Anthony Albanese locking in labor candidates across Australia ahead of next election


Kristina Keneally was parachuted into the seat of Fowler, where Tu Le was due to run.

Kristina Keneally was parachuted into the seat of Fowler, where Tu Le was due to run.Credit: Rhett Wyman/Supplied

In NSW, Labor wants to regain the seat of Fowler, which it lost to independent MP Dai Le at the last election, with some party sources suggesting Tu Le, who was controversially dumped in favour of Kristina Keneally before the last election, could run.

The seats of Banks and Lindsay, held by shadow ministers David Coleman and Melissa McIntosh, are also targets but are considered unlikely for Labor. Hughes, held by first-term Liberal MP Jenny Ware, could be in play too.

Beyond these five seats across Victoria and NSW, where preselections are not finalised, Labor will seek to hold a slew of marginal seats it gained in 2022, including Aston and Dunkley in Victoria and Bennelong, Gilmore and Robertson in NSW.

But it is Queensland, which has been hard work for the federal ALP since the 2007 “Ruddslide”, that will be crucial to the federal party’s chances at the next election.

In addition to Dickson, Forde and Ryan, the ALP is eyeing Leichhardt, which has long been held by retiring MP Warren Entsch, and the seat of Brisbane, held by Greens MP Stephen Bates. Labor MP Graham Perrett is expected to retire in Moreton, with former state secretary Julie-Ann Campbell expected to replace him.

Albanese has spent lots of time in Perth during his prime ministership to retain four seats gained at the last poll, while the proposed new seat of Bullwinkel is regarded by both sides as winnable.

Albanese has been pushing inside Labor’s national executive for preselections to be finalised sooner to ensure candidates are in position in key marginal seats, senior Labor sources said.

Two Labor MPs, who asked not to be named, said Albanese’s push to make selections showed he was open to calling an early election this year. Other Labor sources said he was determined to go to the polls in 2025 unless an exceptional opportunity presented itself before Christmas.

Peter Dutton told staff and MPs in a rare all-staff meeting in Canberra last week he seriously believed Albanese could call an election for September.

The opposition is already preparing its policy development on tax, energy and housing. However, Labor sources speculated Dutton could be floating the idea of an early election to instil discipline in his team while he announced contentious policies on nuclear energy and divestiture.

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