EVEN IF he is cleared of any wrongdoing, Craig Thomson's political career is as good as dead.
Mr Thomson had his ALP membership suspended on the weekend and he shifted to the crossbenches to sit as an independent until the various investigations into his time as the national secretary of the Health Services Union are completed.
Regardless, the NSW general secretary, Sam Dastyari, confirmed yesterday that Labor would preselect a new candidate for Mr Thomson's central coast seat of Dobell in the second half of this year, when it preselects for other seats.
The Coalition has already started preselecting in NSW and 11 days ago the Liberal state executive bypassed the rank-and-file in Dobell and parachuted in a local public servant, Karen McNamara, as the candidate. At the same meeting, the state executive picked Lucy Wicks to run in the adjacent seat of Robertson, held by Labor's Deb O'Neill.
Mr Thomson, who entered Parliament in 2007, declined to comment yesterday but was unperturbed by Mr Dastyari's admission. Mr Thomson had confided in colleagues for some time that he did not expect to be preselected again, even if cleared, so drawn out has the saga been against him.
He is understood, however, to be upset at the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, portraying his removal from the ALP as her decision.
Mr Thomson is telling friends that he first approached the leadership more than a year ago offering to shift to the crossbench while the matters concerning him were resolved. He is saying that he renewed the offer about five or six weeks ago but was told it was not necessary.
Ms Gillard insisted yesterday it was her decision to move Mr Thomson. ''I made a decision yesterday, it's the right decision. I made that decision because of my view about the, you know, weight here that was pressing on people's respect for the Federal Parliament,'' she said.
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