Former Labor National President Warren Mundine has confirmed he will run for federal parliament at the next election.
Mr Mundine, a leading indigenous advocate and businessman, has not ruled out joining the Liberals or David Leyonhjelm’s minor party the Liberal Democrats.
“I will make that announcement very soon,” he told Sky News on Thursday.
Mr Mundine is reportedly considering a tilt at the marginal NSW seat of Gilmore, which will not be recontested by Liberal Ann Sudmalis at the federal election.
Labor Leader Bill Shorten took a shot at Mr Mundine for throwing his hat in the ring for another party.
“When he couldn’t get a seat in the Labor Party, he’s looking elsewhere. I guess that’s his democratic right,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
Mr Mundine was Labor’s national president between 2006 and 2007 but has been a strident critic of the party in recent years.
Pressed on why he turned his back on Labor, he said “loyalty cuts both ways”.
“I gave my life to the Labor Party, I worked very hard for the Labor Party, and I’ve stood up for the Labor Party for many years,” Mr Mundine said.
“The issue here is if you want to contribute to society and want to contribute to the political space and a political party says ‘no’ to you on several occasions, then loyalty goes both ways.”
Mr Shorten said Labor’s candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips would fight on local issues, rather than personalities.
“She doesn’t want a seat in parliament because she thinks that’s her right, that she’s owed a seat,” the opposition leader said.
Ms Sudmalis announced her decision to quit in September, launching an extraordinary spray at NSW state MP Gareth Ward for running a campaign against her, an accusation he denied.
She was first elected in 2013 and holds the southern NSW seat with a margin of just 0.7 per cent.