MELBOURNE: Former MP Dave Sharma is returning to the Australian parliament by becoming the first person of Indian-origin from the opposition Liberal party to win the New South Wales (NSW) Senate position.
Dave defeated former state treasurer Andrew Constance 251-206 in a vote of Liberal Party members on Sunday for a seat left vacant by foreign minister Marise Payne.
“Dave’s entry to the Senate as part of the Liberal Party comes at a crucial time given events abroad and at home,” Peter Dutton, Liberal Party leader, said in a statement referring to the situation in the Middle East.
“His diplomatic and foreign policy expertise and experience will lend considerable weight and wisdom to the public policy debate given the precarious circumstances in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific,” Dutton said as he congratulated Sharma on securing the seat.
Dutton had endorsed both Constance and former minister Zed Seselja in the tightly-contested race where 10 candidates had thrown their hats in the ring but Dave emerged as a consensus candidate.
“I would like to thank the party members for the opportunity to hold (Prime Minister Anthony) Albanese government to account in the senate over its many missteps and wrong decisions, and to fight for the many households across NSW struggling to deal with Labor’s cost-of-living crisis,” Dave said.
A federal member of parliament for the seat of Wentworth from 2019 to 2022, Sharma also served as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017.
“Dave will speak with moral courage and provide moral clarity as we grapple with unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism on our own shores following Hamas’ horrific terrorist attack on Israel on 7 October,” Dutton said .
The opposition leader added that Dave will be a voice of reason in the senate and “help hold senators from the Greens and others to account for their rank anti-Semitism and shameful moral equivalence”.
Dutton further said that Dave will continue to fight for everyday Australian workers, families and small businesses which are being forgotten and left behind by the ruling Labor government.
As a career diplomat prior to entering parliament, Dave was also posted to Washington D.C. and Port Moresby, served as a peacekeeper with the Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville, and headed the international division within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
He studied at the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with first-class honours in Law.
He also has a Master of Arts from Cambridge and a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Deakin University.