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Speculation of Iemma return as McClelland bows out

Speculation of Iemma return as McClelland bows out

Former New South Wales premier Morris Iemma could be about to make a political comeback and run as Labor's candidate for the federal seat of Barton.

Within hours of former attorney-general Robert McClelland announcing he will retire at the next election yesterday, at least four names were being discussed as possible contenders for his seat.

The most notable is Mr Iemma, who is yet to say if he wants it.

But party sources say it is likely and if he does he will win preselection.

Mr Iemma's predecessor as premier, Bob Carr, refused to comment yesterday, but last September he backed the recruitment of Mr Iemma to the Federal Parliament.

"If he (McClelland) were to retire, then I couldn't think of a better candidate than Morris Iemma," Mr Carr said at the time.

"I think Morris Iemma was an honest and industrious premier who was badly treated by my party."

Local mayor and union leader Shane O'Brien says he would be honoured to run.

"I've even spoken with Robert himself and I appreciate the kind words he had to say about me," he said.

"I think rank-and-file preselections are important.

"I think it is vital that branch members have a say in who their candidate would be and I think in an election like the one that we face this year, I think we're going to need to have buy in from our branch members. It's going to be a tough fight."

Former Labor staffer Kirsten Andrews says she is another likely candidate.

Mr McClelland, who was dumped from Cabinet by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in March last year, said he made the decision to retire from politics after discussions with his family and friends over the Christmas holidays.


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