Alex Murphy insists he doesn't have a personal vendetta against Hume MP Angus Taylor and isn't aligned with any political party.
But he is a driving force behind a new group, Vote Angus Out, that's aiming to run an independent at the next election against the sitting member of the last seven years.
The 30-year-old Thirlmere pilot said he started thinking about an alternative after the 2019 federal poll but efforts had only ramped up in the past month. Almost $2500 has been donated towards a $50,000 'fighting fund' and a newsletter on a dedicated website has gained 200 subscribers.
"No one in 2019 was expecting any change beyond what had happened in the past two decades in Hume," he said.
"It's a Liberal Party stronghold but seeing that nothing was going to be done about a multitude of scandals surrounding Angus has drawn people out of the woodwork to say 'enough is enough.'"
Mr Murphy said he was referring in part to Mr Taylor's letter to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, containing inaccurate travel expenses, and the explanation about their source. He also highlighted the MP's votes against a federal ICAC, increases to the aged pension, "a faster transition to renewable energy" and a Royal Commission into Violence and Abuse Against People with Disabilities. The group's website also points to Mr Taylor's votes in favour of cutting ABC and SBS funding and coal seam gas mining and fracking.
While perceived "inaction" on climate change was a core issue, Mr Murphy said it was part of a wider equation on which the group would campaign.
"Our primary goal is to find an suitable independent to run in the seat," Mr Murphy said.
"We don't want it to be about negative politics but finding a good independent who people can get behind. It's not about any single issue but accountability and representing people on a broad range of issues."
Mr Murphy and a core of about 12 organisers are drawing on the experiences of other independent campaigns, like Zali Steggall's in Warringah and Helen Haines' in Indi. The former defeated longtime MP and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the last election.
Mr Murphy believed there was an appetite for an independent in Hume whose values wouldn't be "diluted by party politics and business interests."
While he was not interested in running himself he said he was happy to pour energy into finding a candidate. He plans to visit Goulburn in coming weeks to meet with people interested in joining the group.
"We want to find the right person rather than parachute someone in quickly," Mr Murphy said.
Independent and Bundanoon man Huw Kingston challenged Mr Taylor in 2019 and captured 5.92 per cent of first preference votes. Mr Kingston campaigned heavily on climate change.
However Mr Taylor managed to increase his two-party preferred margin from 10.18 per cent to 13pc in the final result.
Mr Murphy says he's keenly aware of the challenge ahead and is getting the message out via a grassroots campaign including conversations with voters and an array of merchandise such as t-shirts, tote bags and face masks the group is selling online.
"There's only so much we can do until an election is called but as we get closer we'll be much more active on the streets and on social media," he said.
"...I'm sure in person Angus is a nice enough guy. I have no personal vendetta but I can't tolerate the number of scandals and his opposition to what I see as good policy."
Mr Murphy said his group was not aligned to GetUp or any political party and would not take donations from them.
Meantime, Mr Taylor said he would be standing at the next election.
"I've always considered it an absolute privilege to represent the people of Hume, and I remain deeply committed to the people of my electorate," he said in a statement.
"All along the Hume corridor, we are seeing growth and investment, which I'm incredibly proud of. This year alone, we will see over $1 billion invested in infrastructure in this region, and despite COVID, we've also seen strong jobs growth.
"I will be standing at the next election. I want to see the Coalition's good work continued, focusing heavily on rebuilding our economy and creating more jobs in the aftermath of the pandemic. In all three elections I've campaigned in, there has always been a mixture of independent, minor and major party candidates. That's what a good democracy should have, and I welcome that."
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