The Liberal Party has chosen an Indian-origin former diplomat turned businessman, Devanand Sharma aka Dave Sharma as the preferred candidate to stand in the Wentworth by-election, triggered by former Prime Minister Malcolm’s resignation from parliament.
The son of an Indian migrant, who is a partner at a leading accountancy firm where he heads the government relations team, David Sharma beat seven candidates on Thursday night to stand in the by-election.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted to congratulate Mr Sharma, calling him “a quality guy with extensive experience and capability”.
Other MPs and former politicians soon followed to congratulate Mr Sharma on his pre-selection.
Who is Dave Sharma?
The former ambassador to Israel and once Australia’s youngest diplomat, Sharma currently resides on Sydney’s north shore.
Sharma has good knowledge of Israel which is being seen as an electoral plus within Wentworth, which is the centre of the Jewish community in Sydney.
He has also worked as a staffer for former foreign minister Alexander Downer and was the head of the International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2010 to 2012.
Sharma is of Indian heritage and was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada in 1975. His family moved to Parramatta, New South Wales, in 1979.
His grandfather was a Brahmin priest from UP in India who moved to Trinidad in 1908. His father met his mother, who was from Sydney, in the United Kingdom.
The family later moved to Canada before coming to Australia.
“I was born in Vancouver and moved to Parramatta in Sydney Australia in 1979. At that time we were the only Sharma’s in the whole of white pages of Australia. I grew up in Sydney but remain in close touch with the Indian side of my family,” he told the Indian Herald.
Sharma is married to Rachel Lord, a trained lawyer and diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the couple have three daughters.
The 42-year-old faces a tough by-election battle, with early polling indicating a big swing against the Liberals after the leadership spill.