A former adviser to ex-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will run against his party nemesis Tony Abbott in a bid to him from returning to the Liberal leadership.
Alice Thompson on Tuesday confirmed her candidacy as an independent for the Sydney seat of Warringah in this year’s federal election.
“I’m not just doing this to stop Tony [Abbott’s] mission to be leader of the Liberals and prime minister,” Ms Thompson tweeted.
“I’m running because I have good ideas for Warringah and the nation and a track record of getting things done in government for the public interest.”
Ms Thompson said Sydney’s northern beaches has missed out on infrastructure funding despite its population growth, and has vowed to put a spotlight on the electorate.
“I’ve seen first hand how capable independents deliver for communities in safe seats and unblock reforms,” she said.
“I know how to do this and will get Warringah’s fair share of attention.”
Mr Abbott holds Warringah, which has voted conservative since 1922, with a margin of around 15 per cent.
Indigenous broadcaster and mental health educator Susan Moylan-Coombs has already put her hand up for Warringah, inspired by the success of independent Kerryn Phelps, who won Mr Turnbull’s old seat of Wentworth from the Liberals.
On Monday, Mr Abbott cautioned voters against casting their ballots for independent or Greens candidates, saying this could potentially undermine “serious government”.
“If you want a credible parliament, if you want serious government, don’t vote independent,” Mr Abbott told Sydney radio 2GB.
“It is better to vote for the Labor Party than to vote for an independent.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn’t think Australians should vote for either independents or Labor.
“That’s my view. That’s my very strong view,” Mr Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
“Because neither of them can deliver a stronger economy. Neither of them can provide what Australians need.”
Ms Thompson was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Office a month after Mr Turnbull defeated Mr Abbott in a 2015 leadership spill.
She resigned her position as KPMG’s national lead for cities and regions in late December to open the way for her candidacy, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Ms Moylan-Coombs, the granddaughter of former Reserve Bank governor HC Coombs, said “party politics had failed Warringah” when she announced her plan to challenge Mr Abbott.
“The party that represents this seat, has stopped listening to the people,” she said.