Long-serving Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley could be staring down a campaign to have her bumped to an undesirable position on the ALP's Senate ticket once preselection opens next month.
First elected in 2005, Senator Polley, a Catholic and leading figure of the party's Right faction, has proven to be a divisive figure in the state branch of the Labor Party, which is dominated by the Left.
The party's federal preselection will open in late April, and will ultimately be decided by both the statewide membership and the delegates to Labor's state conference.
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"[Preselection] will run to our state conference in early July," Tasmanian Labor secretary Stuart Benson said. "We will be opening positions for four positions."
Of Tasmania's four sitting Labor senators, two are up for reelection: the Launceston-based Senator Polley and the Devonport-based Senator Anne Urquhart.
The next half-Senate election is due by May 2022.
A Labor Left source described Senator Polley as "contentious" and said there were "quite a few people who don't like her values".
They said she could face a challenge from the Left and either be knocked off by a progressive candidate or relegated to a less winnable spot on the ticket.
"Anything could happen at this stage," the source said. "Anything or nothing."
"There's a number of issues that Labor's trying to grapple with down here at the moment, and this is just one of them, I suspect.
"On the basis of there being other matters, this one might not be a problem."
However, the source added that "there's a lot of people in the party who would like to see [Senator Polley] gone".
Another Labor source with knowledge of the situation said the senator wasn't afraid of any prospective push to undermine her candidacy.
There's a lot of people in the party who would like to see [Senator Polley] gone.- A Labor Left source
"Helen will be speaking with as many party members as possible between now and preselection and so she will be looking for as many votes as possible," the source said.
"She's confident that she'll be able to speak to as many members as possible and reinforce her time in parliament and what she's been able to achieve and that she still has a lot to give with her colleagues."
Senator Polley faced criticism within the party when she voted against the same-sex marriage bill in 2017.
Last year, the senator apologised after receiving backlash for posting an "all lives matter" image on social media - a phrase that's come to be associated with white supremecists and far-right nationalism and used in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
At the time, Senator Polley said she had "carelessly" reposted the image, which she acknowledged was "insenstive". She stressed she had "always stood against racism".
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