Devanand Sharma, who failed twice to enter federal parliament during the federal elections has been voted in by the Liberal Party members on Sunday 26 November 2023 to fill the vacancy left by Marise Payne’s NSW Senate seat in the federal senate.
Mr Sharma defeated the favourite Mr Andrew Constance 251-206 in the final ballot. Other candidates contesting the preselection included Pallavi Sinha, Monica Tudehope, James Brown, Nim Rutnam, Lou Amato, Zed Seselja and Jess Collins.
Mr Dave Sharma is a former MP serving for a couple of years from May 2019 to May 2022 elected to the federal parliament from the electorate of Wentworth that has a large Jewish population and has been accused of being a divisive figure with a long track record of supporting pro-Israel policies and most recently for justifying Israeli war crimes being committed in Gaza.
He has been strongly supportive of Israel in his many media appearances since the 7 October attack. He has supported the ongoing revenge Israeli onslaught on Palestinians where Israel has reduced the Gaza Strip to a rubble with over 20,000 killed almost half of them children and women, tens of thousands injured and almost two million displaced saying, “Israel exercising self-defence does not make it guilty of war crimes.”
A former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma has recently been criticised for his comments at ABC Q&A aired on Monday 13 November where he passionately raised the issue of anti-Semitism while completely ignoring Islamophobia in Australia.
Son after his win and not yet being sworn in he promptly proposed that the ABC and Australian Universities be required to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, that means any criticism of Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights and atrocities committed by Israel will be labelled antisemitic.
There were a number of other worthy candidates for the preselection including lawyer Pallavi Sinha with a long track record of working for social cohesion and an inclusive multicultural Australia.
Pallavi, who has been a long time member of the Liberal party, was given number 12 spot in the NSW Parliament Upper House elections in 2019. She managed to get the second highest personal votes in the Liberal party in the Upper House elections at that spot.
She has more than 20 years experience in leadership positions and is Co-Chair Liberal Party Friends of India. She has previously been Vice-President of Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and has experience in developing relationships with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Pallavi has significant experience in domestic and family violence advocacy and is an Appointed Supporter of the Joint Federal and State Government campaign to stop Domestic or family violence (DV).
Currently Liberal Party holds power only in Tasmania mainly as young voters are flocking to Labor and more recently to Greens for their stand on social justice, gender balance, ethnic diversity and global peace.
The Liberals own review of the 2022 Federal election stated “To successfully win seats, the Party must reflect modern Australia. It is therefore important the Party, as a priority, has a greater gender and ethnic diversity in pre-selection candidates.”