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‘A referendum on the government’: Dave Sharma on the battle ahead in Wentworth’s by-election

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D-Day at the ballot box is approaching for those in the Wentworth electorate, with voters set to descend on the by-election polls come October 20.

After the leadership insurgency and coup that saw Malcolm Turnbull ousted from his Prime Ministerial position, Turnbull resigned from his post as the member for Wentworth, opening the gates for what could be a power shifting by-election.

Though the blue ribbon eastern suburbs seat has never not been held by the Liberal Party, some polling suggests they’re on the back foot, trailing on 47 to Labor’s 53, after preferences.

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma concedes it will be a tight, high-stakes contest.

“We know there’s some unhappiness within the electorate about the leadership turmoil in Canberra,” he tells Michael McLaren.

“We need to repair that, put it behind us and look towards the future. A lot hinges on this by-election. It’s not just working out who the member for Wentworth is. It will also be will the government remain a majority government in Canberra?”

“It certainly has national consequences and repercussions.”

After a marathon pre-selection battle that saw Morrison’s call for a female candidate overlooked, Sharma says the push for gender quotas is misguided. Wentworth should not be a proxy to fight the Liberal’s so-called “women problem.”

“I think the Liberal Party does need to do a lot better in terms of female representatives. We need to focus on the issues systemically. It’s not going to be about a particular candidate in a particular seat. We should always choose the best candidate on merit.”

“I don’t agree with quotas. I think they’re insulting to whichever group is being privileged and advantaged. It introduces a lot of distortions.”

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