News National Kristina Keneally sworn in as NSW senator

Kristina Keneally sworn in as NSW senator

Kristina Keneally is congratulated by fellow senators after being sworn in. Photo: AAP
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Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally has been sworn in to federal parliament as a new Labor senator.

Ms Keneally, who was unsuccessful in her bid to win the lower house seat of Bennelong in a December by-election, replaced Sam Dastyari on Thursday.

Mr Dastyari was forced to quit parliament over his controversial dealings with Chinese donors.

Ms Keneally said she was keen to champion indigenous rights, as well as better funding for research into pregnancy loss and stillbirth.

Ahead of her swearing in, Liberal senator Zed Seselja said every duly elected senator deserved due respect.

“The issue with Kristina Keneally will be the kind of policies that she and the Labor party are going to pursue,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Labor senator Doug Cameron said Senator Keneally would make a great contribution both to NSW and the nation.

“Kristina is an extremely professional politician, extremely capable,” he said.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm described Senator Keneally as “a fierce Labor warrior … when it suits her”.

Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch expects to clash with the new senator on a number of topics, but said she brought a lot of experience to the role.

“People who have been on Sky News are always very good in the Senate,” he quipped.