'A moderate with heart': What Zali Steggall wants after defeating Tony Abbott

Winter Olympic medallist Zali Steggall said her emphatic win over former prime minister Tony Abbott is about the people of Warringah voting for the future.

After a very high-profile campaign the Manly-born 45-year-old independent candidate upstaged Liberal’s Mr Abbott who had held the seat of Warringah for 25 years.

The mother of two managed a 20 per cent swing against Liberal and celebrated among a euphoric group of supporters at the Manly Novotel on Saturday night.

“This is a win for moderates with heart,” Ms Steggall declared to her cheering supporters.

Mr Abbott said he was "disappointed" to have lost his blue-ribbon seat after 25 years, but took consolation in the Coalition on target to return to government.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese earlier told Nine News the result was "a slaughter".

Independent Warringah candidate Zali Steggall, pictured, celebrates in Manly her win over Tony Abbott. Source: Lisa Maree Williams/ Getty
Independent Warringah candidate Zali Steggall celebrates her win. Source: Lisa Maree Williams/ Getty

Who is Zali Steggall and what are her policies?

The former Olympic athlete is Australia's most internationally successful alpine skier.

Ms Steggall, OAM, was born in Manly in 1974 but she spent some of her childhood in the French alps, which is where she developed her love of skiing.

She represented Australia at four Winter Olympic Games from 1992 to 2002, and brought home a bronze medal in slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, and a World Championship gold medal in 1999.

Ms Steggall juggled studies through her sporting career and completed a law degree after retiring from sport.

The Northern Beaches mum has been working as a barrister for the past decade, but now specialises in sport law and family law.

Zali Steggall, pictured, during the Ski World Cup in Lienz, Austria, in 1999.
Winter Olympian Zali Steggall in action during the Ski World Cup women's slalom in 1999. Source: AP/Alessandro Trovati

Backing investment but driving climate change

Ms Steggall says she is not conservative as Tony Abbott but does support such policies of his including ensuring Australians earned tax cuts.

In the case of a hung parliament the ‘moderate liberal’ says she would side with the Coalition to enable them to form government.

Her economic policies include supporting government in driving business and investment. She will oppose the scrapping of negative gearing.

But Ms Steggall has told her electorate she is different from Tony Abbott in that she is a supporter of same-sex marriage and is determined to act to combat climate change.

“We must allow businesses and households to take full advantage of Australia’s world-leading renewable energy resources,” Ms Steggall said in her election policy statement.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott pictured with Zali Steggall during their election campaigns. Source: AAP/NewsCorp pool
Former prime minister Tony Abbott conceded his seat of Warringah to Zali Steggall early on Saturday night. Source: AAP/NewsCorp pool

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