The New York Daily Paper
Today's News Headlines, Breaking News & Latest News from US and World, News from Politics, Sports, Business, Arts and Entertainment.

Allegra Spender: Teal MP on leaving mum's millions behind for politics and keeping kids grounded

0

Allegra Spender, 44, walked away from her family’s fashion company — her late mother was fashion icon Carla Zampatti — for a life in politics, winning Wentworth’s seat in the federal election in May.

But even though she left a multimillion-dollar clothing company, she was far from new to politics—her father, John, and grandfather, Percy, were also both MPs.

Unlike her predecessors, who were liberals, Ms Spender is part of a wave of so-called ‘blue-green’ independents elected across the country to support action on climate change.

Despite her multi-millionaire background, she said she knows how to keep her three children grounded.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning HeraldMrs Spender revealed that she let her children – ages six, eight and nine – pack their own school lunches.

It’s a tradition Mrs. Spender inherited from her mother, a tactic Mrs. Zampatti used to help her two children become more independent.

“We have a nanny and I know a lot of people don’t have that option. But I don’t have my mother, my husband works full time and we have to find ways to make that work for us,” she said, adding that she is also “very good at freezing food.”

Independent 'blue-green' MP Allegra Spender is pictured on Clovelly Road in her Wentworth constituency

Independent ‘blue-green’ MP Allegra Spender is pictured on Clovelly Road in her Wentworth constituency

Allegra Spender (pictured center) and her family attend a tribute to her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, at Carriageworks on May 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

Allegra Spender (pictured center) and her family attend a tribute to her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, at Carriageworks on May 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

Allegra Spender (pictured center) and her family attend a tribute to her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, at Carriageworks on May 31, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

Although her father and grandfather both made a name for themselves in politics, her mother, fashion designer Mrs. Zampatti, was much more famous.

Mrs Spender said she thought… much about her mother – who died in April 2021 – when she made a decision to run for the seat previously held by Liberal Dave Sharma.

She said her Italian-born mother would have supported her “100 percent.”

“Your family always influences your values,” Ms Spender told the… Sydney Morning Herald.

“Mom brought her own migrant values ​​and experiences to me, so advocating for refugees is important.”

When she decided to run for the traditionally Liberal seat – former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull representing the affluent electorate in Sydney’s eastern suburbs – she didn’t think she was certain to win, but she knew she would stand a good chance.

She finally made her decision to participate in the COP26 UN Climate Action Conference in November 2021.

‘It became clear that the (coalition) government was not going to do anything meaningful about the climate. I felt a strong moral obligation to do something myself,” she said.

Ms Spender said that combining motherhood and politics is not easy, but she is grateful for her mother’s example.

Allegra Spender is pictured (left) with her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, in 2008. Ms Zampatti died in 2021, a year before her daughter was elected MP for Wentworth

Allegra Spender is pictured (left) with her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, in 2008. Ms Zampatti died in 2021, a year before her daughter was elected MP for Wentworth

Allegra Spender is pictured (left) with her mother, fashion designer Carla Zampatti, in 2008. Ms Zampatti died in 2021, a year before her daughter was elected MP for Wentworth

With her business background and a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University, Mrs Spender is a centrist, not the liberal-clad left-wing wolf as some tried to portray her during the election campaign.

She said she wants to help women enter the workforce through better-paid parental leave, and “to bring the kindness and decency of community values ​​into politics – issues such as refugees, the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”

“I want to be stubborn but cordial.”

Independent Wentworth MP Allegra Spender (left) is pictured with independent Curtin MP Kate Chaney at the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Ms Spender said several women at the ball told her that she dresses designed by her mother or sister

Independent Wentworth MP Allegra Spender (left) is pictured with independent Curtin MP Kate Chaney at the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Ms Spender said several women at the ball told her that she dresses designed by her mother or sister

Independent Wentworth MP Allegra Spender (left) is pictured with independent Curtin MP Kate Chaney at the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Ms Spender said several women at the ball told her that she dresses designed by her mother or sister

Although she has left her fashion career behind, Mrs Spender can’t ignore it now and then.

At the recent Midwinter Ball in Canberra – which attracts politicians, businessmen and journalists – several women told her they were wearing a dress made by her mother, or her sister, Bianca Spender.

In general, her family’s background has helped her prepare for life in politics.

“I’m not quite the deer in the headlights, but I feel like I’m on a vertical learning curve,” she said.

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Allegra Spender (center) speaks with voters outside an Australian Electoral Commission early voting center at Bondi's intersection.

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Allegra Spender (center) speaks with voters outside an Australian Electoral Commission early voting center at Bondi's intersection.

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Allegra Spender (center) speaks with voters outside an Australian Electoral Commission early voting center at Bondi’s intersection.