"Father of reconciliation" and respected Indigenous leader Pat Dodson has put himself forward to take over as Labor's incoming senator in Western Australia.
Conservative Senator Joe Bullock announced he was standing down on Tuesday night, saying he disagreed with Labor's decision to bind caucus to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.
This morning Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Dodson was his pick to fill the casual vacancy created by Mr Bullock's departure.
Mr Dodson told a packed media conference Mr Shorten offered him the job, and the approach was a surprise.
"Having spent much of my adult life trying to influence our national conversations, debate, government and the parliament from the outside, it is now time for me to step up to the plate," Mr Dodson said.
"[It is time to] have a go at trying to influence those conversations, debates and public policies from the inside, as a member of the Senate and representing Western Australia."
Mr Dodson said he was a member of the Labor party in the 1980s but since then considered himself "non-aligned".
"He is a person of unmatched intelligence, integrity and achievement," Mr Shorten said.
"Nationally recognised and rightly admired as the father of reconciliation, a truth teller, a powerful advocate for recognition, justice equality and fairness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."
Former Labor senator Louise Pratt was ousted to make way for Mr Bullock, and confirmed she was renominating for the senate ticket.
"Louise Pratt is an excellent senator and she's got a contribution to make," Mr Shorten said.
"On this occasion though, I'll support Pat Dodson."