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Left keeps distance from Shorten senator

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has distanced himself from the woman selected to replace former minister Stephen Conroy in the Senate.

Former Health Services Union official Kimberley Kitching has been preselected by the Victorian ALP to fill the casual vacancy caused by Senator Conroy's retirement.

The Age has reported members of the national Left faction, of which Mr Albanese is a senior member, have expressed concern about the preselection, with one member describing it as a "captain's pick" by party leader Bill Shorten.

Mr Albanese, who hails from NSW, told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday the preselection - which under Victorian ALP rules was conducted by the 100-member public office selection committee - was a matter for the Victorian branch.

"Quite clearly she had the support of some significant figures from the Victorian branch and that is a matter for them," he said.

"I support ensuring that preselections are held in accordance with the rules.

"This one, that certainly happened. I think there certainly is a case for ensuring that members have votes in Senate preselections."

The coalition government has used the preselection of Ms Kitching to attack Labor over its union links, during a week in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is making a big issue of tackling industrial corruption.

The Fair Work Commission found in a case last year some of Ms Kitching's evidence to be "unreliable and untruthful".

The Heydon royal commission made a number of findings against the HSU of which Ms Kitching was the general manager of the Victoria No 1 branch.

Mr Shorten described Ms Kitching as a "hard working advocate for workers" and an important addition to Labor's lineup.

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