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Labor's Nova Peris quits politics

National

Labor senator Nova Peris says she will not recontest her Northern Territory seat at the July 2 election.

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Peris said she had never envisaged being a career politician and decided to quit after talking to her family.

She will serve out what remains of her term and fully support the replacement for number one position on the Labor Senate ticket “whoever that might be”.

“As the first Aboriginal female in federal politics … I certainly had challenges, but none that I couldn’t handle or was not prepared for, having already lived a very public and documented life,” Peris said in a statement on Tuesday.

It is understood the Olympian and first Aboriginal woman in federal parliament is being considered to replace the AFL’s head of diversity Jason Mifsud.

A Labor Party source told InDaily Peris had been shocked that news of the potential new job had leaked, and insisted it hadn’t come from her.

The source said the progressive wing of the party was pushing for her to be replaced with an indigenous woman, with journalist and former NT parliamentarian Malarndirri McCarthy their favoured candidate.

Marion Scrymgour, an indigenous member of the NT Legislative Assembly, is also in the mix.

The source said there was disappointment in the party that Peris has decided to leave politics mid-campaign.

Peris became Australia’s first female indigenous federal politician in 2013 after a controversial call by then prime minster Julia Gillard.

The “captain’s pick” was derided as paternalistic and tokenistic, and elbowed out veteran senator Trish Crossin.

Peris won Olympic gold playing hockey for Australia in 1996 at the Atlanta games.

Labor’s number two candidate on the NT senate ticket is Pat Honan, who is not listed with the NT’s other federal election candidates on the ALP website.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the party would go through its selection processes in coming days.

“Nova Peris is a distinguished territorian and distinguished indigenous Australian,” he said.

“She achieved history in the Senate and on the running track.”

Suggestions that Peris had been sacked were “complete rubbish”, Shorten said.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan refused to be drawn on whether Peris was in line to take over from Mifsud.

“All I’d say is that clearly Jason’s role will be replaced,” McLachlan said.

“We’re running a process and that’s been ongoing.

“We’ve got some high-quality candidates.

“I’m not going to say any more than that.”

McLachlan wouldn’t say whether Peris had been approached for the job, describing the recruitment process as “confidential”.

“When we have an announcement we’ll make it,” he said.

– AAP with additional reporting by David Washington/InDaily

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