After Tony Abbott's tearful farewell to Martin Ferguson, the battle for preselection in what has been regarded as one of the ALP's safest seats is hotting up. But how safe is it really? (See post above.) David Feeney is standing for preselection, but Ged Kearney has pulled out. Now there are two new local female candidates standing.

From 'The Australian' today:
LABOR'S preselection battle for Martin Ferguson's Melbourne seat of Batman has widened, with two female candidates emerging from the Left to challenge "faceless man" David Feeney.

Mary-Anne Thomas and Hatice “Hutch” Hussein today announced they would nominate against Senator Feeney for the safe Labor seat, with Ms Thomas drawing swift endorsement from senior figures within the Left.

Ms Thomas is currently the executive manager of children's development agency Plan International and has also worked within the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. 
Families and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said Ms Thomas had strong local links and was needed to boost female representation in the party…

Mr Ferguson last week announced his retirement from politics at the next election, prompting Senator Feeney to announce plans to move to the lower house. As No.3 on Labor's Victorian Senate ticket, he is at high risk of being defeated at the election. One of the faceless men who helped Julia Gillard topple Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010, Senator Feeney is being backed by Ms Gillard, Mr Ferguson and powerbroker Bill Shorten.

Ms Hussein is a refugee policy advocate and former co-convenor for Emily's List who has put herself forward as a progressive candidate for the Left. “I believe that my candidacy would increase the ALP vote against the Greens, as I would appeal to those who should be voting Labor but currently vote Greens,” she said. “We don't want the seat of Batman going the way of Melbourne at this or future elections.” …

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