Senator Kristina Keneally has defended her plan to run for a safe Labor seat in south western Sydney despite facing harsh criticism from within her own party.
Kristina Keneally has hit back after plans for her to be parachuted into a safe Labor seat in southwestern Sydney drew sharp criticism from within her own party.
Senator Keneally this week confirmed her intention to move from the Senate to run for the multicultural seat of Fowler.
She has faced criticism that she was a blow-in given she lives on Sydney’s northern beaches some 40km away.
Outgoing member for Fowler Chris Hayes has anointed local lawyer Tu Le as his preferred successor.
Federal Labor MP Anne Aly described her own party as failing on multiculturalism if Ms Keneally is preselected.
“Diversity and equality and multiculturalism can’t just be a trope that Labor pulls out and parades while wearing a sari and eating kung pao chicken to make ourselves look good,” she told the ABC on Saturday.
“This is a huge failure for Labor when it comes to diversity and inclusion.”
Senator Keneally defended her decision to nominate for preselection, saying she would move to the area and defended her record of advocating for her communities.
“The communities in Fowler, while it is geographically different to the area I represented in the state parliament, it’s actually similar in many ways,” the former NSW Premier said.
She promised to “live in, love and represent” the community of Fowler which takes in which takes in Liverpool, Cabramatta and Fairfield and is one of the most diverse in the nation.
And she claimed she already had relationships in place at the local level.
“I’m proud to be part of a party that gets cultural diversity,” Senator Keneally said.
“Let me take this head on because I’m a little bit disappointed in some of the media coverage here.
“If you look across southwestern Sydney you’ve got MPs Ed Husic, Michelle Rowland, Mike Freelander … I’m proud to be part of a party that supports gender diversity and multicultural diversity.”
Originally published as Keneally comes out swinging at criticism of her ‘huge failure’