Come May 21st, you have more choices of who to vote for than just the major parties. Independent candidates are really shaking up the system this election, and a bunch of them have strong climate action as their top priority.

 

We’ve broken down what the major parties’ policies are when it comes to climate and the environment, as well as how a bunch of the minor parties stand on the issue. 

But when it comes time to vote, it’s likely you’ll see the names of independent candidates on your ballot too.

Let’s break down exactly what an independent candidate is and which ones are standing up for climate action.

Read more: The Federal Election is Coming – And We Want You to Put The Planet First

What is an independent candidate?

Independents are candidates who are running for election but are not affiliated with a specific political party. Independents usually run for selection in the House of Representatives to be the voice in parliament for a specific electorate. 

As independents aren’t affiliated with a party, they’re not tied to the values, agenda, and policies of a party and instead are free to bring their own priorities and values to the parliament – all in order to better the lives of those in their electorate.

Independent candidates are often from the specific electorate they’re running in, which gives them a connection to and understanding of the needs and wants of the people in that area. 

As independent candidates are not funded by a political party, they have to raise their own funds to promote their election campaign. 

In this upcoming election, a bunch of independents are being backed by Climate 200, a privately-owned Australian fund that helps financially support the campaigns of independents with strong climate policy.

Which independents are backed by Climate 200?

There are over 20 independent candidates that are backed by Climate 200 in this upcoming election. Some of them have run for parliament before and for others, it’s their first time putting up their hand. But the thing that unites them all is strong climate policy and the ambition to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and reduce Australia’s carbon emissions. 

Check out if there’s a climate-positive independent running in your electorate – just chuck your postcode in this search engine and any Climate 200 backed candidates will appear!

Here are some of the Climate 200 backed independents who have been stirring the electoral pot so far!

1. David Pocock

Running for: ACT Senate

 

 

If you’ve heard of anyone on this list, it’s probably David Pocock, but you’d be forgiven if you don’t recognise his name out of context! Best known for his skills on the rugby field, in recent years, the former Wallabies captain has turned his attention to climate action and is now running for election in the ACT Senate. 

Pocock’s climate policies include; 

  • Accelerating electrification (including electric cars)
  • Path to net zero emissions by 2050
  • Disaster preparedness and resilience 
  • Safeguarding nature

2. Georgia Steele

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Hughes, NSW

 

 

Campaigning in the Southern Sydney electorate of Hughes is Georgia Steele, a local mum and former litigator, who was born in Hughes and now raises her family there.

Although Steele has never run in an election before, her campaign has been grabbing the media’s attention, not least because she’s running against the Liberal-turned-United Australia Party candidate, Craig Kelly. 

As a climate positive independent, Steele will support:

  • Federal policies for renewable energy creation and storage, clean transportation, investment, and export of renewable energy
  • The introduction of an independent Federal Climate Change body to oversee and ensure the government’s progress in achieving its commitments
  • Small businesses in their transition to a cleaner future

3. Alex Dyson

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Wannon, VIC

 

 

Another household name running for election this year is Alex Dyson. For years, Dyson was that recognisable voice pumping out of your car radio first thing in the morning as a cohost of Triple J Breakfast. 

Hailing from Warnambool, Dyson ran as an independent in the 2019 election in the Victorian seat of Wannon and has picked up the baton again this year. 

When it comes to climate policy, these are Dyson’s priorities; 

  • Take action to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero before 2050
  • Create incentives to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles
  • Make Wannon a leader in renewable energy jobs, and advocate for local clean energy generation to lower electricity costs for the agricultural sector

4. Allegra Spender

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Wentworth, NSW

 

 

Running in the Sydney Eastern Suburbs electorate of Wentworth against Liberal candidate Dave Sharma is Allegra Spender, a local business leader and advocate for renewable energy. 

Spender grew up in Wentworth and is now raising her family there too. She’s chaired the Sydney Renewable Power Company and is now CEO of the Australian Business and Community Network.

Climate action is Spender’s number one priority and she promises to;

  • Cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030
  • Turbocharge Australia’s renewable energy transition
  • Support electric vehicles and strengthen emissions standards
  • Develop adaptive capacity and resilience to floods, bushfires and drought

5. Kate Chaney

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Curtin, WA

 

 

As one of the few climate positive independents in all of WA, Kate Chaney running in the traditionally safe Liberal seat of Curtin in Perth’s more affluent suburbs is a pretty big deal. Chaney is a long-term local who has deep roots within Curtin that date back to 1830. 

Chaney’s policies around climate and the environment include;

  • At least a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030
  • Passage of Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bills. This will remove the politics from climate action by establishing an independent Climate Commission to provide expert advice and drive emissions reduction throughout the economy. It will also legislate targets, emissions, budgets, sector-specific planning and broad consultation
  • Phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks (which total $11.6 billion this year), and shifting this investment to the renewables sector
  • Funding solar and batteries for every school and early childhood centre in Australia
  • Increasing affordability of electric vehicles and home and community batteries
  • The development of ‘Curtin’s Roadmap to Zero’, setting out effective ways for Curtin residents to cut their household emissions and bills
  • Re-skilling petroleum industry workers to propel renewable energy developments

6. Zoe Daniel

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Goldstein, VIC

 

 

Zoe Daniel is a former ABC foreign correspondent running in the long-held Liberal seat of Goldstein in Melbourne. As a journalist, Daniel has seen first-hand the impacts of climate change and reported on them, and as she says so herself, ‘For decades I have been an observer. Now, I’ve found my voice’.

Climate action is a crucial focus for Daniel, who says she will; 

  • Hold the Government to account on our Paris Climate Agreement commitments
  • Cease subsidising fossil fuels
  • Continue and strengthen solar rebates and subsidies
  • Fix the grid to support more solar energy
  • Make solar batteries affordable and part of the national grid
  • Accelerate the transition to electric vehicles
  • Protect our environment by reducing carbon emissions

7. Jo Dyer

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: Boothby, SA

 

 

Jo Dyer grew up in Adelaide and is deeply involved in the community, particularly when it comes to arts and culture – she just wrapped up her fourth and final year as Director of the Adelaide Writers’ Week in March! 

Climate action is at the top of Dyer’s priority list and if elected, she’ll commit to;

  • adopt targets of 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050 
  • adopt the International Energy Agency recommendations of no new coal mines or mine extensions and no new gasfield exploration and drilling
  • stop payment of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry via R&D grants, tax concessions or provision of dedicated infrastructure such as in-land rail
  • support the wholesale electrification of the economy fueled by renewable power generation
  • support the development of clean hydrogen for economic activity where direct electrification is technologically challenging or financially prohibitive
  • establish a Just Transition Commission to ensure an equitable transition to a decarbonised economy with a focus on development of clean energy hubs in regional Australia
  • establish an independent Climate Authority to monitor progress against our commitments

 

These are just a handful of the climate positive independents running in this year’s election. 

8. Kylea Tink

Running for: House of Representatives
Electorate: North Sydney, NSW

 

kylea tink

 

Kylea Tink has been the CEO of breast cancer charity the McGrath Foundation and children’s cancer charity Camp Quality. She’s held senior roles at many multinational companies and is on the board for many more.

Her decision to enter politics came from a feeling that the federal government no longer represented her, her friends and her neighbours on many issues, particularly climate change. She’s lived in the electorate for more than 15 years and has strong community support.

Kylea describes herself as economically conservative and socially progressive, her key climate-focused policies include:

  • Urgent climate action led by facts, not politics – including a clear and actionable plan to reduce national emissions guided by experts to achieve at least 60% by 2030
  • Introducing an independent climate change body to develop an evidence-based plan to achieve net zero by 2040
  • The gradual and planned removal of subsidies for coal and gas, with no new coal and gas extraction projects
  • Improved fuel emission standards and initiatives that increase the rate of adoption of electric vehicles across Australia
  • Decarbonising our economy, reskilling workers and focusing on high growth, innovative green industries
  • Modernising industry which incentivises the production of green products (such as steel, green aluminium and green hydrogen) and provide a transition fund to support communities

It Takes Three

It Takes Three is a Climate 200 led campaign that centres on the notion that electing just three more climate-positive independents to the parliament will be enough to influence the majority vote on climate policies and deliver strong climate action for Australia. 

The campaign is backing an extensive list of independents and you can find out if there’s a climate-positive candidate in your electorate by searching your postcode.

 

Feature photo by @chrisboese