Allegra Spender, the daughter of Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti, will vie to win the seat of Wentworth at the federal election from sitting Liberal MP Dave Sharma.
Spender, whose father John held the federal seat of North Sydney for the Liberal party from 1980 to 1990, said the party’s lack of action on climate change had forced her to carve her own path.
“I can’t stand by while our children’s futures, our jobs, and our prosperity are threatened by a government that’s out of touch on climate, out of its league in the new economy, and out of step with the rest of the world,” Spender said.
Spender studied at Cambridge University and Harvard Business School before going on to become managing director of Zampatti’s fashion label.
She has since served as chair of the Sydney Renewable Power Company and helmed educational disadvantage charity the Australian Business and Community Network.
Sharma holds the electorate on a slim margin of 1.3% after winning it back from another high profile independent, Kerryn Phelps, at the 2019 election.
Spender told Nine newspapers her bid to oust him was “nothing personal”.
“It’s really about what he stands for,” she said. “He says he is a moderate but he votes with Barnaby Joyce.
“He hasn’t been effective in driving the agenda for Wentworth … Both from a climate point of view and an economic point of view, this is an urgent issue, and it’s the next 10 years that’s really important.
“It’s an environmental crisis and an economic opportunity.”
Spender wants to see Australia adopt a 2030 emissions reduction target of 50% or more.
She will also campaign for an independent federal anti-corruption commission and a second public high school in the electorate. Spender’s campaign will officially be launched on 27 November.
The electorate is the second smallest in the country but is the richest and has been held by a bevy of high-ranking politicians, including former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, a family friend of Spender.
The seat has been a safe non-Labor seat since Federation and has elected only one non-Liberal since the party was formed in 1944.
In a 2018 byelection triggered when Turnbull was ousted as prime minister and quit politics, Phelps narrowly beat Sharma.