FIONA ARMSTRONG. Health groups release climate policy scorecard: Coalition earns 0/8

May 12, 2019
The national coalition of health groups working for climate action, Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), has released a Federal Election Scorecard after analysing the parties’ policies on climate change and health. 

The health impacts of climate change are the cause of deep concerns among health and medical professionals worldwide. The British Medical Journal and the World Health Organization Director General have both described climate change as a “health emergency” and the Medical Journal of Australia has said that inaction on climate change is “costing lives” in Australia.

CAHA welcomes the leadership from the Australian Labor Party and The Greens, who have both committed to tackling the health impacts of climate change through a National Strategy on Climate Change and Health. The Liberal-National Coalition however have so far failed to make a similar commitment.

There is little evidence of an appreciation of the profound risks to health from climate change by the Coalition, with Health Minister Greg Hunt recently referring to the ‘potential’ health impacts of climate change, despite Commonwealth government funded research having documented these significant impacts over several decades. It is instructive, and demoralising, to read Professor Tony McMichael’s plea during the 2013 election campaign for “climate change and its threats to human health, survival and social stability [to] be at the top of the election agenda – and with at least a hint of bipartisan understanding and strategic agreement.”

The 2019 Climate and Health Scorecard shows we still have some way to go to achieve this.

CAHA assessed the policies of the three main political parties in relation to their commitment to: emissions reduction targets recommended by the national Climate Change Authority; 100% renewable energy by 2030; supporting a sustainable and climate-resilient healthcare sector; an economy-wide carbon price; a national moratorium on new coal or gas; a just transition for fossil fuel workers; strong air pollution laws, as well as the national strategy.

The results?

Liberal-National Coalition 0/8
Australian Labor Party 4.5/8
The Greens 8/8

See the Scorecard below and online:

Climate and Health Alliance Membership

CAHA’s membership includes over 30 health and medical groups, representing hundreds of thousands of nurses, midwives, doctors, public health, health promotion, rural and remote health professionals, as well as schools of public health, research institutions and health services.

Members include:

Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)Australian College of Nursing (ACN)Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA)Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI)Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN)Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA)Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF)Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)Australian Psychological Society (APS)CoHealth, CRANAplusDoctors Reform Society (DRS)Friends of CAHAHealthy FuturesHealth Issues Centre (HIC)Health Nature Sustainability Research Group (HNSRG)Health Services Union (HSU)Koowerup Regional Health Service (KRHS)Pharmacists for the Environment Australia (PEA)Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)Psychology for a Safe Climate (PSC)Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union (QNMU)School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of NSWSchool of Public Health, University of SydneyServices for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH), Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA), Women’s Health East (WHE)Women’s Health in the North (WHIN).

Fiona Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance


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