News Election 2019 ‘Idiot’: Zali Steggall’s ex unleashes extraordinary attack

‘Idiot’: Zali Steggall’s ex unleashes extraordinary attack

zali steggal ex husband
Warringah candidate Zali Steggall with her two sons at a campaign event. Photo: AAP
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Warringah independent candidate Zali Steggall’s former husband and new wife have deleted their social media accounts after an extraordinary public attack in which they slammed Ms Steggall as an “idiot” who “could not bear to be out of the limelight”.

Olympic rowing champion David Cameron and his wife, barrister Bridie Nolan, were quoted in a front-page article in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, after weeks of taking pot shots at Ms Steggall on Twitter.

Ms Steggall and Mr Cameron have two teenage children together, Rex and Remy. The boys have been photographed supporting Ms Steggall in her battle to secure the blue-ribbon northern Sydney seat held by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

On Tuesday, Mr Cameron again took to Twitter – at 6.47am – to distance himself from the attacks.

“Today’s article in The Daily Telegraph does not reflect how my wife and I feel,” he said.

“It is a story about tweets made about a month ago in disgust and does not reflect our support for Zali’s campaign. My wife Bridie Nolan spoke to reporters with much reticence after consultation with me.”

Ms Nolan, who was interviewed by the newspaper, now claims the article is “sensationalised nonsense” and “highly regrettable”.

“I tried to convince the Telegraph to leave this alone, as it is not in anyone’s interest and certainly not the children’s. They just report as they please,” she said.

“Best we focus on Australia’s future rather than sensation and innuendo.”

But Ms Nolan also deleted a string of earlier tweets on Tuesday in which she attacked the mother of her husband’s two sons for “cashing in” on the Lindt cafe siege – because she spoke to reporters about the tragedy.

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?”

“You cannot bear to be out of the limelight,” she said.

On April 6, she sent a tweet to her husband’s ex-wife urging her to “be transparent or quit”.

“Withdraw now before you embarrass your family further,” Ms Nolan wrote on March 17.

zali steggal ex husband
Bridie Nolan. Photo: Twitter

The couple took particular exception to a condolence tweet from Ms Steggall to the victims of the March 15 Christchurch massacre, which she hash-tagged “Warringah votes”.

“Such a stark and horrific reminder of where extreme ideology, hate and divisive speech leads. My deepest condolences to the families. #warringahvotes #auspol,” Ms Steggall wrote at the time.

“What sort of opportunistic person puts a promotional hashtag in a tweet intended for the condolences of a grieving nation? Idiot,” Mr Cameron wrote of his ex-wife’s tweet.

Ms Nolan urged Ms Steggall to quit politics.

“You are showing you do not have what it takes. Withdraw now before you embarrass your family further. This and your tweet from Friday really are disgraceful.”

Ms Nolan backed those comments in with The Daily Telegraph interview, where she said she was “appalled” by her husband’s ex-wife.

zali steggal ex husband
Zali Steggall with her then husband, David Cameron, in 2000. Photo: Getty

“My husband and I were appalled that Zali considered it appropriate to tweet in an opportunistic fashion not once, but twice about the Christchurch tragedy, in the manner and tone in which she did. Unfortunately, neither he nor I was surprised. We both know personally how opportunistic Zali is,” she said.

Regarding the Lindt cafe siege, Ms Nolan said Ms Steggall had broken the barristers’ code of not commenting on a tragedy. Barrister Katrina Dawson was one of two who died in the 2014 siege.

“No one at the Bar spoke about their experience that day, except Zali,” she said. “We closed ranks out of respect for our colleagues, their families and those affected. It was not the approach taken by Zali.”

Ms Nolan is a high-profile barrister with a personal website that describes herself as “devastatingly experienced”. She recently suggested that if an actress was to appear in a movie about her life it would be Charlize Theron.

“Oh, there’s only one person. Charlize Theron. Tall, elegant, and you know the kapow factor,” she said.

She is a mother of three and stepmother to Ms Steggall’s two teenage sons.