Anthony Albanese fails to endorse Bill Shorten’s key ally Kimberley Kitching for Senate

“Quite clearly [Kimberley Kitching] had the support of some significant figures from the Victorian branch and that’s a matter for them”: NSW Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Labor leader Bill Shorten’s support for Ms Kitching is seen as key to her securing the plum spot. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

杭州桑拿

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has refused to endorse Kimberley Kitching for a plum Senate seat, placing him at loggerheads with Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Ms Kitching, a key ally and friend of Mr Shorten, was parachuted in to fill the Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Stephen Conroy, with the Opposition’s Leader support, on Friday.

But in a thinly veiled reference to the behind-closed-doors decision to install Ms Kitching to the role, Mr Albanese – a former deputy prime minister who stood against Mr Shorten in the 2013 leadership contest – said ALP members should be given a greater say in Senate preselections.

Mr Albanese also slapped down Victorian Labor senator Gavin Marshall, who on Monday foreshadowed he would work to unseat Albanese ally and Labor MP Andrew Giles and possibly frontbench health spokeswoman Catherine King.

Ms Kitching was on Thursday selected unopposed by Victorian Labor’s 100 person Public Office Selection committee for the casual Senate vacancy, which will see her serve almost all of the six-year term. Mr Shorten’s support for her is seen as key to her securing the plum spot.

Her selection has triggered concern in some sections of the ALP. The federal government has used Ms Kitching’s selection and the fact that she was referred for “further investigation” by the Heydon royal commission into trade unions to attack the Opposition Leader and make the case for the passage of its bills to re-establish the construction industry watchdog and the establishment of a Registered Organisations Commission to monitor unions.

Mr Albanese, who had pushed for Labor party reforms in the 2013 leadership contest, repeatedly refused to endorse Ms Kitching’s preselection on Tuesday, pointing out that as a NSW MP he did not have a say in Victorian matters.

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