Tackling climate change and wealth inequality are the main reasons former Liberal Oliver Yates decided to challenge federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for his Victorian seat.
The former Clean Energy Finance Corporation boss also wants businesses held to account for exploiting people and the environment for profit.
Mr Yates lives in Kooyong – a Liberal seat since Federation in 1901 – and will join the ranks of liberal-leaning independents challenging for coalition seats across the country.
“I’m doing this because I love the environment and I’m really concerned about the liability we’re passing onto our children, and how we’re Americanising our country through wealth inequality,” Mr Yates told AAP on Wednesday.
“I don’t have issues with Josh as an individual, I have issues with the way that he hasn’t used his ability to address the important and critical need of climate change appropriately within the party.
“That’s not the type of moral responsibility or moral leadership we want from our leaders.”
Mr Yates spent part of his youth in the regional electorate of Indi, which went to independent Cathy McGowan in 2013, and says voters want MPs who represent them.
“People would say independents can’t have a lot of influence because often they’re in a minority in the lower house, but that’s not been shown out,” he said.
“Independents actually carry an enormous amount of authority, because they’re talking for the community.”
He said wealth inequality was as bad as it’s ever been in Australia, and Liberal Party policies were failing to deliver the same opportunities to everyone.
Along with Ms McGowan, independent Kerryn Phelps won the Wentworth by-election following the retirement of Malcolm Turnbull. Wentworth had also been Liberal since 1901.
Former world champion skier and barrister Zali Steggall has announced a run against Tony Abbott in Warringah. Both Dr Phelps and Ms Steggall cited climate change as a key factor in their decisions.
“Zali and I have much in common – local, ‘small-l’ liberal and level-headed,” Dr Phelps wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.
“It happened in Wentworth and it can happen in Warringah – Zali can win.”
Dr Phelps got the benefit of Labor preferences in her run, and Mr Yates said he hoped Labor and the Greens would direct preferences his way, but he ruled out formal deals.