Liberal Party investigates leak of Deves’ Warringah nomination form

Katherine Deves’ nomination for the seat of Warringah was proposed by barrister Bridie Nolan, the new wife of Warringah MP Zali Steggall’s ex-husband, and she received a written reference from Sky News’ Brisbane bureau chief Adam Walters.

The information is contained in Deves’ official nomination form, which has been leaked to several media outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. It is understood the Liberal Party is investigating the leak of the document, which contains personal information about Deves and her family.

Katherine Deves is escorted into a campaign event at Forestville RSL.Credit:James Alcock

The form shows Nolan was the lead proposer of Deves’ nomination, as well as fellow Liberal Party members Robyn Murray and Nicolette Norris, the chair of the National Child Protection Alliance.

It also shows she received three references including one from Walters, who told the Herald and The Age he had provided a “personal reference” for Deves as thanks for her presenting a sports award at the November 2021 Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism, which he co-founded.

Deves had told Walters she was “thinking of getting in politics” but he was not aware of the exact purpose of the reference, he said.

Katherine Deves at 2021 Kennedy Awards. Credit:Salty Dingo

On the nomination form, Deves said she did “not recall” signing up to the Voices of Warringah website which supported Steggall’s campaign in 2019, though it had been “brought to my attention that my email details are on a Voices of Warringah volunteer website page”.

Deves told the Herald in February – a few weeks before lodging her nomination – that she had taken a “great interest” in Steggall, who ousted former prime minister Tony Abbott with a huge swing.

“My loyalties have always been with the Liberals but I did take a great interest in her because I think you should support the candidate that will do the best for electorate,” Ms Deves said at the time. “But I can confirm I have been really disappointed in her since she was elected.”

The form reveals Deves worked as a paralegal with MDW Law for two years until June 2021 and as a lawyer with Mitry Lawyers for four months until January this year. She also volunteered at Primary Ethics teaching ethics to NSW primary school students.

She ticked “no” on a question asking whether she had ever made public comments that could be considered “of an extreme or offensive nature”.

As first reported by News.com.au and the Daily Telegraph, Deves warned the Liberal Party she had been involved in “controversial issues” through her organisation Save Women’s Sport Australasia, which “lobbies and advocates for a dedicated female sports category for women and girls”.

Deves listed her social media accounts on the form, including a since-deleted profile on Gettr, a Twitter-like platform targeted at American conservatives and “founded on the principles of free speech, independent thought and rejecting political censorship and ‘cancel culture’.”

Individuals in the NSW Liberal Party are furious about the leaking of the document to multiple media outlets, adding to frustrations in the state division over preselections, factional games and ongoing leaks to journalists.

It is understood an internal investigation is underway. A NSW Liberal Party spokesman, who is also acting as a spokesman for the Deves campaign, declined to comment.

Nolan was also contacted for comment. She has accompanied Deves to several campaign events, including last Friday’s function at Forestville RSL, and has told people she is Deves’ campaign manager – though the Liberal Party denies this.

Steggall, who separated from her ex-husband in 2006, has described Nolan’s involvement in the Deves’ campaign as a “deliberately provocative move” and a “new low”.

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