Federal election 2022 campaign
Climate Action for Health’s Sake
In the lead up to the 2022 federal election, DEA ran a nationally coordinated grassroots campaign in five electorates to raise awareness of the links between climate change and health, and to urge all political parties and candidates to make strong commitments to climate action.
In the electorates of Boothby (SA), Curtin (WA), Higgins (Vic), Leichardt (Qld) and Wentworth (NSW), teams of DEA’s doctors and medical students used their influence and high levels of public trust to build community support for climate action. They also built relationships with all electoral candidates to promote multi-partisanship on climate. Engagement with the medical profession increased awareness of climate change from a health perspective and encouraged a greater commitment to climate action within the health sector.
Climate was clearly a main election issue across the country. In four of the five electorates that DEA campaigned in, seats changed to candidates with more climate progressive policies. While there were many factors at play in this result, DEA’s campaign contributed to making climate a top priority and communicating community support to all candidates.
One of the main campaign tactics was electorate-specific postcards featuring federal policy asks and signed by community members in the electorates. All five MPs were willing to receive DEA’s postcard, with a promise to deliver them to then Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
In meetings with MPs and other candidates, there was a notable improvement in their understanding of the links between climate and health as the campaign progressed and they were increasingly willing to talk about this publicly.
The high level of media coverage in both local and national outlets indicates that DEA’s messages were considered newsworthy and of public interest.
What we did
A range of tactics were identified that would elevate the public discourse on climate change and health at a local level and exert pressure on candidates through demonstrating support for stronger climate action from both the health profession and the public. These included:
- Postcard petitions signed by 3150 members of the public, following one-on-one conversations;
- Candidates’ forums in each electorate, attended by a total of 1485 community members;
- 56 engagements with MPs and candidates, through meetings, attendance at events and other interactions;
- Social media campaigns on DEA national Facebook and Instagram Jan-June 2022 which reached 86,560 people;
- 74 media hits between Jan-June 2022, which included op-eds and articles in which DEA members were quoted, in local, state, and national media outlets;
- Collaboration with 15 organisations – five of them from the medical/health sector – as event and campaign partners and/or providing speakers;
- Other community events and activities such as a public picnic, EV expo, placards distributed to GP practices, letter writing to MPs and candidates, and a series of weekend walks engaging the public in conversations on climate and health.
We sincerely thank the organisations that provided financial support at different stages throughout this campaign: Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, Groundswell, Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Action Network Australia.