Georgia Steele: Focusing on local weather independence with Craig Kelly

The upcoming federal election will see a wave of “blue-green” independent candidates seeking to oust incumbents from the Liberal Party, who claim to be “moderate” and support stronger climate action but have failed to do so in their party’s policies to reflect.

But such an independent candidate has her sights set on another target – one of Australia’s most ardent climate change deniers.

Independent nominee for Hughes, Georgia Steele, is hoping to unseat breakaway MP Craig Kelly – a proponent of misinformation about vaccines and climate change denial – and argues that stronger climate action could be crucial to winning a seat in the Bundestag to win.

Steele said at a recent Spark Club event in Sydney that she was motivated to run as an independent candidate out of a sense of duty to her family.

She wants to push for stronger action on climate change and protect valuable environmental areas within the Sydney South electorate.

“I live in a constituency where we have two big national parks, we have incredible greenery, we have beaches, we have rivers, we are incredibly lucky,” Steele told the Forum.

“I realized that if we didn’t do something soon, my kids wouldn’t have the same childhood that I was fortunate enough to have.”

“It quickly became clear to me that the problems we have only lie in one place, and that is with our federal government.

“I had to make sure I did everything I could to make sure our environment was protected. I had to make sure that in 30 or 40 years I can take my kids … back to them and honestly say I did everything I could,” Steele added.

Steele supports the climate change bill proposed by independent MP Zali Steggall, which proposes to enshrine a commitment to a zero emissions target in law.

It also aims to set up an independent expert climate commission to advise on government policies and preliminary emissions targets.

“The federal government refuses to take action on climate change,” Steele said.

“We have state governments on board. We have industry groups on board. We have a private sector crying out for leadership and for the very climate framework and governance that this legislation will help us achieve.”

Steele’s electoral challenge differs from that of other “blue-green” independents.

Her constituency, based on an electorate outside of Sydney, is aimed at toppling one of the federal parliament’s most incorruptible climate change deniers, who is now running for Clive Palmer’s United Australia party, leading a bizarre but well-funded re-election bid.

As Kelly heads into the election as incumbent, polls suggest Hughes will be a battle between Steele and Liberal Party backup candidate attorney Jenny Ware, with the latter set to run for the Liberals less than two months before the election.

Steele says that electing an independent in Hughes will not only oust a climate change denier in Craig Kelly, but could also help create an independent counterparty that can lobby for the passage of meaningful climate change legislation.

“Our government says it’s committed to a net-zero target by 2050,” Steele said.

“But it’s just words. You haven’t done anything. It is not actual government policy if they have no laws implementing that policy and never intend to put that policy into action.”

Steele believes voters are keen to support policies that can revitalize Australian manufacturing and capitalize on the opportunities created by the clean energy transition.

“I’ve talked a lot during the campaign about the economic opportunities that are coming as a result of the transition,” Steele said.

“One of the things that really resonates with the people of Hughes is the idea of ​​bringing manufacturing back to Australia. That used to be in car production.”

“Sometimes when I talk about bringing production back to Australia it’s cars, but obviously it doesn’t have to be. We’re talking about mining. We mine all of these minerals [for EV production] – the possibilities are endless.”

Georgia Steele: Focusing on local weather independence with Craig Kelly

Michael Mazengarb is a Sydney-based reporter at RenewEconomy, writing on climate change, clean energy, electric vehicles and politics. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in climate and energy policy for more than a decade.