Independent Georgia Steele first to open Hughes campaign office following strong financial support from community and climate change organisation

Georgia Steele outside her campaign office in Station Street, Engadine. Picture: Chris Lane
Georgia Steele outside her campaign office in Station Street, Engadine. Picture: Chris Lane

Independent Georgia Steele has beaten rivals in the Hughes electorate to the punch for a second time following strong financial support from the community and a climate change organisation.

After being the first to enter the contest to oust sitting MP Craig Kelly in October 2021, Ms Steele has opened a campaign office with the catchy name of The Steel Works in Station Street, Engadine.

Ms Steele said she was receiving strong financial support from voters in Hughes and further afield.

"We have raised $220,000 to date," she said. "Ninety per cent of that has come from community donations and less than 10 per cent from Climate 200."

Climate 200 was established by Simon Holmes a Court to support pro-climate change independents.

The organisation aims to raise "at least $15-20 million to help level the playing field for 10-12 high quality, values-aligned candidates" in the election, which is expected to be held in May.

Volunteers at work in Georgia Steele's campaign office at Engadine. Picture Chris Lane

Volunteers at work in Georgia Steele's campaign office at Engadine. Picture Chris Lane

Mr Holmes a Court said of Ms Steele's candidature, "Hughes is going to be a seat to watch. It is an electorate where an Independent focused on climate and integrity really has a chance of winning."

Ms Steele said her campaign office, which opened on February 4, was working "very much like an electorate office, but is more open and welcoming".

"It is staffed by volunteers and at present is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays," she said.

"As we get closer to the election, we may open on weekends as well.

"Lots of people are popping in to see what we are about, and I invite anyone to do likewise."

Linda Seymour, the We Are Hughes independent candidate for Hughes, said she and her campaign team were in the process of finalising a campaign office, and were close to signing a lease.

Linda Seymour (left) and campaign manager Anneleise Alexander check out a potential campaign office. Picture: supplied

Linda Seymour (left) and campaign manager Anneleise Alexander check out a potential campaign office. Picture: supplied

"The office will be a place that we use for the community to come and talk and also get involved in our grassroots campaign. It will be functional and welcoming," Ms Seymour said.

"Our funding is via donations from people who care about democracy and integrity. We are not seeking big financial backers who wish to influence our positions and way of working with our community."

Ms Seymour said a person who had experience with expensive election campaigns told her she would "need a million dollars to win Hughes".

She rejected the statement.

"There have been campaigns that have been won on a fraction of the cost," she said.

"The ingredient of a winning campaign is community and a desire for change and a candidate that reflects their values.

"Clive Palmer spent $80 million at the last election and attracted just 3.4 per cent of the vote."

Ms Seymour said "the cost of political campaigns is something that needs serious attention".

"No one should be locked out of politics due to financial constraints, and certainly, the influence of money should not be a determinant in who is elected," she said.

"If elected, political donation reform will be an important part of my agenda.

"Craig Kelly talking about his 'war chest' of campaign money tends to dissuade rather than impress. Bragging about money is counter to the Australian way."