David Feeney, the federal Member of Parliament, lost the confidence of the Labor party after he was ensnared in the citizenship fiasco that is presently causing a lot of problems in the Federal Parliament. Strategists of the Labor party have already begun to discuss substituting Feeney with another fresh candidate in the event the High Court passes a ruling favoring a by-election to be held in Batman. Scenting blood, the Greens have already initiated proceedings to get the seat.
Safe Labor seat out
For Labor, this incident is a huge blow. Batman was considered a safe Labor seat even in 2007. Feeney, however, won by a measly margin against the Greens in 2016. Alex Bhathal, the candidate from the Greens party, came a close second.
Chances of a by-election have forced Labor to think about money. The party spent a million Australian dollars to elect Feeney. All these money have clearly gone down the drain. To cap Labor's misery, the Liberal party may not participate in the election. This will make the Greens and Labor the only two viable parties. If this happens, Feeney may lose the seat. The Greens are buoyed by their Northcote win. They are looking forward to wresting the Batman seat from Labor. It is clear to political observers that the Greens may win the seat this time around.
Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition, is understandably furious with Feeney. He has recommended the name of Clare Burns to be the alternative candidate. Burns was previously defeated in the Northcote by-election in the state. Northcote is included in the Batman seat. It is possible that other opposition members would agree with Shorten on candidate selection. When contacted by the media, neither Feeney nor Burns responded to questions. Related comments were also not given.
Labor party functionaries were boiling angry on December 6 when news came that Feeny will probably face proceedings in the High Court on the matter of his eligibility to stand for election. Feeney, in his nomination filings, has stated that he has renounced British citizenship a staggering three times- the first in 2007, the second in 2013, and the third and last in 2016. The Labor guard is extremely angry with Feeney's dishonesty. According to a person in the know, the MP should have searched for his documents at the onset of controversy a few months before.