I’m Allegra Spender. I’m a local business leader, renewable energy advocate and now, the independent Federal Member of Parliament for the Wentworth Electorate.
My dad’s family has been in Wentworth for generations and growing up here was incredible – swimming in the ocean, doing the Bondi to Bronte walk, cycling around Centennial Park, going to the local restaurants and cafes – and all at the doorstep of the inner city. That’s why I am raising my kids here and am so passionate that we give our kids the quality of life and opportunities that I had.
I went to school locally at Ascham, and after that, I obtained an Economics degree from Cambridge University, an MSc from the University of London, and completed business courses at Harvard and Dartmouth College.
I’m passionate about using my business skills and experience to help others.
Starting my career as a business analyst at McKinsey gave me exposure to a wide range of industries and business strategy. I then worked in the UK Treasury as a policy analyst. More recently, I was the Managing Director at Carla Zampatti Pty Ltd, my family’s fashion label.
I was also the chair of the Sydney Renewable Power Company, an environmental impact investment company, that funded the installation of the largest CBD solar array in Australia at the time. Then, as CEO of the Australian Business and Community Network, I worked to address educational disadvantage by partnering with leading Australian businesses.
As a business leader I believe in integrity, innovation and hard work. My promise to you is that I am bringing these qualities to Canberra and working tirelessly to advocate for families, young people and local business.
It's been an exhilarating time learning the ropes at Parliament, building my wonderful team of staff and volunteers, and making progress on some of the key policies I campaigned on. Elsewhere on this website you'll see lots of details. But some of the highlight achievements that I'm pleased with so far include:
Voting for the passage of the Government's Climate Action Bill, which enshrines a minimum 43% in carbon reduction by 2030, and which includes several amendments I put forward to strengthen the bill.
Voting for the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill, delivering the long-awaited and much needed opportunity to increase integrity in politics. Again, I was pleased to lobby successfully for several improvements to the Bill.
Providing assistance via my team to over 2,000 Wentworth residents to date on a wide range of issues.
Bringing high transparency and openness by numerous activities in the Wentworth Community, including Politics in the Pub, Listening Posts throughout the electorate, regular newsletters and frequent surveys so I can hear your thoughts.
Creating with my team including wonderful volunteers the first ever Wentworth Climate Summit - highlighting the ways we can make an impact right here in Wentworth.
There's much more to do, and I'd be pleased if you find a way to join in. Please check out the opportunities to Get Involved.
Independents have the ability to have a significant impact on the running of government by advocating, drafting legislation and voting. Since you elected me, I have been using each of these avenues to drive the priorities of the Wentworth community.
Already, you can see that independents can keep issues on the agenda that major parties want to ignore. Issues such as integrity, political donations and long-term tax reform are issues that members of the Wentworth communities raise with me, but which neither party seemed to want to take appropriate action on.
Now, I've added my efforts to the work of earlier independents such as Cathy McGowan and Helen Haines who championed major integrity reforms, such as the institution of the Parliamentary Budget Office, and the drafting of a widely-supported legislation on a Federal Integrity Commission. Now that the new Labor government has chosen to present the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill, I have worked with other crossbench MPs to strengthen that Bill with important amendments. That's a clear indication of how independent MPs can keep important issues live in Parliament and enhance and improve laws, even when we don't hold the balance of power.
Independents can propose important legislation and make amendments to improve our laws. In similar manner, I have been able to achieve vital improvements to the Climate Action Bill. I've had the privilege of working with other independents, in particular Zali Steggall, to push the government to make meaningful changes that will protect against future dilution or lowering of targets.
In my campaign, I committed to these policies and I'm pleased with how much has been achieved already.
Finally, independents can vote with their communities. Since I was elected, I have voted for every item of proposed legislation on its merits, consulting with the Wentworth community, not a party.
I feel confident to say that I am using my voice and representative responsibilities to work with the government of the day - and indeed with opposition politicians, too - to make legislation better, and bring the priorities of my community to parliament. I do not oppose things for the sake of political points. I spent the last 12 years running organisations and am now bringing the constructive attitude I had there into the role. I'm a representative in Parliament who listens and does not just talk. My goal is to bring our community together rather than push them apart.
One of the most important roles of independents is as a local member. Together with my team of staff and volunteers I am working with members of the community on key issues to them, such as immigration, navigation of government services, applications for grants etc. and I seek access and engagement from government on issues important to the community. I'm fulfilling my commitment to holding community forums about important issues, setting up community reference groups, and bringing our community to Canberra.
Thank you for placing your trust in me. I appreciate it. And I am keen to hear your thoughts and ideas about how my team and I can continue to contribute to good outcomes for Wentworth and the country.