Labor leader Kevin Rudd has confirmed playing a key role in the resignation of Tasmanian ALP candidate and union official Kevin Harkins.
Mr Harkins' Electrical Trades Union boss, Dean Mighell, accused the Opposition Leader of unjustly pressuring Mr Harkins to stand down.
Julie Collins, the ALP's Tasmanian state secretary, will be named by the party's national executive as the replacement candidate for Franklin.
Mr Rudd on Thursday night did not deny that his office was instrumental in Mr Harkins' resignation, but blamed the need for it on a coalition "smear campaign".
"As would be expected, Mr Harkins discussed his situation and the continuing Liberal Party smear campaign with a range of Labor Party figures, including discussing the possible impact of this smear campaign on Labor's overall electoral prospects with the leader of the opposition's office, following a request from Mr Harkins to do so," Mr Rudd's spokesman told The Australian.
"The office was advised late last (Wednesday) night that Mr Harkins intended to resign and was planning to deliver a letter to the Tasmanian branch today formally confirming this before appearing on ABC Radio to explain the reasons for his decision."
Mr Harkins, the ETU leader in Tasmania and deputy to Victorian-based Mr Mighell, is fighting a prosecution for allegedly organising an illegal strike in 2005.
He fell on his sword after federal party colleagues confronted him with concerns that his union activities would damage Mr Rudd and the Labor Party nationally.