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Dave Sharma

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Dave Sharma
Dave Sharma in April 2013
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wentworth
In office
18 May 2019 – 21 May 2022
Preceded byKerryn Phelps
Succeeded byAllegra Spender
Ambassador of Australia to Israel
In office
16 May 2013 – 19 June 2017
Nominated byBob Carr
Preceded byAndrea Faulkner
Succeeded byChris Cannan
Personal details
Born
Devanand Noel Sharma

(1975-12-21) 21 December 1975 (age 46)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
NationalityAustralian
Political partyLiberal[1]
Spouse(s)Rachel Lord
Alma mater
ProfessionPublic servant
Diplomat
Politician
Websitewww.davesharma.com.au

Devanand Noel "Dave" Sharma (born 21 December 1975) is a former Australian politician and former public servant and diplomat. He is a member of the Liberal Party and was elected to the House of Representatives at the 2019 federal election, representing the New South Wales seat of Wentworth. He lost the seat at the 2022 election to independent Allegra Spender making him the first person to lose Wentworth twice. He previously served as head of the International Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2010–2012)[2] and as Ambassador to Israel (2013–2017).[3] His appointment to the latter post, at the age of 37, made him one of Australia's youngest ambassadors and the second Australian ambassador of Indian heritage.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Sharma was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1975. His father is a Trinidadian of Indian heritage and his mother was from Sydney.[4][5] His family moved to Turramurra in Sydney, in 1979.[4] Sharma's mother died of breast cancer, and he was raised by his father.[6]

Sharma attended secondary school at Turramurra High School in Sydney. He matriculated in 1993 with the highest possible Tertiary Entrance Rank of 100.[7]

Sharma studied a Bachelor of Arts[3] at Cambridge University between 1994 and 1997. He initially studied natural sciences but transferred to law in 1995 (his second year) and graduated in law with first class honours.[8][9][10][11] He then returned to Sydney and studied medicine at Sydney Medical School.[9] Following a year of studying medicine, he began working as a public servant for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and completed a master's degree in International Relations through Deakin University.[8][4]

Sharma was one of seven Liberal MPs in the 46th Parliament of Australia who have obtained degrees at an Oxbridge or Ivy League university, the others being Alan Tudge, Angus Taylor, Andrew Laming, Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt and Paul Fletcher.[12]

Career[edit]

Sharma on peacekeeping duties in Bougainville.

Public sector[edit]

Sharma began working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1999[9] and held posts both in Australia and overseas. From 2004 to 2006 he served as the legal adviser to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and was then appointed to the Australian Embassy in Washington from 2006 until 2009.[2][3]

Sharma held appointments at the Australian High Commission to Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby, and as a senior civilian adviser with the Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville.[3]

Dave Sharma with then Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Dave Sharma appearing at Mount Scopus as the Australian Ambassador to Israel.

From 2010 to 2012 Sharma was the head of the International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He advised the Prime Minister Julia Gillard during G-20 summits (including as the Prime Minister's sous-sherpa) and East Asia summits and was involved in international diplomatic events which occurred in Australia including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 2011 and during US President Barack Obama's visit to Australia in November 2011.[2]

Sharma served as the Assistant Secretary, responsible[13] for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Africa Branch between 2012 and 2013.[3] In November 2012, Sharma led a visit to Abuja, Nigeria and participated in talks with the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser as well as with officials from the Economic Community of West African States.[14]

Sharma was appointed the Ambassador to Israel by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, on 16 May 2013[15][16] replacing Andrea Faulkner.[17] Sharma presented his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres on 8 August 2013.[18]

While in Israel, Sharma and his wife Rachel visited casualties of the Syrian civil war in the Ziv Medical Center in Zefat. This visit made him the first international representative to visit casualties of the war.[19]

In May 2014, Sharma caused a diplomatic incident by meeting with the Israeli Housing and Construction Minister, Uri Ariel, in Israeli government offices located in occupied East Jerusalem, resulting in a formal complaint from the chief Palestinian UN negotiator to Julie Bishop, the then Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, that the meeting may be deemed as "aiding and abetting … illegal Israeli policies". Australia rejected these complaints, saying the meeting did not alter its position regarding the status of Jerusalem and the need to resolve this through direct negotiations.[20]

In April 2017, Julie Bishop announced that Chris Cannan would succeed Sharma as Ambassador to Israel in mid-2017. Cannan began his appointment as Ambassador on 19 June 2017.[21][22]

Private sector[edit]

As of 2018 Sharma was chairman of Shekel Brainweigh Ltd, an Israeli technology company.[23] He was reported to be helping a number of other Israeli technology companies to enter the Australian market.[24]

Federal politics[edit]

2018 Wentworth by-election[edit]

Following the August 2018 resignation of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull,[25] Sharma was selected as the Liberal Party candidate for the resulting Wentworth by-election, defeating Prime Minister Scott Morrison's preferred candidate.[26][27]

Sharma contested the Wentworth by-election against a field of 15 other candidates with independent candidate Kerryn Phelps, a former City of Sydney Councillor and AMA President, widely regarded as Sharma's most serious competitor.[28]

Phelps would go on to win the Wentworth by-election with 51.22 % of the TCP vote, defeating Sharma after favourable preference flows.[29]

Sharma holding a press conference during the 2018 Wentworth by-election, surrounded by Stop Adani protesters

2019 election[edit]

Sharma was again pre-selected to run as the Liberal candidate for Wentworth at the 2019 Australian federal election,[30] and was successful in winning the seat from Phelps with 51.31% of the TCP vote.[31]

Sharma is a member of the Moderate/Modern Liberal faction of the Liberal Party.[32]

On 10 February 2020, Sharma moved a bipartisan motion in the House of Representatives with Labor MP Josh Burns calling for the immediate extradition of alleged pedophile Malka Leifer from Israel, having developed an interest in the case during his term as Australia's ambassador to Israel.[33] Australia had first issued an extradition request in 2014 after Leifer had fled to Israel in 2008 following allegations that she had raped and abused students while serving as Principal of the orthodox Adass Israel School. [34]Leifer's legal representatives argued that she was medically unfit to travel thereby delaying the extradition process for many years however in September 2020 the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Leifer was fit to stand trial. [35]Leifer was extradited to Australia on 25 January 2021.[36]

On International Women's Day 2021, Sharma was criticised for handing out flowers to women while the Morrison Government faced ongoing scrutiny over how it had handled allegations of rape and sexual misconduct by government ministers and staffers. The gesture was seen by some as "failing to read the room", and was held up as evidence of the government being out of touch on women's rights issues.[37]

On 26 October 2021, Prime Minister Morrison announced that the Australian Government would commit to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, effectively ending a decade long political impasse on the issue.[38][39] In the months leading up to this announcement, Sharma made several media appearances making the case for Australia to adopt a net-zero target.[40][41] Sharma was named in media reports as one of several moderates within the Liberal Party agitating for the Government to commit to a such target by 2050.[42]

On 10 February 2022, Sharma crossed the floor with four other Liberal MPs to include protection for transgender students in the government's modifications to the Sex Discrimination Act.[43]

2022 election[edit]

At the 2022 federal election Sharma faced an independent challenge from businesswoman Allegra Spender, who is part of a noteworthy family of politicians, and part of a broader movement of teal independents during this election. During the campaign Sharma dropped the Liberal party logo from his advertising and changed the colour scheme for some of his material from the traditional Liberal blue to teal, the colour being used by his opponent.[44]. Sharma lost the 2022 election to independent candidate Allegra Spender. Spender won decisively 54/46%.

Views[edit]

Sharma advocates for Australia to do more to mitigate global climate change.[45] He said the Liberal–National Coalition should have attempted to persuade Donald Trump to have the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement and that it should push other countries to meet their targets under the agreement.[46] In 2020, he opposed a government plan that would have provided federal funding to coal power plants.[47] Sharma opposed electric car mandates that he felt were too totalitarian or communist.[48]

Sharma encourages Australia to engage in "political warfare," such as disinformation campaigns, voting interference, and gathering military intelligence, in countries that pose a threat to Australia.[49] He used Israel's covert intelligence organization as an example, though he opposes the assassinations Israel's covert operations are known for.[49] He argues this form of statecraft is necessary due to similar efforts by other countries to interfere with Australia's elections and to spread propaganda in Australia.[49] Sharma started advocating for these tactics after the United States started targeting Russian politicians with negative campaigns in response to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[49]

Sharma said Australia needs to invest more in its military. He argues the influence the United States historically used to secure international peace is fading.[50] He wants Australia to increase the 2% of GDP it spends on its military.[51] The Financial Review described Sharma as a "realist" who believes in the inevitability of human conflict and the self-interested behaviour of nations.[51]

Sharma also wants Australia to secure more positions within UN agencies, as he says China and others have already done.[52] He said COVID-19 travel bans were an excessive burden on personal liberties,[53] and has argued for reform of the World Health Organization.[54] Sharma wrote a paper for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute encouraging the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to invest more in online diplomacy programs, saying their social media activity was largely canned posts.[55]

Sharma has also advocated for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip,[56] but said conflict is unlikely to end until Hamas stops firing rockets over the border.[53] Sharma supports gay marriage[45] and has said the Religious Discrimination Bill cannot be at the expense of gay rights.[57][58] In 2019, Sharma said an accused pedophile in the Israeli court system was making fraudulent claims of mental health issues to delay extradition to Australia.[59] He said Israel was too lenient in entertaining the accused pedophile's claims.[59] Sharma was involved in motions attempting to get her extradited to Australia.[59]

Personal life[edit]

Sharma is married to Rachel Lord, a lawyer and diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They have three daughters.[2]

In January 2020, former Labor MP Melissa Parke sued Sharma for defamation over an April 2019 tweet in which he accused her of anti-semitism and "trafficking in conspiracy theories". He made the comment after she had withdrawn from the 2019 federal election when her comments about Israel and Palestine were publicized.[60] In October 2020, the Federal Court dismissed Parke's defamation action against Sharma, but ruled that Sharma's earlier settlement offer should take effect, where each party would have to pay their own costs. Following this, Sharma reiterated his comment on Parke, and stated that it was "a victory for free speech".[61]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "It won't be a clash of dynasties for Wentworth". Brisbane Times. 26 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Dave Sharma: Australian Ambassador to Israel" (CV). Tel Aviv, Israel: Australian Embassy in Israel. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. June 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2012. Direct download Archived 16 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine (Word 2003)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ambassador to Israel". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian Government. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Australia's youngest Ambassador is of Indian Heritage". Indian Herald. Australia. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  5. ^ Clennell, Andrew; Caisley, Olivia (24 August 2018). "Locals send a message: stop the fighting and govern". The Australian. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  6. ^ Davies, Anne (25 September 2018). "Wentworth byelection: Dave Sharma and his battle to make voters forget Turnbull". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  7. ^ Murray, Oliver (23 May 2013). "Building ties and sharing knowledge Dave Sharma Australia's new ambassador to Israel". North Shore Times. North Shore Region, New South Wales: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Indian-origin Australian appointed envoy to Israel". The Times of India. India. 2 June 2013. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Bhandari, Neena (3 June 2015). "The 'novelty' of being an Australian diplomat of Indian heritage". The Indian Diaspora. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Our man in Tel Aviv". J-Wire. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Meet our man in Tel Aviv – progress report". J-Wire. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Pathways to Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  13. ^ Marles, Richard (30 October 2012). "Statements on Indulgence: Australia's Seat on the United Nations Security Council". Hansard. Canberra: Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Senior officials visit Abuja" (PDF). Aussie News. No. 5. Abuja: Australian High Commission in Nigeria. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. February 2013. p. 7. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  15. ^ Carr, Bob (16 May 2013). "Ambassador to Israel" (Press release). Australian Government. Archived from the original on 11 February 2014.
  16. ^ Herb, Keinon (16 May 2013). "Diplomat Dave Sharma named as new Aussie envoy". The Jerusalem Post. Jerusalem, Israel. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Australia appoints new ambassador to Israel". J-Wire. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Getting to know you..." J-Wire. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Australian ambassador visits Syrian patients in Israeli hospital". J-Wire. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  20. ^ Daniel Flitton (17 May 2014). "Bishop rebuked over envoy's East Jerusalem visit". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Ambassador to Israel" (Press release). Australian Government. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  22. ^ @@AusAmbIsrael (19 June 2017). "Our new ambassador, Chris Cannan, has hit the ground running" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Shekel Brainweigh". OnMarket. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  24. ^ Redrup, Yolanda (19 November 2018). "Dave Sharma's Shekel Brainweigh readies to list despite listed tech declines". Australian Financial Review. No. 19 November 2018. Fairfax Network. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  25. ^ Mizen, Ronald; Patrick, Aaron (31 August 2018). "Malcolm Turnbull formally resigns, forces byelection". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Dave Sharma wins Liberal preselection to stand in seat vacated by Malcolm Turnbull". The Guardian. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  27. ^ Smith, Alexandra (13 September 2018). "Morrison overruled as Sharma wins Wentworth preselection". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  28. ^ "2018 Wentworth by-election - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  29. ^ scheme=AGLSTERMS. AglsAgent; corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra. "House of Representatives division information". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 4 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (1 December 2018). "Dave Sharma to run for Wentworth as polls predict setback for Coalition in NSW". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  31. ^ scheme=AGLSTERMS. AglsAgent; corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra. "House of Representatives division information". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 4 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ Massola, James. "Who's who in the Liberals' left, right and centre factions?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Liberal and Labor MPs unite to call for Malka Leifer to be extradited". SBS News. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Liberal and Labor MPs unite to call for Malka Leifer to be extradited". SBS News. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  35. ^ "Israel's Supreme Court rejects Malka Leifer's appeal against Australian extradition". ABC News. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  36. ^ "Malka Leifer departs Israel for Australia to face 74 counts of child sexual abuse in Victoria". The Guardian. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  37. ^ "Liberal MP Dave Sharma marks International Women's Day by giving flowers to female commuters". The Guardian. 8 March 2021. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  38. ^ Packham, Colin (26 October 2021). "Australia adopts target of net zero emissions by 2050 but won't legislate goal". Reuters. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  39. ^ "Australia commits to 2050 net zero emissions plan but with no detail and no modelling". The Guardian. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  40. ^ "Liberal MP Dave Sharma claims climate wars are coming to an end". ABC Radio National. 19 October 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  41. ^ Macdonald, Emily (21 October 2021). "Dave Sharma: lock in net zero 2050 emissions before Glasgow". Daily Telegraph.
  42. ^ Crowe, David (28 October 2021). "Secret Liberal group pushed for net zero to halt the Nationals". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  43. ^ Evans, Jake (10 February 2022). "The government lost a dramatic showdown on religious discrimination laws overnight. So what happened?". ABC.
  44. ^ "'I've always been on the blue spectrum': Dave Sharma denies mimicking independent rival's colour scheme". the Guardian. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  45. ^ a b Davies, Anne (25 September 2018). "Wentworth byelection: Dave Sharma and his battle to make voters forget Turnbull". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  46. ^ Koziol, Michael (25 February 2019). "'We should be doing more': Liberal candidate Dave Sharma breaks ranks on climate change". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  47. ^ Murphy, Katharine (10 February 2020). "Two moderate Liberal MPs say government should not back new coal plants". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  48. ^ Koziol, Michael (8 April 2019). "Labor's electric car policy likened to pink batts fiasco by Liberal MPs Dave Sharma, Tim Wilson". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  49. ^ a b c d "Political warfare: call to arms". The Australian. 30 December 2019. p. 1.
  50. ^ Lawson, Kirsten (25 July 2019). "Australia must carve its own way without US". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  51. ^ a b Patrick, Aaron (31 May 2019). "The man filling Malcolm Turnbull's shoes". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  52. ^ Hurst, Daniel (28 April 2020). "Quitting UN bodies would harm Australia's interests, Liberal MP Dave Sharma warns". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  53. ^ a b Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (15 August 2020). "Coronavirus Australia: ABF denies three out of four leave requests". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  54. ^ "WHO in need of reform: Sharma". The Australian. 17 April 2020. p. 3.
  55. ^ Dziedzic, Stephen (17 April 2019). "DFAT 'struggling' with digital diplomacy, former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma says". ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  56. ^ "GRAPEVINE: The extraordinary long arm of coincidence". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  57. ^ "Religious Discrimination Bill Cannot Be At The Cost Of LGBT Rights, Says Liberal MP Dave Sharma". Star Observer. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  58. ^ Koziol, Michael (15 October 2018). "Scott Morrison slammed by Liberal Wentworth candidate Dave Sharma over religious freedom laws". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  59. ^ a b c Davis, Rebecca (20 February 2020). "Federal MPs plea: Extradite Leifer". The Australian Jewish News. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  60. ^ Witbourn, Michaela. "Former Labor MP sues Liberal MP Dave Sharma for defamation over tweet". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  61. ^ Zlatkis, Evan. "Parke defamation action against Sharma dropped". The Australian Jewish News. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Australian Ambassador to Israel
2013–2017
Succeeded by
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Wentworth
2019–present
Incumbent