So much attention. So much drama. The battle on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and Northern Beaches needs little introduction – so here’s the key numbers and facts.
• Former PM Tony Abbott has been the member for Warringah since he won it in a by-election in 1994. He went on to be a key minister in the Howard Government, became Liberal leader in 2009, and Prime Minister in 2013. He was turfed by his own side in 2015, and has been a “humble backbencher” ever since.
• Abbott’s conservatism and divisive/combative style left him vulnerable to challenge at this election. That challenger – Zali Steggall – put up her hand at the start of this year.
• Steggall is a former Olympic skier-turned-barrister was born in Manly in the electorate. Much of her younger years were spent in France, but the family returned to the area in her mid-teens. She’s running on a platform of more action on climate change, but support for Coalition-style economic policies.
• To say the campaign has been tough would be an understatement. Abbott acknowledges he’s in the fight for his political life that’s taken a toll on him and his family. Meanwhile, Steggall has run a well-resourced, disciplined campaign that’s left her open to accusations from the Abbott camp of taking support from quarters that make her less than independent.
• By the numbers: Abbott holds Warringah with a margin of 11.1%. He registered a 9.19% swing against him at the 2016 election but was still able to take 51.65% of the primary vote. It will likely be a very different scenario this time.