Dave Sharma makes his maiden speech

July 26, 2019 by Roz Tarszisz
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In his maiden speech to Federal Parliament, Dave Sharma, Member for Wentworth paid tribute to the ideals which make Australia a place where diligence and hard work can be recognized, with a person’s background no impediment to success…and expressed his admiration for Israel where he served as Australia’s ambassador.

Dave Sharma delivers his maiden speech

“I am honoured to be here representing the electorate of Wentworth, one of the most diverse electorates of any in the country a place of breathtaking beauty, and the home to many Australian icons: from the lapping waves of Watson’s Bay to the roaring surf of Bondi Beach; from the test match crowds at the SCG to the glitz and colour of Oxford Street.

Wentworth’s wealth is more cultural than material, woven from the waves of migrants – Jews, Greeks, Russians, South Africans – who have found sanctuary and a home there, and a tolerance that finds further expression in a large and vibrant gay community.

Briefly outlining his long career abroad with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he talked about his time as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel.

“My four years in that role left me with a high degree of admiration and respect for the state of Israel and the Jewish people, and all they have achieved under tremendously trying circumstances. It also gave me a deep affection for the Australian Jewish community, which has made an outsized contribution to all spheres of Australian life, and the nation we are today” he said.

“I am not native to Wentworth. Indeed, I am not native to Australia. But in the best traditions of many before me, my family and I have made it our home. I wish to thank the people of Wentworth deeply for the trust they have placed in me” he said.

Rebbetzin Laya and Rabbi Dovid Slavin with Dave Sharma in Canberra

Sharma went on to say that he is certain that, as he did, to go within one generation from an immigrant with an Indian background to an ambassador for Australia and now a member of federal parliament is testament that everyone is given the chance to get ahead and that there are opportunities for all, no matter what their background, religion, circumstances or postcode.

“I am conscious that many of my colleagues here leave this place and go on to become ambassadors. I seem to be undertaking the journey in reverse. Perhaps they know something I don’t. Perhaps I know something they don’t. Regardless, I hope my transition to parliamentary life is as seamless as theirs to diplomatic life” he said.

While acknowledging the strong nation that Australia has become, he warned against a complacency that world order would remain the same.

“The dependence of our modern economy and modern society on digital

Canberra’s Rabbi Shmueli Feldman and Dave Sharma after the speech

and communications platforms means that foreign actors have many more tools at their disposal to disrupt or attack Australia from afar.

“The changing nature of statecraft too, with blurred divisions between war and peace, and the growing use of “active measures” and grey-zone operations, makes an open and free society like Australia especially vulnerable.

“Our neighbourhood is getting tougher; the certainties on which we’ve depended for decades are no longer so certain; and we will need to rely more on ourselves, and less on others, in safeguarding our freedoms and our independence” he said.

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