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Allegra Spender to ‘champion’ priorities of Wentworth LGBTI community

Candidate for the upcoming federal election Allegra Spender has said she will champion the values of the LGBTI community if she is elected. Photo: Facebook.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

Independent candidate for the seat of Wentworth Allegra Spender has promised to champion the values of the LGBTI community if she is elected at next month’s federal election. 

Ms Spender, the daughter of former Liberal politician John Spender and fashion designer and businesswoman Carla Zampatti, told City Hub that she has been “aghast at some of the recent talks about the LGBTI community in the last election cycle”, and hopes to take those issues of the electorate to the nation’s capital. 

The seat of Wentworth, which includes much of the eastern suburbs and stretches as west as Oxford Street, has been in a state of flux since former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull abruptly left politics following the Liberal Party’s leadership spill in 2018. An ensuing by-election saw the seat passed to Independent Kerryn Phelps, who then lost out to the Liberal challenger and incumbent Dave Sharma at the 2019 federal election. 

Religious discrimination bill ‘not really representative’ of Wentworth, says Spender

What was once considered an extremely safe Liberal seat, Wentworth is now seemingly up for grabs. Ms Spender thinks that the “unsettledness” can be traced back to Canberra, where she believes the “values of Wentworth are not being reflected”.

“I think some things like the religious discrimination bill are not really representative of the values of Wentworth, or the religious communities of Wentworth … so I think those things mean that people in Wentworth don’t feel represented,” Ms Spender said. 

Dave Sharma ‘not able to or be effective in’ driving Wentworth agenda 

Dave Sharma. Photo: Howard Moffat.

When asked if she thought Mr Sharma held the values of the electorate, Ms Spender responded with a two-pronged answer: yes in some areas, but not in others. 

She cites his actions on the contentious religious discrimination bill when, earlier this year, he went against his party to join Labor and crossbenchers to back amendments that would strengthen protections for gay and transgender students at religious schools. But she also points to other facets, including the environment, where “he’s not able to or be effective in driving this agenda in parliament”. 

Having lived in the Wentworth area her whole life (except for when she lived overseas), Ms Spender calls the LGBTI community a “really important part of Wentworth … one that I’ve grown up with and alongside, and a community that needs enormous support”. 

“For me, it’s really … how we make sure the community is supported and feels that the government is reflecting their most important needs, that may be around mental health, that may be around issues in terms of equality, access to services against discrimination, so those are issues that I will be championing.” 

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