Farrell swaps places with Wong for sake of party unity

SOUTH Australian Senator Don Farrell's decision to relinquish the No.1 spot on Labor's Senate ticket has drawn praise from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Senator Farrell, a senior figure in the party's Right faction, beat out Finance Minister Penny Wong for top spot on the ticket at Saturday's pre-selection.

His election had threatened to spark a factional brawl within the ALP, with cabinet minister Anthony Albanese the most vocal critic of the result.

But on Tuesday Senator Farrell announced he had decided to swap places on the ticket with Senator Wong for the sake of party unity.

Ms Gillard, who approved the swap on Monday, told the caucus on Tuesday Senator Farrell was to be "congratulated" for his decision.

Senator Wong earlier issued a statement describing Senator Farrell as a "man of great standing".

"Don ... has been a senior figure within the South Australian branch of the Labor Party for decades. Throughout his career, Don has always put the Labor party first and he has demonstrated that principle again today," Senator Wong said.

Topics:  julia gillard penny wong

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