News State Victoria News Labor MP Jane Garrett set to make move to Victorian Upper House

Labor MP Jane Garrett set to make move to Victorian Upper House

Jane Garrett
Jane Garrett was approached by a group of left-wing unions to stand for Western Metro. Photo: AAP
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Former Labor minister Jane Garrett has launched a bold bid to abandon her marginal Brunswick seat and move to safe Upper House seat.

ACTU president Ged Kearney has been tipped as a likely Brunswick candidate for the ALP.

Ms Garrett has been approached by a group of left-wing unions to stand for Western Metro, a spot being vacated by Labor MP Khalil Eideh at the next election.

“Many colleagues across the Labor movement and members of the community have approached me and suggested I stand for this seat,” Ms Garrett said in a written statement.

“It is well known I have faced some significant challenges in recent times, including health issues.

“After very careful consideration and discussion with my friends, family and colleagues I have decided to take up this request.”

Ms Garrett said she wanted to switch to the Upper House to focus on public policy, advocacy and equality.

Major shakeup for Labor

Her decision to step away from Brunswick will send panic through some in Labor as it suggests the marginal seat is too hard to defend from the Greens. Labor holds the seat by 2.2 per cent.

It also sends a message that the Greens threat in other inner-city seats may be too a big force to resist.

The move has enraged many in the Labor Party and the state caucus, who have accused the MP of abandoning her seat and the entire innercity.

One MP called it a “bloody disgrace” and other said it was “completely selfish”.

Ms Garrett backed Ms Kearney’s bid to take over in the seat of Brunswick.

“Ged Kearney is a person of principle and conviction who has spent her life fighting for fairness and justice,” she said.

The decision will be a distraction for Premier Daniel Andrews in the inner-city, especially during the by-election in neighbouring Northcote where the Greens threat is just as large.

A successful preselection for Ms Garrett is likely to highlight how little control he has over internal party matters during the current round of preselections.

Ms Garrett’s nomination will fuel a major factional brawl between sub-factions of the socialist left. The so-called industrial left backs Ms Garrett, with the remainder, who are closer to Mr Andrews backing in Australian Services Union secretary Ingrid Stitt.

The seat is controlled by the left and Ms Stitt was the early favourite for the spot when news of Mr Eideh’s retirement became public.

Ms Garrett entered Parliament in 2010 and was emergency services minister for less than two years.

She sensationally quit in 2016 after refusing to agree to a workplace deal for paid CFA firefighters that was endorsed by the Premier.

Following that ugly stand-off Ms Garrett was also diagnosed with breast cancer for which is now recovering.