Dave Sharma, the inaugural Indian-origin member of Australia’s Parliament since 2019, is set to re-enter the political arena following his triumph in the New South Wales Liberal Senate race. The 47-year-old will assume the role vacated by the retired ex-foreign minister, Marise Payne, according to the Australian Associated Press.
Having previously represented the Sydney constituency of Wentworth until his setback in the 2022 elections, Sharma secured victory over former New South Wales (NSW) minister Andrew Constance. Constance, endorsed by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, emerged as a prominent contender.
In a decisive vote conducted by members of the New South Wales Liberal Party, Sharma clinched the win with a tally of 251 votes to Constance’s 206 in the final ballot on Sunday, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Supported by the moderates within the party, Mr. Sharma, who previously served as Australia’s ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017, expressed gratitude for the privilege of succeeding former Senator Payne.
He conveyed his appreciation to the party members for the chance to hold the Albanese government accountable in the Senate for what he perceives as numerous missteps and erroneous decisions.
While addressing the challenges faced by households across New South Wales (NSW) amidst what he termed as Labor’s cost-of-living crisis, Mr. Sharma stated, “The opportunity to serve in the Senate will allow me to fight for our nation’s national security interests in a time of greater global turmoil,” as reported.
Opposition Leader Mr. Dutton extended congratulations to Mr. Sharma for securing the NSW Senate position, emphasising that his entry into the Senate comes at a critical juncture.
Mr. Dutton highlighted Sharma’s diplomatic and foreign policy expertise, expressing confidence that it would significantly contribute to the public policy discourse, particularly in light of the delicate situations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific, as stated in a released statement.
Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley asserted that Mr. Sharma is a “fitting replacement” for Payne, emphasising that his presence in the Australian Senate would bring a distinctive perspective to the legislative body.
In 2019, Mr. Sharma made history by becoming the inaugural Indian-origin lawmaker in Australia’s Parliament, securing a seat in a Sydney suburb during the federal election.