Rain failed to dampen the spirits of about 50 anti-fluoride protesters outside Parliament House this morning who claim the government is trying to forcibly medicate the state.
Queenslanders Against Water Fluoridation members were joined by two surprise guests in the form Premier Anna Bligh and Health Minister Stephen Robertson.
Ms Bligh was met with boos as she climbed onto the back of a ute to address the crowd, promising to hear the group’s concerns.
“I did just want to come out and say that I do understand that people have different views on this issue,” Ms Bligh told the gathering.
“I feel very strongly that this is the right thing to do.”
Screaming and chanting erupted from the crowd before Ms Bligh retreated back to Parliament House, swamped by protesters who blocked her path.
“We feel it’s the wrong thing to do – how about a referendum? How about democracy?” one man screamed.
As she made her way through the mob, she was stopped by protesters who cited research statistics and posed questions about health and safety.
Politely explaining she was running late for Parliament, Ms Bligh remained tight-lipped. She will meet with the group’s president and a naturopathic health specialist this afternoon.
New laws will be introduced into parliament this week to fast-track the introduction of fluoride into the state’s water.
Ms Bligh announced in December plans to end a 40-year impasse that has left Queensland children with the nation’s worst teeth.
However QAWF claim forced fluoridation would mass-medicate four million Queenslanders in the face of legitimate health concerns.
As many as 40,000 people in the state could be allergic or intolerant to fluoride, naturopathic GP John Ryan said.
“(The Premier is) seeking to do to everybody what a doctor would not do to anybody… what she’s seeking to do is treat every single person,” Dr Ryan said.
The government expects to have fluoride in south-east Queensland’s drinking water by the second half of the year.
Anti-fluoride campaigners are said to be exploring a legal challenge.