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Senate pays tribute to Kimberley Kitching

Senators from across the political divide will pay tribute to the late Kimberley Kitching in a specially convened sitting on Monday.

The Victorian Labor senator was laid to rest last week following her sudden death aged 52 from a suspected heart attack in Melbourne on March 10.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher said it would be an important day for the parliament.

“I have no doubt there’ll be many, many senators who want to speak and place on the record their respects for Kimberley and her family,” Senator Gallagher said.

“I understand her family will be joining us in the Senate and I’m sure all of us would hope that it’s a day where her life and her legacy and her campaigns that she was very successful in, can be respected and observed.”

Over her six years in the upper house, Senator Kitching became known for her human rights advocacy, highlighting of China’s rising influence and a bid for Australia to adopt targeted sanctions laws similar to the US Magnitsky Act.

A who’s who of politics packed St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne last week, as her husband Andrew Landeryou described her as having been subjected to “the unpleasantness of a cantankerous cabal, not all of them in parliament”.

Labor has rejected calls for an independent inquiry to examine bullying allegations, with Anthony Albanese and former leader Bill Shorten saying the late senator would want the party to move on and dedicate itself to a victory at the election due in May.

Mr Albanese said Senator Kitching did not make a formal complaint about any bullying allegations and did not come to him directly with any concerns.

Senator Kitching was up for re-election but there was some doubt about her preselection due to factional manoeuvring.

With her colleague Senator Kim Carr declaring his retirement on Sunday to deal with health issues, Labor’s Victorian Senate ticket will feature new faces.

Nominations close at 2pm on Monday and if an election is required it will occur on Tuesday afternoon.

Frontrunners for the positions are Victorian government minister Natalie Hutchins and union leader Linda White.

The Kimberley Kitching Human Rights Award will be inaugurated by the ALP national conference in 2023.

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