The campaign for the crucial federal seat of Warringah has turned messy with Zali Steggall’s controversial rival hiring her ex-husband’s new wife to help win the seat.

Katherine Deves, who made headlines on Wednesday when her comments about transgender children resurfaced, has recruited high-profile Sydney barrister Bridie Nolan to be a key part of her campaign. 

The Liberal candidate, who was tipped as Scott Morrison‘s star candidate, had described transgender children as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’ and said she felt ‘triggered’ by the rainbow pride flag. 

She has since apologised for the comments and torn down her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

Ms Nolan is married to Ms Steggall’s ex-husband, former Olympic rower David Cameron. 

Ms Steggall has spoken out about Ms Nolan’s appointment, calling it ‘distasteful’. 

Warringah MP Zali Steggall (pictured) has called the fact that her ex-husband’s wife is working with her political rival ‘low and very vindictive’

MP Zali Steggall's ex-husband's wife Bridie Nolan (pictured) is now working with her rival for the seat of Warringah

MP Zali Steggall’s ex-husband’s wife Bridie Nolan (pictured) is now working with her rival for the seat of Warringah

‘I find it personally distasteful that my opponent and the Liberal campaign are using extended members of my separated family,’ Ms Steggall told The Syndey Morning Herald.

She added that ‘it’s a new low and very vindictive’. 

Daily Mail Australia understands that Ms Nolan is working as Ms Deves’ campaign manager, though neither Ms Deves nor the Liberal Party have confirmed this. 

The two women appear to have a complicated relationship, with Ms Nolan previously publically slamming Ms Steggall.

In the lead up to the 2019 federal election, in which Ms Steggall was running against Tony Abbott, Ms Nolan tweeted: ‘You are showing you do not have what it takes. Withdraw now before you embarrass your family further’. 

Ms Steggall beat the former prime minister with an almost 15 per cent margin, and on May 21 is facing the new Liberal candidate.  

Ms Deves and Ms Nolan are said to be close friends who spend a lot of time together.

Ms Steggall and Mr Cameron, who separated in 2006, have two teenage children together, Rex and Remy.

Mr Cameron has another three children with Ms Nolan.  

Katherine Deves (pictured) who is running against Zali Steggall in Warringah, is being advised by Ms Steggall's ex-husband's second wife

Katherine Deves (pictured) who is running against Zali Steggall in Warringah, is being advised by Ms Steggall’s ex-husband’s second wife 

During the 2019 campaign, Ms Nolan deleted tweets in which she attacked Ms Steggall for ‘cashing in’ on the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney in 2014 – because she spoke to journalists about the tragedy in which two hostages died.

Ms Nolan also deleted tweets in which she asked Ms Steggall, a former Olympic skier: ‘Do you really think you deserved special treatment because you ski?’ 

Ms Steggall first came to prominence when she became the first Australian to win an individual medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, before becoming a schoolteacher. 

After retiring as a teacher, she used her experience as an athlete to become a barrister, specialising in corporate and sports law in 2002. 

Olympic rowing champion David Cameron (left) and his wife Bridie Nolan (right) launched a scathing attack on Ms Steggall in 2019, labeling the aspiring politician as ‘opportunistic’

On her website, Ms Nolan, who is also a barrister, describes herself as ‘devastatingly experienced’.  

In 2015, Ms Nolan told the Sydney Morning Herald that she spent $6,500 a week on a live-in nanny, three cleaners, an executive assistant and a researcher.  

Ms Deves, who was Scott Morrison’s ‘captain’s pick’ to try to win back Warringah for the Liberals, on Wednesday apologised for her language in the resurface tweets and vowed to listen to her community. 

In May 2021, Ms Deves said she felt ‘triggered’ by the rainbow flag – a well-known symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride.

Ms Steggall (pictured) has spoken out about Ms Nolan's appointment, calling it 'distasteful'

Ms Steggall (pictured) has spoken out about Ms Nolan’s appointment, calling it ‘distasteful’

‘I get triggered by it. Whenever I see it on social media I think ‘What now? What are they demanding now?,’ the candidate wrote.

‘And I grew up with gay relatives and siblings and hung out in Surry Hills and X in Sydney in the 1990s. Lots of LGB family and friends, their movement has been destroyed.’ 

In September 2021, Ms Deves retweeted a TransHub article which explained the process of a hysterectomy – the surgical removal of all or some parts of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

‘And they’ve even moved on from “Assigned Female At Birth (AFAB) to “PRESUMED Female At Birth” (PFAB), they argue that plunging a young girl into menopause is somehow “affirming” and a reason to celebrate,’ she wrote. 

David Cameron used to be married to Zali Steggall (pictured together with Tiffany Henderson) and they share two children

David Cameron used to be married to Zali Steggall (pictured together with Tiffany Henderson) and they share two children

She also shared a picture of a trans American teenager who had just had breasts removed in November last year and wrote: ‘This photo just hit my feed. It is beyond heartbreaking.’ 

In a second tweet she added: ‘They will not stand for seeing vulnerable children surgically mutilated and sterilised in furtherance of an unattainable idea. 

‘The lawsuits will be legion, as will the government inquiries. Complete failure of safeguarding. Mark my words.’ 

Deves is a founder of Save Women’s Sport, a lobby group that opposes trans women’s participation in women’s sport.

Ms Deves co-founded the group Save Women’s Sport which aims to stop trans women who went through male puberty from competing against women.

Mr Morrison has made this an election issue by backing Ms Deves and Liberal Senator Claire Chandler who has drafted a law to stop sports clubs being sued for excluding trans women.

Katherine Deves, who is contesting the independent-held seat of Warringah in northern Sydney, made the comments in controversial posts last November

Katherine Deves, who is contesting the independent-held seat of Warringah in northern Sydney, made the comments in controversial posts last November

Ms Deves apologised for the wording of the tweets, telling Daily Mail Australia: ‘My advocacy for the rights and safety of women and girls is well known, and I stand by my desire to ensure we protect the safety of women and girls and our entire community.

‘However, the language I used was not acceptable, and for that I apologise.

‘My commitment is to continue listening to the views of people in Warringah, and the broader community – I will do this in a respectful way.’



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