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    Jean Wyldbore

    Stephen Leeder’s disappointment – and fury – comes through loud and clear. But this government abolished the Alcohol & Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) – a mature and widely respected agency – immediately after the ink was dry on the election, and has consistently undermined preventative health and health promotion since. So why is he surprised? Maintain the rage, Professor – you have the health sector supporting you, I am certain of that!

  2. 2

    Daniel Reeders

    I wear a few different disciplinary ‘hats’, including health promotion, community health, and critical public health. Some of the lions of public health have lately been roaring for it to get engaged in more forthright political advocacy. Personally, while I agree the food lobby needs to be challenged and regulated, professionally, I was never sure that ANPHA was the agency to do it.

    Here’s why: the idea of public health advocacy was the whole point of health promotion as defined by the Ottawa Charter (1986). Communities are at the heart of the Charter approach — not experts, not clinicians, not public health decision-makers. I’ve done consultation projects where clinicians have dismissed that focus as airy fairy hippy dippy bleeding heart social worker nonsense.

    But any community agency in Australia could have told ANPHA that if you walk too hard a line on advocacy you get defunded. And that if you want political legitimacy for your advocacy work, you get it by demonstrating it’s what the community wants… particularly in marginal electorates but also on both sides of the parliamentary aisle. There is some really awesome work along these lines being done by the Obesity Policy Coalition using e.g. parents’ juries and public-facing sites that help establish a moral consensus against fast food marketing tactics. While I think ANPHA did some good work it was not at all clear their approach was sustainable and I won’t mourn their loss from the landscape.


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