One of the positives (yes I found one) out of the Federal budget this year has been the increasing number of groups raising their voices to articulate the case for ongoing, high quality public health services and public health initiatives accessible to all. In particular, I have observed with some joy that these voices have been raised using clear evidence to separate fact from fiction in the ongoing debate.
Notable amongst the fray has been the AMA leading the charge against the GP co-payment (and again today) . Now it seems that dodgy policy is not the only thing in their sights. Yesterday the AMA bared its teeth again, taking aim at The Australian’s coverage of plain packaging for cigarettes (for examples see here and here).
“The key statistic is that the number of smokers in Australia fell in 2013 by 1.4 per cent (ABS). The AMA urges the Government to restate its support for the plain packaging laws and tobacco control generally, and we urge The Australian and other media to stop giving Big Tobacco a free ride in promoting its killer products,” A/Prof Owler said.
Read the full press release here.
The AMA’s statement might be seen as a sign of the times. Policy makers and the media may want to take note – those of us with an interest in public health have read enough nonsense and there will be no free kicks granted.
You know something’s shifted when the AMA is accusing the Government of using health policy as “an ideological toy”.