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Howes tipped to take Bob Carr’s Senate seat


Phillip Coorey Chief political correspondent

Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Howes is tipped to become a Labor Senator, filling a vacancy to be created by the expected resignation of Bob Carr.

Senator Carr, the former NSW premier who until Saturday was the minister for foreign affairs, is expected to announce his resignation from the Senate following Labor’s election loss on Saturday.

He is still overseas after having represented Australia over the weekend at the G20 leaders’ meeting in St Petersburg, Russia.

Mr Howes, a leading figure in the NSW Labor Right faction, has been strongly urged to fill the vacancy and is understood to be keen.

He would join his friend and NSW Labor colleague, Sam Dastyari, who recently quit as NSW ALP general secretary to enter the Senate. Mr ­Dastyari filled the casual vacancy created when Matt Thistlethwaite contested the seat of Kingsford-Smith, held previously for Labor by Peter Garrett.

Counting is not yet finished but Mr Thistlethwaite is predicted to win the seat. There is some resistance toward Mr Howes replacing Senator Carr, with some in NSW believing Graeme ­Wedderburn, who was chief of staff to Senator Carr when both premier and foreign minister, is long overdue for a Senate vacancy. He had long ago been ­promised the vacancy that Mr Thistlethwaite was given but missed out. “Without a doubt, Graeme deserves it more than anyone else,” said one of his supporters. But it is believed the spot will be Mr Howes’ if he wants it.