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Hunter election deal under discussion

Linda Burney could contest the federal seat of Barton in this year’s federal election. Photo: Daniel MunozDeputy NSW opposition leaderLinda Burneycould contest the federal seat of Barton at this year’s federal election as part of a factional deal being discussed to secure preselection for Joel Fitzgibbon in Hunter.

The deal could also clear the way for Labor’sleft faction assistant secretary, John Graham, to run in Ms Burney’s state seat of Canterbury at the ensuing byelection.

Fairfax Media understands the plan is under serious discussion within the party but factional leaders warn theyare far from striking anagreement.

Further complicating mattersis that as Opposition leader Luke Foley is from the left,the move wouldgive the right a claim on the deputy opposition leader’s position, which would most likely go to Maroubra MP and shadow treasurer Michael Daley.

The right is pushing for a deal to run Mr Fitzgibbon, a right winger,in Hunter after a redistribution turned twoseats, held by the left’s Pat Conroy and the Mr Fitzgibbon into one. Mr Conroy would likely win a rank and file preselection.

HavingMs Burney move to Barton, a right wing seat, and Mr Graham to Canterbury – another safe Labor seat –would be seen as the trade-off for the left supportingMr Fitzgibbon.

It is unclear if Ms Burney is enthusiastic about the prospect of moving to Barton as she has been the member for Canterbury since 2003.

The move would also install another woman in a senior head office role following the election of Kaila Murnain​ as general secretary on Sunday.

Mr Graham would be replaced as left wing assistant secretary by Rose Jackson, who is secretary of the NSW Labor left.

Ms Murnain also has to fill her former role of right wing assistant secretary. It is understood she has been discussing the role with a number of senior women.

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