“The real reason is the environment,” Spender said of her decision to enter politics. “From a climate point of view and an economic point of view, this is an urgent issue, and the next 10 years are really important. It is an environmental crisis and an economic opportunity.”
Spender said Australia should adopt a target for 2030 emissions cuts of 50 percent or more.
“Without that, investment will go elsewhere and innovation will go elsewhere, which is a huge loss for this country.”
Ms Spender says her run is “nothing personal against Dev Sharma”, the current Liberal member.
“It’s really about what he stands for. He says he’s moderate, but he voted with Barnaby Joyce.
“He was not instrumental in driving Wentworth’s agenda.”
Wentworth is Australia’s wealthiest voter, but it is socially progressive, with a high proportion of gay and lesbian voters. Sharma has held the seat since 2019 by a slim margin of 1.3 percent.
Spender’s resume includes her tenure as a consultant at McKinsey in London, work on social projects in Kenya, and nearly a decade as managing director of her mother’s business.
Most recently, she served as president of the Sydney Renewable Power Company, which drafted a successful investment proposal to place solar panels at the newly built International Convention Center.
Since 2017, Ms Spender has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Business/Philanthropy Schools Network for Business and Society.
A few months ago, she was approached by Lindell Droga, the wife of private equity financier Daniel Droga, to run it.
The couple are founding members of the activist group Wentworth Independents, along with other names in the eastern suburbs such as company director and business consultant Maria Atkinson and attorney Michael Joseph.
Another key member is Blair Bales, a Wentworth resident who founded the 350.org group, which aims to stop all new fossil fuel extraction.
Wentworth Independents says it has raised more than $300,000 even without announcing a candidate. The group has more than 1,000 supporters and has interviewed about 20 potential candidates.
Like other grassroots, independent groups, they have received the support of “harmonizing funding” from Climate 200, a nonprofit group led by clean energy analyst and investor Simon Holmes a Court.
“Allegra has a strong head of business, but she also has a desire to see climate action like we do, and take action on government integrity like we do,” Droga says.
“If you look at Dave Sharma’s voting record, his actions don’t match his words. He might say he cares about climate issues, but he has become ineffective because of the power of citizens.”
Wentworth (and its former seat) has been largely in the hands of the Liberals since the 1940s.
In 2018, high-profile independent Keren Phelps narrowly won the seat against Sharma in the by-election launched when Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister and left politics.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the most interesting daily news, analysis and insights. Register here.