Federal Labor MPs urged to state switch if they lose at the September Federal election
- by: Andrew Clennell
- From: The Daily Telegraph
- May 20, 2013 12:00AM
Chris Bowen has been urged to join NSW politics if you loses at the September Federal Election. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian
A STRING of western Sydney federal Labor heavyweights will be urged to enter NSW politics if, as expected, they are defeated at September’s election.
Former immigration minister Chris Bowen is top of the state ALP’s wishlist – and they even hope to convince him to become opposition leader and take on Premier Barry O’Farrell at the 2015 NSW election.
Other federal MPs wanted at Macquarie St should they lose their seats include Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare and Environment Minister Tony Burke.
The federal government is so toxic in western Sydney that internal polling shows Mr Bowen is likely to lose his seat of McMahon, which he holds with a 7.8 per cent margin. Party sources say he is the logical candidate to “make a clean break” from ICAC scandal-plagued Labor.
If he were to run at the 2015 state election as leader, he would run for the seat of Smithfield from outside parliament, similar to the ascension of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman last year.Mr Bowen last night hosed down speculation amid fears the rumours might encourage people to vote against him on September 14.
“There are no circumstances in which I would be a candidate for state parliament,” he said.
“I love representing my community in federal parliament and will be working hard to continue to do so.”
Mr Bowen is one of Labor’s brightest stars, despite having to stand down as a federal minister for supporting Kevin Rudd during the failed leadership coup in March.
“One of the consequences of federal Labor doing so poorly is that there is a handful of those who might be coming to Macquarie St … Bowen, Burke, Bradbury, Clare,” a Labor source said.
“We’re frustrated that we need a clean break from the last NSW government. This is quite vital to getting 10 to 15 seats at the next election.”
The speculation is a shift in position from previous plans to allow current state Opposition Leader John Robertson to lead the party to the 2015 election. Polls show he is failing to hit the 30 per cent primary vote mark as the ICAC scandals continue to plague the party.
Mr Robertson was a former minister in the last government and was close to powerbroker Eddie Obeid, although the pair have fallen out after Mr Obeid’s expulsion from the Labor Party.
Labor’s general secretary Sam Dastyari said: “While the party would welcome all the talent we need to rebuild NSW Labor, at this stage we are focused on September 14 and plan on winning these seats.”
Mr Bradbury declined to comment yesterday.
A spokesman for Mr Clare also declined to comment, except to say: “He’s focused on the seat of Blaxland.”