10/01/2016 11:39 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Nick Xenophon To Run Candidate Against Tony Abbott At Federal Election In 'Battle Of Ideas'

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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: (AUSTRALASIA AND EUROPE OUT) Portrait with South Australian Federal Senator Nick Xenophon at Parliament House, on September 14, 2011 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Kym Smith / Newspix via Getty Images)

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon's new political party will run a candidate against Tony Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah at the next federal election.

The South Australia senator announced on Sunday that Marie Rowland would stand against the former prime minister who has held the blue-ribbon seat since 1994.

Speaking alongside Rowland, Xenophon described the campaign as a "David and Goliath battle" in a seat held by men since the 1920s.

"But this is a case where I think that we can do this in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the people of Warringah," Xenophon said, describing the contest as a "battle of ideas."

Rowland said she would run on issues that resonated with the local community.

"It's about fair-mindedness, commonsense politics and that's what Australia really needs at the moment," Rowland said.

"It is an extremely exciting team. For Warringah we know the issues that are important to us are education, health and environment.

"It's a blue ribbon seat and I'm going to give it a red hot go."

Rowland is a psychotherapist and freelance journalist, according to her website.

Xenophon, who has been a senator since 2007, is leading a political push that includes running 2 Senate candidates in every state, and 13 lower house candidates in 4 states, including 8 in his home state of South Australia.

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