Former prime minister Julia Gillard asked Andrew Wilkie to be the Labor candidate for his Tasmanian seat, the independent MP says.
Mr Wilkie says Ms Gillard offered him a chance to stand for the ALP in Denison, as well as the possibility of no Labor candidate running against him.
He says the topic came up “out of the blue” at a regular meeting as he was considering his support for the government over poker machine reform.
“Gillard effectively offered me Denison for keeps in mid-2011,” Mr Wilkie writes in an essay for Island magazine.
“She said I needed to think about my future and, in particular, whether I wanted to be the ALP Denison candidate at the next federal election or wanted Labor to not even run a candidate there at all.
“The alternative, clearly, was business as usual – and by implication a tough Labor campaign directed at me come election time.”
Mr Wilkie rejected the suggestions.
He pulled his support for the government the following January.
The suggestions were “surprising” but not improper, Mr Wilkie has told ABC television.