Kristina Keneally
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Scotland Island, in Sydney’s wealthy northern beaches, is an exclusive community accessible only by ferry. It’s where Labor Senator Kristina Keneally lives, and it’s a world away from Fowler, the south-west Sydney electorate that is one of the most multicultural in the country.

This morning Keneally confirmed the rumours were true: she is running in Fowler, replacing retiring MP Chris Hayes. For Labor it’s a quick fix, endorsed by NSW factional heavies that solves a messy battle over Senate ticket order, and puts Keneally, one of its strongest parliamentary performers this term, in the lower house. 

But to those outside the party machine (and even some within), her appointment is a huge missed opportunity to improve diversity in federal Parliament, and an insult to the people of south-west Sydney.