Kristina Keneally has been accused of ducking blame in losing the safe Labor seat of Fowler to independent Dai Le, after she was controversially parachuted into the electorate.
The senior Labor politician was unceremoniously dropped into the south-west Sydney seat of Fowler at the last minute, despite having no connection to the area and previously living 50km away on the affluent northern beaches.
The move created outrage amongst faithful Labor voters in the region, leading to Ms Keneally’s stunning defeat in an electorate that has been held by Labor since its creation in 1984.
The senator was unable to admit her loss in a stinging tweet on Sunday, instead declaring it was Labor that couldn’t claim the seat, before she congratulated Ms Le on her victory.
Kristina Keneally (pictured) lost the safe Labor seat of Fowler after she was controversially parachuted into the electorate
‘At the end of today, it seems that Labor will not claim victory in Fowler,’ the American-born politician wrote.
‘I congratulate Dai Le and wish her well. Thank you to the people who voted Labor & the volunteers on our campaign.’
Ms Keneally concluded her concession tweet by congratulating newly-appointed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Labor party and telling her followers a ‘better future for Australia lies ahead’.
Several users on the platform noticed the carefully-worded tweet focused the loss of Fowler on the party, rather than Ms Keneally herself.
‘In the end, Kristina Keneally is to blame for losing the super safe heartland Labor seat of #Fowler,’ tweeted journalist Troy Bramston, who penned a piece in The Australian on the debacle.
‘But in true Keneally style, she is not to blame, only Labor is – “Labor will not claim victory” …’
The political journalist later told Sky News Australia that it was ultimately a ‘terrible decision’ from Labor.
‘You can’t just parachute someone from the northern suburbs of Sydney to western Sydney, ‘he said.
‘It’s a lesson for Labor too; don’t take constituencies for granted.’
The senior Labor politician was unceremoniously dropped into the south-west seat of Fowler at the last minute despite having no connection to the area
The senator conceded on Sunday before she congratulated Ms Le on her victory in a tweet. Several users on the platform noticed the carefully-worded tweet focused the loss of Fowler on the party rather than Ms Keneally herself
Columnist for The Australian, Troy Bramston, said Ms Keneally was to blame for losing the safe Labor seat
Mr Bramston’s sentiments on the decision were echoed by several other Twitter users.
‘Slow Clap for @KKeneally and #Labor’s desperate parachute ‘strategy’. Did they really think Australians can be fooled that easily,’ wrote one.
Another said: ‘Greet to see Kristina Keneally get destroyed in Fowler. Labor insulted the locals by parachuting her into the seat when she doesn’t live there! Time to get a real job now Kristina!’
‘Well done. Parachuting Keneally in was a complete disgrace and Labor should learn from this experience,’ commented a third.
Many Labor politicians conveyed sympathy for Ms Keneally on her loss, while others felt the decision to parachute her into Fowler was foolish.
Independent Dai Le (pictured), who won Fowler, relayed the frustration from faithful Labor voters of the party’s move to drop Ms Keneally into the electorate
The move by Labor ultimately lead to many loyal supporters turning their back on the party for the first time in their lives and voting for Ms Le
Speaking to the ABC about securing Fowler on Monday, independent Dai Le relayed the frustration expressed by voters about the decision.
‘A lot of voters were so angry with the fact that the Labor Party was arrogant enough to think that they can parachute somebody from the northern beaches to come and represent the south-west, one of the most socially disadvantaged communities, to represent us,’ she said.
‘She has no roots here. She’s not connected to this area. So how can we trust that she can deliver for us? She’s never lived through the challenges that we have lived through.’
Ms Le spoke to many devoted Labor supporters on election day who felt the move by the party was an ‘insult’ and a ‘slap to the face’.
The move ultimately lead to many voters turning their back on the Labor party for the first time in their lives and instead supporting Ms Le.
Ms Le has distanced herself from the so-called ‘teal’ independents, claiming she is focused on her electorate which has ‘different needs’ to the seats snatched up by those independents.