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    A reminder from a previous croakey post re the Roxon-Dutton debate is relevant here: ‘Roxon appeared to rank action on obesity as a lower priority than tobacco and alcohol because, she says, the evidence about which obesity interventions are going to be most successful “is pretty unclear”. That argument doesn’t cut it. If tobacco control advocates had waited for evidence to miraculously appear back in the smoke-hazed past, then not much would have happened. Action, provided it is evaluated, creates evidence. And it’s well past time for some innovative, bold action in obesity control.’
    The Greens were also judged to have ‘won’ the debate on public health issues at the candidates’ forum in Canberra hosted by the ACT Branch of the Public Health Association on Tuesday night. While all candidates stuck religiously to the party songsheets, it was the Greens’ candidate, Senate hopeful Lin Hatfield-Dodds, who had the benefit of the most health-friendly songsheet, as well as a solid background in the community sector. She said: 2% of the health budget for prevention is not enough; tobacco, alcohol and obesity-generating industries got off too lightly in the Government’s response to the National Preventative Health Taskforce Report; alcohol sponsorship of sport should be phased out; remaining forms of tobacco advertising and promotion should be eliminated; all public places and workplaces should be non-smoking; political donations from tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries should be prohibited. With gratifying echoes of Leonard Syme, she also said that we need to address things such as the loss of hope and fear of failure.
    The Democrats’ policy positions on a number of key issues were similar to those of the Greens, with the Democrats making specific mention of lifestyle health issues, volumetric taxation and health labeling of alcoholic drinks, provision of school breakfasts and lunches, mental health training, and addressing the gap in GP fees.


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