Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans is running for pre-selection as an Australian Greens Senate candidate. For you Greens members out there, 60% of whom apparently don’t vote at the pre-selection stage, TODAY IS THE DEADLINE, so after you learn who this man is, off your asses immediately and get your approval in before 5pm (in that special envelope). You might also like to visit Arthur’s website and hear the man speak, with a moving introduction from John Kaye, who called upon Arthur to join the Greens.
So… I just had a read of Arthur’s mission statement, and he says:
“As a young surgeon, I worked hard to save lives. But as I saw cancer ravaged bodies and broken lives of my patients and their families, caused by tobacco, I realised that I had to get into tobacco use prevention. I joined anti-tobacco group, BUGA UP. I risked it all, got arrested, but it was worth it, because our anti-tobacco campaign paid off – now Australia has one of the best anti-tobacco laws and lowest tobacco-related cancer mortality rates in the world.”
I remember the early days of BUGA UP, and how this grassroots movement took Australia by storm, more than 30 years before social media was invented. This was one of the earliest examples of ‘Culture Jamming’ in the world, and it was a clear case of the people versus noxious advertising, particularly from Big Tobacco. I remember how we would laugh and give directions, each time they buggered up another one of those slick Marlborough Man billboards. We’ve always hated bull-shit in Australia, and regaled in seeing it painted over with the naked truth.
In an interview I did with Daniel Ellsberg in 2012 about whistle-blowing, he said that tobacco companies had known cigarettes were carcinogenic and addictive for half a century before that secret went up in smoke, thanks to the leaks of the late Merrell Williams. Merrell’s files also revealed that the nation’s third-largest tobacco company, Brown & Williamson, had been targeting kids!
Yes, corporations can be bloody disgusting, as we still see today, but the outcome of that ‘kick-against the-pricks’ was a settlement agreement in 1998, in which 46 US states would recover tobacco-related health costs estimated at $246 billion over 25 years from the country’s four largest tobacco companies.
BUGA UP were also victorious in their mission of civil disobedience. Their activities and reputation spread rapidly around Australia, thanks largely to our very own doctor, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, who according to Simon Chapman’s historical record, “gave a vivid presentation on BUGA UP at the Fifth World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Winnipeg in 1983 where he received extensive international press coverage.”
Arthur says he joined the Greens because he doesn’t want Mr. Abbott to get re-elected. Cute, but he certainly has the form to convince when he adds:
“I joined because I care about people. I have always cared about people…”
I believe Arthur. Today, he continues his preventive medicine efforts, working as a doctor in occupational medicine. As a scientist and medical researcher, he is engaged in fighting Big Pharma fraud, with a simple dictum in mind:
MEDICINE FOR HEALING, NOT HUGE PROFITS
But there’s more. Arthur also has form as a seasoned politician. He informs us about a long history already, as a member of the Australian parliament:
I was 9 years a NSW Democrat MLC. “I was the only Democrat there, so every issue was my issue, and every electorate was my electorate. I gained tremendous political experience, including in cross-benching, and worked really well with The Greens.”
Finally, the good doctor asks for our trust to steer Australia back on to a humane course, towards a healthy and more equitable future:
“I’m asking you to vote for me because there is still much more to be done – and that’s why I got into politics in the first place. We need to continue to promote fairness and equality. I was NSW President of Doctor’s Reform Society and I am a great supporter of Medicare. I believe that we have to have a…
HEALTH CARE SYSTEM BASED ON HOW SICK YOU ARE, NOT HOW WEALTHY YOU ARE
We need to fight for community where we take care of those less able than ourselves. I would like to be part of that work in Senate. I am asking you to vote for me in the preselection. Remember, you have to get the vote received by 5pm on this Friday 24th July. So please do it in the special envelope ASAP!
With kind regards,
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans”