Community leader Jodie Belyea has been named as Labor’s candidate for the upcoming federal by-election in the Victorian seat of Dunkley.
Ms Belyea is the founder of volunteer group Women’s Spirit that helps to support disadvantaged women.
The by-election was triggered by the death of Labor MP Peta Murphy, who died in December after a long battle with cancer.
A date is yet to be set for the poll in the seat on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, but an announcement is expected in coming weeks.
Ms Belyea said she was looking to carry on the work of the late Ms Murphy in federal parliament.
“I’m not going to necessarily be Peta, but I am going to lean into her legacy, committed to making a difference. I have big shoes to fill,” she told reporters on Thursday.
“I’m not a career politician. I am not interested in playing politics. What I am interested in is creating a community that works together through working with governments at all levels.”
The Labor candidate said she would campaign on the cost of living, housing affordability and increased health access.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Ms Belyea would be a voice in government for the community.
“She’ll do an outstanding job taking the skills that she has learned as an advocate for the community sector, for not-for-profit organisations, for people who need that assistance … onto the floor of the House of Representatives,” he said.
“It is very sad what happened with Peta, she leaves an extraordinary legacy, and this community are really proud of the work that Peta did as an advocate, and in Jodie, they have someone who will continue to build on that legacy.”
Ms Murphy held the Victorian seat from 2019 and increased her margin at the 2022 federal election.
The most recent poll saw Labor record a three per cent swing to hold the marginal seat by 6.2 per cent.
The coalition has yet to announce a candidate to contest the seat.