MOVES are afoot in local Labor circles to contest any casual senate vacancy created should former foreign minister Bob Carr retire.
Unsuccessful Gilmore candidate Neil Reilly confirmed on Friday he would nominate.
“If Carr retires, which is on the cards, that will create a casual senate vacancy and the Sussex Street powers that be look like they’ll shoehorn Paul Howes in,” Mr Reilly said.
“If someone else nominates they’ll have to have a vote. I thought I’d force that process.”
Mr Reilly, who previously said he would call time on his parliamentary aspirations after losing to Liberal Ann Sudmalis, announced his intention to contest the senate vacancy on Facebook on Friday.
He said his move was part of the reform process initiated by Kevin Rudd, while conceding his chances of success were unlikely.
“I just feel that there are people in the party who have worked long and hard and I think those people who would serve the country and the Labor Party very well as a senator.”
Mr Reilly is familiar with ALP head office interventions; in the lead-up to the 2010 election he was briefly cast aside as Gilmore candidate when Sussex Street parachuted former NSW rugby league player David Boyle over the top of him.
Public outcry over the decision followed and Mr Reilly was reinstated when Mr Boyle stepped aside.
Mr Reilly said parachuting Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union and one of so-called faceless men who helped engineer the downfall of Kevin Rudd in 2010, into the senate vacancy would not do the ALP any favours.
“It goes back to Graham Richardson, Mark Arbib, Matt Thistlethwaite and Sam Dastyari. These people have feathered their own nests for long enough.
“It’s time the rank and file had a say in these processes. We believe our party needs to have greater representation from its members.”
Also weighing up his options is Gerringong barrister Glenn Kolomeitz, who stood for the unwinnable number-four spot on Labor’s NSW senate ticket at the recent federal election.
“We should allow the rank and file to throw in for these casual vacancies,” he said.