We would all be better off if there were more doctors in Parliament. That was the argument made by Dr Tanveer Ahmed, a psychiatry registrar, in this opinion piece in the SMH yesterday.
He noted that Andrew Macdonald, a pediatrician from south-west Sydney, is the only doctor in a NSW Parliament of 140 MPs. “Surely there is something wrong with the way political candidates are chosen if both parties have managed to find only one doctor to hold statewide political office,” Ahmed wrote.
He also said: “At a time when health spending threatens to strangle our national accounts, it is a problem that doctors are not more involved in the health debate.”
Funny that. Some might say that one of the reasons we haven’t had the necessary health reforms over the years is that the medical lobby has so much sway over the health debate.
As for whether we need more doctors in parliaments? The real message I took from the article was that Ahmed has his sights set on a political career.
Just as I was wondering whether his phone has been running hot with calls from potential political suitors, I came across this Wikipedia listing (which reads like someone’s carefully crafted CV), and which states that Ahmed stood for the Liberal Party in Marrickville for the 2008 NSW local council elections.
Wasn’t it nice of the SMH to give Ahmed such a free shot?
Mind you, I’m sure there is plenty of practical use for doctors in parliaments, especially those with some mental health skills…