Rudd backs Peris as candidate


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Labor will retain former athlete Nova Peris as its Northern Territory Senate candidate, despite his concerns over the preselection process.

Ms Peris, the first Aborigine to win an Olympic gold medal, was hand-picked by former leader Julia Gillard to take over the candidacy from sitting senator Trish Crossin.

Mr Rudd on Tuesday met with NT Labor executive members in Darwin to discuss the issue.

"They have told me on behalf of the leadership of the Labor party here in the Northern Territory that despite all the difficulties that have happened with the national intervention in the preselection that they want to get behind Nova as the ALP candidate for the Senate," Mr Rudd said.

"I support their local recommendation."

Mr Rudd said he had also spoken with Senator Crossin and understood the decision had been very tough for her.

"The bottom line is this - I don't like the way in which this was handled six months ago, that's the truth," he said.

"We have an election due in several months' time and therefore we've got to get on with the business of uniting behind our Labor candidates."