Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally will be running for Labor in the coming byelection for the federal seat of Bennelong, posing a serious threat to the Coalition’s grip on power.
“The people of the Bennelong electorate deserve better,” Ms Keneally said, announcing her candidacy in Sydney on Tuesday alongside Labor leader, Bill Shorten.
“They don’t deserve the Liberals’ cuts to Medicare. They don’t deserve the Liberals’ $100,000 university degrees. They don’t deserve the Liberals’ rising power prices and they certainly don’t deserve the slow and expensive NBN that’s being rolled out right now. That’s just annoying the families of this electorate.”
The next Member for Bennelong, @KKeneally pic.twitter.com/O1kUUrURmV
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) November 13, 2017
The normally safe Liberal seat was vacated when sitting MP John Alexander was forced to resign on Saturday and re-stand in a byelection due to the dual citizenship crisis which has engulfed parliament. Mr Alexander, it transpired, holds dual Australian-British citizenship.
Keneally’s star candidacy gives Labor the high profile pull it needs to have any chance of wresting Bennelong away from the government. Should she be successful, it would null Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s threadbare lower house majority, potentially ending his grip on government.
Bennelong was held for many years by former prime minister John Howard who was famously defeated in 2007 by well known ABC presenter Maxine McKew for Labor before passing back into Liberal hands.
The byelection is scheduled to be held on 16 December.
Also on Tuesday, independent senator Jacqui Lambie announced she would also stand down after discovering she is entitled to British citizenship through her Scottish-born father.