Indian-origin Dave Sharma takes oath as Australian senator
Dave Sharma (centre) during his swearing-in ceremony as a senator, in Australia, Monday, Dec. 3, 2023. (PTI Photo)
Dave Sharma, Australia’s first Indian-origin lawmaker in Parliament since 2019, was sworn in as a Senator on Monday (4) following his win in the New South Wales Liberal Senate race.
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.
The 47-year-old leader will replace ex-foreign minister Marise Payne, who has retired from the Senate, the Canberra Times reported.
“An honour to escort our newest Senator, Dave Sharma, for his swearing-in today. Congratulations Senator Sharma,” Senator Maria Kovacic wrote on Twitter.
Sussan Ley, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, said Sharma is a “welcome addition” to the federal Liberal team.
“He has strong experience in Parliament and senior diplomatic postings. Dave’s keen foreign policy intellect will be particularly welcome given we are in the most dangerous set of geopolitical circumstances since WWII,” Ley wrote on Twitter.
In a vote by the New South Wales Liberal Party members, Sharma defeated Constance 251-206 in the final ballot.
Sharma, who served as Australia’s ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017, was backed by the moderates within the party.
Senator Sharma will reportedly set up his office in Sydney’s west as the Liberals look to claw back support and win predominantly Labour-held seats.
He lost his seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s east at the federal election last year to teal independent Allegra Spender.
But he secured preselection over former NSW state treasurer Andrew Constance and former ACT senator Zed Seselja, who also lost his seat to an independent at the last election.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said his entry into the Senate came at a crucial time during international politics and his foreign policy experience would be a great asset.
Sharma’s swearing-in comes just weeks before his 48th birthday.
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.