There are calls from within Tasmanian Labor's right faction for the ALP's national executive to take control of the state branch and curb the influence of the party's dominant left.
The unrest comes on the heels of a decision by the administrative committee before Christmas to change its state preselection process, splitting it into two parts. The move, which Labor leader Rebecca White is understood to have fruitlessly opposed, has angered members of the right, who believe it's designed to shut out high profile prospective candidates who may not have the support of the left faction.
Labor sources say all nine of the party's sitting members in the lower house have now been reendorsed to contest the next state election, while preselection for the remaining candidates in each of the five electorates will commence in April in the run-up to Labor's state conference.
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There are claims from right-wing factional warriors that a certain section of the party's left, dominated by the influential Health and Community Services Union, controls the powerful administrative committee - and therefore the party itself.
And it's a situation that some believe has become untenable.
A senior Labor source said threats of national intervention were made at the administrative committee meeting in December.
"That's the only way you can resolve this," the source said. "You've got these people who have basically been allowed to take control of the administrative committee and therefore they take control of the affairs of the Labor Party."
"If this doesn't stop, it'll lead to intervention. The national office of the Labor Party won't have any choice because they'll have an impotent leader, a leader without any authority being controlled by ... left-wing officials.
"All the leader's got to do is request intervention and I'm sure they'll come straight in.
"Others could also request [it]."
It's understood a special meeting of the 22-member administrative committee was held on January 8, where members of the right attempted to amend the left's motion to alter preselection, pushing to have the decision deferred to the next scheduled meeting of the committee in February.
If this doesn't stop, it'll lead to intervention. The national office of the Labor Party won't have any choice because they'll have an impotent leader, a leader without any authority being controlled by ... left-wing officials.A senior Labor source
But the left faction is said to have blocked the move.
The implementation of a two-stage preselection process was widely interpreted as being designed to preemptively stymie the prospects of one particular Labor right member, Kingborough mayor Dean Winter. Mr Winter says he doesn't plan to run as a candidate in the state election. However, the left appear to be taking no chances regardless.
The concern in the right faction is that having a smaller pool of nominees in each of the two stages - as opposed to all candidates being preselected at once, which is the usual practice - would make it difficult for some worthy candidates to attract enough votes to win preselection.
Whereas federal Labor's left-right split is about 50-50, in Tasmania it's closer to 70 per cent left and 30 per cent right.
A member of the Labor left dismissed the right-wing's talk of federal intervention.
"They were, or are, talking about looking to refer the preselection changes to the national executive," the source said.
"The reality is that the national executive won't go anywhere near it."
The left member said it was up to the administrative committee to determine the preselection process.
"It's happening and it's consistent with the rules," they said.
Federal Labor effectively seized control of the party's Victorian branch last year, after damning revelations of "industrial scale" branch-stacking emerged.
In 2013, there was federal intervention in NSW Labor in the wake of a property scandal involving party powerbroker Eddie Obeid and then state minister Ian Macdonald.
Ms White said matters relating to the administration of the Labor Party were handled by the state secretary, Stuart Benson.
"Discussions that occur at the administrative committee are confidential," Ms White said.
Mr Benson could not be reached for comment but has previously said that Labor would publicly communicate the details of its preselection process "in due course".
Multiple sources say Ms White spoke before Christmas against the motion to change the way party preselection was carried out. But she was ultimately forced to vote in solidarity with her own left faction, lest she break the rules of the left caucus.
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