Louise Pratt Labor's choice to replace Tim Hammond in Western Australia | Australia news
Western Australian Labor faction leaders are pushing for Senator Louise Pratt to contest Tim Hammond’s lower house seat following the member for Perth’s shock resignation.
The move, which Pratt is understood to be in favour of, would see WA state secretary, Patrick Gorman, moved to the senate in place of Pratt, as a reward for leading the party to its most decisive state win in decades.
Pratt has the backing of the Australian Manufacturers Workers’ Union and is seen as a better performer as an MP, having proved herself in the Senate for almost eight years.
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Pratt has been contacted for comment, but no decision has been made, with party sources describing the talks as “calm, but fluid”.
Hammond is from a right-aligned faction, while both Pratt and Gorman are from the left side. While no right factional candidate has yet emerged, the assistant state secretary, Matt Dixon is from the right.
If the WA Labor shuffle board plays out with Pratt and Gorman, Dixon would be elevated to the state secretary, which Labor sources said would be enough to placate the right.
It would leave WA without a shadow ministry, with questions over whether Hammond’s spot on the shadow front bench would be replaced, however those discussions had not yet begun “in earnest”.
Labor was caught without a replacement candidate waiting in the wings after Hammond, who was first elected in 2016, announced he was resigning from parliament to spend more time with his family.
Discussions began almost immediately following his Wednesday morning announcement. Gorman emerged as the early frontrunner, while others within the party were more cautious.
A boundary shift just before the 2016 election created a slightly more marginal electorate for Labor, which has held the seat of Perth since the early 1980s.
While the Liberals candidate Jeremy Quinn secured just over 42% of the primary vote, Greens preferences ensured Hammond’s victory, with Labor winning the seat with a 3.3% margin.
The WA Liberals are taking their time deciding whether or not the party will contest the by-election. Preselections across the state are in the early stages, with the Perth branch to be consulted over whether it expedites its selection.
However speaking to Sky on Thursday afternoon, WA Liberal Christian Porter, whose seat of Pearce is one of those under pressure at the next election, said he believed the party would “undoubtably” run a candidate.
Hammond has not yet officially resigned, meaning no by-election date has been set. That was expected to occur sometime next week.