Thursday, 16 August 2018
Medical Board of Australia
That the Senate:
(a) notes that the Medical Board of Australia has proposed a new code of conduct that arguably curtails the free speech of doctors;
(b) further notes that the Australian Medical Association in its submission on the revised code states "Section 2 of the draft revised Code could be seen as trying to control what doctors say in the public arena by stifling doctors' right to publicly express both personal and professional opinions, while also undermining doctors' contribution to the diversity of public opinion, debate, and discourse"; and
(c) welcomes the voices of common sense defending free speech and urges the Minister for Health to work with responsible ministers and agencies to ensure doctors retain their freedom of speech.
The health minister has asked the Chief Medical Officer to convey his concerns do the Medical Board of Australia about any actions that would limit freedom of speech or thought. The health minister has assurance from the chair of the board that the intention of the draft revised code of conduct is to prevent behaviour that is unethical or unscientific, and it is not intended to stifle the right to free speech. We are advised that the code will be revised following the current period of consultation.
Question agreed to.