Labor emulates Liberals with consultant ‘captain's pick’ in Sydney

27 March 2022 2 min. read
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Following the uproar over Liberal’s move to bypass preselection in favour of PwC consultant Alex Dore in the NSW seat of Hughes, Labor has followed suit with a consultant candidate of its own.

Evidently inspired by the ongoing schmozzle created by Federal Liberal’s attempt to parachute PwC consultant and Manly resident Alex Dore into the working class NSW electorate of Hughes, Labor has now pulled the same stunt with Accenture managing director Andrew Charlton in the Western Sydney seat of Parramatta, one of the nation’s most diverse – with predictably the same result; outrage among local branch members.

Amid NSW Liberal factional-infighting over pre-selections, the party’s federal executive in January attempted to use its powers of intervention to place its preferred candidates, or ‘captain’s picks’, in eight primary seats, including forwarding Dore – a former Young Liberal president and the nephew of the Australian’s editor-in-chief – in Hughes.

Alex Dore and Andrew Charlton

The whole saga is now set to play out in NSW Supreme Court following backlash from within the local party.

Presently an associate director, Dore has been with PwC’s management consulting division since 2015, crossing after a stint as a ministerial policy advisor to the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. According to his professional bio, Dore focuses on advising the skills and health sectors, with functional experience in strategy, business case development, public policy analysis, project management, and, ironically, process improvement.

Now, the federal branch of Labor has kicked up a similar stink just days out from an election campaign, by proposing to plonk Accenture managing director and former Rudd advisor Andrew Charlton into the multicultural seat of Parramatta, a move potential local candidate and union lawyer Abha Devasia described as tone-deaf and wilfully disrespectful to the community on account of Charlton being a “white millionaire man from the Eastern suburbs.”

Charlton, a regular columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, joined Accenture in 2020 upon its acquisition of his co-founded economic strategy consultancy AlphaBeta, some of the proceeds of which he was reported to have shortly after put towards a $16 million property in the affluent harbourside suburb of Bellevue Hill. Last year, he was promoted to the role of Sustainability Services Lead for Accenture’s Growth Markets division.

While denying reports she was interested in contesting the seat herself, former state Labor candidate Charishma Kaliyanda told the ABC that it was important to consider whether the eventual pick was reflective of the diversity in the area, with people from Chinese, Indian and Lebanese making up one third of the electorate alone.

“What the boardrooms of Accenture need may be different to what the community of Parramatta needs,” Kaliyanda contested.