Dear Members and Supporters of HAP,
The Health Australia Party (HAP) is finally closing. As one of the 6 founders back in July 2015, and in some ways the public face of HAP for much of that time, I have been asked to write a final review of the past 8+ years.
We started HAP due to a concern about the future of natural medicine in Australia, and peoples’ rights to be able to freely choose their form of treatment. It was clear in 2015 that Australia, like most other countries, had a disease-management system, not a health system. It was clear that the system was effectively controlled by the international pharmaceutical drug cartels (Pharma) and managed to maximise their profits.
Any intelligent person who doubts this would have seen the system fully exposed over the Covid years, and many Australians have become much more aware – but not the majority, yet.
Back in 2015 we knew that there were around 40,000 practitioners using natural medicines and techniques in Australia (from massage therapists to integrative medicine doctors). Data showed that about 60% of Australians used some form of natural medicine. So, we approached our task with enthusiasm, confidence, and belief that we had a real chance of success.
This comment is not a book, so I must leave out most of what happened, but reality hit in the 2016 Federal election when one of the Executive members posted inappropriate material online that drew fire from the Pharma lobby – the AMA and the Greens in particular. That cost us any chance we had in that election and has remained an electoral burden to this day. It then led to disputes within the Executive which were resolved when two members left.
Following that we grew the Party. There was a new Executive which was blessed with that rarest of assets – a collective lack of ego. We stood in both Federal and State elections in Victoria and West Australia. It was an absolute pleasure working harmoniously with the selfless women and men who ran HAP from 2017 to 2022. I had to step back from daily involvement early in 2023.
Unfortunately, disagreements emerged again over 2023 as the Executive tried a number of options to maintain the future of HAP, including bringing new people onto the Executive and considering merging with other like-minded parties. Nothing really worked and culminated in the Victorian branch failing a simple membership audit early 2024. There was a possibility of a full audit, but experience showed us that the chances of success were effectively zero due to a lack of support. So, the decision was made by the majority of the Executive to finally close HAP. A sad decision, but one built from experience.
The idea was to leave a minimal website running which showed our policies in the hope that they may be of some use to others in the future who would like to try again to stand against our Pharma dominated system.
So, it remains for me to say a HUGE thank you – firstly, to those thousands of members and supporters whose financial contributions allowed us to continue. There were three in particular who gave HAP significant donations – but every cent mattered and was appreciated. Then to those who stood on the various State and Federal Executives and contributed thousands of hours of their time. Also, to those people who put up their hands and gave their time to stand as candidates in the different elections.
I am not mentioning names as some of the most significant contributors want to remain anonymous.
I still firmly believe that natural medicine needs the protection of actual political representation, not just making submissions. I believe that success IS possible especially IF the major professional associations become proactive (HAP offered them so much, but received effective support only from two Associations – most were afraid of offending the major parties).
We gave the task a red hot go – we came very close in two elections, but were not successful in having people elected. But the attempt was worth doing.
Thank you again to members, friends and donors – without your support we would not have lasted for 8 years.
Dr Isaac Golden