Tony Abbott Has Lost His Seat

    Independent Zali Steggall unseated Abbott, who was prime minister from 2013 to 2015.

    Dean Lewins / AAPIMAGE

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott has lost his seat.

    Abbott lost his bid to be re-elected as the member for Warringah, a seat he has held since 1994, to independent candidate Zali Steggall. ABC election analyst Antony Green called the seat for Steggall on Saturday evening.

    Abbott spent two years as prime minister between 2013 and 2015. He led the Coalition to victory against Kevin Rudd's Labor government, after serving as opposition leader for four years. In Sept. 2015 he was unseated from the prime ministership by party colleague Malcolm Turnbull.

    Dylan Coker / AAPIMAGE

    Steggall, a lawyer and former Olympian, campaigned for action on climate change and positioned herself as an economic conservative, arguing for tax cuts for family and small business.

    Abbott has previously described climate change as "absolute crap", and opposed same-sex marriage.

    Speaking at Manly Leagues Club on Saturday evening, Abbott said the result was disappointing but celebrated the performance of the Coalition overall.

    He also added his thoughts on the role that climate played in his loss. "Where climate change is a moral issue, we Liberals do it tough," he said. "Where climate change is an economic issue, as tonight shows, we do very, very well."

    Speaking to her supporters, Steggall proclaimed a "new beginning for our environment". She pledged to be a "climate leader", to hold the new government to account and make sure Australia takes action on climate change.

    She also said her win marked a new beginning for Australian politics: "a new beginning for honesty and respect in government". She promised to work collaboratively with alls ides of politics so she could achieve results.

    "This is a win for moderates with heart," she said.

    Abbott faced not only Steggall's huge team of over 1,400 volunteers, but also the opposition of activist group GetUp. Opposed to Abbott's climate change politics, GetUp had 600 volunteers on the ground in the electorate.

    At the 2016 election, Abbott held his seat with an 11% margin. Early figures on Saturday evening showed a 13% swing against Abbott, with his primary vote down to 38%.

    Hannah Ryan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

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