Independent Federal MP for Warringah.
Olympian, barrister, working mum, trail runner.
In no order, I am a wife and partner, mother, and MP.
My work really feels more like a service than a job which I very much enjoy and find rewarding, it is very much seven days a week.
How has your view on your time changed over the years?
Becoming an MP has changed the way I view my time. As a barrister who worked for myself, it was much easier to manage my own time and create structure around how I spent my time across work and family.
Now as an MP that has completely changed. The past 18 months has been all encompassing. It is a 24/7 commitment, responding and advocating for my community means I always need to be available.
It is sometimes difficult to juggle everything, but I am so lucky to have an amazing partner.
What are you juggling right now in your life?
I do not believe that being MP is a job, it is more a service for the community that I take very seriously. As an MP it is very challenging to juggle your time especially when you are in Canberra. When you are required in Parliament your time is no longer your own, it is very much driven by the needs of Parliament requiring you to be available at all moments of the day.
When I am back at home and in my local community, I have more control and can better juggle my personal and community commitments around a routine which for me is very important.
How do you spend your time?
My life rotates around my role, family, and my fitness. These are my priorities, and I do not really have time for anything else. Fitness to me is extremely important for my mental health and quality of life, so I need to ensure I block out time to be able to do some form of exercise daily.
I am lucky that my husband and I find enjoyment in working out together, which means we can also spend time together doing something that is important to us both.
How do you separate work and personal time?
That is harder now. When you are an MP the job is never finished, which means you need to come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard you work, the ‘to do’ list will continue to grow. Understanding this makes it easier to let go at the end of the day knowing that it will all be there tomorrow.
My team are all local so all care for our community. It is important that I set an example to them as well to have a balance between work and personal time.
What does your support network look like?
I have a very strong support network with my husband. Not only are we married, but we are also partners in every sense of the word. When I am required to work and especially attend Parliament, my husband picks up all the personal activities and I feel confident that he has it covered.
Throughout our marriage our roles have been constantly interchangeable. When I am back home then I will step back in. Our partnership is what allows me to do what I need to do in my role.
What kind of conversations do you have with your inner voice?
As an athlete, then a barrister and now an MP, my internal voice is always asking the question ‘Am I doing the best I can?’
My contentment in life comes from knowing I am doing my best, but my inner voice is always pushing me to challenge that and try harder.
I am very happy I made the decision to become an MP. Even though it is challenging and at sometimes frustrating I find the whole experience exhilarating. There are so many moving parts and inputs to manage across State, Local and Federal governments so my team and I are constantly adapting and focussing on the important issues.
It helps being an Independent as I can pivot easily.
It is very hard to quantify success because it can be intangible, but the reward comes from the community when they see the changes happening for the better and they reach out and let us know that they are happy.
I have always strived to be the best I can in whatever I am doing, and this has not changed as MP.
Do you have any time saving tips for the One P community?
Be decisive! We do not have time not to be. If you have a decision to make, make it.
Zali wearing One P and about to speak in Parliament against the proposed offshore oil and gas exploration and production, known as PEP 11, which threatens our ecosystems from Newcastle to Manly, tourism businesses, coastal communities and climate.