Zali Steggall
Zali Steggall and Peter Macdonald (Image: Twitter)

The Boathouse, a cafe in Santorini blue and white, sits in a little nook called Shelley Beach, just before a sliver of Manly coast erupts into North Head. When I get there it's packed with older holidaymaker-types and their immaculate little dogs, as well as the odd unruly bush turkey who has to be chased away. It's in this salubrious spot that I meet independent candidate for Warringah and Tony Abbott's challenger-in-chief Zali Steggall. 

Following our interview Crikey can proudly reveal the following exclusive: Steggall is no leftie. Her analogies are 100% corporate or sporting. Of Abbott's time hanging around parliament since he ceased to be prime minister she says "in the corporate world, people know it doesn't work out if you go from being CEO to account manager" and, later, "in the corporate world, after 25 years people know it's time for some fresh eyes." I neglect to tell her about the whole "war office" idea after she says the constant pitching of politics in Warringah as a "battle" is "disrespectful to the armed services".