A local community leader has been given the nod as Labor’s candidate for Dunkley following the death of beloved late MP Peta Murphy.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed Jodie Belyea would run in the crucial by-election expected to be held next month.
Ms Belyea founded the volunteer-led group Women’s Spirit Project which offers vulnerable women access to health and wellbeing programs.
“I was very fortunate to meet the late and great Peta Murphy through my work supporting women experiencing disadvantage, through the Women’s Spirit Project,” she told a press conference in Frankston.
Mr Albanese said she would be the perfect candidate to “build on the extraordinary legacy” that Ms Murphy built before she died from breast cancer last month.
“You can see why we have reached out and why Peta Murphy reached out to recruit her,” he said.
But the newly minted Labor candidate is under no illusions she will be able to fill the shoes left behind by Ms Murphy.
“(She) was an incredibly talented and passionate member that advocated hard for this community,” Ms Belyea said.
“I am 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.”
Nominations for a candidate to replace Ms Murphy opened on Wednesday.
But after already securing the factional support needed Ms Belyea was announced on Thursday before nominations even closed on Friday.
Labor holds the seat by a margin of 6 per cent but ongoing cost-of-living pressures could result in a swing against the party, setting up a bruising test for government.
Ms Murphy became the first woman to be elected as the member for Dunkley and the first Labor MP to win the seat since 1996.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will also be eyeing off capturing the seat after loss of the Melbourne seat of Aston to Labor in early 2023.
Ms Belyea , a local mum and community leader, insisted she was “not a career politician” and will begin her campaign on the cost of living issues such as Medicare and affordable housing.
“I will be out and about in this community meeting people from Carrum Downs, Langwarrin, Frankston and Mount Eliza to understand what is important for you.
“I am not interested in playing politics. What I am interested in is creating a community that works together.”