On Saturday we have an opportunity to vote for issues that are most important to us. As a doctor, I will be voting for action on climate change - the biggest public health threat of our times.
I'm a GP in Armidale, and I've seen first hand the effects of climate change on people's health. This summer we had record-breaking heatwaves, and I had a number of elderly patients who suffered dehydration and worsening chronic disease during the heatwave. I had young fit outdoor workers who had to take time off work due to heat stress.
We're used to sweltering through summer heatwaves in Australia, but they are changing - heatwaves are becoming longer, hotter and more frequent with climate change. They already cause more deaths than any other natural disaster in Australia. This is only going to worsen in the future if we continue business as usual; we need to urgently tackle climate change.
In New England, the drought that is gripping the region is a daily reminder of our reliance on a stable climate.
We're all experiencing the effects of this drought. For the first time since the 1970s, Armidale is on water restrictions and Guyra is expected to run out of water by August.
Whilst causes of drought are complex, we know that climate change is worsening drought conditions, causing more variable rainfall and higher temperatures.
Drought takes a toll on mental health, with associated stress, anxiety and depression especially amongst farmers.
A recent study into the links between drought and mental health showed that young men, those already under financial hardship, and those that were more socially isolated are most at risk of stress, depression and suicide.
This is a time when we need to support each other and build community connections, as well as provide vital mental health services.
"Solastalgia" is a term that describes the feeling of homesickness when you're at home, when the land around you is changed or destroyed. It can result in grief, a loss of sense of place, anxiety and depression.
In prolonged drought, when the land can no longer support farmers and livelihoods, this feeling of solastalgia can add to the financial and other stressors facing farmers. I grew up on a property near Uralla and can relate to this sense of loss seeing the dry and dusty paddocks and empty dams.
Health and medical leaders around the country have issued strong calls to action on climate change. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, which represents over 40,000 GPs, recently signed an open letter to candidates and politicians urging them to acknowledge the profound impacts that climate change has on health.
We are currently failing to address the underlying cause of climate change. This is despite our lived experience, despite the solid data, despite the many scientific studies which paint an apocalyptic scenario if urgent action is not taken.
If we fail to tackle the underlying cause of worsening heatwaves, drought and other extreme weather events, we're fighting a losing battle.
Like the smoker with emphysema whose lungs are damaged from years of tobacco - they need the puffers and medications that will help them breathe, but if they continue to smoke their health will inevitably decline, and quickly. Quitting smoking is a no-brainer in this situation.
Similarly, we have to tackle Australia's addiction to coal. Fossil fuel use, such as in coal-fired power stations, is the number one driver of climate change.
The good news is that the solutions are ready to go. It is entirely possible to power our grid with clean and cheap renewable energy and transition away from fossil fuels. Regenerative agriculture offers opportunities to build biodiversity and resilience into farms.
For this rapid transformation to occur we need political will and vision. This election is a chance to vote for candidates who can act in the interests of our health and that of future generations, and vote for climate action.