A campaign to tax harmful sugary drinks is falling on deaf ears in both major political parities, a peak medical body president says. Dr Omar Khorshid heads the Australian Medical Association and has launched a pre-budget submission for a tax on sugary drinks as part of the #SicklySweet campaign. The submission advocates the health benefit in steering consumers away from excessive sugary drinks as research indicates they are associated with obesity and chronic diseases, however Dr Khorshid has found government response has been "a flat out no". "They bring up the fact that it wouldn't be popular in Queensland and you can't win an election if you don't win seats in Queensland. Well, I think we need to go beyond that and say, 'well actually the health of Australians is actually a priority for government'," Dr Khorshid said. READ MORE Dr Khorshid said 31 per cent of adults and 8 per cent of children were obese and a big part of the problem relates to a lack of equity and health literacy in some communities. "This issue is particularly relevant to regional Australia because we do see very high levels of obesity and poor eating habits in many regional areas," he said. "If you don't have that understanding then things like price signals can actually change your behaviour without you having that full health literacy." Modelling from the Medical Association indicates a tax on sugary drinks could result in $2.8 billion in revenue across four years. In addition there would be a predicted 12 to 18 per cent drop in consumption of sugary drinks which would result in 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 4400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1100 fewer cases of strokes. Over 60 countries including the UK, Mexico and Chile have taxes on sugary drinks and Dr Khorshid said Australia's lack of action on this policy area is a "symptom of the lack of courage within our political class". "Politicians who stick their necks out and suggest reform ideas often get their head chopped off unfortunately, and so there just doesn't seem be any appetite for reform," he said. In January 2022 the Australian Medical Association launched their #SicklySweet campaign which targets young people who are the major consumers of sugary drinks. Prominent health experts have also called for a tax on sugary drinks including Dr James Muecke and Dr Peter Brukner, both prominent contributors to ACM's Silent Assassin series on the causes and consequences of Australia's type 2 diabetes epidemic. Campaign details and further information can be found at sicklysweet.com.au.