IN the race this Saturday for a likely final NSW seat in the federal Senate it's probably an Anglican priest wanting urgent climate change action up against Pauline Hanson or Clive Palmer candidates.
Hunter-born Father Rod Bower is hoping he emerges ahead of the 99 other candidates vying for that single Senate spot, but he's also a realist.
"I'm hoping people will choose Independents for Climate Action Now (ICAN) because we stand for something very different," Father Bower said.
He was approached to stand by ICAN founder and environmental scientist Jim Tait because of his high public profile as a priest who used a simple sign outside his Gosford church, and later social media, to push for change on issues include Australia's treatment of refugees, gay marriage and climate change.
"There is no planet B," he wrote on his roadside sign as federal politicians repeatedly failed to respond to global warming or the challenges of dealing with a world shifting away from fossil fuels.
He believes action climate change is a key issue for the Hunter because "coal obviously is in the psyche of the Hunter region" but its economic future relies on an orderly transition away from coal.
"There is a bright economic future that we should be talking about as we move away from coal towards a new energy economy based on renewables," he said.
The Coalition's climate change deniers and Labor's fear of the political fallout of pushing too hard on climate change action means both major parties have held Australia back, he said.
The role of independents in the Senate willing to push for strong climate change action was vital in the next parliament, he said.
"If it's Labor, without strong independents Labor won't do enough. They'll have to be dragged across the line to do what needs to be done. There is hope there in Labor policies."
In 2018 Father Bower released his book, Outspoken, to explain how a conservative country boy became known years later for challenging the powerful on some of the most controversial issues of our time.
The book's release came only months after Newcastle Anglican Bishop Peter Stuart appointed Father Bower Archdeacon for justice, ministries and chaplaincy.
"It is an acknowledgement by Bishop Peter that social justice issues are particularly important to him," Father Bower said.