You know him for his controversial signs, which first grabbed the world’s attention in 2013, but there is more to Father Rod Bower than progressive lettering.
As he carries his robes to his car in the parking lot of Gosford Anglican Church, north of Sydney, Father Bower explains that this is one of three interviews for the day. After that he'll prepare for weekend services across the Central Coast.
Father Bower's upbringing explains his open nature and now his journey from priest to Senate candidate.
Born to a 17-year-old girl, he was immediately taken away and offered for adoption.
Three weeks later he was taken home by a Hunter Valley family and subsequently raised on a cattle farm - which he describes as "absolutely idyllic".
The property was run by his father until his death, which was when Rod Bower was just 14.
His father had placed a great deal of responsibility on him from a young age, which meant he was ready to shoulder the workload.
“It was an idyllic upbringing, apart from the fact that my father was an alcoholic, which affected me enormously," he said.
"Because that modelling is what I got - that’s what men did, is drink - that’s what I did in my late teens and early twenties. That had a huge impact on my growing up. I certainly never had an adolescence.”
Father Bower credits his first serious relationship with a woman, who was a few years older than him and had a child from a previous relationship, for pulling him out of that.
“Being that overly responsible for everything as an adolescent, meant I took on too much as a young adult too, but it was her expectations that stopped me from drinking to excess.
"I fell back into it at theological college, just because I was so isolated and [had] the trauma of being deconstructed. The deformation process for a priest can be quite deconstructive.
"You’re sort of stripped down in your identity and your ideology, and reformed, and it wasn’t done in a particularly productive way back then. It was in the context of power abuses. As a seminarian you’re very powerless in an institution that works on power... the church.”
Father Bower is not afraid to criticise the church, or religion as a whole.
He acknowledges that the information brought to light by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reflects an endemic issue in the church, calling it “abuses of power of the worst kind.”
“There was a point during the commission where I heard a piece of evidence, and although the clergymen had been given pseudonyms, I realised that it was the priest that mentored me.”
Father Bower claims he simply wants to be a voice for people.
“Growing up in a small community taught me how people can either come together, or not, over a certain issue. I feel like for me, it's saying to the people 'what do you want me to do?' I don’t have an agenda or specific political ambitions, I just want to represent the people.”
Some claim the statements he makes on the sign outside his church are too controversial.
One Gosford resident, Michael*, says his current sign (pictured above) is ‘ridiculous’.
“I think he has good intentions, but I don’t know who he thinks he’s going to win over making statements like that. It’s definitely exclusionary in some ways.”
Father Bower is passionate about climate change and is moved to tears talking about the kind of world he will leave behind.
When asked what gets him through, he says: “My grandchildren. Knowing that it’s my responsibility to make a world good enough to leave behind for them. I want to know that my granddaughter one day will be able to go outside, take a big breath of fresh air, and know that her grandfather fought for it.
"That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.” - Eva Blakemore