Outspoken Anglican rector Rod Bower is the latest high-profile independent set to have a tilt at federal politics.
The Gosford minister, best known for his politically-charged signs outside his NSW Central Coast church, intends to run for a Senate seat at the next election.
Fr Bower, a pro-refugee activist, said he hoped to give a voice to the marginalised in Canberra.
Fr Bower spoke at a rally in Sydney on Saturday condemning the federal government’s offshore detention centres and pushing for the prime minister to bring sick children and their families to Australia.
“This nation has been diminished by the policies that have led to what’s now happening on Manus Island and Nauru,” he told Radio National on Monday.
“In the Senate I would hope to be able to encourage our politicians to adhere to our international covenants and refugee conventions.”
He confirmed he will be taking leave during the election campaign and will resign if he is successful.
Soon-to-be independent federal MP Kerryn Phelps, who stunned many in the Wentworth by-election, said she was “heartened” by Fr Bower’s plan to run.
“I think we have, for too long, moved away from a sense of the people being represented and it’s important that people have a voice about the issues that are of importance to them,” she told reporters on Monday.