Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard Lee Constable

Gillard, Shorten at odds again on preselection

THE Federal Labor Party is again  involved in a local branch preselection stoush, after reports Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten are endorsing opposing candidates for Ms Gillard's Victorian seat.

Fairfax Media reported Ms Gillard had written to the local branch, endorsing a 51-year-old primary school principal, while Mr Shorten had endorsed Kimberley Kitching, a Health Services Union staffer.

The reports come after Ms Gillard, then prime minister, endorsed former sportswoman Nova Peris as a "captain's choice" for a Senate seat, removing sitting Senator Trish Crossin from her Northern Territory spot.

Mr Shorten was understood to be endorsing Ms Kitchen due to the uncertainty around the timing of the coming federal election.

That uncertainty is also likely to dog the pre-selection process in several seats of retiring Labor MPs around the country, after a suite of resignations after the leadership spill nearly two weeks ago.

While it is not uncommon for sitting members to endorse a local party candidate, party officials have already signalled the national executive plans to get more involved in local preselection processes in the lead-up to the election.