“We would treat any application on its merits,” Mr Fay said.
Ms O’Connor said she intended to apply to Climate 200, which has so far contributed $7.1 million to independent federal election candidates – most of them from the Voices movement – raised from 7600 donors.
Dr Russell said she had decided to stand as the new Voices of Mornington Peninsula candidate after attempting to convince Ms O’Connor not to undermine Ms Boardman.
She said if she was contacted by Climate 200 “I would certainly be interested in a discussion, but I’m not relying on their funding”.
“I’m interested in having conversations with people who share my values who may want to donate.”
Independents’ election campaign funding has come under scrutiny after it emerged that Warringah Independent MP Zali Steggall, who inspired the Voices movement, failed to disclose a six-figure political donation from the family trust of a multimillionaire coal investor.
Dr Russell said residents had “lost their voice because Greg Hunt hasn’t acted for us – he’s acted for his party” and she would be seeking a preference deal with Ms O’Connor, who told the ABC in December that she would not be swapping preferences.
Mr Hunt is retiring at the election, potentially putting the seat in play after his margin was reduced in the traditionally safe Liberal seat from 7 per cent to 5.6 per cent at the 2019 election. The Liberal candidate is former National Broadband Network director and trade adviser Zoe McKenzie.
Ms O’Connor said she was not concerned about splitting the vote, saying “I don’t know that people will vote like that”.
“A lot of people are disengaged and disenfranchised from party politics,” she said.
On her decision to split off from the Voices movement, Ms O’Connor said after a year serving as mayor of Mornington Peninsula “I had the opportunity to do more. It was a thing I wanted to do and I had a lot of people behind me saying ‘give it a go'” .
Dr Russell, a vocal critic of the federal government’s handling of COVID-19 in aged care, said she was also passionate about climate change policy.
“Australia needs to reduce its emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 to contribute its fair share to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” she said.
Dr Russell contested the inner north Melbourne seat of Cooper in 2019 for Fiona Patten’s Reason Australia party, winning just 2 per cent of the vote.
She lives in Mount Martha on a property that was owned by her grandparents since 1935.
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