Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce won't face a challenge from the high-profile 'Voices of' movement, despite the high-profile political group aiming to replace several of his Liberal colleagues with independents.
What Matters? New England convener Carol Mackerras said the movement wouldn't preselect a candidate to take on the deputy prime minister at the upcoming federal election.
"We just haven't had that obvious candidate. In fact we were hoping for more than one who would hop to the surface and be willing to take on this next election," she said.
"However. we hope that a combination of what we're doing and with the messages that came out of the Craig Reucassel movie The Big Deal will start to raise awareness about how democracy should work."
Formed in July 2021 the group has spent months conducting 'kitchen-table conversations', which are structured meetings of six to eight people designed to develop a document of priorities backed by a representative sample of the electorate through a democratic, consensus-based process.
Ms Mackerras said COVID-19 had made it difficult to meet around a kitchen table, and Zoom meetings have proved hard to coordinate as well.
The 2022 election is shaping up to be the biggest ever for the Voices movement, which has contested elections since Voices for Indi toppled incumbent Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella from her rural safe seat in 2013.
Six years later, former Olympian Zali Steggall crushed ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his ultra-safe northern Sydney electorate of Warringah.
In 2022, the Voices movement has backed candidates like former ABC foreign correspondent Zoe Daniel for the Melbourne seat of Goldstein, theatre and film producer Jo Dyer in the South Australian rural electorate of Boothby and rugby union player David Pocock for the ACT Senate.
Ms Mackerras said they had been approached by groups like the Climate 200, a funding group which aims to finance independents who support taking action on climate change.
A "high-profile" target, Mr Joyce attracts a lot of attention from outside groups - but the New England organisers wanted to keep their campaign grassroots, she said.
"We were approached by them. We were approached by a number of different groups who had similar ideas and philosophies. For various reasons we chose not to go there," she said.
"One of them being that a lot of the groups were single-issue focused ... we just didn't want to be seen as a single issue group."
Despite a lack of a candidate, What Matters? New England plans to complete a report on the outcome of their kitchen table conversations and present it to federal election candidates, she said.
The group also plans to run a "democracy campaign", to try to pressure candidates to adopt the policies in the document.
Mr Joyce looks likely to face very little opposition at the election, with just the Greens, Labor and Clive Palmer's United Australia Party currently committed to running against him.
Nonetheless, Mr Joyce said he won't be taking the election for granted.
"I respect democracy and I respect people's decisions to run or not to run. I'd never take any election as anything but what it is..." he said.
"The will is with the people and the people make the decision."