The prime minister and others have slammed the independents running in the federal election as the voices of Labor and the Greens that are only running in Liberal seats, backed by “big money”.
But Zali Steggall says it this just shows that Scott Morrison “doesn’t get it”.
Ms Steggall ousted formed prime minister Tony Abbott at the 2019 election as an independent from his long-held NSW seat of Warringah through a grassroots campaign of dissatisfied Liberals.
She said what the prime minister was overlooking was these independents were running because communities did not identify with their choices at the moment.
“Where the Liberal Party has moved so far to the right, and under Scott Morrison, does not represent its values when it comes to integrity and accountability, they are looking for alternatives,” Ms Steggall told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
She said the prime minister was not speaking to the traditionally sensible, more-moderate Liberal voters with the policies he was pushing.
Big money from the Climate 200 group is reported to be backing independent candidates and Ms Steggall said they may well support her in this election, but didn’t in 2019.
“What I find interesting, the prime minister doesn’t have an issue with Clive Palmer spending $80 million on his party,” she said.
“If we are really talking about big money influencing politics, we really need to look at that.”
She said there were also millions of dollars that were donated to the Liberal and Labor parties that weren’t properly reported.
She believed if next year’s election ended up with a minority government, it would force more collaboration, which would be a good thing.
“The worse thing we have at the moment is (Nationals leader) Barnaby Joyce, who is dictating and holding the coalition to ransom on what it can and can’t do,” Ms Steggall said.
“There is a major loss of trust in the prime minister, so I think that needs to be addressed at some point.”
On the key issue of tackling climate change, Ms Steggall didn’t think much of the coalition’s net zero target.
‘I think they got there kicking and screaming,” she said.
“It is a bit of an empty promise because their plan only delivers 85 per cent and doesn’t deliver 100. It doesn’t actually transition at the speed we need to.”
She believed Labor’s 43 per cent 2030 target was playing it safe for the election and provided just a little bit more than the coalition, but not enough to “scare the horses”.
“I am not for extreme targets so they are going to be at any cost. I am for a sensible planned transition,” Ms Steggall said.