Former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally has been confirmed to be the replacement to former Labor powerbroker Sam Dastyari in the Senate.
Ms Keneally, 49, was formally endorsed by the right faction of the party on Tuesday night, and could take her seat as early as next week, when Parliament resumes, Nine News reported.
Sam Dastyari quit as a senator in December after it was revealed he had advised a billionaire Chinese political donor Huang Xiangmao his phone might be tapped.
Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally will replace Labor powerbroker Sam Dastyari in the NSW Senate
Sam Dastyari quit as a senator in December after his dealings with a Chinese billionaire and political donor were revealed
Ms Keneally was a Sky News presenter until November last year, when she quit the pay-TV channel to run as Labor’s star candidate in the Bennelong by-election against former tennis star John Alexander.
Her key rival in Labor’s dominant Right faction,Transport Workers’ Union secretary Tony Sheldon, pulled out of contention earlier in the race, as did United Voice union leader Tara Moriarty from the Left faction.
Keneally, who is the patron of the Stillbirth Foundation of Australia, told party officials on Tuesday she would continue to push for funding for research into stillbirths.
She also said she spend her time in the Senate campaigning for constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.
Ms Kenneally secured a five per cent swing against the Liberal Party in the Bennelong by-election race last month, which was sparked by Mr Alexander’s discovery he was a dual British citizen through his father.
Kristina Keneally, pictured, ran unsuccessfully against former tennis champ John Alexander at the Bennelong by-election in December
Ms Keneally could be sitting in the Senate as early as next week, after she is endorsed as a senator by both houses of NSW Parliament on Tuesday
Her decision to stand in a seat which Labor has only won once since it was created in 1949 won her the backing of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
On Friday, Ms Keneally will be formally endorsed by the administrative committee of the party before both houses of NSW Parliament endorse her in a joint sitting on Tuesday, The Australian reported.
The move comes nearly six years on from when she was mentioned as a possible candidate to replace outgoing senator Mark Arbib, who resigned following the 2012 leadership spill.
The new Labor Senator took to social media to quell the rumours in a tweet that appears to have been since deleted.
‘I’ve said many times that I’m not going Federal. I’m not a candidate,’ she wrote.
‘But thank you for all the kind tweets.’