Achievements and Priorities
As well as helping thousands of constituents with their individual problems and resolving countless local electorate issues Martin has made a disproportionate contribution on numerous state and national issues including:
ADHD child prescribing rates were slashed – As highlighted in the recent articles on the Huffington Post1 and in the Australian New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry2, Martin drove prescribing accountability measures that forced prescriber retirements and lead to a massive (and internationally unprecedented) 50% decrease in WA child ADHD prescribing rates. He also exposed conflict of interest issues that forced a rewrite of the national guidelines on ADHD treatment3 and he exposed dodgy pharmaceutical company sponsored research. 4
In addition Martin drove the establishment of a clinic designed to address the real causes of children’s behavioural issues5 and established Drug Free Attention Difficulties Support inc.6 Martin also wrote a book Speed Up and Sit Still published by UWA Press and a website www.speedupsitstill.com on the science and politics of ADHD.
Amphetamine Abuse by School Children – Amphetamine abuse rates amongst WA Secondary School students fell 51% between 2002 and 2008, the same period that ADHD child prescribing rates fell 50%. This supports Martin’s contention that “If you stop giving teenagers amphetamines they stop abusing them”.7 Martin also helped drive amphetamine dispensing controls that curtailed pharmacy shopping for prescription ADHD amphetamines. 8
Speech Therapy – Martin drove a parliamentary inquiry that resulted in better access to Speech Therapy and School Nurses for pre-schoolers.9
Parliamentary Committee Reform – Martin instigated reforms that ended the government domination of Legislative Assembly investigative committees.10
A Fair Compromise on Voluntary Student Unionism – Together with the late Paul Andrews MLA, Martin suggested the Gallop Government’s model for Voluntary Student Unionism that overcame the ‘freeloader’ problem and thereby ensured the sustainability of student guilds.
Psychosis Risk Disorder – Martin was prominent in Australian efforts in the ultimately successful fight against the official recognition of “Psychosis Risk Disorder” in the next version of the American Psychiatric Association’s ‘Bible of Psychiatry’, DSM5.12 Psychosis Risk Disorder (or Attenuated psychosis Syndrome) was removed from the draft of the DSM5 after it lost the support of former prominent advocates including former Australian of the Year, psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry.13
Mental Health Patient’s Rights and Organ Donation Legislative Reform – Martin introduced two bills to Western Australian Legislative Assembly. The first is designed to increase organ donation rates and the second is to prevent the arbitrary detention and treatment of mental health patients. 14 15
A national ‘Recovery’ based approach to Mental Health – Helping to deliver a national system of mental health that helps mentally ill people recover rather than treating them as if they are permanently disabled.16
Making kids the first priority in Indigenous issues - Indigenous children need equal protections that ensure they grow up in safe, nurturing, non-abusive circumstances.18 There are no excuses for child abuse.
Organ Donation – Increase organ donation rates by establishing national mechanisms that help translate the good intentions of most adult Australians regarding organ donation into higher rates of registration on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR).19
Labor Party Reform – Along with Alannah MacTiernan, Martin has unsuccessfully tried to reform the rules of WA Labor to disperse the power that is currently concentrated in too few hands. Never one to give up easily Martin will continue to push for reforms along the lines of those identified in the Bracks, Carr, Faulkner review.22
Martin delivers his Valedictorary speech in WA Parliament.
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Martin Whitely announces his pre-selection bid for the Senate.
To see more on Martin's work in the area of Mental Health and ADHD, see his blog