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Introducing the #AusVotesHealth Twitter festival – live reports

The election is being held on the lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who’ve cared for country for tens of thousands of years.

The voices, expertise, aspirations of First Nations people should be central to debates and also on electors’ minds.”

Mrs Janine Mohamed, CEO of the Lowitja Institute and Chair of Croakey Health Media, sent out this tweet when launching the #AusVotesHealth Twitter festival this morning, together with some other important messages for the 97 percent of voters who are not Indigenous.

More than 40 guest tweeters are contributing to the program today; please join the conversation at #AusVotesHealth.

The post below summarises initial discussions, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, climate change, the social determinants of health and health policy. More posts will be published throughout the day.


Launch

Mrs Janine Mohamed, CEO of Lowitja Institute and chair of Croakey Health Media
@JanineMilera

Janine Mohamed also tweeted:

In my career, I’ve worked across the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health sector, including time with @AHCSA_ @NACCHOAustralia & as CEO of @CATSINaM. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of Government decisions on the health & wellbeing of our Peoples & our workforce.

Health Minister @GregHuntMP & Shadow Minister @CatherineKingMP recently debated health at @PressClubAust (on iView at https://iview.abc.net.au/show/national-press-club-address/series/0/video/NC1912C003S00) Check out @CroakeyNews commentary.

The @GuardianAus recently covered what the parties offer Indigenous voters in the election https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/20/unfinished-business-what-the-parties-offer-indigenous-voters-in-the-2019-election & a @ConversationEDU piece compared the two major parties’ Indigenous health commitments https://theconversation.com/how-the-major-parties-indigenous-health-election-commitments-stack-up-115714

As health professionals, healers, researchers & policy makers, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people make an important contribution to the health of all Australians. If we want policies that work it’s important that we are represented & heard in Parliament.

In #AusVotes19 I’m glad to see an increasing number of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander candidates putting their hand up to take their voices to the national stage. Take a look at this article by @1KarenWyld for @IndigenousX for info: https://indigenousx.com.au/indigenous-candidates-have-canberra-on-their-radars/

In the lead-up to the poll @NACCHOAustralia are running the #VoteACCHO campaign – highlighting the vital role of Aboriginal community controlled health orgs for our mob & sharing election coverage. https://www.naccho.org.au/media/voteaccho/


Introductions

#AusVotesHealth moderators

Melissa Sweet, @croakeyblog: Our house is on fire, where is the emergency response?

I would like to ask everyone to imagine the possibilities for transformative change in your lives – in how you live, work, play, travel – & also in your priorities & worldviews, whether about the economy or your political choices.

My topic is: Our house is on fire, where is the emergency response? I’m borrowing from that world-changing communicator, @GretaThunberg. The Q is not being properly addressed during this election, not by (most) pollies/media, not even at #AusVotesHealth. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/25/our-house-is-on-fire-greta-thunberg16-urges-leaders-to-act-on-climate

If your house is burning, you throw all energy & resources into the fight. Even in the health sector, where there is an understanding we are facing an emergency, climate action is too often an add-on instead of the central driving consideration.

If your house is on fire, you make a superhuman effort to save your children from the flames; you don’t wait until after you’ve been to the bank or taken a holiday or finished writing that policy document or journal article.

#Climate action needs to be considered as part of every decision we take, including in health and social policy/service provision. It matters for healthcare services, transport, housing, employment, for food – for everything that affects health & wellbeing.

In an ideal world, all political candidates would have effective climate action policies & we could therefore base our voting decisions on a whole range of other issues that we care about. Unfortunately we are not in that place.

Finally, to end with a few quotes; here’s one from a new book by one of today’s guest tweeps, @baumfran – Governing for Health. She writes:

The future holds only two possibilities. First ecological destruction; the second, radical, systemic, transformative, epochal change.”

And this, from an author of a new UN report documenting catastrophic loss of biodiversity, Robert Watson:

The health of the ecosystems on which we and other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

As another of the report’s authors, Josef Settele, an entomologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, said: “Business as usual with small adjustments won’t be enough.”

The schoolkids are right – this has to be a #ClimateElection. But the choices facing us are about more than how we vote, they are also about the choices we make each day about how we live, and what we prioritise.


Marie McInerney, @mariemcinerney: Fantasyland – a place I want to be

According to @WHO, the social conditions in which people are born, live and work is the single most important determinant of good health or ill health. https://www.who.int/social_determinants/sdh_definition/en/ …

“Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick.” That’s how @MichaelMarmot opens his book: The Health Gap: The challenge of an unequal world.

.@michaelmarmot grew up in Australia, and delivered the 2016 Boyer Lectures – titled Fair Australia: Social Justice and the Health Gap – they’re worth a listen anytime but especially in the leadup to #AusVotesHealth.

The National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health plan says between 1/3 & 1/2 the life expectancy gap experienced by Indigenous people may be explained by differences in #SDOH including impacts of #racism. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/B92E980680486C3BCA257BF0001BAF01/$File/health-plan.pdf …

To mark @michaelmarmot’s visit to Australia, Croakey released an e-publication featuring 25 key #SDOH articles, out of more than 1,000 published over previous years (download it here).

.@michaelmarmot’s book ends: “If you are in a country with poorly developed social systems, do something. If your country is on the way, do more. And if you are in the Nordic countries, do it better.” A big #AusVotesHealth challenge for

Marie McInerney conducted a straw poll of various family members about the critical #AusVotesHealth matters on their minds – for sceptics who think “the social determinants of health” is a concept that doesn’t resonate beyond a narrow bubble, here is one household where all ages get it.