Dave Sharma, who became the first Indian-origin lawmaker in Australia’s Parliament in 2019, will return to politics after his victory in the New South Wales Liberal Senate race.
Sharma, 47, will replace ex-foreign minister Marise Payne, who has retired from the Senate, the Australian Associated Press reported.
Sharma, who represented the Sydney seat of Wentworth until his defeat at the 2022 election, beat former New South Wales (NSW) minister Andrew Constance, a frontrunner backed by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
In a vote by the New South Wales Liberal Party members, Sharma defeated Constance 251-206 in the final ballot on Sunday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Sharma, who served as Australia’s ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017, was backed by the moderates within the party.
Asserting that taking over from former Senator Payne was a privilege, Sharma said, “I would like to thank the party members for the opportunity to hold the Albanese government to account in the Senate over its many missteps and wrong decisions, and to fight for the many households across New South Wales (NSW) struggling to deal with Labor’s cost-of-living crisis.”
“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,” he was quoted as saying in the report. Congratulating him on securing the NSW Senate position, Opposition leader Dutton said Sharma’s entry to the Senate would come at a crucial time.
“His diplomatic and foreign policy expertise 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 in a statement.
Asserting that Sharma was a “fitting replacement” for Payne, Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley said, “Dave Sharma will bring a unique perspective to the Australian Senate.”
In 2019, Sharma scripted history by becoming the first Indian-origin lawmaker in Australia’s Parliament after winning a seat in a Sydney suburb in the federal election.