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Inside Dan Ilic’s latest plan to take on fossil fuel-funded candidates at the election

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Ahead of this year’s election, comedian and self-styled “investigative humourist” Dan Ilic has kicked off his latest campaign against candidates backed by the fossil fuel industry.

The operation, called It’s Not A Race, will target politicians such as Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce with online memes and a satirical ad blitz targeted in their electorates.

“I honestly think this election is the last chance we’ll be able to do anything meaningful for quite some time,” Ilic told The New Daily.

“It’s not hyperbole to say it’s a really important election in the world because we do export so many emissions, and we’re doing it at such an unbridled pace.”

It comes hot off the back of last year’s COP26 billboard campaign, in which Ilic attacked Australia’s climate track record on billboards around the country and even in Times Square.

That particular campaign ended up raising $228,000 via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

This time around, Ilic and his team of eight content creators will focus on Coalition-held lower house seats that could swing in favour of a so-called climate independent or Greens candidate.

“Angus Taylor is one of our favourite whipping boys, but also folks in the Coalition who are in seats where Liberal voters are disgusted about our climate record, and who want to see meaningful change,” he said.

That includes the likes of Dave Sharma, Trent Zimmerman, Tim Wilson and Jason Falinski – each of whom will face one or more high-profile independent challengers at the election.

Some of the content put out by It’s Not A Race even criticises Labor for accepting fossil fuel donations.

The whole operation will cost around $15,000 per week to run, and Ilic was able to raise more than $30,000 within a day of the fundraiser launching on Wednesday.

The goal is to raise enough money to last another eight weeks until the election is held in May.

Ilic believes he can win over hearts and minds because so many Australians already want climate action.

It’s just a matter of putting politicians who accept fossil fuel donations last, he said.

“Corporate Australia wants to move, domestic Australia wants to move, citizens want to move, state government wants to move, local governments want to move,” Ilic added.

“The only people that aren’t moving is the federal government. It’s like kicking and screaming, dragging the federal government to do things.”

As for the name ‘It’s Not A Race’, that’s taken from Scott Morrison’s infamous quote at the start of the government’s bungled vaccine rollout in 2021.

Ilic said this slow-to-move philosophy – which he’s dubbed “the Engadine doctrine” – applies to every facet of the PM’s leadership from disaster relief, to climate action, to calling elections.

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