Dave Sharma to take vacant NSW Senate seat

James Riley
Editorial Director

The former Member for Wentworth Dave Sharma has won the Senate seat left vacant through the retirement of former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.

Mr Sharma is well known to the tech industry in Australia and well acquainted with ecosystem and industry development issues.

As the local MP in the Sydney eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth, Mr Sharma represented arguably the most tech startup and venture capital intensive seat in the federal Parliament between 2019 and 2022.

And as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel between 2013 and 2017, Mr Sharma gained direct experience of an economy that has become a global centre for startup entrepreneurialism and has been a leader in government policy that supports the innovation ecosystem.

Dave Sharma: Will add a tech-savvy voice into the Senate

Most recently, he has been a partner at investment outfit SWG Capital and a board member at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

Mr Sharma on Sunday beat the former NSW minister Andrew Constance in a final ballot of the NSW branch of the Liberal Party.

The run-off for the vacant seat had attracted a crowded field of candidates, including former ACT senator Zed Seselja – who lost his seat to David Pocock at the last election.

Deputy Opposition leader Sussan Ley – who is the shadow minister for industry, skills and training – welcomed Mr Sharma’s return to the Parliament, saying his experience as a both a former MP and a former senior diplomat would bring a “unique perspective” to the Senate.

“Dave’s keen foreign policy intellect will be particularly welcome given we are in the most dangerous set of geopolitical circumstances since the Second World War,” Ms Ley said.

“Over the past 20 years, Dave has sat in the Oval Office with American presidents, helped to broker international peace agreements and has first-hand experience on-the-ground in Israel as a former Ambassador – all vital experiences which put him in good stead to make a lofty contribution as a Senator for New South Wales,” she said.

Like Marise Payne whose senate seat he will fill, Dave Sharma is a moderate in the Liberal Party. Over the past six weeks he has voiced strong public support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks on October 7.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Dave Sharma would “speak with moral courage and provide moral clarity as we grapple with unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism on our own shores” since the attacks.

“His diplomatic and foreign policy expertise and experience 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,” he said.

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