Community Newsletter

The Team that Works for Warringah

The Team that works for Warringah

14th July 2022

The team that works for Warringah


The emotional high of election eve feels like an eternity ago. The last few weeks have been busy and fairly difficult - not only because I got COVID. While I have been busy meeting with the new Government and Ministers to talk about important policy areas, our office has been struggling with a very difficult situation. The Prime Minister has decided to terminate three out of four crossbench parliamentary advisor roles. This decision will require a full restructure of the electoral office team and unfortunately some employment terminations. If this decision does go ahead, it would mean letting go of three people who have worked so hard for Warringah for the last three years. 

This will have a significant impact on the crossbench's resources to hold the Government to account in Parliament, and will impact the level of service to our community. 

My electorate team have worked tirelessly throughout the last term and have provided a high level of service to the Warringah community. My team have resolved over 20,000 cases, assisting constituents with Centrelink, NDIS, aged care, immigration, passports and more. Not only has the population of our electorate grown, the reduction in staff across government agencies has pushed an increased number of inquiries to our Manly office. 


I want to ensure the constituents of Warringah continue to receive fair and democratic representation and assistance.


Over the course of the last ten years, successive governments have recognised the increasing workload of members of parliament by providing increases to government staff, opposition staff and crossbench staff. As an Independent Member of Parliament, I am responsible for reviewing all legislation that the government produces as well as proposing motions, private members’ bills and amendments, as well as serving my community and responding to media inquiries.

For the Prime Minister’s to propose that only a single staff member would cope with the workload of 4 staff members, especially during a typical sitting week, would be contrary to the Jenkins report recommendations, which highlighted the risk of unsustainable advisory staff workloads. It will be an impossible task for one person to maintain a watchful eye on the House of Representatives as well as attend meetings and briefings, complete media engagements and analyse new legislation and amendments being presented. These specialised and demanding roles simply cannot be taken on by one person. 


As an Independent on the crossbench, with the help of my advisers I was able to scrutinise 484 pieces of legislation, suggest amendments to improve outcomes of legislation, and put forward Private Members Bills like Stop the Lies and the Climate Change Bills. I was able to advocate on issues important to Warringah, and many Australians, because I was not a member of a party that was deciding on our behalf. This is what Warringah voted for. 

In fact, this representation is what 1 in 3 Australians voted for at our recent election, which saw a record high vote for Independents and minor parties. 


The proposed staffing cuts appear to be only to Crossbenchers and not to Government or Opposition staff, which would make this a political decision to attempt to hobble Independents from being effective in Parliament. That's a concerning misuse of power. If you disagree with the PM’s decision, let him know.

I'm hoping that the Crossbench will be able to have discussions with the Prime Minister soon. This has been a pretty disappointing start to engagement with the Albanese government. 

Moreover, “​​Cutting crossbench MPs’ staffing would be a setback for democracy”, says Tim Payne, the former adviser to the late Independent member for Calare, Peter Andren. His article provides helpful insights into the workload of Independent MPs and their staffers.


Meetings with Ministers


Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to meet in person or virtually with a number of the new Ministers.


I've met with the Minister for Climate and Energy around the Government's climate change plans, and we're currently reviewing the draft legislation. My first impression is that it's fairly inadequate compared to the extensive work we did on the Climate Change Bills in the last Parliament. I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of essential components to ensure better climate outcomes with this Government. 

I participated in a roundtable with the new Attorney General, providing input on the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and have met with the new Leader of the House and Chief Opposition Whip regarding equitable opportunities for the crossbench in Parliament in light of the significant growth of independent members of parliament.


I toured the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust sites in Warringah with the Minister for the Environment and Water and discussed the plans for their restoration and concept plans for future improvements to the sites. 

I met with the Minister for Health to discuss the ongoing COVID response, mental health particularly youth mental health and the need for better integrated holistic care approaches and improvements to aged care and met with the Minister for Indigenous Australians to discuss the prospect of a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

I have also followed up with local Chambers of Commerce about workforce shortages and raised it in the media



Warringah Update


Community Health Update


If you are getting back in the habit of wearing masks in shared spaces - thank you. Right now Australia is battling a ‘multi-demic’ of respiratory viruses, including the flu, RSV, para-influenza, adenovirus and HMPV. In the past day in NSW there have been 36 Covid deaths, 2,001 people in hospital and 14,235 new cases that we know of. 

The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants have quickly become the dominant strain of the virus and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says, "They are more able to evade immunity gained from previous infection and vaccination reinfection is more likely and possible just weeks after a prior infection," she said.

With these new, more transmissible strains of the virus spreading over Australia, wearing a mask will reduce our risk of infection and assist our frontline staff. 

A 4th booster shot  is now available for people over 30, and is highly recommended for people over 50 years of age. With up to date vaccines, our bodies can better handle COVID. But masking up is a small price to pay for not getting sick in the first place. Let’s take a moment to put masks in place for when we will need them. If they are in our bags, cars, and by our front doors, we can all get back into the habit.



Community Hardship and Local Support Services


Cost of living pressures, stagnated wages, inflation and recurring flooding events are having significant impacts on Australians, including here in Warringah. Speaking with constituents, I am hearing your concerns of financial hardship and fear about what these pressures will bring to people in our community.

Here in Warringah, we are incredibly lucky to have a host of dedicated care and support organisations that can assist during these times of economic uncertainty. 

Further to delivering mental health and crisis support services, Lifeline also offers financial advice to those experiencing difficulty. Community Northern Beaches can also assist with financial advice, counselling and safe housing. Local food services, including OneMeal, support our community with food relief and targeted delivery programs.



If you are experiencing hardship, please contact my office and we can help connect you with one or more of these incredible organisations. For those impacted by recent flooding and loss of income, Services Australia have now launched disaster relief and recovery payments to people in Warringah who have suffered injury, loss of income or significant property damage as a direct result of the recent flooding. Services Australia are now offering access to a social worker for those impacted by the floods. You can contact Centrelink to find out how to meet with a social worker.

Furthermore, we're lucky to have Manly Legal Service, which has been running for 30 years. They offer a free legal advice service for members of the Northern Beaches community. Their volunteer lawyers have experience in Family, Criminal, Commercial, Wills and Estates, Personal Injury, Property and Conveyancing, and more. 


You can visit the service on Thursdays between 6pm-8pm, and on the third Saturday of the Month between 10am-12pm at the Community Northern Beaches, 52 Raglan St, Manly. No appointment is necessary to attend.

Thank you to volunteer lawyers Brian Hamer, Margie O'Neill, Peter Wood, David Lucas, Clare Coy, John Howard, Jacqui Dahl, Metin Ozmen, Ioanita Gentles, Michael Adamo and volunteer clerks Ella Davidson (Coordinator), James Zanon, Angie Mei, India Vlotman, Isabella Summerer, Jovan Bea, Sharon Verghis, Gemma Gray, Melissa McDonagh, Jemima Belger, Sebastian Christie, Kieran Wan, for the assistance you provide to our community. 


The Newsroom



READ: Steggall’s second term agenda - Northern Beaches Advocate, 12 July 2022



READ: The climate election, featuring Zali Steggall - pv magazine 



WATCH: Zali Steggall on the danger of COVID fatigue with high transmission of new variants - Sunrise


WATCH: Zali Steggall on working visa backlog during staff shortages - Today Show

LISTEN: Zali Steggall slams Prime Minister's plan to cut crossbench parliamentary staff from 4 to 1 - ABC, 27 June, 2022


LISTEN: Zali Steggall on returning integrity to politics and discipline with public money - SBS News 


LISTEN: Zali Steggall caution on 43% emissions reduction and need for climate collaboration - RN Drive