‘Dental fillings, vaccines damaged me’: Wannabe pollie
A HOLISTIC health practitioner from Byron Bay who believes dental fillings and vaccines left him suffering chronic fatigue is vying for a seat in parliament.
Tom Barnett, 38, has been picked as the Involuntary Medical Objectors Party candidate for the Northern NSW seat of Richmond, despite only joining a month ago.
The party wants the compulsory National Immunisation Program dumped and water fluoridation stopped - a controversial platform.
The Department of Health describes immunisation as "the most significant public health intervention in the last 200 years" and fluoridation as "a safe and efficient way to reduce tooth decay".
But Mr Barnett said the party was "saying no to forced meds', no to coercion in vaccination and no to fluoridation of our water".
"As a small party, those are our policies," he said.
Only 92 per cent of five-year-olds have been vaccinated on the North Coast, compared to 95 per cent statewide, but parts of the region have much lower rates.
In 2016/17, up to 60 per cent of five-year-olds in Mullumbimby were not fully immunised, compared to 4.5 per cent nationwide, ranging to 30 per cent in the tourist mecca of Byron Bay.
"I think it just means there's a lot of people who congregate in this area who do like to think for themselves," Mr Barnett said.
"We're quite confident that between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby - the major towns that have the lower vaccination rates - our party is going to get quite a bit of support."
Mr Barnett claimed he spent much of his 20s and 30s sick due to self-diagnosed "vaccine and (dental) amalgam damage".
He said he had issues with "low blood pressure" after immunisation as a child and "chronic fatigue" after he was vaccinated and travelled to Indonesia to surf.
"Since I was a kid I've also had several amalgam fillings in my mouth, which are constantly leaking mercury into the system," he said.
Mr Barnett claimed his health improved after he studied biomedicine and visited natural health practitioners.
Widespread vaccination is supported by an "overwhelming body of medical and scientific evidence" and fluoridation studies prove its "significant contribution" to improving oral health, states the department.
Mr Barnett suggested the studies were flawed and "provided, financed and run by the companies that make the vaccines, by people that have special interests".
He said he previously had "no interest in running" ahead of the May 18 federal election, but "there weren't any people in our region willing to take the position".
IMOP started "around three years ago" in response to lobbying by pro-vaccination groups.