|Member of the Australian Parliament|
|Assumed office |
28 July 2018
2 July 2016 – 11 May 2018
|Preceded by||Jamie Briggs|
Rebekha Carina Che
24 August 1972
Torbay, England, United Kingdom
|Political party||Nick Xenophon Team / Centre Alliance (2013–present)|
|Residence||Birdwood, South Australia|
|Alma mater||Flinders University|
(Liberal Party of Australia)
(Department for Communities and Social Inclusion)
Rebekha Carina Che Sharkie (born 24 August 1972) is an Australian politician. She is a member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of Mayo in South Australia. At the 2016 federal election she defeated Liberal Jamie Briggs, and was the first Nick Xenophon Team member to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives. On 11 May 2018, Sharkie resigned from the House of Representatives as a part of the 2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis. She contested the 2018 Mayo by-election on 28 July, and was returned to parliament.
Early life and education
Sharkie was born in Torbay, England in 1972 to British and American parents. The family moved to Australia when Sharkie was two years old. She studied international relations and public policy at Flinders University. Sharkie became a naturalised Australian on 19 March 2007, and formally renounced her British citizenship in 2016.
As a university student, Sharkie had handed out how-to-vote cards for Australian Democrats Janine Haines. In 2006, she worked as a researcher for then-South Australian Liberal opposition leader Isobel Redmond. In 2008, she worked as an electorate officer for Briggs for six months. She has also worked for South Australian state Liberal MP Rachel Sanderson.
Although she had worked for Liberals for some time, Sharkie did not formally join the party until 2010. She left it in 2012 when she was appointed the national Executive Officer Youth Connections. When that program was defunded by the Liberal government at the end of 2014, she became Senior Manager and Head of Donor relations at Helping Young People Achieve (HYPA) a NFP that assists young disadvantaged people in South Australia.
Sharkie considered running for the Liberals in the 2014 state election in the safe seat of Schubert, only to be told that she needed the blessing of federal minister Christopher Pyne and federal senator Cory Bernardi, the highest-ranking federal MPs from the moderate and conservative factions of the SA Liberals, before seeking preselection. Sharkie told The Australian that when she learned she couldn't stand without the "anointing" of Pyne and Bernardi, she was appalled. She asked, "Are you serious? A branch doesn't choose?" Combined with her anger at the "ditch the witch" campaign against Julia Gillard, she was thus very receptive when then-independent Senator Nick Xenophon announced he was forming his own party to stand candidates in the upcoming federal election. Initially serving as a volunteer for the newly-formed Nick Xenophon Team, she ultimately agreed to stand in Mayo. Although Mayo had been a very safe Liberal seat for most of its existence, polling suggested that if Labor directed its preferences to Sharkie, she could take the seat off the Liberals.
In the 2 July 2016 election, Sharkie defeated her former boss, Briggs, 55% to 45% in the two-party-preferred vote. On the first count, she finished only three percent behind Briggs, who lost over 16 percent of his primary vote from 2013. This allowed her to ultimately defeat Briggs on Labor preferences.
She became the first NXT member of the Australian House of Representatives, joining a cross-bench of five members not aligned to either major party. She is the first woman and the first non-Liberal member to represent Mayo.
On 9 May 2018, Sharkie announced her resignation from the House of Representatives following the High Court of Australia ruling that Senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible to contest the 2016 election as a consequence of the 2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis. Like Gallagher, Sharkie had failed to complete renunciation of her British citizenship before nomination in the 2016 federal election. She contested the 2018 Mayo by-election on 28 July, and was returned to parliament with a swing in her favour.
Sharkie successfully defended her Mayo seat in the May 2019 federal election winning her seat with a two party preferred vote of 55.14%, up 2.22% on the previous election.
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- Dye, Josh (2 July 2016). "Australian federal election 2016: the crossbenchers likely to swing a hung Parliament". Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- Brooks, Emily (2 July 2016). "NXT Candidate Rebekha Sharkie Wins Mayo, Knocks Off Briggs". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- scheme=AGLSTERMS. AglsAgent; corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra. "House of Representatives division information". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 June 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Griffiths, Luke (25 July 2018). "Ex-husband denies threatening to contact Libs over Rebekha Sharkie". The Australian.
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Mayo