Labor politicians are dropping like flies in Australia as corruption investigations continue to dog them. But in one seat a “man-ban” has been put in place in order to secure a spot for a woman to replace Julia Gillard.
Julia Gillard’s preferred candidate looks set to take over in her safe seat of Lalor after a rival withdrew from the race because special dispensation had been given to ineligible candidates.
Sandra Willis, daughter of Keating-era treasurer Ralph Willis and general manager of Oz Opera, has announced she will not be contesting preselection for the western suburbs seat.
In what appeared to be a parting shot, Ms Willis suggested the “truncated” preselection process put in place ahead of the looming election had been flawed.
“I have withdrawn because ineligible candidates and non-financial members of the ALP have been given special dispensation to stand for pre-selection and a truncated rank-and-file process has been put in place,” Ms Willis said in a statement.
Ms Willis said it was important that the candidate for the seat was a woman, in line with Labor’s affirmative action policy stating that 40 per cent of candidates for winnable seats must be women.
“At the forthcoming election, I believe it is extremely important for the ALP to win and to give itself the best chance by endorsing strong candidates imbued with Labor values who know the area they are seeking to represent.”
Her decision to withdraw clears the way for Joanne Ryan, a local school principal backed by former prime minister Julia Gillard.
Ms Ryan is among those who applied for special dispensation from rules requiring 12 months continuous membership for preselection candidates.