Greens leader eyes Labor seat at next federal poll

Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam will likely step down from the role as she vies to oust Labor from a heartland federal seat once held by a prime minister.

The 47-year-old Victorian MP on Thursday announced she would nominate to become the Greens candidate to contest the seat of Wills in Melbourne's north at the next federal election.

"As the preselection is open, I am not able to comment further until the process is completed," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Wills was held by Labor's Peter Khalil on an 8.6 per cent two-party-preferred margin in 2022, with Greens candidate Sarah Jefford finishing second.

Since it was established in 1949, Wills has only slipped out of Labor's hands once when independent Phil Cleary won a by-election and subsequent poll following the retirement of prime minister Bob Hawke.

Mr Khalil's electorate office in Coburg has been repeatedly targeted and marched on by activists protesting Israel's invasion of Gaza.

The next federal election is due by May, 2025, but can be held earlier should the prime minister want to go to the polls sooner.

In 2017, Dr Ratnam became the first woman to lead the Victorian Greens after entering the state's upper house earlier that year.

The Northern Metropolitan MP previously was a social worker before being elected to City of Moreland Council in 2012 and becoming its mayor in 2016.

Dr Ratnam moved to Australia with her Tamil family in 1989, having earlier fled war-torn Sri Lanka for Canada.

State MPs must resign their position if they wish to nominate for election to the House of Representatives and cannot have dual citizenship.

Dr Ratnam would be unable to serve as the Victorian Greens' parliamentary party leader while not sitting in state parliament.

But she could return to the upper house if unsuccessful in her federal tilt and the seat is kept vacant, as Victorian Libertarian MP David Limbrick did in 2022.

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