Former ALP National President Warren Mundine.
NATIONAL: Warren Mundine, the man who could replace Mark Arbib in the Senate, is coy about the prospect of entering federal politics soon.
“It would be good,” Mr Mundine told ABC Radio on Tuesday when asked whether he had ambitions to enter the upper house.
But he would not say whether he has had any discussions with NSW Labor party officials, who will make the decision about a replacement.
Mr Mundine, a former federal president of the ALP, previously sought Labor pre-selection for the Senate.
He said he was surprised by Senator Arbib’s decision to quit parliament.
The assistant treasurer and sports minister announced his departure from politics on Monday, hours after Prime Minister Julia Gillard soundly defeated Kevin Rudd in a caucus leadership ballot.
Senator Arbib, one of Labor’s right-wing factional powerbrokers, nominated personal reasons and the need to heal internal party wounds.
The names of Mr Mundine and former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally have been bandied about as possible replacements.
Doug Cameron, a left-wing convenor of the party, said both were “talented and effective” politicians.
Ms Gillard refused to comment when asked who she would like to see replace Senator Arbib.
“I’m not going to speculate about who will fill the Senate vacancy,” she told ABC Radio.
NSW Labor secretary Sam Dastyari says he expects about half a dozen candidates to stand for the vacancy.
But he did praise Ms Keneally, saying she was the type of person Labor needed in the upper house.
“I’d love to see Kristina or people of her quality being prepared to stand up,” he told ABC Radio.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon said Senator Arbib had been decent and straightforward.
“I wish him well. I think he has been a particularly good sports minister, particularly in relation to match-fixing,” he told reporters in Canberra.
He said Senator Arbib, who had a young family who need him at home more, had done the right thing by resigning.
Just reinforces the comments by the tent embassy as being a handpicked puppet. Never been elected by the Aboriginal people to be their voice and now being given a Senate spot without being elected to the role!
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