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Watt wins preselection for vacant Vic seat

Yorta Yorta woman Sheena Watt will create history as Victorian Labor’s first Indigenous parliamentarian.

Ms Watt, a trade unionist with a background in the health and community sectors, confirmed on Wednesday she had won preselection to replace former minister Jenny Mikakos in the state’s upper house.

“I am honoured to have been preselected to become Labor’s next member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, a community I care passionately about,” she tweeted.

A spokesman for Ms Watt told AAP her preselection was ratified within Labor ranks about 1pm.

She could be sworn in as an MP as early as Tuesday when both houses of parliament resume sitting.

The Brunswick resident and Australian Services Union member was endorsed by the socialist left faction of the party.

Prue Stewart, who works in the office of Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams, was tipped as the frontrunner for preselection in the Northern Metro seat, but withdrew on Saturday.

Ms Watt’s past experience includes helping to manage COVID-19 outbreaks in Melbourne’s north as the deputy chair of Merri Health, and leading a paid Aboriginal traineeship program as part of AFL SportsReady.

Ms Mikakos quit her portfolio and parliament late last month after the premier told the state’s hotel quarantine inquiry her department was ultimately responsible for the botched program.

Her successor praised the former health minister for her 20 years of service to some of Victoria’s most diverse communities.

“She leaves a powerful legacy, both as a local member and as a senior minister in successive Labor governments,” Ms Watt said.

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