In response to the increasingly concerning trend in public statements that appear to undermine the confidence in Australia’s leading vaccination and health advice, ACoP has publicly called for a reset in the current tone of debate.
In a Media Statement distributed widely last week, our Chief Professionalist Prof Deen Sanders OAM expressed concerns that the current tone of debate undermines public confidence in professional and expert advice which may have larger and long-term consequences for our nation’s capacity to respond to change and future crises.
“Whether it’s a medical diagnosis, a legal opinion, a building design or advice about vaccine efficacy, professionals will always be driven by the needs of their patient or client and how their advice provides that person with the best benefit (or safety) for them. Seeking balance between that and wholesale public policy is the domain expertise of government in a civil democratic system. We recognise the significance of that challenge.” said Deen.
The latest example of concern comes from statements surrounding vaccine efficacy and lockdown strategies. Australia’s expert-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic is something to be very proud of but it is important to recognise that on the particular topics of individual vaccines or differing lockdown strategies, expert advice is likely to differ as they consider a risk-based matrix of impacts at either an individual patient level or lockdown strategies at a regional level. The personal, social and/or economic impact of that advice should always be a matter for political leaders, acting on the full range of expertise relevant to their public policy needs. Right now, the needs of our shared community and families demand more of us as experts, as professionals and as civil leaders.
Professor Sanders further publicly encourages all Australians to trust the advice of their professional advisors. “Your experts have trained long and hard to provide you with the best advice for your circumstances. Listen also to the advice of your governments. When governments and professionals respect each other’s role, the community can be confident that we’re all in this together.“
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the Office of the Chief Professionalist on 1300 664 587 or at OCP@Professions.org.au!