Simon Birmingham says Zali Steggall win sends a message to the Liberals

Senior Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham has described the success of Warringah member Zali Steggall as sending an important message to the Liberal party about Australian values.

As the ABC’s election expert Anthony Green called the seat in favour of Steggall, with the incumbent predicted to significantly increase her margin, Senator Birmingham conceded the Liberals had made an serious error.

Steggall, an independent, won the seat from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the 2019 election and it is predicted she’ll have a convincing win over the Liberal’s controversial candidate¬†Katherine Deves.

Current predictions show Steggall trouncing the biological sex-campaigner Deves with a result of 61% to 39% of the final vote.

“To now see tonight the Liberal vote to go backwards, and appear to being going backwards to the tune of 7 per cent, I think sends a very clear message.” Senator Birmingham said.

“In the case of Warringah, and we’ve all seen the issues that played out there, I think it sends a message about what Australians believe when it comes to issues of respect, of inclusion, of diversity, and that message is Australians want people to respect their lives, but they also have a strong and profound respect for the lives of others, and the circumstances of others.

“I think what we’re seeing there is a very strong message, and I fear that the impact in Warringah may have had somewhat of a contagion effect on candidates in adjacent Liberal seats – that actually do hold the right values, but they’ll be playing a very dear price for that seat.”

Senator Birmingham said the Liberal party would have to reflect on it’s decision to back Katherine Deves as a candidate.

“These are issues that we will have to clearly address. We’ll want to make sure we improve the Liberal vote, and are competitive to win back seats like Warringah, and ensure that we hold seats like North Sydney and Wentworth, and then we have to have not just candidates who reflect those values, as Trent Zimmerman and Dave Sharma unquestionably do, but we also have to ensure that people understand the party appreciates those values too.”

Speaking to the ABC Steggall said it was still early days in the counting process but she was feeling confident about retaining Warringah. Steggall said it was welcoming to see many independent candidates and minor parties finding success.

“I certainly hope we will have more community independents in this parliament, and actually more representation, because ultimately by having more independents we will address more of the issues that matter to our community.

Steggall said voters were frustrated with cost of living, but also cared about climate change, saying the major parties had not given the issue enough attention.

OIP Staff

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