With the federal election around the corner, Doctors for the Environment Australia’s hard work is now bearing fruit. Over the past year, DEA members and Friends of DEA have dedicated their free time and energy to raising awareness about the health benefits of climate action and encouraging MPs and electoral candidates to adopt more ambitious climate policies. Teams have been working in five key electorates: Boothby (Adelaide), Leichhardt (Far North Queensland), Wentworth (inner Sydney), Higgins (inner Melbourne) and Curtin (Perth).
As doctors, we have a duty to lead by example and to speak out - as we have done in the past for tobacco and other risks to public health. Taking action is a ‘win-win-win’ because these actions benefit our health, environment and economy.
With this in mind, DEA has several election asks. We want an ambitious national plan to cut climate pollution this decade. Additionally, we want the establishment of a National Sustainable Healthcare Unit, a national Climate Change and Health Strategy, along with the protection and restoration of nature.
Doctors in the five electorates educated political leaders, health colleagues and local communities about the health impacts of climate change. DEA partnered with several organisations to deliver events and messaging.
Those involved in this national campaign helped to get thousands of postcards with our policy asks signed within their local communities. These were sent to local members of parliament in the five electorates. High visibility signs helped to attract attention and prompted countless conversations with the public about the health impacts of climate change.
DEA held Climate and Health Candidate Forums in each of the five electorates, where political candidates from major parties, the Greens and independents debated about their climate and health policies. These forums were either led by DEA or co-led along with other climate organisations.
In Wentworth (Sydney), DEA members placed ‘For Health’s Sake! Climate Action Now’ signs on their electric vehicles at their own cost to raise awareness.
All work was driven by DEA members’ immense energy and passion for climate and health. Congratulations to all members and friends who took part in the campaign.
No matter the outcome of the election, climate action in the interest of health has certainly been elevated as an election issue, and DEA will continue to pursue this cause.
Read about the activities and events in each of the five electorates: