November 17, 2017

Kristina Keneally to run for federal seat of Bennelong

14 November 2017, 06:53 | Glen Norman

Former Labor premier Kristina Keneally to stand in Bennelong byelection, a major threat to Turnbull government

Kristina Keneally to run for federal seat of Bennelong

If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wanted to make her by-election campaign for the seat of Bennelong "about that" he could "bring it on, mate", the one-time NSW premier said on Tuesday.

Keneally told reporters that she received a call from Bill Shorten over the weekend, convincing her to run. They don't deserve the Liberals' $100,000 university degrees. "That's just annoying the families of this electorate".

The normally safe Liberal seat was vacated when sitting MP John Alexander was forced to resign on Saturday and re-stand in a byelection due to the dual citizenship crisis which has engulfed parliament.

"I mean, that's why we're having this byelection but that is not why I am running".

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She did admit living 800 metres beyond Bennelong's boundary line but quipped that she spent most of her days inside it.

Given Keneally is a seasoned veteran and an exceptionally strong campaigner, she's undoubtedly in with an excellent shot.

Mr Alexander now lives outside the electorate too, in Bondi.

"He's quite affable. He would certainly beat me in a tennis match, no questions asked".

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"I'm under no illusions, it's going to be tough, it's going to be hard", she said.

At the time Ms Keneally said the group had "operated in secret". "That's what I'm here for".

Keneally is well equipped to take on the role after serving as the 42nd premier of NSW and the first woman to ever take the top job.

Ms Kenneally, who was born in Las Vegas, was quizzed on her citizenship status and restated she had renounced her United States citizenship in 2002 before she ran for state parliament. "This is a chance which I think a lot of people in Australia would like to have - that has fallen to the people of Bennelong - to send a message against the dysfunction and the chaos of the current government, the policy paralysis, the failure of leadership".

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