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Doctors body slams Liberal Party’s decision to select anti-vax candidate in state election

Pulse Tasmania
Dr Julie Sladden and Premier Jeremy Rockliff. Image / Supplied

The peak professional body for doctors in Australia says they are ‘appalled’ at the Liberal Party’s decision to select a candidate who holds “dangerous and misleading” anti-vaccine opinions.

Dr Julie Sladden will stand for the party in Bass in the state election, a move that the Australian Medical Association’s Vice President in Tasmania Dr Annette Barratt describes as sending a ‘highly concerning’ message.

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“The Gutwein-Rockliff Government was rightly commended for how they handled the Covid-19 crisis, which included mandating Covid vaccinations for many staff working with vulnerable people in hospitals, general practices, schools, aged care facilities and disability homes,” she said.

“It is untenable for any government trying to urge Tasmanians to follow the best clinical advice and vaccinate to have one of its own undermining that message.”

Australian Medical Association’s Vice President in Tasmania Dr Annette Barratt

Barratt said the community looks to doctors for accurate information when it comes to health matters.

“With that privilege comes a responsibility to be careful about what you say and ensure your medical opinions are based on peer-reviewed evidence,” she said.

Image / Supplied

Labor’s Dean Winter said Jeremy Rockliff has “serious questions to answer” and asked if he stood by Sladden.

“With so many questionable candidates, it is clear that after 10 years, the Liberals have become so desperate they will take anyone,” he said.

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But Rockliff has defended the appointment, saying the Liberal Party’s “Team of the Decade” represents a range of diverse viewpoints.

“The Liberal Party is a broad church … We represent a range of views reflective of the Tasmanian community,” he said.

“Ms Sladden is a highly respected medical professional and I am excited to have her as part of my Liberal team.”

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