Priestly refuses Climate 200 donations

Rob Priestly has rejected donations from the Climate 200 group. Photo by Max Stainkamph

Independent candidate for Nicholls Rob Priestly said he rejected financial donations from the Climate 200 group because he “wanted people in our region to be sure that my focus is on them and not subject to any other influence”.

Climate 200 has been one of the most prolific financial backers of independents in the 2022 federal election.

Climate 200 accepts donations from Australian citizens and permanent residents which it funnels into the election campaigns of independent candidates who have promised science-based action on climate change.

This list includes Helen Haines (Indi), Zali Steggall (Warringah), Monique Ryan (Kooyong), David Pocock (ACT Senate) and Andrew Wilkie (Clark).

Mr Priestly said he had a policy around campaign donations.

“Our campaign has only accepted donations from people who have a meaningful connection with the seat of Nicholls. They live, work or have businesses within the electorate,” he said.

Climate 200 is often linked to the ‘teal’ independents who are running expensive election campaigns in Liberal city seats.

“The issues in Nicholls are very different from those in metropolitan seats,” Mr Priestly said.

“As a safe seat, we have not had our fair share of services and infrastructure investment for our region. We have a crisis in health and aged care, poor mobile and internet coverage in many areas, and a pressing need to fix water policy.

“Competition in any seat is good for democracy, but the issues in the city are different to those here.”

Nicholls, previously known as the seat of Murray, has been held by either a Country Party/Nationals or Liberal member since it was created in 1949.