Labor Senator Louise Pratt has conceded defeat in the re-run WA Senate election and launched a scathing attack on her running mate Joe Bullock and the WA Labor Party.
Senator Pratt, an openly gay woman from Labor's Left, lost the top spot on the ALP ticket a year ago when the left-wing United Voice union backed Mr Bullock, secretary of the right-wing shop assistants' union.
Mirroring comments in The West Australian today, Senator Pratt said Mr Bullock was deeply homophobic, anti choice and recently proved disloyal.
She said she felt like she was campaigning with her hand tied behind her back.
"Hiding (Bullock) was never going to be enough," she said at a press conference this morning.
She said the exertion of power by too few was eroding public trust in Labor and the unions.
"Contrary to the statements of senator-elect Joe Bullock it is only Labor that can be trusted to look after the interests of working people," Senator Pratt said.
But she said the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association had used a powerful voting bloc to select candidates who were anti progressive.
SDA members supported gay rights and Mr Bullock, not she, was on the fringe of these issues.
The exertion of power by too few is eroding public trust in Labor and the unions.
"Union members have no say in the deals union leaders do to put people in seats. The WA ALP branch is least democratic in Australia.
"This is undermining (our) ability to win elections."
She called for power to preselect candidates to be taken away from union leaders and handed to rank and file members.
But she said she was optimistic about the capacity of the party to change.