Zali Steggall

Zali Steggall OAM (born 16 April 1974) is an Australian politician, lawyer and former Olympic athlete serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Division of Warringah since 2019. She is also Australia's most internationally successful alpine skier, winning a bronze medal in slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, and a World Championship gold medal in 1999. In the Winter Olympics she is Australia's first individual medalist, first female medalist, and only medalist in alpine skiing. Steggall's Olympic career extended from Albertville in 1992 to Salt Lake City in 2002.

Zali Steggall

Zali Steggall in February 2019
Member of Parliament
for Warringah
Assumed office
18 May 2019
Preceded byTony Abbott
Personal details
Born (1974-04-16) 16 April 1974
Manly, Australia
Political partyIndependent
(m. 1999; div. 2007)

Tim Irving
(m. 2008)
RelativesJack Steggall (grandfather)
Zeke Steggall (brother)
EducationGriffith University (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website
Sports career

She was an independent candidate for Warringah at the 2019 Australian federal election and defeated the incumbent, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.[1][2]

Early life

Born in Manly, New South Wales (NSW), in 1974, she and her family lived in France from 1978 until 1989, and she started ski racing while living there, at the ski resort of Morzine in the French Alps.[3][4] Her parents had intended to stay for only 18 months, but they liked the lifestyle so much that they stayed.[5] Her mother, Dr. Susan Steggall, documented these ten years in Alpine Beach. A Family Adventure.[6]

Steggall won European age championships at the age of 10 and 13,[5] and was a member of the French junior skiing team at the age of 14.[7] Steggall was educated for 18 months in Sydney at the Queenwood School for Girls following the family's return to Australia in 1989.

Steggall's grandfather Jack Steggall played ten Tests for Australia in rugby union; her father played rugby for Northern Suburbs, Manly Rugby Club and Manly Lifesavers. Her brother is Olympic snowboarder Zeke Steggall.

Skiing career

Despite moving back to Australia, the Steggall siblings regularly travelled to the northern hemisphere to train.[5] She was also sent overseas by the Australian Ski Institute to train under Austrian alpine coach Helmut Spiegl.[8]

Steggall was selected to make her Olympic debut in Albertville in 1992, at the age of 17. She came 23rd out of 44 entries in the giant slalom event, and failed to finish the slalom or the combined event.[9] At the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, the size of the field was scaled back. Steggall came 22nd out of 28 athletes in the slalom and 24th and last in the giant slalom. She withdrew from the super-G and was unplaced in the overall standings.[10]

In December 1995, Steggall broke into the top 10 in a World Cup event for the first time, placing 10th in the slalom event at Sankt Anton.[11] In January 1996, Steggall came fourth at the World Championships in Sestriere, Italy, missing bronze by just 0.04 s.[5]

Steggall came into the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano as one of the medal favourites. Three months earlier, she had become the first Australian woman to win a World Cup event in alpine skiing, after winning the slalom event at Park City, Utah. She posted the fastest time in both of her runs to win by 0.76sec.[5] She then came fifth, sixth and tenth in the next three World Cup events to be ranked sixth in the world.[12] Steggall won a Europa Cup event at Piancavallo.[5] She won Australia's first individual Winter Olympic medal with a bronze in slalom skiing at Nagano in 1998.[5] Her time of 1 m 32.67 s was 0.27 s behind the winner.[13] In December, Steggall placed second in a World Cup event at Mammoth Mountain, missing the gold medal by 0.01 s to Anja Pärson. She had earlier placed seventh at Park City.[11]

Steggall's success prompted the Australian Olympic Committee to expand the Australian Ski Institute into the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.[7] It was given a million-dollar annual budget and for the first time, Australia had a federal government-funded full-time training program to accompany the Australian Institute of Sport. It operated in six sports and supported 37 athletes and resulted in an immediate upturn in results with numerous athletes going on to win gold for Australia across the winter sport disciplines.[7]

In 1999, Steggall won the slalom event at the World Championships held in Vail, Colorado, in the United States.[5] That was her last podium finish at global level. In February 2000, she came 10th at Aare, Sweden the last top-10 result in her career.[11]

Her career ended at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She failed to complete her first run and was eliminated.[14]

Steggall was part of the Sydney Olympic torch relay in September 2000, carrying the Olympic flame along the pathway of Olympians in Manly and on the Manly ferry to Circular Quay. In 2004, she was part of the Athens Olympic torch relay, carrying the Olympic flame up the Sydney Harbour Bridge and handing over to Kieren Perkins.

Steggall retired from skiing in 2002. She completed a BA in communications and media studies from Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, and then studied law. She was admitted as a solicitor while working for her father's legal practice, Roper & Steggall, in Manly, New South Wales. In 2008, she was admitted to the NSW Bar. Her principal areas of practice as a barrister have been family law, sports law, commercial law, real property law, local government and planning law, corporations and insolvency law, and equity. Steggall served as councillor to the NSW Bar Association and Chair of its Health, Sports and Recreation Committee from 2010 to 2013.[15]

Steggall is currently an Independent Non-Executive Director, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia; Director, Sport Australia Hall of Fame; Member of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel. She was appointed as arbitrator of Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in January 2017. She was one of 12 worldwide arbitrators appointed to the ad hoc tribunal of CAS for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.[15]

Steggall serves on the Council of Governors at Queenwood School for Girls, Mosman.[16]


On 27 January 2019, Steggall announced her candidacy as an independent in the Division of Warringah in the 2019 Australian federal election, running against former Australian Prime Minister and incumbent Liberal MP Tony Abbott on a platform advocating action on climate change, mental health and honest government.[17]

During the campaign Steggall was the subject of an online smear campaign that targeted her Wikipedia page.[18]

At the 18 May 2019 election, Steggall defeated Abbott, who had held Warringah since a 1994 by-election. Steggall won the seat with a two candidate preferred vote of 57.24%.[2] Abbott went into the election holding Warringah with a seemingly insurmountable majority of 11 percent. However, he lost over 12 percent of his primary vote from 2016, and finished over 4,100 votes behind Steggall on the first preference count.[19] She was ultimately elected on the ninth count after Labor preferences flowed overwhelmingly to her.[20] Her victory marked the first time that this traditional blue-ribbon Liberal seat had been out of the hands of the Liberals or their predecessors since its formation in 1922.

Prior to the election, there were allegations that Steggall had connections to the political activist group GetUp!.[21] These claims were denied by Steggall.[22]

Personal life

Steggall was married to Olympic rower David Cameron from 1999 until their separation in 2006. They have two children from their marriage.[23]

In 2007, her relationship with marketing executive Tim Irving was made public,[24] and the couple became engaged in June 2008 and married later that year.[25]


Steggall received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007.[26][27] She was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best' in 2001 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2004.[28][29]

See also


  1. Bourke, Latika; Butt, Craig (18 May 2019). "Federal Election 2019 LIVE: Bill Shorten, Scott Morrison vie for leadership as Australia begins to elect its next prime minister". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  2. "Australian Electoral Division summary of Warringah". Australian Electoral Commission. 18 May 2019. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Zali Steggall". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  4. About Archived 25 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Andrews, p. 405.
  6. Alpine Beach. A Family Adventure ISBN 9780958196420
  7. Gordon (2003), p. 282.
  8. Gordon (2003), p. 280.
  9. The Compendium, p. 218.
  10. The Compendium, p. 220.
  11. "Zali Steggall". Ski DB. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  12. Gordon (1994), p. 279.
  13. Andrews, p. 314.
  14. The Compendium, p. 225.
  15. Zali Steggall, Barrister Archived 6 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Family Law Chambers
  16. "Ms Zali Steggall OAM". Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  17. Davies, Anne; Karp, Paul (27 January 2019). "Zali Steggall to challenge Tony Abbott for Warringah seat". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  18. "Ugly 'nude photoshoot' claims mar Wikipedia page". NewsComAu. 14 March 2019. Archived from the original on 13 June 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  19. Green, Antony. "Warringah (Key Seat)". Australia votes. ABC News. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  20. Results by division in New South Wales
  21. Northington, Brad (27 April 2019). "Zali Steggall 'joined at hip' to GetUp". The Australian. Archived from the original on 19 May 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  22. O’Sullivan, Sascha (15 May 2019). "Zali Steggall and Rob Oakeshott distance themselves from GetUp". The Australian. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. "Zali finds new love". The Daily Telegraph. 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2009. The snowbunny is now back on good terms with her ex - elite rower David Cameron - with whom she separated out of the blue last October after seven years of marriage.
  25. "Zali Steggall announces her engagement". The Daily Telegraph. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  26. "Steggall, Zali: Australian Sports Medal". It's an Honour. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  27. "Steggall, Zali, OAM". It's an Honour. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  28. Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best' Archived 23 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  29. "Zali Steggall". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2020.


Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Tony Abbott
Member for Warringah
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