grants and all studies undertaken (including failed studies).
5.2 Immigration 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 HAP believes that should agricultural regions require a greatly expanded workforce to make them viable, then we would consider the option of giving certain immigrants a special 7 year visa to live and work in agriculture and agriculturally related industries, under appropriate conditions, as a prerequisite to receive permanent residence.
5.2.1 Refugees 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. The potential to create new employment opportunities for refugees within rural communities as noted above should be carefully examined.
5.3 Defence 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 the HAP supports a robust, state of the art, well equipped Defence force, guided by a properly-articulated value system. The HAP does not believe Australian military forces should be deployed internationally, except as part of sanctioned peace keeping activities, or in exceptional circumstances where support of both Houses of Parliament has been given after a full and well-researched debate. The Party does believe that Defence can play a very positive leadership role in diplomatic relations with other nations, and by participating in internationally sanctioned peacekeeping operations it can help stabilise countries experiencing humanitarian crises. The HAP believes that we should: (a)Develop a more preventative approach to international security; including positive discussion with perceived aggressors. (b)Prepare for legitimate self-defence against external aggression through the maintenance of an affordable, flexible and effective deterrent capability. (c)Protect the Australian people against outside political interference, economic coercion or external aggression. (d)Actively participate in internationally sanctioned peacekeeping operations, and in support for countries experiencing humanitarian crises. (e)Ensure that defence procurement decisions be transparent, and insulated from lobbying. (f) Establish the connection between our national water, food and agriculture policies and our national defence.
5.3.1 Veterans Affairs 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. HAP will budget for veterans and put aside national assets to facilitate the care of veterans before agreeing to put soldiers in harm’s way. These assets will become a national savings only accessible for the benefit of veterans.
5.3.2 National Service The HAP does not support mandatory national service. However we believe that as part of defence planning we should evaluate an optional national service similar to the Swiss national service system. It could involve paid national service for 3 months for men and women under 21 years old teaching basic military skills, with 7 days national service per year for 10 years. Citizen soldiers will also be encouraged to do more via the reserved soldier programs currently in place. The introduction of such a voluntary scheme would be a valuable learning experience for many young people. It could improve employment opportunities and their awareness of social responsibilities. It could provide valuable options to our military planners. Any person under 21 years of age who has been unemployed and not studying for more than 12 months could be given the opportunity to join the national service as a means to assist them to gain self-respect and to improve their employment opportunities.
5.4 Animal Rights The HAP acknowledges that animals are sentient beings with varying degrees of social organisation and emotional lives. Animals feel pain and fear. As such HAP aims to exceed world best practice in terms of the compassionate treatment of animals. The HAP is currently establishing animal rights and welfare policies, and supports the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW) for regulatory control, legal framework review and enforcement of legislation, and oversight of animal welfare and rights. Most Australians are opposed to the live export trade, and have shared a sense of mortified shock and disgrace at the intense animal abuse inflicted upon the animals sent offshore. The HAP believes that an integral part of a ‘Healthy Society’ is a compassionate and ethical stance on animal welfare. The HAP supports this opposition to live export. The HAP believes there should be zero tolerance for the abusive treatment of all animals used for meat production, both internationally and domestically. The HAP proposes a planned transition away from live export within a short and economically viable timeframe, with infrastructure developed to support this policy implementation including meat processing facilities built in the Northern Australian regions. In the interim, the HAP proposes an immediate and permanent ban on all processors both here and overseas who are found guilty of cruel and inhumane treatment. Additionally, all sea freight carrying slaughter and feeder livestock offshore must have qualified vets and a representative from IOAW to oversee the welfare of the animals from the point of departure from Australia, up to and including the point of slaughter in the country of destination. Additional cameras must be installed in offshore abattoirs, and training provided to abattoir workers regarding animal welfare and processing devoid of cruelty. The HAP supports an enquiry into Australia’s agricultural exports to determine those plant based products best suited to expand and replace the live animal export industry, and to increase investments in the industries identified by this enquiry. The HAP also believes that graziers wishing to transition into more sustainable and humane agricultural businesses should be supported to do this, and that the economic, health and social impacts of consequent changes on rural communities should be carefully researched and considered.
5.5 Same Sex Marriage The HAP supports equality: that no one is discriminated against on the basis of gender, race, religious belief or sexuality. The HAP believes that marriage should be defined by the commitment of one person to another for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Marriage has always been a force for stability in families and communities – because it fosters responsibility as well as providing legal protection for children. That is why the HAP supports marriage between committed couples. However the HAP also understands that the use of the word “marriage” has led to differences of opinion based on genuinely held beliefs. The HAP respects all sincerely held beliefs and therefore will allow a conscience vote on this issue to elected representatives.
5.6 Death Penalty The HAP supports the current bi-partisan rejection of the death penalty.
5.7 Gun Ownership It has been proven that countries where a high number of firearms are available within a community experience more deaths from firearms. The mass shootings in the US average one per day, yet the US population does not trust its government to be the sole owner of guns. In Australia we do not share this concern, so we need only have gun ownership for farm use or for use with registered gun clubs for target shooting only. Firearms must be appropriate for the task, Military capacity weapons should not be available for average citizens to purchase.
5.8 The Arts The HAP recognises that the Arts are not a luxury, and deserve to be thought of as integral to the human experience and a healthy society. Every person at times makes artistic decisions and experience art in many and varied ways. A vibrant Arts culture promotes new perspectives to life, which in turn has flow on benefits to culture, science and the economy, as well as providing intellectual, emotional and spiritual stimuli. The HAP therefore supports funding a wide range of Arts modalities.
5.9 Spirituality, Morality, Ethics, 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 will stimulate greater knowledge of, and promote the practice of mindfulness, prayer and meditation as proven low cost and pragmatic ways of improving the holistic health and wellbeing of all Australians