A chat with Dave Sharma

September 20, 2018 by Henry Benjamin
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The former Australian ambassador to Israel will contest the Sydney electorate of Wentworth for the Liberal party vacated by the resignation if Malcolm Turnbull.

Dave Sharma

The seat has been been held since the Liberals since it was created in 1944.

Canadian-born Dave Sharma was Australia’s ambassador to Israel between 2013 and 2017. The former diplomat was four years old when the Sharma family moved to Sydney from Vancouver.

The battle for Wentworth will take place on October 20 and Dave Sharma remains odds-on favourite at betting site Betfair ahead of Labor and Independents.

Dave Sharma took time from his busy schedule to talk to J-Wire.

JW:  How are things Dave?

DS:  I have been out of the campaign trail. I was at Bondi Junction train station this morning and other commuter stops in the morning and out and about in the afternoons.

JW: You were Australia’s ambassador in Israel, you met many members of Australia’s Jewish community. Will winning Wentworth be a plus for the community nationwide in having a member of parliament who has a hands-on understanding of the problems in the Middle-East?

DS: I think so. I do have close ties and friendships with members of the Jewish community in Melbourne and Perth and all around Australia. My time in Israel and my links to the Jewish community have given me a very good understanding and a sympathy for the challenges Israel faces but also a good understanding of the Jewish community in Australia…what it has contributed to Australia but also the challenges and priorities it faces. Obviously the Jewish community is a major part of Wentworth but I am focused in getting all the constituents and voters in Wentworth and understanding all the local community issues and priorities and to learn what they want see in a local member. But for the Jewish community having someone on Canberra who understands the politics in the Middle East and having sympathy for Israel and know its priorities  would be good thing.

JW:  The Sydney Morning Herald published that the Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Levi Wolff is a Sharma supporter. There are over 20 congregations with Wentworth. Do you have a message to any of them who may believe they not be the most uppermost in your mind.

DS:  Levi Wolff knows me well and he provided a character reference for me and I do know the Central well having gone there during my time as ambassador and visiting Orie Minister Netanyahu visited last year in February. But I have been to other shules in the Eastern Suburbs and there are important synagogues in the community. As the representative for Wentworth, I would be accessible to all of them and to engage with their communities. Now that Yom Kippur is over, I intend to attend Shabbat services in some of them.  Anyone who wants to extend an invitation I we only too willing to accept.

JW: Has there been any indication from any organisations that security has to improved?

DS: I am listening to whoever talks to me about this. In the past the security of the schools, synagogues and community venues has been important issue in the past and Malcolm Turnbull had provided funds for various initiatives. Both the federal and state governments need to work together and I would play my role to make sure the Jewish community is kept safe.

JW:  During your time in Israel we imagine you were involved in some issues which made world news. Will these experiences will contribute to your political skills as opposed to those involving diplomacy.

DS: Diplomacy is all about representing Australia overseas, looking after and safeguarding Australians and Australian interests. I had to deal with a civil war in Papua New Guinea and when I served in Washington monitoring Australians following 9/11. I will bring these same skills to looking after the people of Wentworth. It is not a dissimilar skillset. I will make sure to be a forceful advocate and champion to them.

Dave Sharma told J-Wire he picked up his keys for his new residence in the Eastern Suburbs yesterday and will move in to the electorate over the weekend.


2 Responses to “A chat with Dave Sharma”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Independent Dr K Phelps said today her HTV card will put the Liberal candidate ahead of Labor. I good tactical decision as Wentworth is a blue ribbon Liberal seat however there could be a protest vote by some Liberals over the recent chaos in Canberra and the removal of Mr M Turnbull as PM. The protest could see Dr Phelps with a vote 1 with the Liberal ending up with her vote on preference distribution if she is not elected.

  2. Phillip Walker says:

    In the interview Dave says, “I had to deal with a civil war in Papua New Guinea and in Washington following 9/11.” I am curious which civil wars he is referring to. I do not recall a civil war in Washington in 2001. The Bougainville conflict in PNG resulted a Peace Agreement in 1998; in fact, in my role at the time as Red Cross Pacific Manger I closed down Bougainville operations in December 2001. If Dave could clarify it would be appreciated.

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