Two NSW politicians throw hats into federal ring

THE herd is thinning in the New South Wales Parliament, with an MP from each side of the political fray announcing moves to the federal sphere.

Member for Orange Andrew Gee is the most recent parliamentarian to reveal his federal aspirations.

He has put his hand up for Nationals preselection in the seat of Calare following incumbent John Cobb's retirement announcement.

Despite his political affiliations, Mr Gee has been an outspoken critic of the Baird Government's plan to amalgamate three councils in the Orange electorate under its local government reforms.

He told a media conference senior federal Nationals members had told him he "would be made feel very welcome in the federal party room".

Mr Gee entered state politics in 2011 and has held the Central West seat of Orange since.

His announcement followed the revelation NSW Labor's Linda Burney had won preselection to contest the federal seat of Barton at the coming election.

NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley threw himself behind Ms Burney's tilt to become the first indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives.

"Linda is tenacious in the chamber but it's her warm heart and dedication to reforming social services that will be remembered," he said.

"As the first indigenous representative elected to the NSW Parliament, Linda has been an advocate for Aboriginal affairs and a champion of equality for all Australians.

"Linda will make a fine contribution to Federal Labor and her experience will no doubt be a wonderful asset for Bill Shorten and his team."

Her shift opens a vacancy in NSW Labor's deputy leadership role that a few lower-rung lawmakers would be only too happy to fill.

Shadow treasurer Jodi McKay is expected to throw her hat in the ring, alongside MPs Michael Daly and Ryan Park.

Ms Burney's endorsement as a federal candidate has marked a shift towards more Aboriginal representation in the Australian Labor Party.

Former Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris became the country's first indigenous woman elected to federal politics when entered the senate in 2013.

She is currently the only indigenous Australian Labor Party federal MP.

Now the man often called "the father of reconciliation", Pat Dodson, is in the running to replace Western Australian Senator Joe Bullock who resigned over the party's stance on same-sex marriage.

The Liberal Party's federal arm currently has two indigenous MPs, Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt and Senator Joanna Lindgren. -APN NEWSDESK



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