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Phelps would ban fossil fuel firms’ political donations, oppose Adani

Dr Phelps would also oppose subsidies for the proposed giant Adani coal mine in Queensland, reject government support for new coal fired power plants, aim for 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and restore credibility to the Climate Change Authority that has largely been gutted by the Turnbull government.

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The independent plans to release her “how to vote” cards for the October 20 byelection caused by the resignation of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the next couple of days. Dr Phelps recently announced she would advise supporters to preference the Liberals over Labor candidate Tim Murray but said on Monday such a stance doesn’t imply she preferred their climate policy over the Opposition’s.

Leslie Hughes, a Macquarie University professor and councillor on the Climate Council, said Dr Phelps’ position was “a strong statement of her willingness to believe in the science”.

Preferencing Liberals ahead of Labor was a pragmatic move reflecting the fact Wentworth was traditionally a Liberal-voting electorate, Professor Hughes said.

“She is walking a fine line, I suppose,” she said, adding Dr Phelps’ support for climate action “is quite genuine”.

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Live export trade

Separately, Mr Sharma told Fairfax Media he will keep a “close watch” on the live export trade to ensure higher animal welfare standards are met but stopped short of backing a ban of the trade.

Mr Sharma said he was “shocked and appalled” by the footage showing “gross animal mistreatment.”

“It’s impossible for any parent to explain these images to their kids,”he said.

But unlike Dr Phelps, Mr Sharma did not back an five-year phase out of the trade.

ReachTEL polling of 660 Wentworth voters conducted last month showed 72 per cent were in favour of phasing out the trade. The poll, commissioned by Animals Australia, also showed respondents were three times more likely to vote for a candidate who backed a ban.

Liberal candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma.

Liberal candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma.

Photo: AAP

But Mr Sharma said he supported the government’s tougher animal welfare measures for shipments of sheep during the northern summer.

“For the trade to have a future, animal welfare concerns must be addressed,” he said.

“They are being addressed and this needs to be rigorously monitored.

“As a parliamentarian, I would keep a very close watch on this issue to ensure these new higher standards are met.”

Peter Hannam is Environment Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald. He covers broad environmental issues ranging from climate change to renewable energy for Fairfax Media.

Latika Bourke is a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in London. She has previously worked for Fairfax Media, the ABC and 2UE in Canberra. Latika won the Walkley Award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year in 2010.

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