Zali Steggall is Australia's most internationally successful alpine skier,winning a bronze medal in slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano,and a World Championship gold medal in 1999. At the Winter Olympics she was Australia's first individual medalist, first female medalist, and only medalist in alpine skiing. Steggall's Olympic career extended from Albertville in 1992 to Salt Lake City in 2002.
Steggall retired from skiing in 2002. After completing a BA in communications and media studies from Griffith University she went on to study law and she started working as a lawyer for her father’s solicitor office.
In 2008 She was then admitted to the NSW Bar as a barrister. One of her principal areas of practice as a barrister has been sports law. Steggall served as councillor to the NSW Bar Association as well as Chair to the Health, Sports and Recreation Committee from 2010 to 2013.
On 26 January 2019, Steggall announced her candidacy as an independent in the Division of Warringah in the 2019 Australian federal election running against former Australian Prime Minister and incumbent Liberal MP Tony Abbott on a platform advocating action on climate change.
On 18 May 2019 Steggall defeated Abbott, who had held Warringah since the 1994 by-election by winning the seat by a narrow margin with 57.7% of the vote. Abbott went into the election holding Warringah on a seemingly insurmountable margin of 61 percent. However, he lost almost 13 percent of his primary vote from 2016, and finished almost 5,000 votes behind Steggall on the first count. Steggall defeated him on Labor preferences.
This was seen as a key issue for Abbott’s constituency. Abbott, who was Prime Minister between 2013 and 2015, had previously declared that climate change theories are "absolute cr**".