Political revolution in Australia driven by independents

In order to stop the climate crisis, the flow of money from governments to coal, oil, and gas companies must end, and even more so must the flow of money from coal, oil and gas companies which is donated to political parties.

The Liberal Party is set to spend over $160 million on the next federal election in an attempt to stay in government. That’s not including another $100 million which is anticipated will come from coal baron Clive Palmer. A substantial amount of these millions origin from the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry.

How do we change this?

A new Climate 200 election war chest has started raising money to level the playing field for pro-climate, pro-integrity and pro-gender equality independent candidates like Zali Steggall, Helen Haines and Kylea Tinkhas. So far the war chest has grown to almost $4 million.

While Climate 200 are still the underdog in this fight against fossil-infested politics, it looks to become a very powerful force – still growing by the day – which actually could succeed in creating a election result that will enable the next Parliament to take much stronger action on the climate emergency.

A five-minute report in The Project, a popular Australian news program, about this new election movement almost turned the prediction into a self-fulfilling prophecy:

“The Project put together a great piece exposing Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals’ control over climate policy in Australia. As a result, there’s a new wave of Independents supported by their communities stepping up for better policy. It’s so exciting that what Warringah did in 2019 is inspiring other communities. More independent voices in Parliament could rewrite the next 10 years for Australia.
~ Zali Steggall MP 

“The amount that politicians care about doing something about climate change depends much more on reelection than it does on what’s actually good for the planet. The only way that they’re ever going to care is if they lose seats, and if they end up in a pickle where they’re having to negotiate with independents. So this needs to happen for something to be done, otherwise we’re still going to be having this conversation in another five years.”
~ Rachel Corbett

Economist, businesswoman, and renewable energy advocate Allegra Spender has announced her campaign to run as the independent for the Sydney seat of Wentworth.  

Allegra is the daughter of former Liberal Party MP John Spender QC and renowned fashion designer Carla Zampatti. She has a Bachelor of Economics from Cambridge University, has lived in the electorate most of her life, and recently built Sydney’s first community solar farm — on the roof of the International Convention Centre — as Chair of the Sydney Renewable Power Company.

As Jaqueline Maley wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, Allegra is “tailor-made to capture the blue-ribbon Liberal seat”. Wentworth — the seat of Malcolm Turnbull and John Hewson — is extremely marginal. In 2019, the Liberal Party recaptured the seat from the independent and now Climate 200 Advisory Council member, Prof Kerryn Phelps AM, by just over 2,000 votes. With Allegra’s candidacy, the seat is well and truly in play. 

Climate 200 is strongly committed to supporting Allegra, and encourages you to support her too. Donations to Allegra’s campaign can be made through the Wentworth Independent’s website

Allegra Spender: Glasgow motivated her to enter the race

→ ABC – 20 November 2021:
Carla Zampatti’s daughter, Allegra Spender, to run as independent in Wentworth at federal election
“A high-profile independent running for the federal Sydney seat of Wentworth says the Prime Minister’s performance at the recent climate change conference in Glasgow motivated her to enter the race.”

Hume candidate endorsed

Voices for Hume has officially endorsed Penny Ackery, a teacher and 30-year resident of Goulburn, as their candidate to run against Angus Taylor. Penny was warmly received by a crowd of more than 300, introduced by tv host and general troublemaker Julia Zemiro and Independent legend Cathy McGowan.

These independent candidate announcements build on the momentum of recent campaign launches by Georgia Steele and Linda Seymour, both in Hughes, Craig Kelly’s seat, Kylea Tink’s campaign for North Sydney and Allegra Spender‘s for Wentworth.

“We have to drag our leaders to lead, because our leaders don’t work for us. They work for the fossil fuel companies.”
~ Dan Ilic
, podcaster and comedian, interviewed on CNN

Event on 30 November 2021. Sign up here

“Voices of Kooyong is hearing that many Kooyong voters are frustrated with our current representation, the quality of political leadership and recent policy failures. There is a prevailing feeling that our electorate is taken for granted, resulting in ineffective local representation and a lack of engagement by our member of parliament. Kooyong is calling for a representative who truly represents our community. In the leadup to the next Federal election, we need to rethink how we do democracy and how to rescue it.”

On 30 November 2021, join us on zoom to send a message that Kooyong wants honest, accountable and courageous leadership. Bring your friends, neighbours and family members. If we get enough interest we hope to turn this into an in-person event!

Voices of Kooyong


The Voices movement

There are more than 40 community groups across Australia, typically named “Voices of” or “Voices for”, that are searching for or have endorsed independent candidates to front their campaigns at the next federal poll.

Over 1 in 4 Australian voters say climate change will decide their vote at the upcoming federal election, according to Australia’s biggest climate poll, conducted in conjunction with .

According to a poll by the Australian Conservation Foundation, two in three Australian voters believe climate change is a top three issue for them at the next election.

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 13 November 2021:
Voices of Hume candidate revealed in fight for Angus Taylor’s Hume seat
“Penny Ackery is a teacher and independent candidate who wants to win the seat of the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions.”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 19 November 2021:
‘The real reason is the environment’: Allegra Spender to run as Wentworth independent
“It’s hard to imagine a finer Wentworth pedigree. She is the daughter of eastern suburbs darling-designer Carla Zampatti, whose sudden death this year saddened Sydneysiders and sharpened appreciation of her suits.”

→ Financial Review – 15 November 2021:
Independents vow to tap climate angst to destabilise incumbents
“While the Morrison government fumbles over climate, independent candidates like Kylea Tink are gaining support for tangible action on climate change and greater government integrity.”

→ The Conversation – 29 September 2021:
The push to run independents on issues of climate and integrity
“With the 2022 election looming, local activists are mobilising in many government seats to sponsor independent candidates. The push – stronger and more organised since the 2019 election – is driven especially by concerns about climate change and integrity issues, as well as the general declining faith in the major parties. There will be substantial money and campaigning help for the more viable independent candidates.”

“Politics is a game and climate change isn’t playing.”
~ Mary Annaïse Heglar

Full page ad in Geelong Times, November 2021


The electorate Corangamite which covers the Bellarine Peninsula, Torquay, parts of the Surf Coast and Geelong, is known as one of Australia’s most ‘swinging seats’. Typically only one per cent of votes define whether the winning candidate will be Liberal or Labor. In the coming election, the two main candidates fighting for the seat will be Geelong’s mayor Stephanie Asher, who runs for the Liberal Party, and Libby Coker, who currently holds the seat for Labor.

Alex Marshall is the Greens‘ candidate for Corangamite. She is a climate emergency activist, student and disability support worker.

Paul Barker, a Surf Coast Shire councillor, will be running for the Liberal Democrats.

In The Sustainable Hour, we talked with Simon Holmes a Court from Climate 200 about what is currently going on in Corangamite as far as Voices groups are concerned. He told us that as far as he is aware, there isn’t a Voices group in Corangamite, and there is no clear picture of who will be running as an independent candidate in the electorate.

Barwon Voices
Barwon Voices is a local unionist action group which states that it is “ready to take on Scott Morrison and the Liberals for their failure during this pandemic.” The group promotes unionism and collectivism in the Corangamite area.

→ Surf Coast Times – 18 September 2021:
Paul Barker to contest Corangamite for Liberal Democrats
“Surf Coast Shire councillor Paul Barker has made Corangamite a three-cornered contest, throwing his hat in the ring to contest the electorate for the Liberal Democrats at the next federal election.”

“A strong independent cross bench is the only hope our country has of breaking this policy paralysis.”
~ Kylea Ting, North Sydney’s independent for Canberra

“The Liberal Party’s latest problem: a climate-driven independent”

“Australia isn’t “dragging its heals” on climate. Australian is acting corruptly to protect the coal, oil and gas billionaires who have captured our government.”
~ Daniel Bleakley

Documentary explains how money corrupted Australian politics

“A look at Australia’s billion-dollar political lobbying industry, Christiaan Van Vuuren‘s unlikely journey shows us why we should care, and how we can safeguard our democracy from being sold to the highest bidder.”

Recommended listening and viewing

Simon Holmes á Court explains about Climate 200 which is “fighting for science-based climate policy”. Climate 200 is raising funds – so far $3.5 million has been raised from 5,000 donors – that will be allocated to suitable independent candidates in key seats. This is a true political revolution in Australia

→ ABC – 22 October 2021:
Simon Holmes à Court takes government and Tim Wilson to task on net zero, Paris Agreement and climate change plans on Q+A

In a heated discussion on ABC’s Q&A, Climate 200 convenor Simon Holmes à Court took on government MP Tim Wilson on the topics of Net Zero, Glasgow and future generations. “You have done nothing in your government to reach these terms and you’ve done nothing for the public to reduce emissions policy and you’ve got no plans for the next three terms of government.”

The Sustainable Hour no 377 on 25 August 2021: interview with independent Member of Parliament for the federal seat of Warringah, Zali Steggall:

Upgrading our democracy with Citizens’ Assemblies

Interview about the “Citizens’ Climate Assembly” vision

Or… scroll down to the audio player on this page:


Hannah Moloney from Good Life Permaculture, author of ‘The Good Life How To Grow A Better World’:

[Starts at 31:00]

Kylie Harris is a psychology researcher who is very much attuned to indigenous wisdom and spirituality. She revealed in The Sustainable Hour what her studies have shown her what needs to happen as we face up to the climate emergency:

[Starts at 33:10 min]

Climate reality check: why Australia needs a political climate revolution

After Glasgow, it’s time for a real-world climate reality check

Pledges made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow will not keep 1.5°C alive or even prevent 2°C of warming. The level of climate action required to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C, let alone achieve a safe climate target, far exceeds the level of ambition made at COP26, which supports a role for coal, oil and gas for many decades to come.

The 2021 edition of Climate Reality Check presents 20 critical understandings, observations and insights to help address this dangerous underestimation of the climate emergency. View the short explainer video above and download the full Climate Reality Check 2021 for the latest analysis.

Climate Reality Check – 2021 edition: 

  • Presents a sound scientific foundation to increase vital awareness and help frame effective strategy. 
  • Highlights major trends and impacts to emphasise urgent and severe vulnerabilities.     
  • Confronts risks and threats with rigour and unrestrained honesty.
  • Identifies critical action gaps essential for global security and protection.

Twiggy: “Do not deny your constituents their future”

Excerpt of Twiggy’s ‘betrayal speech’ in NSW in October 2021 – 3 minutes

What climate leadership looks like

Finnish mayor Minna Arve
The following is an excerpt from our The Sustainable Hour podcast notes on 13 October:

“The fact that this revolution has already kicked off globally became evident during a five-day online conference last week, Daring Cities, where one city mayor after the next talked about how they are busy transforming their cities into areas that take more carbon out of the atmosphere than they put in. We play an excerpt from a speech by the mayor of Turku in Finland, Minna Arve. Her city of 330,000 residents is working hard to become carbon neutral already in 2029.”

“The revolution we need in the human mindset is happening right now. Resistance is in the air.”
~ Christine Milne, former leader of The Australian Greens

“In politics, corporations, communities and households across every culture, ethnicity and nationality, people have recognised that the game is up, the bullshit has to end. Some are panicking and others are rapidly repositioning but they all know the global community will no longer put up with being lied to, bought off and pacified by denial, obfuscation and delay at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. Even the Murdoch media, the Australian Business Council, and the Liberal National Party Coalition in Australia have sniffed the breeze and have undertaken a greenwash defensive position, but it is too late. They have driven a lack of confidence in politics and that will now ricochet.”

“The complete lack of confidence in traditional politics they have created in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia provides a huge opportunity to reclaim and rethink democracy as government in the public, not the corporate interest. Transparency and accountability is being demanded and corruption scorned.”

“The profiteers of the old order are on the run. There is no stopping us now.”
~ Christine Milne


“When Australians last cast their ballots for federal parliament, in 2019, the Coalition recorded its second-lowest primary vote since the second world war. Labor’s slump — the lowest vote in more than a century — was even more dramatic. Of course, it’s the two-party-preferred vote that decides elections in Australia. But the declining major party primary support increases the chances that minor parties or independents will pick up seats. And so it is that the current parliament boasts a crossbench of six out of 151 MPs, a postwar record. Will that number grow again in 2022?”
~ Peter Brent

Federal fight – Rob Priestly to run as independent in Nicholls

In a local piece, Greater Shepparton Deputy Mayor Rob Priestly has shared his motivations in standing for the seat of Nicholls in the upcoming federal election. “At state level the Nationals lost the seat of Shepparton, which they had held for 47 years, to independent Suzanna Sheed, which Mr Priestly said had proven the value of independent representation.”

→ Inside Story – 8 October 2021:
Crossbench on a roll?
“Where do the “Voices” campaigns have their best chances of winning seats at the next federal election?”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 2 September 2021:
Electoral Commission urged to probe funding of ‘Voices for’ movements
“The elections watchdog is being urged to investigate the source of financial donations and political intent of rising grassroots movements that are pushing to oust dozens of federal Coalition MPs at the next election.”

Call out the lies

→ ABC News – 20 August 2021:
Your power bill could rise by hundreds of dollars a year if this proposal goes ahead, analysts warn
“Power bills could rise by more than double the carbon price if ageing power plants are paid to remain open, a report warns.”


“Fighting for climate justice is also fighting for democracy. Our civilization will be increasingly threatened as the planet destabilises, putting everything at risk, including democracy. This is a major threat. Democracy is everything. We can’t save the living planet without it.”
~ Greta Thunberg in Glasgow



Rich countries failed when it became the hour of truth in Glasgow. The climate and the environment are not secured at the United Nations summits. It is all the concrete decisions and actions in the local reality that shape the future of the world and our children. We have the freedom to act responsibly when we vote in local, state and federal elections.

“Local elections are able to do precisely what global meetings can not. When it became the hour of truth in the dramatic end of the Glasgow Climate Summit, the rich countries of the world failed in their responsibilities. It clearly shows that the climate, the environment and, yes, life on planet Earth are not secured at UN summits. Instead, it is all the concrete actions in the local reality that shape the future of the world and our children.”
~ Anders Fjordbak-Trier, the Danish newspaper Information

→ Forbes – 26 October 2021:
Global Citizens’ Assemblies: A bold idea that needs our support

“The prototype Global Assembly has involved identifying 100 people using sortition (selection by random sample from a large pool of candidates) from an identified 100 locations across the world.”

→  Leaders for Global Assemblies