Meet "Liberal" by Zali Steggall, supported by Tony Abbott



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Anna Josephson is one of those women from Warringah.

The Swedish-born mother of three lives on one of Beauty Point's best streets in a house with sweeping views of Quakers Hat Bay. She has unrolled a huge 2 x 6 meter Zali flag on the front porch.

Josephson runs a Stockholm-based technology company and her husband, Rickard Gardell, is one of Australia's best-known private equestrians, co-founding Pacific Equity Partners.

Ms. Josephson has already conducted two withdrawals of private drinks and canap├ęs funds for Steggall at her home and this week she is distributing Steggall leaflets at a pre-voting booth on Military Road.

"Rickard is very supportive, but no, he's not involved, but I'm very involved," says Josephson, speaking on a break from the pamphlet.

"I think I'm pretty typical of Zali's supporters, at least where we are on the North Shore and Mosman – long-term liberal voters who, in the last two years, have begun to feel very underprivileged, thinking that our member does not represent who we are. "

Josephson, 57, has voted in the Liberal Party since becoming a citizen in 2004, with the exception of the state election, in which she voted for an independent candidate.

"Tony Abbott is a handbrake on climate change [action] and also on economic and social progress, "she says.

Ms Josephson, who made a personal donation (above the reporting threshold) for Steggall's campaign, describes her candidate as the "perfect L-small Liberal we have sought".

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"We had good appearances and decent donations," she says of fundraising.

People like Josephson pose a challenge to Mr. Abbott. The former PM is a traditional conservative in an electorate increasingly open to progressive social and environmental policies. His opposition to gay marriage and coal-powered support put him at odds with economically conservative but socially liberal voters.

Towards the south of the military road in Balmoral, lives Peter Gold, director of Archer Capital, a private equity firm that competes with Gardell companies.

Mr. Gold was nominated in the media as one of Steggall's supporters, but account Sydney Morning Herald is actually his wife, Kirsty Gold, who volunteers.

"I have traditionally been a moderate liberal and never participated in politics," says the mother of two children.

"But I grew increasingly distressed living in this constituency, on climate change and realizing that the politics of our current members was not helping. I had to try to make a difference."

Mrs. Gold walked through the hills of Balmoral wearing a water-colored Zali Steggall T-shirt, distributing leaflets in Mosman's pre-voting booths. In March, she held a fundraiser at her home. One participant said the guests included conservationist Tim Flannery.

"If you'd told me two years ago, I'd be wearing an aqua tank top at Mosman, I would have said," No way, "she says.

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Not everyone supporting Steggall wants to publicly express their support. This publication is aware of another prominent couple in financial circles who has hosted events, but wants to remain anonymous. Mrs. Gold confirms that there were "many" fundraisers for the Steggall campaign.

"They are all successful and we do not want to speak numbers," she says of the money raised.

Another "meet and greet" was recently held a few months ago at the Mosman Art Gallery and another a few weeks ago at a private house in Raglan Street, Mosman.

"We were served with a nice glass of wine and some small hors d'oeuvres and Zali was out there getting to know people," says one participant, a Mosman businesswoman.

She led her husband, a rusty liberal voter, in an effort to change her mind (she was unsuccessful).

Longtime supporter of Steggall, surgeon Craig Taylor.

Longtime supporter of Steggall, surgeon Craig Taylor.Credit:James Brickwood

"A lot of women like Zali, even if their husbands vote for Tony," she says.

Across the Spit Bridge and up the hill at Manly, another group of Steggall supporters on Bower Street displays huge Zali banners on the ocean front walls of their multimillion dollar homes. The tracks overlook the popular passageway between South Manly and Shelly Beach.

Craig Taylor, a surgeon, is one of Bower Street's banner groups.

He voted Liberal for 25 years.

"The problem I have, which I think many people in our constituency have, is that we want a liberal government, but we do not want Abbott. We have a dilemma."

Taylor's solution is to support Steggall. He also donated to her campaign, a value below the reporting threshold.

"You have to put your money where your mouth is," he says.

Jacqueline is a senior journalist, columnist and former designer of the Canberra press gallery for the Sydney Morning Herald.

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